MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo is heading to areas in the southern and central Philippines that were battered by typhoon Odette to check relief operations, her office said on Friday.
Robredo has left Manila for Bohol, one of the areas where Odette made landfall on Thursday, said her spokesman Atty. Barry Gutierrez.
He said the Vice President also planned to visit Leyte, Surigao, Cebu, and Negros provinces.
"Alam naman natin si VP talagang hands on ang kanyang approach, so balak niyang magpunta sa mga areas na tinamaan mismo ng bagyo, makita first-hand at makausap 'yung mga taong tinamaan, at lalong maayos nang mabuti at maging angkop 'yung kailangang assistance na puwede nating maibigay," he told reporters.
(We know that VP's approach is hands-on, so she plans to go to areas that were hit by the storm, to see first-hand and talk to the affected people, and ensure the assistance that we could give them.)
Robredo has converted her election volunteer headquarters in Quezon City as a hub for relief operations.
The 2022 presidential contender said on Thursday it was important for leaders to get on the ground and personally check the welfare of calamity survivors.
"Nakakalakas siya ng loob na una, ‘yong number one na mensahe na binibigay mo na hindi sila papabayaan. ‘Yong number 2 na ‘pag nandun ka, maraming pwedeng gawin."
(It gives people courage because number one, you send the message that you will not neglect them. Number 2, if you are there, a lot can be done.)
"Puwede mong kausapin ‘yong mga agencies na kinakailanganan ng tulong na pumunta na. Tapos ‘yong private sector, ‘pag nakita niya na nandoon ka, tapos humingi ka sa kanila ng tulong, mas madali din silang tumulong kasi alam nila na alam mo ang situation on the ground," she said in a chance interview.
Other presidential contenders in the 2022 elections like Sen. Manny Pacquiao and former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have also mounted relief drives.
Odette, which at one point intensified into a super typhoon, the highest classification, toppled power and communication lines, complicating disaster response and efforts to collect information from areas in its path.
Disaster officials could not yet give a complete damage assessment but were not expecting major devastation based on initial data gathered.
Odette, which saw winds of up to 195 kilometers per hour before hitting land on Thursday, has damaged homes and displaced more than 300,000 people as it passed through the western portion of Visayas and mainland Palawan.
The disaster agency reported one typhoon-related death, but said it was subject to validation.
Odette is expected move out the country by Saturday.
— With a report from Reuters