Rep. Ann Matibag of San Pedro, Laguna, one of the places hit hardest by severe tropical storm “Paeng,” said she was able to pool millions of pesos in cash donations and goods that would be beneficial for relief efforts.
Matibag cited her lack of calamity funds as the main reason for the need to secure additional funds to facilitate relief efforts in her district.
“I quickly mobilized my office to provide quick and necessary relief to my people. Even with my lack of calamity funds due to the legislative nature of my office, I searched high and low to find ways to deliver the much-needed relief to the city,” she said.
“Aside from the delivery of relief goods, I was able to secure P5 million worth of Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, to deliver financial assistance to calamity-affected families in the City of San Pedro,” she continued.
Matibag recalled the devastation brought by Paeng to her constituents and the efforts undertaken by her office to avert the crisis.
“Because of the city’s location beside the Laguna de Bay and the numerous creeks and rivers flowing down from the hills of Upper San Pedro to the lake, the city is prone to flooding especially during the rainy season.”
“The heavy rains that came with Typhoon Paeng seriously flooded our city, with the floods reaching waist, chest, or even neck-deep levels in certain areas, especially in the lakeshore barangays of Cuyab, San Roque, and Landayan,” she said.
“The horrible situation that befell my townsfolk can be seen in various photos and videos that went viral online. One photo showed the waters flooding an entire street in Elvinda Village Phase 7 in Barangay Cuyab, with only the roofs of houses visible from the vantage point of the photo.”
“In an online video, the LPH-San Pedro District Hospital was seen flooded waist-deep on the first floor, with a cry by the hospital’s residents and patients for rescue. Fallen trees hampered rescue operations, which were carried out by boats or by skimming deep into the flood waters. Residents were stranded for hours on their roofs, waiting for someone to rescue them,” she added.
“Upon learning about the distress of San Pedronians, I immediately called and coordinated at the barangay level to identify the areas which are most in need of assistance.”
“I called and asked for the help of various government agencies and leaders, corporations, private individuals and even tapping into my salary as Congresswoman in order to buy, gather and distribute relief packs and coco lumbers which are among the top necessities of those who are affected by the typhoon.”
Matibag thanked House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Senators Mark Villar and Bong Go, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilia, the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc., San Miguel Corp. through its Chairman Mr. Ramon S. Ang, Mr. Jonathan So of Toktok PH, Ms. Rina Navarro of Unfiltered, and the San Antonio barangay captain Jun S. Ynion for coming to her district’s aid.
The aftermath of Paeng, according to the congresswoman, underscored the need to address San Pedro’s flood problem.
“I have always dreamed of providing a permanent solution to the prevalent flooding in the city during typhoon season,” she continued.
“Now more than ever, I feel more driven to push for the allocation of funds to strengthen the city’s flood control mechanisms. I have always dreamed of providing a permanent solution to the prevalent flooding in the city during typhoon season.”
“I will work even harder to secure the attainment of my dream projects for San Pedro; installation of the Water Filter System, dredging of Laguna Lake, declogging of the drainage system, creation of retaining walls and catch basin, water hyacinth clearing and the San Pedro Baywalk.”
“I will work harder to fortify the city’s flood control mechanisms and to strengthen the national government’s disaster response efforts through the creation of a Department of Disaster Resiliency.”