Big business aids quake survivors
MANILA, Philippines — At least 25 private groups have come together to extend aid to earthquake-ravaged areas in Mindanao.
The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, chaired by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Manuel V. Pangilinan, has provided food and water, logistics support and communications services to the survivors and rescue workers.
“The private sector has a role to play in preparing for and responding to calamities,” Pangilinan said in a statement on Tuesday.
He said the use of the companies’ core expertise and resources was paramount in providing relief to affected communities.
The foundation involves Air Asia, Aboitiz Foundation and Aboitiz Power, AirBnB Foundation, Air 21, Ayala Foundation, A-PAD Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Cebuana Lhuillier, Coca-Cola Foundation, Energy Development Corp., Globe Telecom, Johnny Sy, Jollibee Group Foundation, Makati Medical Center Foundation, Manila Water, Maynilad, Metro Pacific Foundation, One Meralco Foundation, Pepsi-Cola Products, Philippine Airlines, PLDT, PLDT Smart Foundation, Smart Communications, UPS and Tzu Chi Foundation.
As of Nov. 3, the death toll in the two powerful quakes in Mindanao in the past week stood at 21. The quakes destroyed buildings and displaced tens of thousands of residents.
The temblors also left 342 residents injured and at least seven still missing. (See related story on Page A4.)
Damage in 3 regions
A total of 20,957 houses were destroyed and 6,888 damaged in the Davao region, Soccsksargen and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The efforts of the private sector complements the assistance provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
As of Monday, the DSWD had provided some P4.2 million worth of aid to 28,656 families or 143,280 people in North Cotabato province, while another P2.07 million was released to 6,984 families or 34,920 people in Davao del Sur province.
Irene Dumlao, officer in charge of the department’s Social Marketing Service, said on Monday that DSWD employees had been fielded to assist local governments in managing the 30 evacuation centers housing 4,362 families or 21,810 people.
The DSWD has also issued access cards to families identified by local governments as quake survivors so they can receive relief and other forms of assistance.
Aside from food and shelter, the department is providing “psychosocial counseling for adults and play therapy for children,” Dumlao said.
The measures aim to help survivors cope with their traumatic experiences.
The head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), meanwhile, claimed that communist rebels were using the disasters to embarrass the government.
Ricardo Jalad, NDRRMC executive director, said he doubted whether the people begging for food along the highways in Mindanao were survivors.
They were in groups and carrying placards, raising the possibility that their actions were staged, Jalad said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
It was for this and other reasons that checkpoints were being set up along highways, he said. These would serve as initial contact for donors on their way to the evacuation centers without prior coordination with the incident command posts, he added.
“What would be checked at the checkpoints is the intent of motorists in proceeding to an evacuation center. If there is a vehicle and there are placards, then the checkpoints will stop them from entering,” he said.
Directly bringing donated goods to the survivors is being discouraged following Monday’s food poisoning incident that sickened 29 evacuees in Barangay Malabuan, Makilala town, according to the NDRRMC official. —Reports from Patricia Denise M. Chiu and Jeannette I. Andrade
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