Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has extended her sympathies to fellow Bicolanos and countrymen who were severely affected by Super Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni), which is the world’s strongest tropical cyclone recorded this year.
De Lima, who was born and grew up in Iriga, Camarines Sur, Bicol, also urged the government to fast-track its relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas badly hit by typhoon Rolly..
“Nakikiramay po ako sa mga pamilyang naulila ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay, nawasak ang mga tahanan at napilitang lumikas sa kanilang komunidad. Napakalaking pagsubok nga po nito, lalo pa’t humaharap pa rin tayo sa krisis na dulot ng pandemya,” she said.
“Nananawagan ako sa ating lokal at pambansang pamahalaan na siguruhin ang mabilisang pagbibigay ng ayuda sa mga nasalanta nating kababayan, at tiyakin ang maayos na mga pasilidad sa evacuation centers upang maiwasan ang sakit at matugunan ang kanilang mga pangangailangan,” she added.
Based on media reports, 10 fatalities in Albay and Catanduanes were recorded while three others went missing after “Rolly” wreaked havoc in Bicol Region. Three residents of Guinobatan were declared missing.
Videos and photos that surfaced online showed the unfortunate scenario in the region, including, among others, overflowing rivers and houses buried under armor rocks.
Reportedly, a total of 107,831 families or 390,298 individuals were affected in Bicol Region as of 6:00 p.m. of Nov. 1. Of these, 94,492 families or 344,455 individuals were packed in evacuation centers, making the practice of social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 a challenge to the evacuees.
De Lima, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said Mr. Duterte “should do his job as the highest official of the country during challenging times like this and ensure that the people get the assistance that they need and deserve.”
During the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly, the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo topped the Philippines’ trends on Twitter as Duterte skipped the government’s first briefing. The said briefing happened after typhoon Rolly already made two landfalls in Catanduanes and Albay.
“Naturingang Pangulo pero kukupad-kupad sa panahon ng pandemya at tutulog-tulog kapag may kalamidad. Kawawa talaga ang Pilipinas at ang mga Pilipino sa ganitong klaseng lider,” stressed De Lima.
Last January, De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1284 seeking to provide a 15-day paid leaves from work to be granted to disaster response volunteers to allow them to participate in specialized disaster-related operations for government-led and government-accredited institutions.
In 2019, De Lima filed SB No. 1123 seeking to provide a five-day special emergency leave with pay for all workers in the public and private sectors directly affected by natural calamities or disasters in the country, based on certain grounds and circumstances specified in the measure. (30)