MALACAÑANG dismissed Wednesday the claim of Vice President Leni Robredo that the relief operations took a long time to reach typhoon Nina-hit communities.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella chided Robredo over her “cynical political mindset” to take advantage of disaster.

Abella said the Vice President should have instead appreciated the efforts done by the government and volunteers to mitigate the effects of the typhoon.

“The remark Ms. Robredo made saying that the relief operations were slow suggests a cynical political mindset willing to capitalize on disaster,” the presidential spokesperson said.

“One wished she displayed more appreciation of the work of our disaster officials, our social workers, and other volunteers who were on Ground Zero even before Nina made a landfall,” he added.

After returning from a family trip to the United States, Robredo visited Tuesday the areas battered by Nina in her home region.

In an interview during her visit to Camarines Sur, the Vice President expressed dismay for the slow relief and recovery efforts.

“I think, it is somewhat slow,” Robredo said.

Abella said that as of January 4, a total of P182,473,574 worth of relief assistance has been distributed to affected families in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, and Eastern Visayas.

He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development provided assistance worth P166,976,473, while local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations granted an aid worth P4,225,832 and P11,271,270, respectively.

Abella added that the Department of Energy, with support from LGUs and private institutions, had brought back electricity to priority areas in Bicol and Southern Tagalog region before New Year.

As of December 31, Abella said the Naga-Daraga 239 kV and Naga-Pili-Iriga transmission lines had been restored servicing the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon and Camarines Sur after the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) deployed about 500 technical personnel.

“Full restoration of NGCP transmission services in typhoon Nina-affected area is expected today,” Abella said.

Robredo, who was in the United States when Nina hit the country, has been criticized for her absence during the typhoon. (Sunnex)