DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 December) – The Vallacar Transport Inc., which operates bus lines Bachelor Express and Rural Transport Mindanao Inc. (RTMI), called off the Christmas party for their 10,000 employees and donated instead the supposed budget to the victims of typhoon Pablo.
John Billena, human resource and administrative manager, told Mindanews that the management donated P2.5 million in relief aid for the victims.
Billena said the company had allocated P200 per employee for their Christmas party, and gave an additional P500,000 for the relief aid.
Vallacar Transport Inc., the largest bus fleet in the country, operates in major routes in the Visayas, Mindanao and in some parts of Luzon.
Vallacar also owns the Ceres bus line in the Visayas region.
Employees at the company garage here told MindaNews that they started sorting the food and non-food items since Saturday.
The relief goods were placed inside 6,600 pails, each containing three kilos of rice, five cans of sardines, five packs of noodles, assorted medicines, laundry soap, blankets and bed sheets.
Billena said eight buses transported the relief aid on Tuesday morning to the heavily-affected towns in New Bataan, Compostela, Monkayo and Montevisita, all in Compostela Valley Province; and in Baganga, Boston, and Cateel towns in Davao Oriental.
Employees victims too
Billena said about 30 of their Davao-based employees were also affected by the typhoon.
He said the affected employees availed of a calamity loan equivalent to a one-month salary and financial assistance of P2000.
Bus conductor Arnel Rinconada said he was on a five-day rest at his hometown in Baganga when the storm made the landfall.
Rinconada, who is from Barangay Kinablangan, said he hid under the table inside their house, which was made of light materials.
He was alone in the house when he noticed the surge of strong winds around 2a.m. on December 4.
“Only the concrete floor of our house was left after hours of strong winds,” said Rinconada, whose parents were in Maramag ,Bukidnon when the storm hit.
When he received his pay on December 15 the 22-year old bus employee said that he immediately bought food and other items needed by his family.
He also joined the company’s relief operation. But he was assigned to a bus that will deliver the aid to Boston.
Company nurse May Gallo will join the relief operations in Cateel.
Gallo, whose family hails from Baganga, said her relatives’ houses were also blown away when the storm hit.
“My relatives also suffered sunburns because there are no trees left there, everything was blown away,” she said.
Giving back to the passengers
Billena said 10% of their operation has been affected, as the bridge in Baganga was cut off, making the town inaccessible from Mati City.
He added that the owner immediately responded to the needs of the typhoon victims since many of them are their passengers too.
“We just giving back to our passengers who are affected by the typhoon Pablo,” he said. (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)