Manila, Philippines – Lady lawmakers provided assistance to 5,939 families that were victims of typhoon Yolanda in Palo, Leyte recently.
The relief effort in Palo was organized by Pangasinan Rep. Gina de Venecia, head of the Association of Women Legislators Foundation Inc. (AWLFI) and the Inang Naulila sa Anak (INA) Foundation.
It was carried out in coordination with Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon J. Soliman and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.
De Venecia was joined in the relief mission by Bulacan Rep. Linabelle Ruth Villarica, Manila Rep. Rosenda Ann Ocampo, Siquijor Rep. Marie Anne Pernes, Nueva Ecija Rep. Magnolia Rosa Antonino-Nadres, and An-Waray party-list Rep. Victoria Noel. They all belong to AWLFI, the 79-member women’s caucus at the House of Representatives.
Their donations were turned over to Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla, who joined them at the Palo Central School, where the beneficiaries were gathered.
De Venecia thanked her colleagues for their support in the mission, citing that it was a true labor of love, because for more than two weeks, the congresswomen took turns at the Batasang Pambansa gymnasium in Quezon City to pack the relief bags themselves.
“In great tragedies like this, equally important is the moral support to the victims,” De Venecia continued. “Their great loss will be lightened by their understanding that they are not alone.”
One of the recipients, Michael Abadia, 50, of the coastal area of Salvacion, Palo, recalled the wrath of Yolanda that killed his wife and five children. “We sought refuge in a two-story shelter together with two other families but when it gave way, all 18 of them were gone,” he said, asking “Bakit ako pa ang nakaligtas?”