By Ernie Reyes
CEBU — Many will spend Christmas homeless with the barest of essentials, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan says as he calls on the government to hasten the release of funds to address shelter and other urgent needs of residents in calamity areas flattened by Super Typhoon Odette.
In his visit here Thursday, Pangilinan met with residents living in temporary shelters for a week now without electricity.
Natividad Condeno, 38, of Suong Uno, Barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City, narrated to Pangilinan how she held on to her six children embracing them tightly, as the wind swept away the roof over their heads.
In the typhoon’s aftermath, Condeno said she and her family gathered littered steel sheets and formed a structure similar to pyramids where they are crammed awaiting help.
“Odette survivors are increasingly getting desperate with scarce or no aid in sight. Hindi makakahintay ang gutom,” Pangilinan said.
The senator said no less than the Department of Budget and Management has acknowledged that funds are available for release.
“Time is of essence. Money and resources should be readily available. Response should be swift and vast given the dire situation of our people,” Pangilinan said.
He said basic needs of the typhoon victims such as food, drinking water, and building materials
should be on hand.
Hunger and disease stalk the typhoon victims in evacuation centers and makeshift shelters that many residents have erected themselves.
Pangilinan also warned that the increasingly desperate condition of the victims could lead to looting or mobbing for survival.
“No one who has been here and has seen the situation of our people will be able to sleep comfortably without taking action. Sama-sama, tulong-tulong, makakaraos din tayo,” Pangilinan said.
In his visit here Thursday, Pangilinan together with wife Sharon and volunteers distributed food packs to residents who have been staying in temporary shelters for a week now without electricity.
The senator also committed to donate cash assistance, 840 fifty-kilo sacks of rice, and 2,000 five-liter drinking water.
COMMON CAPTION: Survivors of Super Typhoon Odette narrate to Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan how strong winds blew away the roofs off their homes, and will spend Christmas in makeshift shelters. Pangilinan and wife Mega Star Sharon Cuneta flew to Cebu on Thursday to distribute food packages to about 100 families affected by Super Typhoon Odette. Pangilinan was in Surigao Wednesday and in Leyte Tuesday to also distribute relief packages.