Robredo: Top gov’t execs must be visible, updated on ground situation during calamities
MANILA, Philippines — Top government officials should be visible and fully informed on what is actually happening on the ground when disasters strike as it boosts the morale of those affected by calamities, Vice President Leni Robredo said Thursday amid the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.
According to Robredo, visibility of the country’s leaders during tragedies gives the afflicted strength and assurance that they are not alone and would be getting some help.
Also, she noted, giving directives and partnering with the private sector would be much easier if government officials are on the ground to witness the true situation or abreast of the real condition in the troubled area.
“Nakakalakas kasi siya ng loob. Nakakalakas siya ng loob na una, ‘yung number one na mensahe na binibigay mo na hindi sila papabayaan. ‘Yung number 2 na ‘pag nandun ka, maraming pwedeng gawin,” Robredo told reporters on the sidelines of a vaccination event in Pasay City.
(It motivates the people, strengthens their resolve because you are giving out a message that you would not forsake them or leave them alone. Second, if you are there, you can do a lot of things.)
“Maraming pwedeng mangyari, pwede mong kausapin ‘yung mga agencies na kinakailanganan ng tulong na pumunta na. Tapos ‘yung 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 added.
(A lot can be done, you can talk to the agencies that are needed, and order them to be deployed. Then for the private sector, if they see that you are on the ground, it would be easier to ask for help because you would have first-hand knowledge of the situation on the ground.)
The Vice President said this is the reason why she has been keen about visiting areas hit by calamities especially before the COVID-19 pandemic — saying she cannot sit idly and just wait for reports to reach her table.
“Kaya hindi ako nakukuntento na hindi ako mismo ‘yung bumababa. Hindi ako nakukuntento na binibigyan lang ako ng report, kasi paminsan ‘yung report hindi niya naka-capture yung tunay na sitwasyon. So ako, lahat ng sakuna, almost all na sakuna pinuntahan ko,” Robredo explained.
(That’s why I am not content if I do not visit the areas myself. I cannot be content with just receiving reports, because sometimes, reports do not capture the true situation. So for me, in all calamities, I try to visit each area.)
“Na-limit lang talaga ako during the pandemic. Kasi during the pandemic kung naalala niyo, marami ‘yung mga lindol, ‘yun ‘yung mga hindi ko napuntahan. Pero before the pandemic, halos lahat na bagyo, halos lahat na lindol, halos lahat na volcanic eruption, ako mismo ‘yung nandun,” she added.
(I was just really limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because if you remember, during the pandemic, a lot of calamities have also occurred, but I was not able to visit all of them. But before the pandemic, almost all of the areas that were hit by storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, I was there myself.)
Earlier, Robredo said she had already talked to the governors of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands – areas on the path of Typhoon Odette, which United States weather bureaus are classifying as a super typhoon.
She said that food remains the pressing need in evacuation centers there especially as residents were compelled to leave their homes.
Typhoon Odette, which international name is Rai, made landfall in the popular tourist destination of Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration.