MMDA fetes 220 volunteers in 'Yolanda' relief
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2013 - 11:56am

MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has honored 220 volunteers sent by the local government units of Metro Manila to help in the  rescue and relief operations in the provinces in Visayas hit by super typhoon Yolanda.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino conveyed his gratitude to the members of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) Rescue Legion who took part in the rescue and rehabilitation efforts in Leyte and Samar.

“These rescue and aid workers worked alongside the MMDA humanitarian assistance team for weeks in the typhoon-ravaged communities in Leyte and Samar. Their contribution to the relief efforts is invaluable, and we at the MMDA are honored to work with them,” Tolentino said.

Each member of the legion received from Tolentino a certificate of recognition, a service badge, and tickets to the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

Tolentino also thanked the MMC composed of the 17 mayors of Metro Manila in heeding his call for the creation of the MMC Rescue Legion, the first joint rescue unit formed by the MMDA and the MMC.

Less than a week after Yolanda’s devastation, Tolentino asked the Metro Manila mayors to send at least 10 rescue and relief workers to the devastated provinces to bolster the government’s aid and rehabilitation operations.

Fourteen of the 17 Metro Manila local government units deployed their rescuers and medical personnel to different areas in Samar, Leyte, and other typhoon-hit municipalities, while the rest sent various financial assistance and donations.

At least 600 rescue and aid personnel from the MMDA and the MMC Rescue Legion were working round-the-clock at the damaged provinces at the height of the local and international relief efforts in the Visayas region.
In addition, the MMC also crafted a one-year rehabilitation plan for the towns they have sponsored under the MMDA’s adopt-a-town program.

The MMDA and the MMC agreed to implement the adopt-a-town program to hasten the recovery of typhoon-devastated localities in the Visayas region.
“This is the first time the MMDA and the Metro Manila LGUs worked together in a disaster relief operation,” Tolentino said.

The MMDA chief added he is also proposing to the MMC the continuous re-training of the MMC Rescue Legion, which has  become a permanent rescue and disaster unit of the MMDA and the MMC.

“This is now a permanent unit that will be deployed to disaster areas in times of need. We hope to have at least 1,200 legionnaires that can be immediately deployed in a moment’s notice,” Tolentino said. 

Meanwhile, Tolentino said, the Metro Manila Council Rescue Legion will also be deployed for the Feast of the Black Nazarene procession in Manila on January 9.

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