Vice President Leni Robredo yesterday gave voice to the need of calamity victims in the Bicol Region to start rebuilding their homes even as the region is still coming to grips with the extent of devastation caused by super typhoon “Rolly.”
Surveying wrecked homes and fallen structures from Tagkawayan, Quezon all the way to Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) Repacking Center in Naga City in Camarines Sur, Robredo said coastal communities bore the brunt of the storm winds, with very few houses left standing.
During the distribution of relief goods hauled by her team from Manila, she heard the appeal of displaced families in evacuation centers and those who chose to remain in their homes when the typhoon made landfall.
As of Monday, the first day of their relief operations, the Vice President said the entire province of Camarines Sur remained cutoff, as it was without electricity and had poor mobile phone signal.
However, she said, the people are hoping to rebuild their homes as soon as possible to be able to attain some normalcy in their lives.
“I visited a small coastal village nearby and saw that majority of the houses were ravaged to the ground. I got to talk to the owners of the houses. They were complaining that nipa shingles cost too much now. That plus the coco lumber they would need to rebuild,” Robredo said.
She lamented that because of the wide swath of Rolly’s destruction, the cost of funding such reconstruction would be prohibitive.
“If only we have enough resources, it would be best to help them rebuild better so that they wouldn’t have to relive the horrors every time there is a typhoon,” she said.
Among the worst-hit are families who are dependent on their farms for their daily needs but are now faced with the loss of their livelihood.
“Most of the people I got to talk to were worried how they would restart. Most of them are farmers. And they lost almost all the fruits of their toil,” the Vice President said.
The one bright spot she noted was the cooperation among the typhoon victims, village leaders, volunteers, and barangay officials.
“The barangay officials, tanods, village leaders…they are the ones taking care of these people on a daily basis. I am sure their frustrations are far greater than ours. And we can never thank them enough for all the work they are doing for our people,” she said.
Robredo likewise expressed her gratitude to private donors and organizations who continue to extend help to the typhoon victims by sending relief packs including food, hygiene items, and medical supplies trough the OVP.