Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo believes that her personal presence in provinces hit by Typhoon “Odette” gave hope and assurance to affected residents who have to spend Christmas amid the rubble of destruction.

Vice President Leni Robredo speaks to an affected resident during her Palawan visit on Dec. 22, 2021. (Photo from Robredo via Facebook)

“Ako po ‘yung paniniwala ko talaga importante nakikita kami, na mga (My belief is that it’s important that they see us) public officials,” she said in a pre-recorded interview aired during her Sunday radio show on Dec. 26.

The Vice President shared that even amid the destruction of the typhoon, the people are happy to see her. She explained to her staff the importance of being there on the ground despite the exhaustion some of them may be feeling.

“Ako nga po sinasabihan ko sila, ‘Pasensya na po kayo hindi pa dumadating iyong iba, eto pa lang iyong aming dala’ (I tell them, ‘I’m sorry that others haven’t arrived, these are what we brought),” Robredo shared, referring to the boxes of relief goods she brought with her.

Other relief goods were brought via sea by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“Lagi sa lahat na lugar na pinuntahan ko, ang lagi po nila sagot, ‘Hindi bale na po basta andito ka, kampante kami na hindi kami pababayaan’ (In all the places I visited, they always answered, ‘Never mind, as long as you are here, we are assured that we will not be abandoned’),” she said.

READ: Robredo touches base with ‘Odette’ victims in Palawan

Videos of Robredo visiting Bohol, Cebu, Siargao, Dinagat Islands, and Southern Leyte were shown. She also visited Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and Iloilo City to meet with those displaced by the typhoon.

Robredo noted that Dinagat Islands suffered the worst as affected residents were crying out of “helplessness” but they are relieved when someone arrives to assure them that help is coming.

“So, sa akin talaga, pagtulong-tulungan natin ito (for me, let’s help each other),” the aspiring president said.

She immediately visited the affected areas after Odette made its landfall late last week. For Robredo, it’s important to see the situation on the ground instead of giving orders without understanding the needs of the affected residents.

READ: Robredo sees ‘heartbreaking’ devastation in Siargao, Dinagat Islands

The Vice President also left teams in the provinces that she visited so they can continue assessing the situation and reporting to her.

Robredo turned the Leni-Kiko volunteer headquarters along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City into a relief operations center to receive in-kind donations. There, volunteers repack goods and load them into waiting trucks to be transported to the affected areas.

Her office’s poverty alleviation program, Angat Buhay, also partnered with Tanging Yaman Foundation to set up a donation drive for those who would like to send cash aid.

Source: Manila Bulletin (