Santa comes to ComVal

Volunteers gift ‘Pablo’ victims with relief goods

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SURVIVORS of Typhoon “Pablo” in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, reach out for relief goods being handed out from a dump truck. FRINSTON LIM / INQUIRER MINDANAO

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. In fact, there are Santa Clauses.

They arrived immediately after Typhoon “Pablo” hit Mindanao. Most of them are soldiers from the 10th Infantry Division, who, along with rescue workers, were among the first to come, braving floods, mud and fallen trees to save lives in the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

For the soldiers, there was no need to know who had been naughty or nice, even if the village of Andap, which was hardest-hit in New Bataan town in Compostela Valley, is known to be influenced by the communist New People’s Army.

Then came the volunteers who distributed relief goods for the thousands of homeless residents in New Bataan. Among them were boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and actress and World Food Programme Ambassador of Goodwill KC Concepcion.

Neighboring cities and provinces also sent help—truckloads of food stuff, bottled water, medicines and tents.

Medical teams, both government and private, also arrived to check up  the survivors.

The death toll from Pablo’s sweep on Dec. 4 has reached 1,067, with another 800 missing, according to civil defense officials. More than 60,000 people have been left homeless.

In Tagum City, nurses, social workers and other volunteers have been helping the local government in taking care of evacuees.

The medical and social workers are working 24/7 to provide physical, social and emotional care to the victims as Tagum opened its doors to “adopt” the displaced residents of New Bataan, Compostela and Monkayo towns.

“We provide them with medical and other services to help them cope,” Nora Lupiba, chief of the city social welfare and development office, said.

Reaching out

Mayor Rey Uy has allotted more than P6 million for food and nonfood assistance to 2,000 evacuees from the three towns devastated by the Dec. 4 tragedy.

“It’s our way of reaching out to them,” Uy said.

Nurse Dianne Grace Pama said taking care of the evacuees was the least she could do at this time of great calamity.

Pama and three other health professionals from the Department of Health’s RN HEALS program are also acting as caregivers, changing underclothes of female evacuees and attending to the injured.

One of the victims is a teenage Ata-Manobo girl from Compostela town. The girl was in a state of shock when she  arrived by bus with other evacuees on Dec. 8. She could not even recall her identity and family.

“She was found and rescued by other residents during the flooding. She had many injuries that had to be treated,” said Dr. Arnel Florendo of the city health office.

One of the nurses was combing the girl’s hair while another was feeding her when the Philippine Daily Inquirer visited the Rotary Park gym in Tagum on Sunday.

Employees of the city government also pitched in to help, with at least 100 of them visiting New Bataan on Thursday and distributing 10,000 bread packs to victims at the town’s gymnasium in Cabinuangan village.

Uy said the city government provided flour and other ingredients for the bakeries in the city to make bread.

Operation Smile

In Davao Oriental, private groups like Help Cateel and Samahan sa Kinablangan (a village in Baganga town), continue with their relief missions— transporting truckloads of relief good from Davao City.

At the provincial capitol in Mati City, residents, mostly students, repack relief goods that are sent to Cateel, Boston and Baganga onboard a Philippine Navy vessel.

Medical teams, like the Tsu Chi Foundation from Zamboanga City and Operation Smile from Koronadal City, also came—attending to injuries of the survivors.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao likewise sent relief goods and medical teams.

The Mati City government dispatched a 20-member team to start a soup kitchen in Baganga—cooking arroz caldo and roaming around town to feed residents.

Marikit Quiñones, a member of the soup kitchen team, was surprised to see how disciplined the people of Baganga were even if they were starving.

“I expected it to be a ‘survival of the fittest’ kind of thing, but residents there made sure children were first in line when we gave out arroz caldo,” Quiñones said.

Sharing Christmas

She added that children even volunteered to wash the pots.

More “Santas” are expected to come during the holidays.

Mayor Joselito Piñol of Mlang, North Cotabato, said a 70-member team from the municipal office will celebrate Christmas Day with the victims in Compostela Valley.

“This will be our most meaningful Christmas, sharing our blessings with the victims of calamity in Compostela Valley,” Piñol told the Inquirer yesterday.

“We decided to cancel all Christmas parties of various line agencies,” he said. “Instead, the funds to be used for the parties were all set aside for the flood victims.”

“To make it more meaningful, we all agreed to conduct relief operations from Dec. 24 to 26, meaning we will be celebrating Christmas with the calamity victims,” he said.

The Mlang team will include several medical workers.

“We may not be celebrating this Christmas with our respective families but surely we can make the affected families happy with our presence and our presents,” Piñol said.

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  • dodong1

    MARAMING SALAMAT PO SA INYONG LAHAT NA TUMULONG AT TUTULONG PA SA MGA NASALANTA NG BAGYONG PABLO…MERRY XMAS SA INYONG LAHAT

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_44QGTQXFYHNVPNMX453LWBPMXM Opel

    Merry Xmas sa lhat na nagshare ng blessings sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo!!!

