Bayanihan spirit kindled by Taal disaster

January 19, 2020

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez yesterday lauded first responders, volunteers, local and international donors for showing proof once again that the spirit of “bayanihan” is very much alive with their continued outpouring of support, aid, love, and “malasakit” (compassion) to the Taal Volcano explosion victims.

Romualdez, who chairs the powerful House Committee on Rules, said the vehicles carrying relief goods for Taal evacuees clogging South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) remind of the support and assistance they received when Eastern Visayas, especially Tacloban City, was hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda more than five years ago.

“It’s really heartwarming to see people helping calamity victims. Thank you for showing compassion and reminding the world that Bayanihan is very much alive in our country,” said Romualdez.

House senior Deputy Minority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, a former secretary of the Department of Health (DOH), urged the association of pharmacies and drug stores in the country to give 20% discount on their medicines for Taal victims and remind their members not to take advantage of the emergency situation.

“If at all possible, perhaps pharmacies can consider extending the same twenty percent discount (20%) granted to our senior citizens to the Taal volcano victims. Ang pagtataas ng presyo ng gamot dahil may matinding demand dito dahil sa isang natural disaster ay hindi economics ngunit isang pandaraya at pagkagahaman. We do not want to have a populace evacuated but miserably ailing,” said Garin, a doctor by profession.

In a related development, Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero suggested to the advisers of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte the crafting of an Inter-Agency Taal Rehabilitation, Recovery and Livelihood Program and the matching task force to run it.

“While we do not have yet a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), this will do for now. Housing, jobs, and livelihood should be the key result areas of the program and its implementing task group. I believe the Human Settlements Secretary Eduardo del Rosario should be the chairman of the task group. Then when a DDR is established and its first Secretary is appointed, the DDR Secretary shall serve as co-chairman. The vice chairmanship’s post should be with the Department of Finance or Department of Budget and Management to make sure the task group is adequately funded,” said Romero, president of the 54-strong Party-list Coalition Foundation, Inc. (PCFI).