The Inbox

Yes Virginia, their telephones work


By Marilyn Mana-ay Robles, VERA Files

The week past was very revealing.  Filipinos again displayed resilience in the midst of tragedy.  As the floods came and swept away treasured material possessions people grinned and bore it out.  Some were unable to have food for days and shivered in the cold.  Even the untimely death of loved ones buried in mud was taken as mere fate.  Could something have been done to prevent or reduce the effect of this calamity?

Yes, something could have been done.  We have a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)  if you need help.  They operate 24/7.

The hotlines of NDRRMC are 911-1406, 912-2665 and 912-5668.

I called NDRMMC on August 8 after I received a Municipal Advisory via text that classes were being suspended until Friday, August 10 because dams will release water and that Meralco will cut off power in Metro Manila, etc. I dialed 912-5668.  A young man took my call.  I inquired about the veracity of the text message.  Politely, I was told it was a hoax.  I felt lucky.  Hotlines are always busy. I dialed only once. I even got a reassuring reply.

August 10, Friday. I received an emergency call from the caregiver of my bedridden brother, a retired police general. He lives in Olivas Subdivision, San Fernando, Pampanga. Despite the fact that my brother's house is elevated enough, flood waters of unimaginable levels, continued to rise. Not even the phenomenal Ondoy caused this much flood levels! The caregiver was able to ensure the safety of my brother. However, their provisions had run out. Another day and they would go hungry.  They needed relief goods immediately.

I called 912-5668 again. This time it was busy.  I dialed 912-2665. A young lady from the radio room took my call. I talked about the situation of my brother.  She said Pampanga is under NDRRMC Region 3 and its head is Director Josefina Temoteo.  She gave me the two  mobile numbers of Director Temoteo. She advised me to call the Director directly so my problem could be addressed immediately.  She then asked if I would like to speak to a DSWD representative as there was one around.  I spoke to Imee. She took all the details about my concern.  Several minutes later she updated me through a text message that she had already called the Office of the Civil Defense of Region 3 regarding my problem.   Nice job, I told myself.

I then contacted Director Temoteo. To my surprise, she was on the line!  I informed Director Temoteo of my concern. She asked me to text the address and contact number of my brother. I did.  Minutes later I received a message from her.  "Nai-forward ko na po text nyo sa DSWD3. Sinabi ko po na paki-prioritize. (I have forwarded your text tp DSWD3. I told them to make it a priority.) " I could cry.

Morning of August 11. Relief goods were not distributed yet. I learned from people in Pampanga that the flood water is still too deep.  I was informed relief goods come when the flood has subsided a bit.  The San Fernando main road was still waist deep.  Olivas subdivision was in a far worse situation.

I called Director Temoteo at past 3 in the afternoon.  I was concerned about their relief operations for Olivas Subdivision. The waters have receded somewhat.  Director Temoteo informed me she had discussed my brother's condition and situation with  PCSupt Edgardo Ladao, Region 3 director. At 3:42 Director Temoteo sent this message, "wag na kayong mag-alala. Darating na ang tulong sa olivas maya maya. (Don't worry. Help will be in Olivas in a little while.)"  My eyes was wet with tears.

I thanked Director Temoteo profusely as I could not believe that my request for assistance could be acted on immediately. I am a nobody but still I was given attention and importance.  Director Temoteo's  reply is truly touching, " Wala pong anuman. Serbisyo lang po. Tulungan po tayo ng DSWD 3, PNP, OCD at Philippine Army troops na magdedeliver ng goods doon, not only to General Mana-ay (of course siya po ang pinaka-priority) but for the other residents of Olivas Subdivision as well na kailangang bigyan ng tulong. Salamat din po sa impormasyon. (Don't mention it. This is just service. DSWD, PNP, OCD and Philippine Army troops will deliver the good there not only for General Mana-ay (of course, he is the priority) but also for other residents of Olivas Subdivision who need help. Thank you for the information)."

I have grown skeptical of many things in life. But my recent interlude with the NDRRMC taught me that things do work despite some hindrance here and there. The present government may not be that great but one of its agencies implements a system worth commending.

Call NDRRMC hotlines. The phone works. Its people too.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • Purisima denies endorsing successor
    Purisima denies endorsing successor

    Resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima denied reports that he has been urging President Aquino to appoint his protegé as the new police chief. “Contrary to news reports, PDG Alan La Madrid Purisima is not in any position to recommend and has not in fact recommended anyone to the President for appointment as next chief of the PNP,” his lawyer Kristoffer James Purisima said yesterday. Sources said that Purisima may have resigned but he reportedly remains …

  • IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate
    IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate

    "Jihadi John", the masked Islamic State group militant believed responsible for beheading of at least five Western hostages, has been named as Kuwaiti-born computing graduate Mohammed Emwazi from London. "Jihadi John", nicknamed after Beatle John Lennon due to his British accent, is believed to be responsible for the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig. …

  • Review: SKK Mobile V2, a P3,999 watered-down LG G2
    Review: SKK Mobile V2, a P3,999 watered-down LG G2

    How well does this P3,999 offering from an underdog in the local mobile industry stack up against the competition? Let's find out. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options