Thursday, October 22, 2009

3,000 stuck in evacuation centers

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:33:00 10/22/2009

Filed Under: Lebanon evacuation, Ondoy

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—Three weeks after the onslaught of Tropical Storm “Ondoy,” at least 3,000 people are still packed in evacuation centers and can’t return to their homes.

A report of the municipal office action center said six shelters are still filled with evacuees.

A total of 736 families are still displaced.

In Barangay Tadlac, 410 families are either in a private lot of a subdivision or at the old barangay hall, the report said.

The initial evacuation center, the Tadlac Elementary School, cannot serve its purpose, as it has been flooded since Laguna Lake swallowed some parts of the village.

Tents temporarily serve as the homes of the evacuees.

The report said 4,345 homes are still submerged in water, some of which are now abandoned.

Officers of the municipal office are still distributing relief goods.

The Laguna Lake Development Authority has earlier reported that the water would subside in three to five more months. Karen Lapitan, Inquirer Southern Luzon

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Weighing the costs of dredging the lake

By Clarice Colting-Pulumbarit, Karen Lapitan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:48:00 10/14/2009

Filed Under: Ondoy, Health, Weather, Environmental Issues

MANILA, Philippines-Environmental science and agricultural engineering experts believe dredging can solve the rising water level of Laguna Lake but consequences must be weighed.

Dr. Macrina Zafaralla, a professor of environmental science at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB), said although she has espoused the dredging of the lake since the 1970s, recent literature has shown that if lake water is disturbed, all toxic and nontoxic sediments at the bottom of the lake would also be disturbed, posing a health hazard.

For land and water resources expert Dr. Victor Ella of the Institute of Agricultural Engineering-UPLB, dredging can lower the lake’s water level at a faster pace but it should be part of a comprehensive plan that includes the management of watersheds surrounding it.

Heavy metals

Zafaralla has been conducting studies regarding the state of the Laguna Lake based on its ecosystem since the 1970s.

She was also part of the team that formed a millennium assessment on the lake in 2005.

“If we disturb all the sediments that had been deposited in the lake for years, even the nontoxic sediments may be transformed into something harmful,” she said.

Possible effects of dredging include the reduction of fish catch, release of noxious odor, and more of the heavy metals present in the lake may be dissolved and released in overlaying water.

“Dredging can make heavy metals available and may be absorbed by algae, algae is eaten by fish, fish is eaten by man. It can be transferred to man and could pose a danger to health,” Zafaralla said.

Heavy metals that have been known in previous studies to be present in the lake are mercury, cadmium and lead which are harmful to humans and can even be cancerous, she said.

“We don’t know the extent of the damage and for how long it will be because it will be a virgin experience for us, but all parts of the lake ecosystem will be affected,” she said.

Zafaralla cited a study of the dredging of a lake in China that changed the water chemistry and composition of algae growing in the lake.

Another study showed that dredging may alleviate the problem only for a time but would return if the entry of pollutants in the lake are not controlled.

Public information

“I espouse dredging but the public will have to be informed of possible consequences,” she said.

Zafaralla said she had also voiced out during a conference on the Laguna Lake before Tropical Storm “Ondoy” struck that people should be informed of how many percent of the time their place would be inundated.

“Government agencies would have already drawn a topography map of which areas around the lake are easily inundated and would be the first to be inundated. There is available data, it should be published,” she said.

“The government should inform people—every municipality should have a map showing the probability of inundation depending on the amount of rainfall.”

A study Zafaralla did in 1977 showed water hyacinth growth in the lake.

Water hyacinth anchors itself to soil, and when it dies, it contributes to natural reclamation of the lakeshore thus, growth shows which areas are bound to get shallower first.


In the map showing results, areas with high hyacinth growth could be seen at the Marikina, Rizal and Laguna’s fourth district side which includes the towns of Sta. Cruz and Pakil.

She noted that these were among the areas hardest hit by the overflowing lake during Ondoy.

Ella noted that overflowing of the lake was due to extreme rainfall but also believed it was a contribution of different factors: direct runoff downhill aggravated by deforestation and loss of land cover.

“Overflow is partly the effect of long-term deposition of sediments that is why the lake has become very shallow.”

He said dredging is a good strategy to remove sedimentation and increase the water capacity of the lake but is concerned about its feasibility because it will take a long time.

“Without dredging, outflow of lake water is only through evaporation because there is very minimal seepage of water into the soil. With evaporation, water outflow would only reach 10 mm/day depending on prevailing weather conditions.”

