Thursday, October 1, 2009

Youth, other sectors start own relief drives

Philippine Daily Inquirer

First Posted 23:58:00 09/30/2009

Filed Under: Ondoy, Charity, Civil & Public Services

AFTER receiving a text message asking for donations, Apple Jean Martin, 23, left her house on Sunday morning in Sta. Rosa City in Laguna to bring packs of noodles and canned goods to Los Baños town.

The message came from youth groups in Los Baños who were able to put up a donation booth for students and residents to drop off any item they could give to victims of Storm “Ondoy.”

One of the groups, Serve the People Brigade (STPB), which had existed in the 1970s, was revived by the Kabataan party-list organization in Southern Tagalog and the University of the Philippines Los Baños Student Council to kindle anew the spirit of volunteerism and “bayanihan” among students and residents.

“The STP Brigade is a regional formation of individuals and organizations that aim to extend help to victims of calamities in the Southern Tagalog region by holding relief and rehabilitation activities,” said Pamela Pangahas, UPLB student council chair.

“Since we are short of funds, we count solely on the volunteers’ spirit of bayanihan and on donations given by residents of Los Baños.”

About 120 students immediately signed up as volunteers on the same day they initiated the relief mission, Pangahas said.

John Paulo Bautista, Kabataan regional coordinator, said his group was able to collect at least P25,000 in cash as of Monday afternoon.

The volunteers trooped to dormitories, business establishments and houses to solicit old clothes, canned goods, instant noodles, medicines and other supplies, which were distributed to some 200 families in the villages of Mayondon, Malinta and Tadlac.

“The people’s support is overwhelming,” Bautista said.

“In less than one and a half days, we were able to raise more than P25,000 and collect around a hundred boxes of clothes, food and medicines, and more are pouring in,” he said. “We are still enjoining everyone to give more material and financial support so that we can help more families.”

The group intends to help not only residents of areas near Los Baños but also those in Pakil town, also in Laguna.

Oriental Mindoro

In Oriental Mindoro, the Provincial Pastoral Care Forum has mobilized its resources and network of supporters to raise donations for the storm victims.

In a meeting on Tuesday, Bishop Warlito Cajandig of the diocesan center, said: “Let this (calamity assistance) be formative and opportunity to help.”

Those who would like to help may contact the Sto. Niño parish secretariat at (043) 2888159 or e-mail

Deposits can also be made through UCPB (Calapan Branch) account name: Sto. Niño Parish; savings account no: 210109062-0.

Receipts and accounting will be available.

In Naga, the city council on Tuesday adopted an ordinance allocating P500,000 to the victims. Vice Mayor Gabriel Hidalgo Bordado said the amount would be given directly to the affected local governments, through Mayor Jesse Robredo.

“The move was meant as a way for the people of Naga City to express solidarity with the victims of Ondoy,” Bordado said.

Business, civic, and government organizations in the capital city of Camarines Sur also started a campaign on Monday to raise funds and gather relief goods.

As of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, the groups collected P11,000 from residents through donation cans. A total of 154 packs of clothes and grocery items were also given by donors.

Volunteers, mostly students, helped pack the goods.

“We want to pay back the things extended to us during the time that we were the ones in need,” said Glenda Dasco, chair of the Naga City People’s Council, which has a seat in a council committee level.

Fund-raising activities, including free concerts, were also being planned to attract more donors.

“We are organizing these activities to tell our fellow citizens who were affected by the calamity that they are not alone,” said Alberto Bercasio, president of the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

With the threat of another storm, the city government is convening its peace and order, and disaster coordinating councils.

“It has been three years since a typhoon affected Naga City and we fear that it’s time for another storm to strike the city, that’s why we are preparing this early,” Bordado said. Karen Lapitan, Clarice Colting-Pulumbarit, Madonna T. Virola and Jonas Cabiles Soltes

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