Relief comes with Liliw sandalsBy Maricar Cinco
Inquirer Southern Luzon
SAN PEDRO, Laguna—They may not be able to wear them yet with floodwaters still high, but the women in inundated communities in Victoria town in Laguna may look forward to walking with new pairs of Liliw sandals when the situation eases.
The relief packages of rice, noodles and canned goods donated to Victoria came with sandals made in Liliw, which is known for producing and exporting open-toe sandals, shoes and flip-flops.
Senior Insp. Jojo Sabeniano, chief of police of Liliw, said some 200 pairs of sandals had so far been donated by five manufacturers. “They were unused sandals but came from the old stock,” he said.
Liliw was spared from the flood spawned by monsoon rains in early August. Victoria, which hugs Laguna de Bay, remains under knee- to waist-deep water.
The Laguna Lake Development Authority said it might take another month for the lake’s water level to return to its normal reading of 12 meters. On Sunday, the level was 13.40 meters.
In Laguna, 61,743 people or 17,359 families have remained in evacuation centers, according to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
On Saturday, Sabeniano, his fellow policemen from Liliw and Victoria, and some civilian volunteers distributed the packages to 450 families in Barangays San Roque, San Benito and Pagalangan. Friends abroad have sent the money to buy the sacks of rice and other supplies, he said.
Although posted in Liliw, Sabeniano, 36, lives with his wife in Barangay San Roque in Victoria, 25 kilometers away. He said he and his family were just lucky that their house is on higher ground.
“Not just because we were not affected means we could care less,” he said when asked his reason for initiating the relief drive.
He said he and the other volunteers went house to house to distribute the packages instead of going to the evacuation centers to make sure that help would reach even those who prefer to stay in their flooded homes.
“It was funny when one resident asked me if I were doing this because I am running in the coming elections. No, really it was just a personal (initiative),” Sabeniano said.