Manila Standard : UniTeam eyes more Ro-Ro routes to fast-track disaster aid

21 December 2021

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

To avoid the problems that confronted first responders and rescuers who were stymied by lack of available transport systems shortly after typhoon Odette’s onslaught, the BBM-Sara UniTeam eyes the expansion of the country’s Roll-On/Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) terminal system to expedite response time in calamity-hit areas.

Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said given the country’s archipelagic structure, the Philippines would require an effective means of distribution for disaster-related concerns such as the delivery of relief goods and heavy equipment.

UNITEAM AID. Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Dapa Mayor Elizabeth Matugas, House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and Surigao Del Norte 2nd District Rep. Francisco Jose ll “Bingo” Matugas (from right) visited the devastated houses of residents in Surigao del Norte due to super typhoon Odette. The Uniteam led by Marcos, Mayor Sara Duterte and Romualdez delivered financial and food packs assistance to Surigao del Norte, Capiz, Masbate. and Negros Occidental. Ver Noveno

“The country’s unique archipelagic layout is a challenge when it comes to disaster response. Island municipalities can be easily isolated for days, with help only being sent via airdrops and only in small quantities. We believe that by having more Ro-Ro routes, we can send help faster to these affected communities,” the tandem said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Marcos Jr. continues to lord it over his rivals in the presidential derby as shown by the latest face-to-face survey conducted by Radio Mindanao Network (RMN)-APCORE.

In the survey conducted from November 23 to 29 on 2,400 respondents, at least 55% said their preferred choice was Marcos, standard-bearer of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas. Vice President Leni Robredo and Manila Mayor Francisco Moreno Domagoso were tied with identical 13% votes.

Senator Christopher “Bong’” Go, who dropped out from the presidential race last week, received 8% percent, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, 4%, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson, 3%.

Also called the Philippine Nautical Highway System, Ro-Ro is a network of highways and ferry routes connecting the major islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

It was first opened to the public in 2003 during the term of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Typhoon Odette has really devastated some parts of the country. We have seen this with our own eyes on the ground. Apart from providing food to the people, we need to restore electricity and telecommunications services,” Marcos said.

“This can only be made possible by swift clearing operations using heavy and specialized equipment that at times need to be sourced outside of the disaster areas. This is the time when our Ro-Ro network can help,” he added.

The UniTeam also said it had tapped its volunteer network all over the country to send help to the areas hit by Super Typhoon “Odette.”

On Sunday, Marcos Jr. went to Southern Leyte, Butuan, and Bohol to distribute help to affected communities.

The UniTeam continued its relief mission in Siargao, Capiz, Negros Occidental and Masbate.

Inspired by their relief efforts, some volunteers have already started conducting feeding programs in disaster-hit communities such as those in Iloilo, according to a recent post on social media.

Lagging behind at seventh and eighth spots, respectively, were Ernesto Abella and Leodegario De Guzman, with a similar 0.17% votes, followed by Norberto Gonzales in ninth place with 0.08 %.

Former general Antonio Parlade did not receive any votes, while at least 4% are still undecided.

The latest RMN survey results reinforced the previous polls by other firms, SWS, Publicus, Kalye Survey, and DZRH, among others, showing Marcos pulling away from the pack of other presidential hopefuls five months towards the May 2022 elections.