PNoy to volunteers: Country needs you
MANILA, Philippines – “Every food pack you put together, remember it is for one family. That is how they will survive for two days.”
President Benigno Aquino III paused from managing a national calamity to thank and rally volunteers repacking relief goods and urge them to devote more time to the effort and get their friends to volunteer, too.
The commander-in-chief visited the relief centers at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City and the army headquarters in Taguig City on Thursday evening, November 14.
In his visits, Aquino addressed the volunteers, explaining to them the gravity of the situation in the disaster-hit areas and the importance of their work.
He said there are 275,000 families or 1.4 million people who have not yet eaten, do not have electricity, and have lost loved ones to the world’s strongest typhoon.
“So to meet that, we are trying to produce close to 140,000 food packs per day,” he said. “So ito ho, lahat nung pagbo-volunteer ninyo dito, gusto ko lang i-emphasize, malaking tulong ho talaga ito para makalma ang mga tao doon, para hindi maging desperado.”
(So your work here, I want to emphasize, that is a big help to calm people there, so they do not get desperate.)
The world’s most powerful typhoon to make landfall, Haiyan devastated the Visayas, leaving over 2,000 dead. The situation in storm-hit areas has become increasingly desperate 6 days since the disaster, with aid unable to reach many victims. Relief efforts have improved but officials admit that no effort is “fast enough.”
Aquino pointed out that the victims have gone through a weeklong ordeal.
“There is no easy solution. For power, over a hundred transmission towers went down. Some lines connecting Luzon and Visayas were also destroyed. Our geothermal plant in Leyte, that was also affected.”
“Kaya medyo malungkot ho talaga ang Pasko nila. Tinatayang mababalik iyong kuryente baka Disyembre 15 at may kahalo nang dasal ho iyon.” (That’s why their Christmas is really sad. We estimate power to be back on December 15, but that already comes with high hopes.)
‘It’s the weekend, please volunteer’
At this point, Aquino issued an appeal to the volunteers.
“So, magpapakapal na ho ako. Kung pupuwede may mga mamungkahi pa tayong tumulong sa atin dito para mas mapabilis natin iyong paglilipat nung mga pagkain, tubig, may mga tents rin at saka iba pang mga bagay na kailangan ng ating mga kababayan na talagang dumadaan sa matinding paghihirap.”
(So I won’t hold back. If you can, convince others to help out here so we can quicken the pace of transferring food, water, tents, and other supplies badly needed by our countrymen who have really gone through great suffering.)
“Dumamay na kayo, baka may sobra pa kayong oras. Malapit pa ang weekend, baka meron pa kayong mayaya. Talagang kailangan ho natin maipadala lahat ito sa iba pang mga lugar tulad ng Cebu, maibigay natin kaagad doon sa mga nangangailangan.”
(You already helped out, but maybe you have more time. The weekend is drawing near, maybe you can lend more time. We really need to send all this aid to other areas like Cebu so we can immediately distribute this to those who need it.)
The President said it was crucial for volunteers to work fast.
“’Pag tumagal ho nang tumagal, maski sino ho sa atin siguro magiging desperado at iyon ang gusto nating iwasan.” (The longer the time aid fails to reach them, the more desperate they get and that is what we want to avoid.)
Amid criticism over the slow relief effort, the President said the government is doing all it can for the victims. “We are addressing everything: from the supplies to repacking to the system to the transport.”
Aquino said the loss of electricity and communication compounded the problem, especially for victims who have no information about what is going on.
“'Saan ba tayo pupunta?' 'Sino ba ang lalapitan natin?' So ito nga ho, balak ko makabalik ho by Saturday at sana ho kumpleto na iyong pangangailangan araw-araw at hindi ho mabilisan natin matatapos iyong problema dahil marami nga hong nawalan ng kanilang mga tirahan.”
(“Where do we go?” “Who do we ask for help?” So this is their situation. I plan to visit them again on Saturday and I hope we are able to complete their daily needs, but we will not be able to quickly address the problem because many lost their homes.)
Aquino said it will take more than a few months to rebuild the homes of the victims because there are so many people affected.
He said every time volunteers feel exhausted, they should always keep an image in mind.
“Kapag napapagod na nga ho tayo, tandaan na lang natin, bawat isang food pack may pamilyang nabigyan natin ng paraan magpatuloy [ng] dalawang araw.” (When we get tired, let us remember that every food pack gives a family means to continue living for two days.)
He added, “Sa ngalan po nila, sa ngalan po ng bansa natin, maraming, maraming salamat po at tsaka talagang itong pagtutulungan ho ng gobyerno at tsaka ng taumbayan, talagang magpapabilis ng pagsasaayos ng buhay ho nila.”
(So on their behalf, on behalf of our country, thank you so much, and this collaboration between the government and the people will really help get their lives back on track.) – Ayee Macaraig/Rappler.com
Here is a list of DSWD repacking sites:
Aside from the DSWD National Resource Operations Center (NROC) located at Chapel Road, NAIA, Pasay City, the satellite repacking hubs are the following:
National Capital Region (NCR)
• Ninoy Aquino Stadium
Rizal Memorial Sports Complex
M. Adriatico Street, Manila
Director Honorita Bayudan
Director Chi Redaja
Director Mariz Maristela
• De La Salle University ( North and South Conservatory)
2401 Taft Ave., Manila
Joseph Rosal of COSCA
525-4267 local 147
• Camp Aguinaldo
Director Paz Sarino
• Villamor Air Base, Multipurpose Hall, Pasay City
Director Ping Shalim
0917-819-5086, 853-5128, 853-5003, 853-4944, 853-4995 and 853-5057
• Albay Astrodome
Legazpi City, Albay
Contact No. :
• DSWD Regional Office
MH del Pilar Street, Molo, Iloilo City
• Mactan Air Base, Mactan Island, Cebu
(032) 232-9507; 0916-4371532
• DPWH Area
Interested volunteers are encouraged to call/text beforehand for their shifting schedule.
Meanwhile, the schedule for volunteers at DSWD-NROC is already full until November 18. All those interested in volunteering, please call 851-2681/852-8081. ### November 14, 2013 (DSWD-Social Marketing Service)