Ella emphasized the importance of land cover and how much it helps despite a large amount of rainfall.

“Through interception of rain, it reduces impact and erosion. Vegetation also increases evapotranspiration which reduces moisture content of soil and increases infiltration capacity of soil. It delays runoff and retards flow of water downhill. Land cover also improves soil aggregation due to increased organic matter content of soil, and this soil will not easily be eroded.”

Comprehensive solution

Ella said dredging should not be a band-aid solution, after which sedimentation and erosion would return.

“The solution should be long-term and comprehensive, both involving watershed and lake management. There should be an over-all agency that will implement an integrated management of the two.”

He added that there were also problems with land-use planning—faulty drainage systems, silted waterways, and residential areas (subdivisions) built onto floodplains.

Ella noted that the concept of a spillway was also a good engineering solution—a connection between Laguna Lake and Manila Bay to serve as a conduit to evacuate excess water from Laguna Lake.

He suggested the creation of a hydrologic model for watersheds surrounding the lake to be able to see and predict the effects of land use change and climate change on runoff and sediments. A hydrologic model is a computer simulation model that mathematically represents the various hydrolic processes like runoff, evapotranspiration, infiltration, percolation, steamflow, baseflow, groundwater flow, erosion, etc., that take place in a watershed in response to rainfall.


Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) general manager Edgardo Manda said they were still in the process of planning the long-term dredging of Laguna Lake.

He clarified, however, that the agency plans to dredge the Napindan Channel first as it would help subside the flood around areas near the lake.

He said the dredging should be done regularly.

“LLDA will be responsible for the scientific aspect of the lake’s dredging, but the actual dredging will be done with the help of DPWH (Department of Pubic Works and Highways),” Manda said.

LLDA was still looking to fund the long-term dredging, he added.

He said dredging seemed to be one of the best ways of preventing excessive flooding.

“As for the heavy metal contents found in the lake, the proper disposal will also be part of our plan. People do not have to worry about the health hazards of such as we will carefully plan its disposal,” Manda said.

He said the agency’s experts were looking into the best ways to handle those harmful contents of the lake.

Aside from the sediments accumulated in the lake, the problem of illegal settling should also be addressed, according to Manda, adding that the people living near the lake add up to the problems of clogging the channels where water should freely flow.

“But it’s the solution on illegal settling that should be monitored by the local government units,” he said.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Boatmen help by selling their boats cheap

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:14:00 10/12/2009

Filed Under: Ondoy, Flood, Disasters (general)

PAGSANJAN, Laguna, Philippines—Some boatmen here have sacrificed their source of income to help the residents affected by the flood in Laguna.

Robert Amonela, board member of the United Boatmen Association of Pagsanjan, said many of their members opted to sell their boats at much lower price.

Pagsanjan is popular for its falls.

Each boat ride to shoot the rapids costs P1,000, which goes to the municipal government. A boatman would get only P300.

“Some of us are now idle since there are no tourists coming here [in Pagsanjan]. That is the same reason some were pushed to sell their boats,” Amonela said.

“This is actually our form of help to Laguna residents whose homes are flooded up to now,” he said.

Amonela said the boats were sold at an average of P5,000, which is far beyond the ideal price. He said second hand boats cost P8,000 to P12,000, and brand new ones normally cost P25,000.

He said Pagsanjan boatmen were not making money out of the floods in Laguna. “Boats were sold to individuals who wanted to make a business out of them.”

Boats were sent to nearby flooded towns such as Siniloan, Paete, Sta. Cruz, and Victoria.

Boat rides among flooded towns in Laguna range from P20 to P40.

Karen Lapitan, Inquirer Southern Luzon

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Loss of land to lake sinking in among execs

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: October 09, 2009

SAN PEDRO, LAGUNA, Philippines—The flood that has kept many towns of Laguna under water is making local chief executives realize that they are losing portions of the land to Laguna Lake.

“I think this will last longer,” San Pedro Mayor Calixto Cataquiz said.

As a temporary solution, Cataquiz said his office was transferring evacuees from the Central Elementary School to three buildings in the town to allow classes to resume.

But even after the flood subsides, “illegal settlers will now have to leave the shorelines,” he said because it would no longer be safe for people to live there.

He said the municipal government was requesting 5,000 housing units from the National Housing Authority to serve as permanent relocation shelters for displaced families.

At least 3,000 families in the town were displaced by the flood, of which about 300 are squatters.

Lumban Mayor Wilfredo Paraiso said most of the displaced people in his town were farm workers who lost crops when about 300 hectares of farmland were flooded.

