By Raymund Antonio

Earthquake victims need tents, emergency lights, food, and generators as rescue and relief operations by the government are underway in Batanes, Vice President Leni Robredo said.

Vice President Leni Robredo denies accusations made by Peter Advincula aka Bikoy during a press conference in Quezon City. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)

Robredo, who had just returned from turning over a dormitory in Siayan, Zamboanga Del Norte through her Angat Buhay program, called for the donations for the affected families of the destructive earthquakes.

“Mayroon pa rin silang assessment pero iyon ang pinaka-kailangan nila ngayon,” she said on her weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni.”

(They still have their own assessment, but those are the things they need now.)

The Vice President said she spoke with Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco, who told her about the state of the province after twin earthquakes struck Itbayat and Basco, Batanes early Saturday.

The quakes, with 5.4 and 5.9 magnitude, left eight people dead and injured 63 others. Itbayat was the hardest hit by the series of earthquakes among the towns in Batanes.

“Kahapon noong kausap ko siya parang nasa plaza na iyong mga tao kasi inaabangan nila baka marami pa ring magiba dahil sa aftershocks… Buong isla, walang kuryente,” Robredo said.

(When I talked to her yesterday, the people were waiting in the plaza because several other structures could still collapse due to aftershocks.)

Robredo may have found herself in the middle of a political noise due to the sedition complaint and impeachment threat she is facing, but she has not forgotten the causes of her office.

Apart from Angat Buhay, the Office of the Vice President has served as first responders providing relief to families affected by typhoons, Mount Mayon’s eruption in Albay, landslides in Cebu and Mountain province, earthquakes in Surigao and Batangas, and the Marawi crisis.

The lady official said she hoped the listeners of her radio show and those who want to help in kind or in cash may send their donations through the OVP and directly to the provincial government.

“Dahil napakalayo niya sa main island ng Luzon, talagang sakripisyo iyong pagpapadala ng gamit doon. Iyong pinakamadali din na iyong mga gustong tumulong, cash siguro na ipadala na lang sa provincial government para sila iyong makabili ng mga pangangailangan,” she said.

(Because Batanes is very far from mainland Luzon, it is really a sacrifice to bring relief supplies for the people there.

For those who want to help, the easiest way is to send cash to the provincial government so it can buy their needs.)