By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The badly needed aid for the victims of super typhoon “Odette” in Negros Occidental has now finally started to pour in from various agencies belonging to the national government as well as from foreign governments.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who arrived on Monday, December 20, and visited typhoon-ravaged southern Negros, pledged to provide P2 billion to each of the provinces that were directly impacted by “Odette.” He also led the distribution of relief supplies at the Kabankalan City Hall.
The president has also vowed to raise an additional P10 billion in funds to help in recovery and rehabilitation efforts.
The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development and the National Housing Authority were also given orders to provide housing assistance to victims whose homes were either destroyed or partially damaged.
Moreover, the national government is actively checking on the water, electricity, fuel and other supplies in the affected areas, with the Department of Energy already ordered to further expedite the restoration of power in the affected areas.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista also said they have already sent out 10,300 family food packs worth P5.7 million to Negros Occidental.
Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo arrived in the province yesterday to lead the distribution of food packs in Kabankalan City, and also inspected the city to further assess the damage caused by the typhoon.
Robredo was accompanied by actress Kris Aquino.
The Office of Civil Defense-Western Visayas has also sent in relief supplies consisting of 50 house repair kits, 100 family food packs, and 500 hygiene kits.
The DSWD warehouse in Iloilo province’s Oton town sent 800 food packs to Negros Occidental. The supplies were transported from Muelle Loney Port in Iloilo City to the BREDCO Port in Bacolod City via the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ship BRP Nueva Vizcaya (SARV-3502).
Various units under the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office have also participated in the ongoing relief effort either by way of repacking supplies or distributing them to the affected residents.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, meanwhile, sent out 500 food packs to the province, along with 294 Jerry Cans which can be used as water containers.
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Philippines had also announced yesterday that they are sending 20,000 food packages valued at P8 million to all areas affected by the typhoon, including Negros Occidental.
Each food package contains five kilos of rice, 10 canned goods, and 10 noodle packs.
Aside from China, other countries such as France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have also pledged aid for all affected areas in the country.
Various political candidates for the upcoming 2022 national elections also visited Negros Occidental since Monday bringing with them either food aid valued at P2 million or pledging financial assistance to the affected Negrenses.
As of yesterday afternoon, the official death toll from super typhoon “Odette” in Negros Occidental is at 34 with 88 injuries and seven people still missing.
A team from the PCG’s Coast Guard District Western Visayas which was sent out to Sipalay City has also began their search and retrieval operations in the affected areas.
Furthermore, houses which were either destroyed or damaged in the province have also reached 93,756.
Total losses in the province are pegged at close to P6 billion.
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has already signed an executive order declaring the entire province under a “state of calamity.”/DGB, WDJ