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Gordon: Senate panel resets probe on pandemic fund mess due to #Odette ops

PHILIPPINES, December 17 - Press Release December 17, 2021

Senate panel resets probe on pandemic fund mess due to #Odette ops

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee today postponed its public hearing on government's alleged anomalous procurement of pandemic response supplies and equipment next week to focus on efforts assisting victims of Typhoon Odette.

Senator Richard Gordon, committee chairman, said the Senate rescheduled its next hearing originally set today to Dec. 21 as he attends to rescue and relief operations in Visayas and Mindanao badly battered by strong winds and flooding.

"We decided to move the Senate's public hearing to tend to a more pressing matter - the safety of our people. As disaster strikes, we are getting hourly reports of damages and calls for immediate rescue and relief," he said.

"Kailangan nating tumugon muna sa mga mabilisang pangangailangan ng mga tao tulad ng pagkain, tubig, mga damit, at pagtiyak sa kaligtasan ng mga tao, lalo na sa kumunidad na sobrang nasalanta ng bagyo," he added.

Odette, with international name Rai, was the strongest storm to make landfall in the Philippines this year, striking everything in its path with its 195-kilometer-per-hour winds.

The typhoon was powerful enough to uproot trees, cut down power lines, tear houses' roofs, smash windows, and disrupt communication, leaving at least one casualty in its wake.

Multiple news reports showed that many buildings in various provinces had been destroyed roads blocked due to landslides, and flash flooding inundated the homes of millions due to the awesome power of the typhoon.

Gordon, who serves as chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, the country's largest humanitarian organization, assured victims that help is on its way as he has mobilized its 143 volunteers.

"We've mobilized our network of volunteers ahead of time, and rest assured that help is on the way. Our teams have been dispatched in the affected areas, helping organize first aid teams, food and water, and other essential supplies," he said.

He has also instructed PRC local chapters to prepare the payloader trucks to clear impassable roads due to fallen trees and debris. Relief items, such as sleeping kits, hygiene kits, tarpaulins, jerry cans, and shelter tool kits, were also prepared to aid the most vulnerable.