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Yolanda survivor aids others despite own typhoon woes

CEBU, Philippines - Her being also a  victim of super typhoon Yolanda did not stop a professor and humanitarian worker from attending to her neighbors first in Guiuan, Samar and in Tacloban City, Leyte.

Margarita dela Cruz, 60, said that while she, too, was among those affected by Yolanda, her neighbors and the people of Leyte and Samar are in more dire straits than she is they are the ones who should be helped first.

Asked why when she should be attending to her own concerns first, she said her needs could wait.

“Para ito sa taong bayan (This is for the people),” she said.

Shorty after Yolanda’s fury died down, dela Cruz started pooling resources and through her Guiuan Development Foundation gave relief goods to those more battered by the typhoon than she was.

The University of  the Philippines-Tacloban professor’s house in Guiuan, where Yolanda first made landfall, was destroyed while her training center was badly damaged.

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Her house, too, in Tacloban lost its roof to Yolanda. 

These, however, were not enough to dampen her enthusiasm to help the people.

A former chairperson of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Triennial Awards, she contacted RAFI for help.  RAFI responded by sending relief goods to Guiuan through dela Cruz’s foundation.

She visited RAFI the other day to discuss other ways the foundation could help.

Dela Cruz admitted that Tacloban and Guiuan were both like wastelands in the wake of  Yolanda.

But she saw hope in the leaves that are slowly sprouting from the branches of defoliated trees, in small plants struggling out of the earth.

“Nagbibigay sila sa amin ng pag-asa (What we are seeing is giving us hope),” she said.—/RHM (FREEMAN)


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