Phl’s top corporations chip in for typhoon victims
Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Some of the nation’s largest corporations have pledged millions of pesos in cash and food items to support immediate relief efforts in typhoon-ravaged Visayas.

The SM Group of retail tycoon Henry Sy donated P100 million to hardest-hit areas, including Tacloban, Ormoc, Samar, Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz and Bicol.

The SM Group has also set aside a portion of the funds for Bohol rebuilding efforts, which was hardest hit by the magnitude 7.2 quake last Oct. 15.

The fund will focus on five different types of assistance – rebuilding homes, community centers, schools, and churches, and providing immediate relief through food and supplies, SM said.

SM Foundation is taking the lead in the relief effort with the nationwide reach of SM Cares of the mall group, SM Savemore, and BDO Foundation.

Each group has a different expertise in the community support program, and will be working with community groups to expand the efforts and widen the reach of the relief operation.

The SM group’s shopping malls will also start accepting donations of relief goods from the public under its “Operation Tulong Express” program.

The family’s banking units, BDO and ChinaBank, will start accepting cash donations, which will be remitted to the devastated areas.

The MVP Group of Companies of Manuel V. Pangilinan, meanwhile, has raised P30.45 million for Yolanda victims via a telethon from 9 p.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. yesterday.

Michael Toledo, senior vice-president for corporate affairs at Philex Mining Corp., said all donations would be spent for relief goods, medicine and even housing or infrastructure reconstruction.

Maynilad Water Services Inc. said it is donating P1 million through the PLDT-Smart Foundation, which is part of the Tulong Kapatid efforts of the MVP Group of Companies.

The company is also sending 12,000 units of one-liter bottles, 15,000 one-gallon jugs and 10,000 pieces of bottled water to various organizations.

SMC Group, Jollibee

San Miguel Corp. and its subsidiaries also mobilized its business units and its major facilities in the region for relief operations.

Philippine Airlines said it would start free airlifting of critical supplies and relief goods for Yolanda victims in the hardest hit areas.

Petron Corp. has designated over 500 service stations nationwide as drop-off points for donations. The company said it would also establish temporary service stations to ensure reliable fuel supply at the right prices.

San Miguel Brewery said it would use its Mandaue brewery as command center for relief operations and drop-off points for donation.

Jollibee Foods Corp. announced that is now accepting donations through Jollibee Group Foundation coin banks in over 2,000 Jollibee stores nationwide or through its peso account at Metrobank-Cubao Araneta branch and dollar account at Banco de Oro-Megamall branch.

Seized rice to be distributed

Meanwhile, Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon said the 90 shipping containers of seized rice, which was the subject of a congressional inquiry last year, could be distributed to typhoon victims.

In separate letters to Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Biazon said the Mango brand premium rice, which are stored at the Port of Subic, are ready for distribution.

The shipment, which was imported from Vietnam on July 24, 2012, was initially intended for the victims of Typhoon Pablo. But Biazon noted the risk of contamination due to their perishable nature.

“The havoc wrought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda is unimaginable. Hence, the urgent facilitation and release of the forfeited goods for the immediate distribution and consumption of the victims of the said calamity is more fervently reiterated,” Biazon said.

LGU support

Donations from various local government units are also pouring in for victims of Yolanda.

The Makati City government pledged P10 million while the provincial board of Pangasinan approved a resolution granting P2 million each to Tacloban City and the province of Leyte.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said it would give at least P1 million worth of relief goods.

The Clark Development Corp. is donating P1 million, which was allotted for their annual Christmas party, to the victims.

Isabela has sent an 80-man contingent composed of medical, rescue and retrieval personnel, policemen and soldiers to assist in the relief and rehabilitation efforts in Tacloban City.

Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy II said the contingent also brought with them 1,000 sacks of rice.

Fund raising

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, a former congressman, told The STAR yesterday a group of former congressmen is also raising funds for relief goods to be distributed to constituents of their colleague, former Rep. Florencio Noel of the party-list group An Waray, in Tacloban City. The Noels lost their family home in the city.

Hataman said aside from him, the donors include Senators Juan Edgardo Angara and Francis Escudero, former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla, Mayor Justin Marc Chipeco of Calamba City in Laguna, and Joel Villanueva, who heads the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

“We will ask other friends in Congress like Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and his House counterpart, Rep. Boyet (Neptali) Gonzales (of Mandaluyong City), for contributions. We will welcome help from other members,” he said.

The House, under Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., is also raising funds for typhoon victims in the Visayas.

“I call on everyone to take on whatever constructive role they can and join us in government to assist our countrymen in these affected areas. We who have been spared have an even greater role to play towards recovery so that no challenge can get in the way of our goals for this nation,” Belmonte said over the weekend.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas appealed to governors and mayors spared by Yolanda to mobilize their personnel and resources to assist typhoon victims.

Roxas also called on the private sector to extend technical experts and volunteers, particularly those who could help in the restoration of communication and power lines, water supply, clearing of debris and medical assistance.

Quick response teams

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) activated its quick response team in the Visayas to assist typhoon victims.

PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II said the PCSO branches in Palawan, Samar, Cebu, Iloilo and Bacolod would fast-track the processing of requests for assistance.

“PCSO will shoulder the hospital bills of victims directly affected by the storm who are confined in public hospitals and health care facilities,” he said.

He said the PCSO board also approved the sending of a water treatment facility in the cities of Ormoc or Tacloban.

PCSO assistant general manager for charity Larry Cedro said they would also send 100,000 family emergency medicine kits for common ailments such as fever, diarrhea and pain as well as blankets, sleeping mats and mosquito nets.

He said there would be an initial delivery of 20,000 family emergency medicine kits and they would also send a team of physicians, nurses and dentists to Tacloban City.

Search teams

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino said they sent four rapid deployment search teams to the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc in Leyte and Borongan in Eastern Samar on Sunday to help in the rescue and clearing operations.

Tolentino said the four teams would coordinate with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The teams are composed of 50 personnel from the agency’s Public Safety Division, Road Emergency Group, Metro Parkways Clearing Group and Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group. –  With Evelyn Macairan, Perseus Echeminada, Mike Frialde, Rhodina Villanueva, Jess Diaz, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Rainier Allan Ronda, Cesar Ramirez, Ric Sapnu, Eva Visperas, Raymund Catindig

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