Pacquiao calls for prompt action in calamity response

Pacquiao calls for prompt action in calamity response

By Tracy Cabrera

MANILA — With more than 200 people reportedly killed following the onslaught of super typhoon Odette (international name Rai), incumbent senator and presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao has continued to visit areas severely affected by the typhoon to hand-out relief packages to those badly needing them especially in the Visayas region.

Based on the latest statistics from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, over 324,000 people fled their homes as Odette pummeled the Visayas and Mindanao, ripping off roofs and knocking out concrete power poles in many parts of the country.

Exact damage to infrastructure and agriculture has yet to be determined, as authorities are still reviewing reports from provinces still without power and phone connection. The health department is also looking at the impact of the typhoon at Covid-19 vaccine storage facilities as coveted jabs may be compromised in some areas due to power outages.

Pacquiao noted reports from the Department of Health (DoH) which is accordingly looking at the impact of the typhoon on Covid-19 vaccine storage facilities in Visayas and Mindanao, as vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna require ultra-cold temperature freezers which are dependent on electricity.

The senator stressed that possible adverse effects on the vaccine storage facilities could prove to be a challenging concern for the national government as it seeks to fully vaccinate up to 54 million Filipinos by the end of the year.

“Hindi gawang biro ang impact ng bagyo sa ating mga kababayan at maging sa ilang programa ng pamahalaan na nakatuon sa mga bahagi ng Kabisayaan at Mindanao kaya kailangan nating umaksyon bago lalo pang lumalala ang situwasyon hindi lamang dahil sa malaking pinsala ng bagyo kundi dahil sa banta na rin ng Covid-19,” the celebrated Pinoy boxing icon pointed out.

Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga, and the Bangsamoro Region were supposed to conduct mass vaccination days on 20 to 22 December but this has been disrupted due to the devastating impact of typhoon Odette in this regions.

Following the havoc left by Odette, health undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said the national government is giving local officials in the calamity-stricken areas the authority to postpone the jab drive so they can focus on relief and recovery efforts in their jurisdictions.

“We will leave it to the judgment of the local government units. They can resume vaccination even after December 22 if they cannot do it yet,” Cabotaje had announced in a virtual news briefing.

Pacquiao, who is running for the presidency under the MP3 Alliance with running mate Buhay party-list representative Joselito ‘Lito Atienza Jr., expressed agreement with the health official’s pronouncement, stressing that time is now of the essence as families severely affected by the destruction left by the typhoon are running out of food and basic necessities.

“Hindi tayo puwedeng magpatumpik-tumpik. Kailangan nating kumilos dahil ang situwasyon is a matter of life and death,” the eight-division world boxing champion concluded.

(ai/mtvn)

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