MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo has clarified that politics is not the reason why she visited provinces hit by Typhoon Odette, stressing that what the country needs now is a concerted effort to help victims of the calamity.
Robredo said this on the sidelines of her office’s relief operations in Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental, after a reporter asked her if Governor Eugenio “Bong” Lacson had already expressed support for her possible candidacy in 2022.
“Hindi po politika ‘yung aking sadya ngayon. Hindi po namin pinagusapan nila Gov, nila Mayor, Vice Mayor kung ano ‘yung susuportahan during the election,” Robredo said during the ambush interview.
“‘Yung pinaka sadya ko lang po talaga mapaabot ‘yung tulong. Nagpapasalamat po ako. Nagpapasalamat po ako na sinamahan tayo ni Gov. ngayon, sinamahan tayo ni Mayor,” she added.
According to Robredo, political colors must not even be a discussion during calamities, as what the people need are social aid and an assurance that they can recover, and not electioneering.
“Alam naman po natin na pag panahon ng sakuna hindi dapat tinitingnan kung ano ‘yung kulay ng pulitika. Dapat lahat lahat ng nangangailangan tinutulungan at lahat na puwedeng tumulong ay magkaisa,” she explained.
After news of destruction in provinces along Odette’s path reached Manila and other areas on Friday, Robredo converted her campaign volunteer center into a relief operation hub, and then flew immediately to Bohol to personally assess the damage.
After Bohol, Robredo visited other areas like Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands — two areas which she believed were hardest-hit by the typhoon. Other presidential aspirants also followed suit, starting their own relief operations to aid people in the areas mentioned, plus Palawan.
But as Robredo posted photos of her office doing relief work, critics have claimed that the Vice President was only doing this to boost her chances in the 2022 presidential elections.
However, her supporters were also quick to point out that Robredo has long been at the forefront of disasters even before the election season, just like during the Taal Volcano explosion and the successive typhoons from October to November 2020.
Starting last Thursday, Odette barreled through Visayas and Mindanao, hitting the northern portion of Caraga Region before moving to the southern portions of Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, and then Palawan.
At its peak, Odette packed maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center.
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