Compassion flows from calamity-scarred areas

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TACLOBAN CITY—The local government of Ormoc, Leyte, where flash floods killed more than 5,000 people two decades ago, has joined the growing list of humanitarian donors for the victims of Tropical Storm “Sendong.”

The city that has been etched in the memory of Filipinos for suffering one of the most horrific environmental disasters in the country is donating P1.5 million to the cities in Northern Mindanao and parts of the Visayas, which were ravaged by Sendong.

“We commiserate with the victims of the calamity and this donation is our way of showing our deep sorrow, in the spirit of brotherhood. We were once (victims) of a massive tragedy and we also received assistance from others,” Ormoc City Councilor Jose Alfaro said in a phone interview on Thursday.

Alfaro was referring to the flash floods that hit Ormoc on Nov. 5, 1991, at the height of Typhoon “Uring.”

The devastated cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and the town of Valencia in Negros Oriental province would receive P500,000 each, the councilor added.

On Wednesday, the Negros Occidental provincial board set aside a P1.5-million contribution to the relief effort, according to Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez.

The P1.5-million donation would be taken from the province’s untouched calamity fund for this year, which totaled P88 million, said Board Member Salvador Escalante.

The provincial board of Aklan, a province which suffered the wrath of Typhoon “Frank” in 2008, also approved on Wednesday the release of P200,000 each for Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

More donations

Donations big and small from private individuals, organizations, and business groups also continued to pour in.

The Fabricanian group of Barangay Fabrica in Sagay City gave P20,000, while the University of St. La Salle raised P153,315 through its “Bulig Mindanao” (Help Mindanao) campaign.

The Diocese of Kalibo in Aklan province, led by Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc, sent a total of P50,000 to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

Residents of the resort island of Boracay and the local government of Malay town, where the island is located, have also started campaigning for donations, said Fr. Magloire Placer, a local parish priest.

Soldiers under Major General Mario Chan of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City have donated 82 sacks of used clothing, nine boxes of sardines, 14 boxes of noodles and two sacks of rice.

In Pampanga province, the Kapampangan Manalakaran Inc. (KMI)  gathered at least 55 5-gallon containers of water, 100 boxes  of bottled water, and several sacks of used clothes for the storm victims.

Reciprocation

In Manila, Japanese transport company Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd. (MOL) contributed $30,000—a form of reciprocation for the aid received by the Japanese people from Filipinos following the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March.

“We received monetary donations from many people in the Philippines, including our seafarers and their families, after the earthquake and tsunami. We sincerely hope for a swift recovery for (those affected by Sendong) and their quick return to normal life,” MOL president Koichi Muto said in a statement.

MOL had contributed to relief efforts in the Philippines in the past, like during the aftermath of Typhoon “Frank” in June 2008 and Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in September 2009.

From gov’t workers

Rank-and-file employees of the Department of Transportation and Communications and its attached agencies have raised over P4 million in voluntary contributions, according to Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Roxas also lauded the operators of three cargo liners—the M/S St. Michael the Archangel, MV Solid Ocean and Oceanic Container Lines—for helping in the delivery of relief goods coming from Manila, Cebu and Iloilo.

These ships have joined other private sector haulers in ferrying much-needed supplies, such as Fedex International, Negros Navigation, and Air Asia.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said her agency was also donating P100,000 for Sendong’s victims through the Philippine Red Cross. With reports from TJ Burgonio, Paolo G. Montecillo, Riza T. Olchondra in Manila, and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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