He said his office was planning to impose a total log ban and a ban on the use of plastic materials as these clog waterways.

Luckier town

Unlike other towns, the flood that hit Sta. Maria following Tropical Storm “Ondoy” has receded, said Mayor Josie Cuento.

However, she said about 10 hectares of agricultural land were damaged by the deluge and at least 355 homes need to be rebuilt.

The municipal government is set to embark on tree planting to prevent landslides, which left several of the town’s roads mired in mud.

Mabitac Mayor Gerardo Fader is appealing to government agencies and private groups to help him revive the town, a fifth class municipality with a large portion of the population relying on agriculture.

“Both farm workers and fishermen were affected,” he said.

“Most of the farm workers do not actually own the land they till, and now, they have no source of income,” the mayor said.

In Pangil, large portions of three villages are still submerged in waist-deep flood, said Mayor Juanita Manzana.

“The flooded areas facing the lake are almost uninhabitable now. The residents are now in evacuation centers or relatives’ homes,” she said.

Lumban Mayor Wilfredo Paraiso said at least 1,400 families that rely on farming and fishing were displaced in the town.

On alert

The Laguna Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) is not taking chances against the possible rise of the lake that might again wreak havoc on already-flooded villages and municipalities as more typhoons and rains come.

Valentin Guidote, provincial planning officer and deputy coordinator of the PDCC, said people would have to be educated on environmental destruction and climate change.

Guidote reminded evacuees and residents to respond immediately and heed calls to evacuate.

“We are instructing people to build their own bamboo life savers, which are more durable than the rubber boats, to keep them afloat during floods.”

Expert’s view

The flooding could be largely due to the massive concreting of land areas as a result of rapid urbanization, the head of the country’s volcano and earthquake monitoring agency said.

“Land in Manila is almost wholly covered with concrete roads and pavements,” said Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

He said water from heavy rains has nowhere to go “so that it takes more time for floods to subside.”

He said a rise in sea level, even if just millimeters, would have drastic effects.

One of these, he said, is soil sinking as a result of more water being depleted from ground sources than water being absorbed. Maricar Cinco, Karen Lapitan and Romulo Ponte with a report from Ray Nasol, Inquirer Southern Luzon

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Floods to force developers to back off; land values dip

By Karen Lapitan, Maricar Cinco
Inquirer Southern Luzon

Posted date: October 08, 2009

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA—The lingering flood that inundated 18 towns and two cities in the province of Laguna may scare investors and developers from venturing into real estate businesses in the province.

This is the view of Noel Veracruz, provincial assessor whose office is located in Sta. Cruz, the capital town.

“One effect (of the flooding) is that it may instill a slight fear on the developers. They will now become more choosy (of the area) if it is flood-prone or not,” he said.

This is aside from the statement from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that its flood and geo-hazard map shows that riverbanks, lakeshore areas, creeks, floodways and river mouths are not suitable for settlements.

Nilo Tamoria, head of the DENR-Calabarzon, said efforts were being undertaken by the DENR’s Mines and GeoSciences Bureau to inform the local government units about this.

“Developers usually buy land at a cheap cost so they could sell it off at a higher price. But let’s say they are now to choose between the price of P500 per square meter and P800 per sq. m. for a lot, they may now opt to buy the latter so long as it is not in a flood-prone area,” Veracruz said.

The flood, which submerged lakeshore communities of Laguna, has lingered following the onslaught of Tropical Storm “Ondoy” (international codename: Ketsana).

3 more months

The Laguna Lake Development Authority earlier said the deluge could persist for three more months, given the high water level of the Laguna Lake.

The value of land in Laguna ranges from up to P25,000 per square meter in highly urbanized areas like the town of Biñan to as low as P30 per sq. m. in agricultural lands and areas farther from urban centers, said Rachel Magcalas of the local assessment operations office.

About 40 percent of the total land area of the province, composed mostly of towns in the third and fourth districts, is classified as agricultural.

Asked if the office was expecting land values to depreciate, Magcalas said: “Not exactly, as most of these areas are not really like those of Ayala land. What will happen is that its value (before the flooding) may remain as such but will not appreciate anymore.”

She said that when the flood shall have receded, people would fix or renovate their houses or buildings, adding value to the property. “So it will not really depreciate,” she said.

The affected areas surrounding Laguna Lake are classified as residential, which are valued at between P150 per sq. m. and P200 per sq. m.

