CEBU CITY – SIX days after typhoon Seniang struck Cebu province, Vice President Jejomar Binay was the first national official to have visited the areas, distributed relief goods and condoled with the family who lost 12 members to the typhoon.
At least 15 of the 44 deaths recorded were from municipalities of Ronda and Dumanjug, which were declared under state of calamity. Twelve of the deaths were recorded from Ronda.
Binay expressed surprise to see that the main roads in Ronda remain submerged in mud.
Binay was also the first to have brought relief goods, according to the residents.
They attributed the delayed help to the political affiliation of the Ronda mayor.
Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco III is a member of the United Nationalist Alliance, of which, Binay is the chairman.
Blanco appealed to Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, to send immediate help. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama earlier pledged P300,000 in cash aid to the towns o fRonda, Sibonga and Alcantara.
Provincial General Social Welfare Office head Siegfried Sepe said the Capitol has already fielded a dump truck with potable water to augment supply from a water filtration facility.
“Ronda needs help. We need help. It does not help that the provincial and national governments have not sent any help particularly when we see President Benigno Aquino III spending time partying and attending a wedding of showbiz celebrities. We are also his bosses. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is missing in action,” a Ronda resident told the Manila Standard.
Roxas has not been heard from since the typhoon and is said to be in New York for the holidays.
Blanco said all 14 barangays with 18,500 constituents were badly hit by the typhoon particularly the town’s water systems, dikes, crops and other means of livelihood,
The Ronda municipal council declared the town under state of calamity but only has P1.5 million in calamity funds to procure food and other essentials.
Ronda is a fifth class municipality.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office estimated the damage from Seniang on Cebu province could reach P1 billion.
Binay led the distribution of 7,500 relief bags to residents of Cebu affected by typhoon Seniang.
He also met with local officials of the affected towns to discuss and assess the damage caused by the typhoon.
Binay said the Office of the Vice President (OVP) distributed 1,500 relief bags each to the municipalities of Ronda, Dumanjug, Sibonga, and Carcar.
While in Ronda, Binay also visited the wake and gave assistance to a family of 12 people who died because of the typhoon.
Binay condoled with the a family, who lost seven members.
“I was told that this is the first time that it happened in Ronda. That the water surge was fast and it did not help that when the river overflowed, the water could not flow into the sea because it was high tide. The water flowed inland up to one kilometer. Grabe yung bilis ng dating at pagtaas ng tubig,” Binay said.
Binay vowed to return to Ronda because the relief goods that he brought were not enough.
He also said the Office of the Vice President would release cash assistance to the victims as well as help them rebuild their houses. With a report from Junex Doronio