Vice President Leni Robredo flew to Batanes on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, to visit the survivors of the twin earthquakes that rocked the town of Itbayat.
VP Leni’s office and its private partners under the Angat Buhay program are also bringing assistance to the affected residents here.
VP Leni went around the hardest-hit villages of Barangay Santa Maria and San Rafael to see firsthand the impact of the series of tremors that caused the immediate death of nine individuals.
She also spoke with the families of the residents killed in the quake, including the mother of the 32-year-old farmer Edwin Ponce. Ponce, the ninth fatality recovered from the rubble, was buried alive when he took shelter in a cave at the height of the powerful quakes.
During the visit, Batanes Governor Malou Cayco turned emotional as she thanked VP Leni for her presence and the assistance her office brought for the quake-hit town.
In her message, VP Leni underscored that her office is committed to helping the town of Itbayat as it rises from this tragedy.
“Kami po, pumunta para makiisa kahit papaano. Si Gov. kausap ko mula Sabado. Pero iyong pagpunta po namin, iyong presence [namin ay] para kahit papaano mapalakas naman nang kaunti iyong loob [niyo] kasi alam ko po na kapag lindol, talagang lahat may trauma, ‘di ba. Lalo pa ngayon na sunod-sunod pa iyong mga aftershocks,” she told the residents.
The OVP is turning over to the local government of Itbayat the following:
· 900 food packs, 1,000 straw mats, 1,000 pieces of 10m x 4m tarpaulins, all donated by the Latter-Day Saints Charities;
· 500 units of five-gallon bottled water from Manila Water Foundation; and 142 kilos-worth of assorted medicines from Amir Abad and Friends of Itbayat, and Dr. Anton Lim of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation.
· Portable Electrocardiogram (ECG) machine
VP Leni also said her office will look into how it can help the families rebuild their houses, including the traditional stone houses that the province is known for.