By ABS-CBN News
MANILA — Presidential candidate former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is initiating relief efforts in areas in the Visayas and Mindanao badly hit by Tropical Depression Agaton, his camp said Monday.
Marcos activated the UniTeam’s relief operations group to aid Agaton victims as their camp seeks exemption for said efforts from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) amid prevailing rules prohibiting candidates to give out assistance as it may be considered vote buying, his camp said in a statement.
“Humihingi po ako ng pasensya sa ating mga kababayan dahil hindi kami agad makapagpadala ng mga tulong bagamat nakahanda naman tayo, kaya lang ay tali ang ating kamay dahil nga sa mga batas na may kaugnayan sa halalan,” Marcos was quoted to have said in the statement.
(I apologize to our fellowmen for not being able to give help right away. Although we are prepared, our hands are tied because of election-related laws.)
The former senator asked his supporters to set aside campaigning and politics while giving out relief goods to affected families.
“Isantabi muna natin ang pulitika, unahin natin ang pangangailangan ng mga tao na naapektuhan ng kalamidad,” Marcos said as he called on his supporters to give any donations for Agaton victims.
(Let us set aside politics and prioritize what our affected fellowmen need right now.)
Amid rains brought by Agaton, more than 100,000 people attended his campaign rallies in Eastern Visayas, particularly in Tacloban City over the weekend.
More than 136,000 people in the country have so far been affected by Agaton, which is expected to weaken into a low-pressure area (LPA) as it interacts with tropical cyclone Malakas by Wednesday.
Over 3,000 people have been stranded in five regions in Visayas and Mindanao due to the tropical depression.