SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Sunday (Dec. 26) thanked Filipino journalists and their companies for their coverage of Typhoon Odette and the ongoing relief and rehabilitation operations in Cebu, Leyte, Surigao, Dinagat Island, and Palawan.
“Napakahalaga ng role ng media, at nagpapasalamat tayo. Napakahalagang nandyan kayo sa frontlines para malaman ng mga kababayan natin ang mga problema,” Pangilinan said.
“Mahalaga ang role ng media sa panahon ng disaster dahil kayo ang nagbibigay ng impormasyon from the ground to guide policymakers,” he added.
In an interview with DZRH radio station, Pangilinan disclosed that the Philippine Shipping Liners Association has offered to transport relief goods to affected areas in Visayas and Mindanao.
Reading from a letter he received from the association, the vice presidential aspirant said: “In response to the need for continued transport of relief goods to affected families by Typhoon Odette, they have committed to offer free pier-to-pier transport of goods for the immediate needs of families such as food packs, canned goods, rice, ready-to-eat meals.”
“Hinihiling nila na sana i-pack nang maayos ang relief goods, at ma-identify ang mga details such as names sa mga covered ports ng Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Tagbiliran, Tacloban, at Puerto Princesa,” he said.
Pangilinan said thousands of residents of affected island-communities urgently need supplies such as water and food. “Napakaraming pamilya ang kailangan ng tulong.”
“Kausap ko ang isang Visayan electric cooperative official at tumawag tayo sa isang Central Luzon cooperative para humingi ng tumulong. Pumayag naman sila na magpadala ng team. Kailangan ng boom trucks para magrepair,” he said.
“We need to restore power supply and communication lines,” he added.
Om Dec. 21, Pangilinan has visited Leyte and Surigao for relief missions. On Dec. 23, he was joined by his wife Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan in Cebu Province to distribute relief packs.
“Very very important na magtulungan ang private sector at government para mabigyan ng suporta [ang mga nangangailangan]. Walang tubig, kulang ang gasoline, ang haba ng pila sa gasolinahan. Kailangang maibalik ang kuryente na ginagamit sa genset,” he said.
Pangilinan said: “We have our work cut out for us. Kaya kailangang tulung-tulong hanapan ng paraan ang mga solusyon.”
News reports said an estimated 1,000 people from the Visayas shipping industry have been rendered jobless due to the sinking of, running aground of, and damage to more than 100 shipping vessels.
It is feared that the high number of ships and vessels immobilized by Typhoon Odette could cripple the Visayan shipping industry.
The sinking and running aground of ships and other vessels have raised fears also of oil spills which could impact on the region’s environment and tourism industry.