More cautious

“If you are to buy a property, you will now be more cautious if it is prone to flooding. The demand now (in these areas) will decrease,” Magcalas said.

On Sept. 28, the Bureau of Local Government Finance in the Calabarzon region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) advised the provincial and municipal assessors and treasurers to conduct an immediate ocular inspection and reassessment of the storm-stricken areas for recomputation of real property taxes.

In the case of Laguna, Magcalas said the flooding had hampered her office in conducting a reassessment.

She said adjustments on taxes, particularly those paid in full for the year, would also be applied after the reassessment.

Affected residents could also take advantage of the real estate tax penalty and interest condonation program that the provincial government started in July. The program will end this year.

Real estate values in Los Baños are likely to suffer due to Ondoy, according to Marcelo Alcachupas, the municipal assessor.

Alcachupas said at least seven of the 14 barangays in the town were gravely affected as the floodwater had not subsided.

He added that this alone could affect the value of the properties, most especially residential ones.

Alcachupas predicted that in three to four months, many residents would sell their properties on rates that could be lower than the prevailing levels.

“It’s up to the discretion of property owners but most likely, there would be a sudden cut in existing rates,” he said.

Within Los Baños, 60 percent of the land is not taxable, he said.

The assessor said the flooding would also affect the tax collection of the municipal office because most of the affected villages were residential areas.

The government collects two percent of the declared value of a real estate.

“After the calamity, there could be more delinquent real estate taxpayers,” Alcachupas said.

He added that the residents might just end up selling some properties once the flood had subsided but might find it difficult to find buyers.

In Barangays Mayondon and Malinta, where the floodwater is still waist-high, the value of residential properties could drop even after a few months, according to Alcachupas.

The prevailing average rate in Barangay Malinta is P1,000 per sq. m., while it is P1,500 per sq. m. in Mayondon.

Barangay Batong Malake, which has the highest prevailing rate that reaches up to P15,000 per sq. m., was spared from the flood.

Selling at rock-bottom prices

Alcachupas himself is planning to sell two pieces of property in Barangay Malinta.

He owns a 542-sq. m. lot that he would soon sell for P1 million even if the ideal price is P1.5 million under the prevailing rates.

He said he would sell his 672-sq. m. house and lot property for P1.5 million instead of P2.5 million. “I have no choice but to sell it at rock-bottom price,” Alcachupas said.

He bought the two properties more than a decade ago.

He already lost around P300,000 worth of property inside his home in Barangay Malinta, including a car which was damaged after the Laguna Lake overflowed.

Alcachupas is now renting an apartment in Barangay Batong Malake, a village far from the flooded areas in Los Baños.

“Our [family’s] safety should come first,” he said.

Nowhere to go

Bec Salazar of Barangay Mayondon, another flooded village in Los Baños town, has no definite plans yet about leaving her bungalow, an inherited property from her parents.

“We have nowhere to go,” she said. Her family is temporarily staying at a relative’s house in a nearby village.

Asked if she would consider selling the family’s 300-sq. m. property, she said, “I am not sure if anyone would be interested to buy it, in the first place.”

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bayanijuan folk grateful for safe haven

By Karen Lapitan, Sunshine Lichauco de Leon
Philippine Daily Inquirer Inquirer Southern Luzon

Posted date: October 06, 2009

CALAUAN, LAGUNA—Former vendor Tess Ortinero, 59, wondered where she would be now—whether she would even still be alive—if she were still living along a Manila estero the night Tropical Storm “Ondoy” came.

That thought also ran through the mind of Corazon Aguillon, 49.

Ortinero, Aguillon and their families used to live at Estero de Paco. In June, they were among the first 271 families relocated to Bayanijuan sa Calauan, the resettlement site of the Kapit Bisig para sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP) river rehabilitation project.

The 107-hectare property, co-managed by ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) and the National Housing Authority (NHA), is where people who had been struggling to survive against stark odds are building a new community.

“If we stayed in Paco, I’m not sure we could have survived Ondoy,” Ortinero told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Monday. She said she heard their former place had been swamped by roof-high floods.

“Here, Ondoy was almost not felt,” she said. The relocation site had escaped flooding.

“We are grateful we moved here. I can’t imagine where we would be now if we chose to stay there,” said Aguillon, a mother of four.

Some residents of the new community are into poultry, others into gardening. A handful have put up sari-sari stores.

Reviving a river

The project is part of the efforts to bring the Pasig River back to life.

The main strategy of KBPIP, with the help of the environment department, is to put up Clean River Zones near the Pasig and its tributaries.

