Robredo: Palace 'overreacted' to 'slow relief' remark
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said Malacañang had an "over the top" reaction when she said that relief efforts in some parts of provinces hit by Typhoon Nina (Nock-ten) were slow.
She clarified that she was not referring to the entire Bicol region.
"Parang nag-overreact naman ata (They overreacted)," said Robredo in an interview during her rounds in Camarines Sur and Catanduanes on Thursday, January 5.
"Hindi natin sinasabing may problema ang buong Bicol region dahil iyong ibang lugar may problema, iyong iba walang problema." (We are not saying there is a problem in the whole Bicol region because there are areas where there is no problem with relief.)
The Vice President said she was only expressing the exasperation of the people on the ground, and that each locality has its own experience when it comes to receiving relief goods from the national government. (READ: Palace chides Robredo for calling Nina rehab 'slow')
"Like here in Buhi [town], there is no problem with relief. I've been to Sañgay [town] yesterday, there is also no problem with relief," Robredo said in Filipino.
"In Catanduanes, what they complain [about] is not the slow response but that the aid that reached them was incomplete because the local government unit and the authorities did not want to release it just yet," she added.
"Pero makakabuti siguro sa lahat na magtulungan na lang. Dapat walang pulitika ang pag-ayos sa disaster. At least dito sa amin kahit hindi kami magkakapartido, nagtutulungan. Marami akong lugar na pinuntahan na 'di ko kapartido ang LGU pero nakikipagtulungan naman," she said.
(It's better if we just help each other out. There should be no politics in fixing things in the aftermath of the disaster. At least here, even though we are not party mates, we help each other. I visited several places here with leaders who are not my party mates but they cooperate.)
Robredo said the Office of the Vice President will help in consolidating efforts from the private sector and voice out the concerns of her fellow Bicolanos to the national government. She is in talks with the local leaders of Catanduanes and Albay and is eyeing to plan rehabilitation efforts with national government agencies.
The Vice President, who grew up in Camarines Sur and served as its district representative, was in shock to see the damage caused by Typhoon Nina. (READ: Robredo visits Nina-hit CamSur: 'I wish I was here')
"Medyo nagugulat ako kasi, halimbawa, itong barangay na ito (Salvacion-Centro), parang 'pag iyong normal nating mga bagyo, dapat hindi siya sana ganito kagrabe ang damage," she said.
(I was surprised because, for example, this barangay, if it were just a normal typhoon, the damage would not be this severe.)
In Catanduanes, 90% of their abaca crops were damaged. Abaca is a primary commodity in the province. Local officials said it would take 18 months before the farmers could recover, causing them to fear that people would migrate out of Catanduanes.
The Department of Agriculture will be providing rehabilitation for the crops. There are available funds from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Office of Civil Defense for the shelter assistance. Robredo also said her office will coordinate with these agencies and the local government units. – Rappler.com