De Lima calls for fortitude in a letter to fellow Bicolanos affected by Usman

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has sent a letter to her fellow Bicolanos affected by the recent Tropical Depression Usman as she called for fortitude and resilience to help them rebuild their lives from their loss and devastation.

"I am saddened by tragic news that befell our region, particularly the severe flooding that submerged many areas, including Rinconada," she said in a letter written from the Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City where she is currently detained.

De Lima, who grew up in Iriga, Camarines Sur, Bicol, also expressed her heartfelt sympathy to all who have lost their loved ones and those whose kin are still missing. "My thoughts and prayers are with you," she wrote to her fellow Bicolanos.

"I appeal for fortitude in the face of this calamity and beseech the kindness of everyone to pray for our kababayans and lend support if able," she added.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the number of persons killed due to Tropical Depression Usman rose to 126 to date, which include those from Bicol, Mimaropa and Eastern Visayas regions.

In the Bicol region alone, at least 28,714 farmers and 30,900.07 hectares were affected by Usman and the tail end of the cold front, with a total loss production of 16,331.93 metric tons, valued at P596,372,903.77.

In the entire Bicol, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Eastern Visayas regions, a total of 140,105 families or 624,236 persons were reported to have been affected by Usman. Of this number, 13,135 families or 57,786 persons are staying in 119 evacuation centers.

The lady Senator from Bicol reminded the Filipino public that the compassion that people can show to each other as they gather themselves from the tragedy can help them recover faster.

"Hihilom ang sugat sa mga puso ng mga naulila sa kagandahang loob ng bawat isa. Harapin natin ang bagong taon nang may malasakit at bukal sa pusong pagtulong. Matibayon ang mga Bikolano..." she said.

With the proven resilience of Filipinos, De Lima said she remains confident that the families affected by Usman can immediately recover the way most of them did in similar past natural disasters that hit the region.

Source: Senate of the Philippines