PRESIDENTIAL aspirants, and two senatorial hopefuls, swung into action on Friday to mobilize support for aid to victims of typhoon Odette, which cut a wide swathe of destruction across several regions in Visayas and Mindanao.
Some of them had started mobilizing resources as the country braced for Odette’s landfall.
Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr., thanked the Bongbong-Sara UniTeam donors and volunteers’ swift response to his call for aid to typhoon victims.
According to Marcos Jr., even before the super typhoon made its landfall in the country, his office was already busy coordinating and pre-positioning relief supplies to be distributed to the communities that may be affected. Among those worst hit was Leyte, his mother Imelda’s home province.
“From the time we saw, from PAGASA’s weather bulletin, the extent and strength of typhoon ‘Odette,’ we focused on it. We thank friends and supporters for their help. You are the true heroes in times like these,” added Marcos Jr.
UniTeam volunteers have finished preparing relief packs for several days in warehouses. More than a hundred volunteers are still busy with this task, and more will arrive to help this number this week, according to a statement from the Marcos camp.
As of this writing, convoys of relief trucks were being prepared to extend aid to these areas: Tacloban City, Surigao, Cagayan De Oro, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Samar, Leyte, Masbate, Bohol, Cebu Province, and Cebu City.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao and senatorial aspirants of Aksyon Demokratiko, the party of presidential hopeful Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, made separate calls for “united action.”
Pacquiao reportedly cancelled his birthday celebration and began mobilizing vehicles and relief for the typhoon victims.
He earlier sounded a call on social media for all aspirants to “set aside all politics” and together for typhoon rescue and relief. While Vice President Leni Robredo took this positively, it drew a mild rebuke from another presidential aspirant, Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
If Pacquiao had made the call through private communication, Lacson said, he “would have responded privately as well and offered whatever resources we can share at our disposal in a coordinated effort.”
But, having been done through media, “it goes against my principled belief that ‘calamity politics’ is the lowest form of campaigning,” Lacson said.
Meanwhile, Moro civic leader Samira Gutoc on Friday called for a “united action” from national government agencies and humanitarian partners to help those rendered homeless by Typhoon Odette find evacuation centers, food and medicines.
Another senatorial aspirant on Aksyon Demokratiko, registered nurse and midwife Dr. Carl Balita, directed his review centers nationwide to offer free lectures as a way of raising funds for the victims of Typhoon Odette in the Visayas and Mindanao.
The Carl Balita Review Center (CBRC) will hold Free Lectures for a Cause beginning December 17 through the Facebook live and YouTube accounts of Balita.
“Sa pagkalap ng donasyon, nakakapagpaabot ng tulong direkta sa mga nasalanta sa tulong na rin ng mga branches ng CBRC. Ang Libreng Online Review ay isasagawa upang makakalap ng donasyon kapalit ng review lectures ni Dr. Carl Balita at ng mga topnotchers ng CBRC,” read the Social Media post of Balita.
“All forms of support for Odette’s victims will go a long way. The communication lines are still down in Surigao del Norte,” Gutoc said, partly in Filipino, in her official Facebook page.
According to Gutoc, those who would like to send relief goods or donations for the victims of Odette can do so by going to their “Ako Bakwit” headquarters at Fully Guaranteed Research Bldg, No. 3 San Francisco St., Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City.
Typhoon Odette made landfall in seven areas on Thursday. These are Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte; Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands; Liloan, Southern Leyte; Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte; President Carlos P. Garcia, Bohol; Bien Unido, Bohol; and Carcar, Cebu.