DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 November) – Often at the receiving end of humanity’s generosity during wars and disasters — the most recent of which were typhoon Sendong in December 2011, super typhoon Pablo in December 2012, and the Zamboanga City standoff in September 2013 – Mindanawons are paying it forward, pooling time and resources to help survivors of super typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas through benefit concerts, fun runs, medical missions and other means of assistance.
Among the first to respond are the survivors of previous calamities with Sendong survivors in Cagayan de Oro volunteering to help in the repacking of relief goods that would be shipped by the Department of Social Welfare and Development to the disaster areas.
Sendong survivors Rizalina Avila, 53; Joy Olarte, 43 and Sarah Jaom told MindaNews in Cagayan de Oro City on November 12 that they were even willing to go to Tacloban to help counsel fellow mothers.
“We can help counsel them. We can understand each other because we are typhoon survivors,” Avila said.
Survivors of super typhoon Pablo in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, though still recovering from last year’s tragedy, as well as students, are bringing goods or clothing to the parish, for donation to the disaster areas, through the Diocese of Tagum, where New Bataan belongs. Fr. Edgar Tuling, the parish priest said of his parishioners: “Gusto rin nilang makatulong” (they also want to help).
At the GSIS covered court in Matina, Davao City, relief goods donated by parishioners in the DaDiTaMa (Archdioces of Davao and the Dioceses of Digos, Tagum and Mati) to the Oplan Tabang Bag-Yo are being sorted and repacked for shipment in container vans to Cebu which will then distribute this to the dioceses in the affected areas, said Nonoy Rodriguez, an assistant coordinator of the Social Action Center of the Archdiocese of Davao.
Each pack contains five kilos rice, five canned goods, five packs of noodles, 20 pieces of biscuits and three packs of beverage, Rodriguez said, adding those who want to donate have up to November 24 to do so. The DaDiTaMa also sent help to surivors of the October 15 earthquake in Bohol.
Benefit concerts; run, bike for Yolanda
Local government units in Mindanao, have also sent donations in cash and kind and dispatched medical and rescue teams. Business entities, are helping, too, including Mindanao’s association of electric cooperatives which is deploying personnel and equipment to help restore power lines there.
But other sectors are also pitching in to send help to the Yolanda-devastated areas.
“Donate money, food, clothes,” organizers of “Tabang Visayas,” a benefit concert in Punchbowl, Cagayan de Oro City on November 16, said in their poster.
In Davao City, at least 25 bands and artists’ groups have committed to perform at the “Tabang BagYo” Concert of Support (BagYo to mean Bagyong Yolanda) at the Taboan, Matina Town Square on November 23.
Another benefit concert will be staged at the Abreeza Mall on Sunday, November 17: “Relief Surge: Kapit-bisig Dabawenyo para sa Visayas” featuring PCDA (Philippine Choral Directors Association) Member Choirs and “top Dabawenyo performers,” among them Wency Cornejo, Chad Borja, University of Mindanao Chorale, The Himig Singers, Agnes Locsin Dancers, ICB-PAC Dancers, according to their poster.
Two more activities for the benefit of Yolanda survivors will be held in Davao City also on November 17.
Cyclists are turning their 11th Flight of the Eagles Fun Ride Cycling Event that day into a “Padyak, Lunhaw Dabaw para sa Leyte” from Rizal Park to Malagos Park in Calinan district.
Also on November 17, the Kids for Christ, a family ministry of the Couples for Christ, will hold its annual Provincial Kids Village at the Ateneo de Davao Matina Campus and will receive donations for Yolanda after the 8 a.m. mass.
In Surigao City, young students — Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts — were among those who helped pack relief goods for Yolanda survivors at the Philippine Ports Authority warehouse there on November 13.
In Iligan City, “I Run for Peace,” scheduled on December 1 as one of the activities in the annual Mindanao Week of Peace, has been transformed into a “Run for Peace and Run for Yolanda Survivors” campaign.
On November 21, “Balsa Mindanao alang sa Kabisay-an” of Balsa Mindanao and the Fr. Pops Foundation will be going to the Visayas on a medical mission for Yolanda’s survivors. They are asking for antibiotics, analgesics, anticholinergic, tetanus toxoid and dressing for wounds.
Balsa Mindanao and the Fr. Pops Foundation are also asking for cash donations because “health professionals can better buy the non-prescribed and prescribed drugs and better price if meds are bought in bulk.”
Information on bank deposits and other details are available in Balsa Mindanao’s Facebook Account.