The project’s first goal is to have the 5,000 informal settlers at Estero de Paco relocated to Calauan within five years. The 3-km stretch to be cleared runs from the tenement houses on Quirino Avenue, through Paco market and ends at the entrance to the Pasig.

Since the informal settlers directly contribute to the river’s pollution (studies show each individual removed from the area means removal of half a kilo per day of waste), cleaning the river must start with the transfer of these families.

“Tributaries are like arteries in the human body. If they are blocked, the body can’t function well,” KBPIP president Gina Lopez said.

Life of drugs

For 17-year-old Shaolin, living along the estero was synonymous to a life of daily drug use and petty crime. Addicted to sniffing rugby since age 6, he never attended school.

Since moving to Calauan, he has quit taking drugs. He runs errands, helps with manual labor, takes part in night patrols.

“It is the first time I feel loved and accepted. I want to help make this place beautiful and orderly,” Shaolin said.

On Estero de Paco, 10 families lived in makeshift structures on a 20-sq.m. lot. Family members took turns sleeping for lack of space.

The river was used as toilet, shower and garbage dump. The trash was so thick you would never know a river lay underneath. Children could walk on it as if it were a landfill.

Woe to babies if they fell in the river. It would be virtually impossible to find them.

There was also the unbearable stench. Death and disease were commonplace.

Peace of mind

Hermi, who lived along the estero for 15 years, said: “Before, I was scared all the time. Now I have peace of mind that my children will not fall into the river or get hit by the speeding cars.”

Cheryl, a mother, said: “My children used to play inside the house because I was afraid the water in the estero would rise and they would fall in. Now they can run freely.”

Thelma, a grandmother, said: “The children do not get sick anymore. They used to always have lumps, colds and fever that never went away.”

New life

At the Bayanijuan, each family moved into a newly painted house (30-sq.m. room with a bathroom) on a 40-sq.m. lot. They were given a welcome kit of groceries from Nestlé, hygienic supplies and a sack of rice from Unilever.

An orientation explained to them the importance of hygiene, as well as the opportunities and rules of their new environment.

Lopez said: “We tell them it’s a clean slate for all of them, and whatever they did before does not matter. But it’s bayanihan. There are rules and we have to work together. We will help them but they must also learn to help themselves.”

Derived from the term “bayanihan” or “everyone working together,” the name of the community is a play on the words “bayani” (hero) and “Juan” (for “Every Filipino”).

In Bayanijuan, everyone, it seems, is a hero.

New skills

In exchange for community work, each adult gets a salary for the first two months. Then they are taught new skills.

“You need to take care of them so they don’t go back,” Lopez said.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has organized a livelihood training program teaching carpentry, electrical repair and painting.

Trainees have been fixing the ceiling of a day-care center which, thanks to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, will open in December.

Upon receiving their TESDA certificates, the newly skilled workers may apply for work in Ayala Land’s nearby Sta. Rosa development project.

A Dubai-based company offers work to those who speak English. English classes will also soon be offered to the residents.

Protecting the environment

Out-of-school youths make frames and lamps from recycled paper under a project called Bags for Life.

Surrounded by agricultural land, residents are taught how to care for the environment.

With seeds donated by the Army and the agriculture department, many grow organic short rotation crops, such as corn and cassava.

There are plans to build a central sewage system and to start a vermiculture project. Samuel Ortinero, 40, has organized the composting of trash.

He said: “Waking up to nature makes you feel closer to God ... We are inspired by the values being taught here.”

Everyone helps

Other plans include building a children’s playground and a basketball court.

The resettlement has been made possible through partnerships of government agencies, the military, the private sector, individuals and nongovernment groups.

The project started during the Estrada presidency but was left unfinished with his ouster. When KBPIP was named co-manager of the project, its NHA partner turned over 700 unfinished houses.

With the help of Globe Asiatique and Habitat for Humanity, the windows and floors were fixed and the renovated homes were given to the first 271 families.

More funds are needed to build more houses.

Hope named Juanita

Corporate sponsorship for housing is key. San Miguel Corp.’s P21-million donation last month will ensure that 300 more families from Paco can have new homes.

Asked why they picked this project, SMC president Ramon Ang said: “It was the sincerity and passion of Gina Lopez that did it ... We saw a wonderful opportunity to help people and clean up the river.”

Two months ago, the first baby was born in Bayanijuan. Named Juanita, she sleeps in a basket crib in her parents’ new home.

Juanita’s coming signifies hope for the river, its people, and what can happen if you believe in the possibility of change.

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