Vice President and presidential aspirant Leni Robredo on Friday urged the Filipino people to “hold on tightly to hope” amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the destructive typhoon “Odette.”
“There will be those among us who will celebrate Christmas without the presence of their loved ones,” she said.
Despite the challenges, Filipino families would still have the time to gather and celebrate the Christmas season no matter how small or humble the celebration would be, she said.
“We hang lanterns and lights so that those around us feel the message Christmas brings: That hope is found in togetherness, in opening oneself to one’s fellow human beings, in letting them feel that they are not alone, that we always have someone beside us, whether in times of trial or along the path towards our dreams,” she said.
She appealed the public to “fervently give thanks for any blessings we receive” on Christmas.
Robredo’s running mate, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan meanwhile said non-working wharves, non-available RORO ships, and ships ran aground make the delivery of donations the delivery difficult.
“Water, food, gasoline, electricity, transport, and communication are very much needed in Cebu. Metro Cebu Water District cannot provide water yet so a deep well is a source,” Pangilinan said after speaking with several local government officials and residents on the post-disaster situation in the province.
“In Olango Island, tourism and fishing are the means of livelihood of the people. It’s difficult to bring relief goods because the chopper cannot do it. It should be the ship,” he said.
He also cited fears of an oil spill because of the presence of sea vessels, after conferring with Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan.
Pangilinan said he will contact Energy Undersecretary Wimpy Fuentebella to ask that Cebu’s fuel supply be assured so that generator sets for water refilling, phone charging, and other activities may be done even as electricity is still out.
Pangilinan said he will get in touch with the Departments of Agriculture on assistance to fisherfolk whose boats were smashed to bits by Odette, of National Defense for Navy assistance on the beached ships, of Energy on getting fuel to the area while power infrastructures are restored, and private telecommunications companies Globe and Smart for phone and internet signals in the affected areas.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes told Pangilinan that 34,000 of his constituents were affected, of whom seven died; 13,926 structures were damaged, of which 7,500 were completely damaged. He said 58 ships in his area ran aground.
He said the government should pick up the pace in making the seaports functional so that assistance could get to our people urgently needing food, water and other supplies,” he said. With Macon Ramos-Araneta.