By Raymund Antonio
Private partners of Vice President Leni Robredo’s Angat Buhay program will band together to raise funds for the restoration of houses damaged by powerful earthquakes in Batanes.
Robredo, a former housing chief, disclosed plans to kick off a fundraising campaign to help affected residents to rebuild their homes in hardest-hit Itbayan town.
“Walang sariling pondo iyong opisina for mga tulong na ganito, talagang iyong nadadala namin, tulong din ng mga private organizations. Kinuhanan namin ng mga litrato iyong mga nasirang bahay. Magfa-fund drive kami for them,” she said.
(My office doesn’t have funds for assistance like this, the donations we bring come from private organizations. We took pictures of the damaged houses. We will have a fund drive for them.)
Angat Buhay partners have been helping calamity victims in collaboration with Robredo’s office on relief operations, disaster response and rehabilitation.
This is meant to complement the government’s relief efforts and recovery works in the aftermath of natural disasters.
“May tulong naman parati iyong pamahalaan, pero baka hindi enough dahil maraming ibang tinutulungan. So ilalapit natin sa private para matulungan sila,” Robredo said.
(The government always helps, but the assistance may not be enough because it is also helping others. So we will reach out to the private sector to help them.)
The fund drive for Batanes residents came in the wake of Robredo’s visit on Wednesday in the island town, where she and some Angat Buhay partners assessed the damage of the earthquakes.
They went around the villages of Santa Maria and San Rafael to see firsthand the impact of the tremors that caused the death of nine people and damaged various structures.
Robredo’s office also gave P1.5-million worth of aid to quake victims. Among them were as follow:
· straw mats, food packs and tarpaulins from the Church of the Latter-Day Saints Charities
· 500 units of five-gallon bottled water from Manila Water Foundation
· portable Electrocardiogram (ECG) machine, assorted medicines and teddy bears from various donors
The Vice President underscored the need to redesign the damaged houses and other structures that can withstand not only typhoons, but also strong earthquakes.
“Maybe this is an opportunity for the national, provincial, and municipal governments to plan how the structures will be more resilient,” she said.