Former-Vice President and senatorial aspirant Jejomar Binay reminded the national government on Tuesday, Jan. 18, to not neglect the victims of Typhoon Odette even as it continues to grapple with the surge in COVID-19 cases.
“The pandemic should not be an excuse for neglecting the survivors of typhoon Odette. While it is true that the pandemic caught us off guard almost two years ago, typhoons occur every year. Government agencies should have learned their lessons from typhoon Yolanda. There should be no excuses,” Binay said in a statement.
“Walang dahilan na hindi paghandaan ang mga bagyo. Nagsalita na dito ang experts at nabigyan na ng warning ang Pilipinas. Pwera na lang kung talagang napabayaan (There is no reason for the country to not be prepared against typhoons. The experts have already spoken and the Philippines was already warned. The damages and deaths could have been prevented, except if it was really neglected),” he added.
Binay explained that the national government must immediately address the issue of poor and unsanitary living conditions in evacuation centers and temporary shelters, especially the victims’ lack of access to clean water.
“Deaths have been reported. These deaths could have been prevented with timely intervention. Government needs to act immediately if we want to prevent a humanitarian crisis,” the former vice president said.
Binay said that the national government must have a long-term and comprehensive recovery and rehabilitation program for the severely affected areas.
“The plan should take into account the need for climate resilient housing, decent and sustainable jobs and livelihood opportunities, support for affected businesses, and other basic needs. Government agencies should also ensure that all government aid for typhoon victims and for local governments are released and received on time,” Binay said.
“For typhoon victims living in government housing projects, the government should suspend mortgage payments. It should also suspend the collection of payments owed to Pag-Ibig Fund, GSIS, SSS, or declare an amnesty for payments,” he said.