Relief goods for typhoon victims from Tondo with love
Tondo village councilor Gary Codillo shows their van carrying relief goods donated by the people in his district for typhoon victims in Borongan, Eastern Samar. Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo
Borongan, Philippines – On the long road going to Eastern Samar, the INQUIRER.net team spotted a van heavy-laden with relief goods. On its back was a tarp that read, “Relief Goods. For Borongan, E. Samar. From Tondo, Manila (Barangay 128, Building 3).”
Curious, the team started following the van, both headed towards the province’s capital city.
In Borongan City, the van momentarily stopped and INQUIRER.net met Gary Codillo who was on his way back to Balangkayan town, one of the areas in Eastern Samar hardest-hit by super typhoon “Yolanda.”
Codillo said they were bringing donations from relatives and friends to Barangay (village) Balogo in Balangkayan.
Opening the back of their van, he showed off boxes of relief goods and clothes.
“The situation of the people there is difficult. There is no transportation, no communication. There is no food to buy,” he said, two weeks after the monster typhoon ravaged Eastern Visayas, killing thousands and leaving at least half a million families homeless.
While, no one died in Balangkayan because of the pre-emptive evacuation, the cost of damages to property was massive, with many people losing their shelters and livelihood.
Codillo, a village councilor, said he was the one sent by their community to ask for help in Manila.
Knowing that I once lived in Manila, the people there approached me with letters for their relatives, he said.
“There was no contact, no communication so they wrote to their relatives – telegram-style,” he said, adding that he diligently texted all of the numbers given to him when he got to the city.
Carrying the thick pile of letters, he went to his old neighborhood in Tondo and found his friend Perry Dumaluan, an overseas Filipino worker from the Middle East, who offered to sponsor some of the relief goods, as well as its transportation to Samar.
Later, the relatives of the typhoon victims approached them with whatever goods they could send to the people of Balangkayan.
Codillo said he has nothing against the government but they noticed that most of the help is focused on certain areas.
“They are not giving enough attention to the interiors (villages farther from the town proper). They are focusing on Tacloban…Eastern Samar is the area facing the Pacific Ocean where the storm surge started. That is our focus, for the people there to receive help,” he said.
He said they’ve been driving non-stop from Manila to Samar in order to deliver the relief goods.
“This is our simple way of helping,” Codillo said before he bid the team goodbye.
A couple of hours away, the people of Balangkayan town were rebuilding their homes and waiting for relief to arrive.
(The INQUIRER.net team composed of reporter Kristine Angeli Sabillo, videographer Ryan Leagogo, and driver Lauro Ferrer visited typhoon-hit areas in Samar and Leyte provinces from Nov. 18 to Nov. 25, 2013)
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