  • efffyoufools

    THE GMA KAPUSO FOUNDATION, ITS DONORS AND ITS WORKERS ARE THE ONLY SANTAS WHO HAVE BIG HEARTS.

    • dxdaistar

       How about ABS-CBN Kapamilya Network, they also did a lot of Santa’s works!

  • sowhatifimfilipino

    “We may not be celebrating this Christmas with our respective families but surely we can make the affected families happy with our presence and our presents,” Piñol said.
    That’s what Christmas is all about. God bless everyone!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rodger.waters.12 Rogelio Aguas

    they are not santa claus. they are people.santa claus does not exist. santa claus should not represent generous people. santa claus is a lie. the media should be more mature with things that are matured. it is an insult to intelligent readers to be mentioning santa claus as if that falsehood embodies all people with good hearts. responsible media should tell the way news should be and not fictionalizing it… and no, virginia, there is no santa claus.

  • virgoyap

    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL PEOPLE OF COMVAL AND NEW BATAAN!! WE ARE NOT THERE BUT OUR SPIRIT AND OUR HEARTS ARE WITH YOU ALL.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OJWHBJLMWPTRUOZMN6JOMHLO2A Banana Na

    THANKS….mga SANTA CLAUS..i still believes that there are SANTA in most part of the PHILIPPINES….MERRY CHRISTMAS….PHILIPPINES

  • akimaxx

    Thanks for your help, GOOD SAMARITANS. The Lord will bless and keep you.

  • disqusted0fu

    while these “santas” are helping the typhoon victims, the president and his cronies are enjoying their Christmas break who knows where. after that one time photo-ops, they seem to have forgotten these poor victims already.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6DTNBPJJUJCPAJNKUH6PBC7UBE stoneridge

    the most meaningful Christmas ever

  • Wadav

    sana ganito lagi ang mga Pinoy… tulong tulong lagi… keep up the good work mga Kabayan. May the good Lord bless us all..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZB5Q4TWRLGNTPUO5LJIXXUJM4Q Elbert

    I am a native of New Bataan. I am appealing to all the donors,volunteers and SANTAs to channel their help, may it be in kind, cash or goods to NGOs and Religious organizations as the Local Government Unit, particularly in New Bataan, has been very ineffective and inefficient when it comes to helping the affected communities. Even the Mayor himself is caught and heard worrying about his house and his Gold Processing Plant than to be focused on the relief and retrieval effort. I am a known supporter of this administration but when the leadership and dedication of the sitting municipal executive was test thru this typhoon, I realized that he lacks everything that a real leader should have. Indeed, a day before the disaster, the mayor did not do any preventive effort as what was appealed by the President. He instead gather his political party in preparation for the Next Year’s elections than to roam around and implement force evacuation amongst the residents in mountainous, riverside and low lying areas. I APPEAL TO THE MEDIA TO SEARCH MORE AND KNOW MORE ABOUT THE REAL TOTAL HEADCOUNT OF CASUALTIES. 400 FATALITIES AND 200 MISSING ARE ONLY REPORTED WHEN IN FACT ALMOST THE ENTIRE BARANGAY OF ANDAP WAS WIPED OUT WITH A TOTAL POPULATION OF 3 TO 5,000. WHILE I UNDERSTAND THAT CASUALTIES IS INEVITABLE DURING DISASTERS BUT WE COULD HAVE SAVED MORE LIVES HAD THE PEOPLE KNEW WHERE TO GO…..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZB5Q4TWRLGNTPUO5LJIXXUJM4Q Elbert

    ……..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZB5Q4TWRLGNTPUO5LJIXXUJM4Q Elbert

    AND IF THERE WERE ANY PREVENTIVE EFFORT MADE IN PREPARATION OF THE TYPHOON THEN WHY WERE THE MUNICIPAL’S VERY OWN EQUIPMENT SUCH AS DUMP TRUCKS, GRADER AND DOZERS TRAPPED INSIDE THE MOTOR POOL AS EVERYONE SEEN OVER THE TELEVISION? WHY WAS THE MUNICIPAL GYM LOCKED AND THAT THE EVACUEES HAD TO BREAK IN TO IT JUST TO GET INSIDE?????? I JUST CAN’T DWELL ON THE FACT THAT THE FAMILY AND EXTENDED FAMILIES OF THIS MAYOR IS LIVING IN COMFORT WITH VENTILATION WHILE THE REST OF THE PEOPLE ARE STRUGGLING IN EVACUATION SITES. I LOST HUNDREDS OF MY RELATIVES AND DEAR FRIENDS AND I CAN’T JUST SETTLE WITH THIS KIND OF POOR SERVICE FROM THE MAYOR. I APPEAL TO THE MEDIA ESPECIALLY THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK INTO IT. I AM AN AVID READER OF THIS NEWSSTAND AND I AM FOLDING MY FULL TRUST THAT YOU WILL HEAR AND CATER MY APPEAL… THANK YOU SO MUCH

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