As Relief Efforts Continue, Progressive Groups Rely on People’s Kindness

The Arroyo government continues to be the central recipient of financial assistance and material donations for typhoon victims coming from various donors and international institutions.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that the government received more than $103 million or P4.80 billion in cash donations and pledges. The Special National Public Reconstruction Commission will earmark a P100-billion stimulus fund for rehabilitation efforts. Despite the huge amount available for relief and rehabilitation efforts, government actions remain inadequate.

The towns of Mangaldan, San Fabian and Dagupan City were among the towns visited by Tulong Anakpawis. Parts of Barangay Guisang, one of the hardest hit village in Mangaldan, remain isolated. Volunteers crossed a river to reach the victims. Residents said it was the first time that they received relief goods.

While one Tulong Anakpawis volunteer offered apologies for the limited goods they brought, Aling Josefa, a 67-year old resident said in the local language, “Thank you very much. What you gave us would at least provide two meals for me and my grandchildren.”

In Barangay Embarcadero, shanties are built on swampy waters, making it harder for the residents to continue living in their ruined huts.
Known for bangus (milkfish) and seafood produce, fish vendors in Dagupan City are selling bangus at lower prices, only P50 to P65 ($1.05 to $1.36) per kilo, while live shrimps are sold only at P80 to P120 ($1.68 to $2.52) per kilo.”

More than 500 families in the coastal town of San Fabian were very thankful to Tulong Anakpawis. One resident of Barangay Sabangan Sur said, “This was the first time we were reached by relief operations. You are the only ones who went into the interior villages.”

In some barangays, there were families who haven’t received goods as the resources were also limited. But the volunteers patiently explained the situation to them and in the end the residents also understood.

Anakpawis chapters from La Union and Cordillera picked-up more than thousand packs of relief goods from Pangasinan as the Tulong Anakpawis contingent were not able to proceed to the said provinces due to severe road conditions, lack of time and resources.

The atmosphere during the entire relief operations could be likened to the popular noontime show ‘Wowowee.’ People were clapping, happy but almost in tears after receiving a bag with 2-kilos of rice and 2 cans of sardines. Their messages of thanks were unending, always expressing gratitude to people who like them have less in life but are doing everything they can to give everything they have.

The Northern Luzon leg of the relief operations and were able to service almost 3,000 families and 40 barangays in the two provinces. (

Mao Hermitanio is a legislative staff of the Office of Rep. Joel Maglunsod.

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