Cell phone users text P1M for victims of Typhoon ‘Pablo’By Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Cell phone users across Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.’s three mobile brands have donated more than P1 million via text message to help the survivors of Typhoon “Pablo.”
In a statement issued Thursday, PLDT said more than P1 million was raised from Smart and Sun mobile phone subscribers, who made donations ranging from P5 to P1,000.
The donations were made during the six-hour “Tulong Kapatid Telethon” held on Dec. 11 for survivors of Typhoon Pablo in northeastern Mindanao.
“It’s already well documented how pledges of donations rushed in from big corporations and established organizations kicked off by the telethon,” said PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
“But silently, anonymously, urgently, and instantly, mobile subscribers have been giving of their precious load credits to raise more than P1 million as help to the typhoon victims,” Pangilinan said.
Donations were made by typing TULONG <Amount> and sending to 4483. The donated load was then converted into cash, and the money is now being used for relief and rehabilitation in areas hardest hit by the typhoon.
More than P110 million was raised during the telethon, with most of the money coming from Pangilinan-controlled companies. The telethon aimed to raise P100 million.
Pangilinan himself approached colleagues in Japan and South Korea to donate to the typhoon survivors.
The money will be spent for relief goods, medicines, and even housing, infrastructure reconstruction, and livelihood for the displaced.
The PLDT-Smart Foundation is coordinating the utilization of the fund.
At a recent press conference, Pangilinan said around P20 million to P25 million would be spent to feed families that lost their homes during the typhoon. This money would be enough to feed families until February, he said.
The rest would be spent to build new houses in new areas that were identified as low-risk locations.
“We have to coordinate with the local governments because they have to provide the land,” Pangilinan said.
“We don’t want the houses built in the same places because when the next typhoon comes, the residents will still be at risk,” he said.
The houses will be built by local property companies that have more experience in the affected areas. Supporting these local businesses will help spur the local economies, contributing to their recovery.
“It is time to say one more ‘Thank you’ to all who helped bring the Season of Grace to Mindanao. You know who you are. And because of you, the victims of Pablo have come several steps closer to recovering their lives,” Pangilinan said.