Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno has called on the government to give priority to Typhoon “Odette” victims by relaxing the documentary requirements to hasten their claims for benefits and financial assistance from concerned agencies.
“We ask the government to be pro-active in addressing the disaster victims’ needs from government institutions,” Diokno, an opposition Senate bet, said in a statement.
He made the call as affected residents in typhoon-ravaged areas are availing emergency loans from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), and the Philippine Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG).
Diokno underscored the need for the government to fast-track the issuance of new government ID’s and the reconstitution of land titles and other pertinent documents destroyed by Odette’s onslaught.
“Hindi na dapat nating pabigatin pa ang pasanin ng ating mga kababayang nawalan na ari-arian at kabuhayan. Tulungan natin sila na unti-unting makabangon mula sa trahedyang ito (We must not burden our fellowmen who lost their properties and livelihood. Let us help them slowly recover from this tragedy),” Diokno stressed.
The death toll caused by Odette rose to 375 on Monday, Dec. 20, government officials said.
The typhoon, which is considered to be the strongest to hit this year, made a total of nine landfalls last week. Hundreds of thousands of people have already been evacuated and billions’ worth of properties were destroyed.
The veteran lawyer turned over last weekend P2.5 million worth of relief goods donated by his supporters to the Leni-Kiko volunteer center in Quezon City that has been turned into a relief operations center for the thousands of families affected by the typhoon.
Among these items were blankets, instant noodles, biscuits, canned goods, soap, and other hygiene products.
One of Diokno’s volunteers shared that he helped pack relief goods that was sent to Odette victims.
“He arrived mid afternoon at the Leni-Kiko relief operations center and facilitated the turnover of his donations himself,” Brenda Pureza said in a Facebook post.
“He chatted a bit with the volunteers and spent the afternoon until evening helping out kahit ang sama ng panahon. Siya mismo nagbuhat ng donations, san ka pa (despite the bad weather condition. He even carried the donations by himself),” she added.