Vice President Leni Robredo reiterated her call for government to increase efforts on better disaster preparedness, even as she brought assistance to the families affected by Tropical Depression Usman in Sagñay, Camarines Sur.
On Wednesday, VP Leni went to Sitio Igot, Brgy. Patitinan, one of the areas hit by landslides last Dec. 29. She also met some of the families who lost loved ones in the calamity.
VP Leni said the stories of the bereaved residents were “heartbreaking,” especially from those who lost nearly their entire families in the landslides. Aside from the cash assistance she provided during Wednesday’s visit, she underscored the importance of assisting these families in terms of livelihood, as some of them shared their plans to relocate to safer areas.
“[I]yong pinakamahirap sa lahat, hindi nga nila alam kung ano iyong babalikan nila. Hindi lang iyong bahay iyong nawala, hindi lang iyong buhay ng kapamilya—pati hanapbuhay. [Kailangan] talaga ng malaking tulong para makapagsimula muli iyong mga nawalan,” she said.
Seeing the extent of the damage left by TD Usman and the landslides it caused, VP Leni renewed her call for better disaster preparedness. The Vice President, who previously served as Representative of the Third District of Camarines Sur, said that the national government should assist LGUs to put in place measures that will help lessen the impact of typhoons and other calamities. This, she said, includes implementing stricter measures over danger zones.
VP Leni also called on the national government to invest in infrastructure projects that have “long-term” benefits and that could help mitigate the impact of calamities.
“Iyong infrastructure na kailangang ipatayo, isipin iyong mas pangmatagalan. Halimbawa, iyong mga seawall, mahalaga iyon. Iyong flood control, mahalaga iyon. Iyong proteksyon sa mga slopes, mahalaga iyon,” she said.
“Kaya sana iyong pagdedesisyon ng paglalaanan ng pera ng gobyerno, iyong iniisip iyong pangmatagalan na makakatulong sa buhay ng mga residente—hindi lang iyong nakikita, pero iyong nararamdaman talaga ng lahat. So dapat maging lesson ito sa ating lahat, na talagang pag-isipan iyong mga infra na dapat asikasuhin. Ito, hindi kasi ito kaya ng LGU lang. Kailangan nito tulong talaga ng national government, kasi malaking pera iyong kailangan,” she added.
VP Leni’s office, under its Angat Buhay program, also turned over 834 food packs for the residents of Brgy. Patitinan, donated by its partner, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Earlier, the OVP brought relief assistance to Baao, Camarines Sur, where a total of 1,654 food packs were distributed among three barangays. The office is also undertaking efforts to provide assistance to the town of Buhi, including some 800 food packs.
The OVP is also calling for private contributions to the relief operations, and is in touch with other Angat Buhay partners for possible provision of potable water for communities in need.