TAGUIG-PATEROS (1st district) Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano has assured residents and local executives of Batangas and Laguna that the Duterte administration is exerting all possible efforts to fast-track relief and rehabilitation measures in the aftermath of typhoon Ulysses which hit the country last month.
Cayetano also urged local officials to take every effort to help their constituents who have been suffering the effects not just of the typhoon but also of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a visit to the towns of Balayan and Laurel in Batangas and Paete in Laguna on December 4, 2020, Cayetano emphasized the importance of collective action among the people and officials in order to help each other recover.
“Ang importante po malagpasan natin ‘tong mga pagsubok na ‘to nang sama-sama,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano reached out to more than 1,200 families in Balayan, Laurel, and Paete as part of his “Bayanihan Caravan” program aimed at organizing relief efforts through the support of private donors to help alleviate the condition of families affected by floods, typhoons, and other disasters.
In Paete, around 380 families and 220 frontliners received grocery packs from Cayetano’s group, who were welcomed by Rep. Benjamin Agarao Jr., Mayor Rojilyn Bagabaldo, and Vice Mayor Kid Paraiso.
In his visit in Batangas, Cayetano also met with Rep. Ma. Theresa Collantes, Rep. Eileen Buhain, Balayan Mayor Emmanuel Fronda II, Laurel Mayor Joan Amo, Vice Mayor Rachelle Ogalinola, Councilor Carlito Ogalinola, San Nicolas Mayor Lester de Sagun, and Agoncillo Mayor Dan Reyes to discuss the needs of their constituents.
The local executives thanked Cayetano for his continuing initiative to provide assistance to their areas since the volcanic eruption last January and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a speech, Mayor Amo recalled how Cayetano first reached out to Laurel in January when Taal Volcano erupted, then in February when the town reported its first African Swine Fever case, then in March when the country was placed in a state of health emergency, and recently when Batangas was hit by typhoon Ulysses.
“Lahat na ata ng kamalasan nasa atin na. At gaya po ng sinasabi ko dati, lahat ng ‘bakit,’ pinalitan ko na ng pasasalamat,” Amo said.
“Sa halip na magtanong ako ng ‘Bakit?’ at mag-isip ng ‘Bakit sa atin nangyari ito?’ pinalitan ko po ito ng pasasalamat, dahil hanggang ngayon, hindi po tayo nakakalimutan ng ating mga kaibigan, kagaya ng mag-asawang Cayetano, upang tayo ay tulungan,” he added.
Cayetano assured residents they have not been “forgotten” and explained the efforts the House of Representatives to pass the bill establishing the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), which seeks to boost the national government’s rehabilitation capacity.
He also underscored the need for members of Congress to listen to the real concerns and sentiments of the people who have been adversely affected by disasters.
“That’s the reason why dinala natin ang Kongreso sa Batangas (we brought Congress to Batangas),” he said, referring to the unprecedented House session held in the province on January 22, 2020 as Taal Volcano threatened to erupt.
“For the first time in history, hindi kongresista ang nagsasalita at tao nakikinig. For the first time, sa sesyon natin, tao ang nagsalita at nakinig ang mga kongresista,” he added.
Cayetano encouraged the local government executives to continue working for their constituents and reminded them that while God has a sovereign plan for everyone, they should also act.
“The Bible also tells us action is needed because faith without action is dead. Patay po ang pananampalataya o paniniwala kung wala pong pagkilos. There is always hope, and when we talk about crossroads, we’ll always talk about hope,” he said.
Since November, the Bayanihan Caravan has visited typhoon-devastated communities in Camarines Sur, Albay, Bulacan, Rizal, Marikina, Batangas, and Laguna.
To date, more than 6,000 individuals — including 3,314 members of transport groups, vendors and front-liners — and 11,858 families have received food packs from the said project.