In Davao City, Richard Belar, artistic director of Kaliwat Theatre Collective, whose group initiated the November 23 fund-raising concert, told MindaNews that as of Friday morning, the following have committed to perform in the Tabang BagYo concert: Kaliwat Performing Artists, Madayaw Cultural Ensemble, Samadhi Group of Musicians, MTS (Matina Town Square) Taboan Regular Band Performers, Meybuyan, Kuntao with Neil Cervantes, Victor Sapar, USEP Chorale Kwatro Medya, Guilt Trip, We Ride Dynamite, The Sound, Go through, Ate Lingling and Mark Tolentinto to represent the Tausug community, Flight 99. Friend Connection, Zysix, Positive Madness, Torak, Simply Friends, Yamog, Utopia, Calleope, Fine Tune, 8 Mile, Hi Lites, Odds and Evens.
He said magician James Infiesto will also perform. Elenita “Boots” Dumlao, Mark Tolentino and Bong Espinosa have committed to donate paintings for auction while BJ Patino and May Che Capili are donating photos for auction.
Belar urged those who will attend the concert to bring donations for the Yolanda survivors, including items they may want to sell, proceeds of which will be donated to the campaign.
Tabang BagYo is co-organized by MTS through Star Zafra, Jows Tamura and Albert O. Padilla with the support of Samadhi Davao (Samahan ng mga Musikero sa Davao, Inc.)
The annual 40-kilometer 11th Flight of the Eagles Fun Ride Cycling Event, now dubbed “Padyak, Lunhaw Dabaw para sa Leyte,” is organized by the Cycle for Life, Davao City Water District (DCWD), Federation of Off-Road Cycling Enthusiasts (FORCE), Interface Development Interventions (IDIS), Inc., PhilCycling, Office of Councilor Leonardo R. Avila III, Watershed and Environmental Protection Coalition of Davao (WEPCD), Watershed Management Youth Council (WMYC).
Funds that will be generated from the event will go to “relief efforts for the Leyte victims of the Typhoon Yolanda as well as support for the adopted areas in the Talomo-Lipadas, Daliaon, and Malagos Watersheds and the Lunhaw Awards.”
The highlight of the Kids for Christ’s Provincial Kids’ Village (PKV) on November 17, is the conduct of a “healing prayer after lunch to seek healing in Mindanao given the recent conflicts in Zamboanga and North Cotabato, and accept donations for Zamboanga, Yolanda and Bohol after the 8 a.m. mass,” the press statement read.
In Iligan City, part of the funds raised through the Run For Peace on December 1 will “also be used to give relief to those in need.”
“Please also use the occasion of the Run For Peace to bring goods you want to donate to the survivors of Yolanda. The Mindanao Emergency Response Network will make sure that all donations reach the survivors, also in areas which are not covered so much by the media,” the Run for Peace organizers said.
The Mindanao Commission on Women has also launched “Mindanao to Visayas: Women Helping Women” for the Yolanda survivors. “women are victims, yes, but they are also the key to the rehabilitation of entire communities destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan.” Haiyan is the international name of Yolanda.
In Cagayan de Oro, the non-governmental organization, Balay Mindanaw, immediately sent two teams for Leyte and for Panay “to conduct on-the-ground quick assessment to help determine and formulate appropriate response.”
Balay Mindanaw’s Kaloy Manlupig said they have “identified possible areas to extend our community-based support, with the community-focused and community resiliency building approach.”
Balay Mindanaw adopts communities and assists them on a long-term rather than short-term or one-time basis. “Our DREAM operations have already started with resource mobilization (financial, human and technical resources), setting-up of logistics and other transportation requirements, procurement and repacking of goods,” Manlupig said.
DREAM means Disaster Risk reduction, response, resiliency building and Emergency Assistance Mission), a program “in which we come together as family to pitch in each organization and each individual’s unique contributions to help people in different phases: from disaster response, to reconstruction and rehabilitation, to disaster preparedness and capacity building.”
No Christmas parties
In Butuan City, private and public schools are busy preparing to ship help to the Yolanda survivors.
The Fr. Saturnio Urious University (FSUU) is targeting to complete 5,000 bags of relief goods for distribution, said Fr. Chito Butardo, FSUU vice president.
He said they are also encouraging their students in all levels to help, too. Other possible sources of assistance would be a salary deduction or canceling the Christmas parties so the money can instead be used for the relief drive,” he said.
Rey Collado, principal of Butuan Central Elementary School (BCES) said they are calling on teachers and students to cancel Christmas parties and donate the money for the Yolanda survivors.
BCES has 5,800 students. (Carolyn O. Arguillas, Froilan Gallardo, Roel Catoto, Bobby Timonera and Erwin Mascarinas / MindaNews)