House launches Batanes aid drive

Lawmakers will donate a portion of their salaries for relief operations in Batanes, which was rocked by deadly earthquakes early Saturday morning.

House launches Batanes aid drive
FUND DRIVE. House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez (right) and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano discuss Tuesday the House Fund Drive for the victims of the twin earthquakes that rocked Batanes Saturday morning and strategies to speed up the passage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s priority measures. Ver Noveno
In plenary session Monday, House Deputy Majority Leader and Pangasinan Rep. Christopher de Venecia said a “signature sheet” will be circulated where House members can write the amount of their contribution to be deducted from their salaries.

In other developments:

*The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Tuesday appealed to the clergy and the faithful for donations to help the people and rebuild church structures in Batanes.

CBCP president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles and Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona, chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace, issued the solidarity appeal to other bishops, Social Action Center directors and the faithful to help them provide help to the victims of the twin earthquakes and to reconstruct the structures that had been damaged.

• Batanes has been placed under a state of calamity after the earthquakes that left nine dead, some 100 hurt and homes and other structures damaged.

Batanes Gov. Marilou Cayco said they had tapped into the province’s calamity funds to buy relief supplies and construction materials for temporary shelters.

• The damage caused by a series of quakes that rocked Batanes on Saturday had risen to P282 million, Gov. Cayco said. 

• Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday admitted that the disaster-response operations in earthquake-hit Itbayat, was sluggish due to the difficulty of reaching Batanes.

House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez of Leyte said the House “is going full blast in its donation drive to help the people of Batanes.”

“I just spoke with the Speaker [Alan Peter Cayetano] about the Batanes fund drive. It [contribution] has been the practice whenever a district is hard-hit by a calamity, in this case Batanes,” Romualdez said. 

“This voluntary effort on the part of the congressmen to contribute has been done in the past through salary deduction. This has been initiated for the benefit of the casualties’ loved ones and the injured residents of Batanes.

“To kick off the campaign, congressmen are donating a portion of their salary as their humble contribution to the relief operations.”

The congressmen also called on the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and other relevant organizations to expedite humanitarian assistance and restore normalcy to the affected areas.

Likewise, Romualdez requested the Legislative Security Bureau to allocate a portion of the South and North Wing Lobbies of Batasan Complex, which could serve as collection and storage area for the donated goods from congressmen and House employees for the Batanes earthquake victims. 

“That is why I requested our LSB to allocate space at the North Wing and South Wing lobbies to serve as collection and storage areas for donated goods,” Romualdez said.

With 300 congressmen, the House is expected to raise at least P1.5 million based on the minimum contribution of P5,000 per congressman.

“This is just the minimum amount pegged by the House resolution. The contribution may even reach P3 million up to P5 million as some congressmen have indicated willingness to donate P50,000 to P100,000 from their salary,” Romualdez said. With PNA

READ: DOH workers go on 24-hour duty in Batanes, Cagayan Valley

READ: Duterte to the rescue, kicks in P40m for Batanes hospital rehab

READ: 2 babies, 6 adults killed in Batanes quake

READ: CEZA, OP North Luzon sends relief supplies, teams to aid Batanes

READ: Quakes prompt call for creation of disaster department

Topics: Batanes , Christopher de Venecia , Batanes , Alan Peter Cayetano , Martin Romualdez
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