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ISABELA SOLON CALLS FOR AID FOR TYPHOON-HIT AREAS

A freshman solon from one of the provinces hit hardest by Typhoon Ulysses appealed to the House for additional assistance for Isabela, and said on Monday that lawmakers also had to look at long-term solutions to prevent the widespread damage caused by typhoons that regularly hit the country.

In a privilege speech, Isabela 6th District Rep.  Inno Dy V said that as he and his fellow solons in Isabela conducted relief operations over the weekend “it became clear to us that our province, and all the provinces affected by Typhoon Ulysses, need all the assistance they can get.” 

“In Isabela alone, close to 55,000 families from 322 barangays were affected by Typhoon Ulysses. All in all, the lives of 142,241 Isabelinos were forever changed when this storm hit our province.”

Dy shared that he had originally intended not to attend the reopening of congressional sessions “as I believe that my place is back home with my constituents––my province mates, my fellow Isabelinos––who are, at this very moment, dealing with the trauma inflicted by Typhoon Ulysses.”

However, the young lawmaker decided to address the House “to speak on behalf of my fellow Isabela lawmakers, to speak on behalf of the people of Isabela––to appeal to your kindness and to humbly plead for your help.”

According to Dy, aside from the harrowing images of victims of Typhoon Ulysses, initial data showed the extent of damage inflicted by Typhoon Ulysses on his home province.

“The numbers speak volumes of the scale of this latest national tragedy. In a briefing Sunday morning, the NDRRMC reported the heavy toll Typhoon Ulysses has exacted on our country: 69 lives lost; over one million Filipinos affected; 25,852 houses damaged; agricultural costs estimated at 1.19 billion pesos; and infrastructure damage estimated at close to half a billion pesos,” revealed Dy.

“In Isabela alone, close to 55,000 families from 322 barangays were affected by Typhoon Ulysses. All in all, the lives of 142,241 Isabelinos were forever changed when this storm hit our province.”

Dy added that Isabela legislators were concerned with the impact of the storm on the agriculture sector in the province, considered one of the country’s major food baskets. Isabela is the top producer of corn in the country and produces the second-most volume of rice nationwide.

The legislator said that according to the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, the value of rice losses in Isabela total 13.28 million pesos, while the total value of corn losses amounts to 30.57 million pesos.

“The total damage to the sector in Isabela alone is a staggering 136.97 million pesos, and its impact is magnified by the fact that agriculture is the single biggest industry in Isabela. Dito po umaasa ang libu-libong magsasaka,” stressed the lawmaker.

The legislator emphasized that aside from immediate aid, legislators from Isabela were appealing to the leadership of the House “to consider the needs of Isabela and other hard-hit provinces as it hammers out the final provisions of the 2021 General Appropriations Act.”

“We hope allocations can be earmarked so that we will be able to help our kababayan in the North rebuild, recover, and rebound from the damage caused by Typhoon Ulysses.”

“We hope allocations can be earmarked so that we will be able to help our kababayan in the North rebuild, recover, and rebound from the damage caused by Typhoon Ulysses.”

Dy also urged his colleagues to focus on long-term, science-based solutions to natural calamities.

“For the past several months, we have been repeatedly urged to listen to the science with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The same approach must be adopted relative to our environment and to climate change; let us listen to what our scientists and environmentalists have been telling us for decades because it is clear that they were right all along,” explained Dy.

Dy added that scientists have warned that “climate change would lead to the most powerful typhoons in living memory, and in the past decade we have been battered by Ondoy, Yolanda, Rolly, and now Ulysses. Scientists have also cautioned us and told us to preserve our forest cover in order to prevent runoffs that lead to severe flooding; the tragic results of the last two typhoons speak for themselves.”

“The times call for us to act; to act and help our countrymen now dealing with the fallout of Typhoon Ulysses and Typhoon Rolly––to act and prevent future generations from seeing the same agonizing images we have seen; to act and save them from the same pain millions of Filipinos have felt in the wake of typhoons like Ulysses.”

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