TWO LOCAL government units affected by typhoon Odette, internationally known as Rai, have issued separate appeals to aid donors to coordinate with authorities to avoid “politicization” of distribution efforts and ensure equitable delivery of goods and services.  

Spokesperson Jeff Crisostomo of Dinagat Islands, one of the most devastated provinces, said all assistance are being managed by their Emergency Operations Center, which serves as the hub of relief and recovery efforts. 

“I encourage all present and future partners in relief and recovery in Dinagat Islands to engage with local government channels at the municipal and provincial levels in order to prevent the politicization of aid,” he said in statement posted on the provincial information office’s official Facebook page.

“The needs of the people, not politicians, should always come first,” he said.

Mr. Crisostomo noted that the province, through its disaster management council, has a “robust and effective system of deployment and distribution” in place.

The Philippines will have national and local elections in May, and candidates are already set after the completion last year of the filing of applications and substitutions.

In Negros Oriental, Governor Roel R. Degamo issued an advisory on Dec. 30, also posted on the province’s official Facebook page, asked “all kindhearted organizations and individuals, who wish to extend assistance to the Typhoon Odette affected communities, to please coordinate with your local authorities.” 

“This is not to curtail your right to choose your target beneficiaries but this is for your own safety. With more and more individuals and institutions volunteering their support to the affected areas, there rises a need for a more coordinated action in order to have an orderly conduct of the relief operations,” he said.

He said local disaster management councils, incident management teams, the police, and barangay officials are working together in relief operations.

Mr. Degamo also called on “authorities” to keep in check people who stand along highways begging for aid. 

“Per result of an initial verification conducted, findings revealed these people already received more assistance as compared to those from other areas,” the governor said. “Some are just taking advantage of the situation.” 

Typhoon Odette struck southern and central parts of the Philippines, making nine landfalls from Dec. 16 to 17 with heavy rain and winds of up to almost 200 kilometers per hour.

An average of 20 typhoons enters the Philippines annually. 

Guidelines and protocols on disaster response have been issued by the national government based on Republic Act 10121, the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010. — Marifi S. Jara