DECEMBER is the happiest time of the year for Filipinos, but last year, it was not, at least for the people of Leyte and Samar and neighboring cities and towns called on by an uninvited guest—Typhoon Urduja.
Making landfall in Samar on December 16, Urduja dumped rain that inundated entire towns, forcing hundreds of families to flee their homes and find temporary shelter in cramped evacuation centers.
Pres. Jun Jun Dayrit and Community Service Dir. Chris Ferareza immediately went to work, activating the Club’s donations mechanism, and raising P285,000 in a matter of 4 days. With the funds, Dir. Chris worked with COS Ron Dotaro to purchase items most needed in times of disaster. They coordinated with Dir. Boy Arteche, a native Taclobanon, and with the Rotary Clubs of Kankabato and Biliran Island on the must-haves of the relief mission, to make sure every base was loaded and the goods could get to their destinations at once. There was no time to waste.
If there was a perfect way to actualize the Christmas spirit of giving through selfless service, this was it.
On the 27th, Dir. Chris and Ron took an early flight to Tacloban and spent the entire day handing out relief goods, including sleeping mats and blankets, to people in the evacuation centers. In total, 468 families were served in four towns in Biliran, Leyte—129 in Almeria, 79 in Atupolo, 60 in Larazabal, and 200 in Caray-Caray. They hurried back to Tacloban in the evening, where Dir. Chris turned over to Dr. Jimmy Opinion of the Tacloban City Health Office a check for P51,000 to be used for the construction of three waiting tents. The duo flew back to Manila the following day.
On the 23rd, a mere two days before Christmas, Typhoon Vinta struck Mindanao, zeroing in on Davao and Bukidnon. By the time it exited on Christmas day, roads had turned into rivers and people were walking in chest-deep waters. Responding to a request by PDG Miriam Ruth “Jing” Dablio – De la Calzada of District 3870, the Club sent P30,000 worth of relief goods to Valencia City, Bukidnon distributed to 70 families in Brgy. Catumbalon on December 31.
Among the many respondents to the appeal for donations were Philip Cea of F1 Hotel and Derrick Tan and Bong Gumban of St. Giles Hotel, who gave bed linens, mattresses and towels for use by the refugees. The items are due to be transported on a C130 plane to Cagayan de Oro for affected families in Marawi.
On behalf of the recipients in Leyte, Bukidnon, and Marawi, we thank the following Rotarians for responding with dispatch to the Club’s appeal for donations: Pres. Jun Jun Dayrit, IPP David Ackerman, PP Joe Alejandro, PP Fidel Alfonso, PP Felix Amparo, Felix Ang, Johnny Ang, Dir. Boy Arteche, Louie Aseoche, George Barcelon, Chito Cantada, Roger Collantes, Dir. Michael Escaler, Dir. Chris Ferareza, Louie Fernandez, Eddie Galvez, PDG Sid Garcia, Ric Gindap, Mundy Gonzalez, Wilfred Gui, PP Ric Librea, Julian Lim, Wash Lou, PP Conrad Marty, PN Bimbo Mills, David Nithyananthan, PP Reggie Nolido, Manny Padiernos, PP Tito Panlilio, PE Fred Pascual, Porsche Pena, Andrew Prieto, Gary Phillips, Freddie Placino, Ed Rojas, Rodrigo Segura, Philip Soliven, Johnny Sy, Ann Terry Tambunting, Derrick Tan, Johnson Tan, Wilson Tan, Jolyon Tiglao, PP Roland Young, Sam Young, Dick Upton and an anonymous donor.
Thanks, too, to Derrick Tan and Bong Gumban of St. Giles Hotel and Philip Cea of F1 Hotel for the donations of mattresses, beddings and towels; Drexx Laggui for the use of his van for transporting the donated hotel items from F1 Hotel and St. Giles to the RCM Clubhouse; Sec. Boy Arteche for coordinating the needs of the Tacloban City Health Office; RC Kankabato and RC Biliran Island for their assistance with the relief operations; and PP Maita Manlapus of RC Mactan for connecting us to the military on the use of a C130 plane.
We reserve our utmost gratitude to Dir. Chris Ferareza and Ron Dotaro for so graciously giving up the better part of the Christmas break to bring much-needed help and a taste of Christmas cheer to the families that suffered the wrath of Typhoon Urduja.