PAL brings relief goods, other donations to typhoon-stricken Cebu

·4 min read

A HUMANITARIAN flight arrived in typhoon-stricken Cebu Friday morning, December 31, 2021, bringing relief goods, hygiene kits, and water from several donors and sponsors.

The latest Bayanihan effort brought together several groups of companies and foundations to join hands to bring donated goods to typhoon-stricken Cebu on the last day of 2021.

The flight was made possible by the MVP group composed of Maynilad, Meralco and other companies, One Meralco Foundation, Philippine Airlines and its foundation, GMA, Makati Medical Center, PTT Philippines, and Chevron Philippines, among others.

PAL provided the aircraft and personnel while PTT and Chevron sponsored the jet fuel used by the aircraft.

Makati Med and Maynilad Water Services brought hygiene kits and two tons of water while GMA Kapuso Foundation Inc. brought relief goods.

The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, represented by Undersecretary Anthony Gerard “Jonji” Gonzales, accepted the donations on behalf of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino.

Gonzales also thanked the MVP group of companies, PAL, Chevron, and PTT for mounting the humanitarian flight.

The OP-OPAV, through Secretary Dino, also gave assurance that the donations will be delivered to badly-hit areas in the Visayas without delay.

“This is Bayanihan. This is the call of the times,” Gonzales said. “Relief delivery is now made quicker with military and Coast Guard assets purchased during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s administration. Now, it’s easier to send goods to the severely affected areas like hard-to-reach islands.”

Earlier, the President had directed that all government assets be used in bringing assistance and relief to the areas hit by typhoon Odette. Meanwhile, the wives of five of the Meralco lineman who came to Cebu to help in the restoration efforts, also joined the flight so they could surprise their husbands who would still be staying in Cebu for the restoration efforts.

Jeffrey Tarayao, Meralco Foundation Inc. president, said Meralco deployed 54 linemen, engineers, and support staff to help the Visayan Electric Company and the Mactan Electric Company repair and rehabilitate toppled poles, transmission and distribution lines after super typhoon Odette wrought havoc in Cebu.

Tarayao said they are staying on to help as long as they’re needed. “We take our cue from our partners VECO and MECO. as long as we’re needed, we are willing to stay here,” he said.

Tarayao stressed that although Meralco’s based in Manila, the company will always be there to extend help when needed.

“We understand the dilemma. That’s the reason why we’re supporting the restoration efforts. Electricity brings with it light; light brings hope. It’s very important – pagmamalasakit. Even if we’re far away, if our Pilipino kababayans need us, nandyan ang Meralco,” he said.

Maria Elizabeth Mendoza, the wife of Meralco lineman Audi Mendoza, said she feels proud her husband has decided to join the Meralco team who came to Cebu to help in the restoration efforts. Her husband joined because “we love our kababayans.”

This is the first time her husband who has been working for Meralco for 32 years has joined restoration efforts.

Peachy Ann Jamero, the wife of lineman Cornelio Jamero Jr., said she was glad that her husband, who was recently awarded as one of the outstanding linemen, was among those chosen to join the team.

Mendoza and Jamero are among the five wives who came to spend a brief time with their lineman-husbands but will be returning to Manila on the aircraft’s return flight.

“Personally, I express my gratitude to the post-Odette heroes who left their families to spend Christmas in Cebu, and not spending New Year here too, just to restore power that will also bring back water supply,” Usec Gonzales said.

Meralco, along with other power companies and cooperatives, has been providing much-needed help not only in Cebu but also in other areas in the Visayas.

Meanwhile, PAL Express president Bonifacio Sam noted that the company always participates in bringing relief to areas when needed. “Actually, in the airline industry, we are always there every time there are disasters and calamities.”

The humanitarian flight on Friday is one of the many contributions of PAL to relief efforts. PAL has allocated space of up to one ton (for a big aircraft) for relief goods and donations per flight to areas hit by typhoon Odette, Sam said.

In the aftermath of Odette, PAL has been bringing relief goods to Cebu, Tagbilaran City, and Cagayan de Oro, he said.

The airline also transported passengers going to Cebu and Manila through emergency flights from Siargao, Sam recalled.

He then urged Cebu to be patient. “Aid will come and we’ll help deliver the donations to places where these are most needed,” Sam added. (PR)

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