ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR, PHILIPPINES
The Filipino’s bayanihan spirit of unity and cooperation was experienced once again by the residents of Bayog town in Zamboanga del Sur badly hit by the floods and incessant rains brought by a low-pressure area (LPA) off Surigao del Sur on November 16.
At 8:00 in the evening, local government service vehicles were ordered by Mayor Celso Matias to brave the flooded streets and rescue residents from lowland barangays.
Sirens alerted people to evacuate while Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) vehicles plied the thigh-deep floods to rescue stranded citizens and bring them to the town’s evacuation center, including employees of TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) who were holed-up at its Triple A facility. Later in the evening, LGU personnel were joined by TVIRD’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) to assist in the rescue operation.
Anxious of the rising water, a lot of residents voluntarily evacuated, according to MDRRMO’s Engr. Cirilo Carcueva. As evacuees began arriving at the gymnasium, the TVIRD team served them hot coffee, bread and biscuits that they themselves prepared. Over 500 evacuees were immediately accommodated.
The TVIRD team rested for a few hours and prepared lugaw (porridge) for the evacuees at past 3:00 AM. The evacuees eventually went home when the flood subsided in the morning.
Partnership with Government
It was a rare sight to see as people cleared their homes of mud and debris the following day while both teams from the LGU and TVIRD provided assistance to the flood victims.
The staff of Second District Congressman Leonardo Babasa began distributing food packs to town residents while the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) coordinated the relief effort that brought food packs right to the homes of affected families.
For its part, TVIRD also distributed food packs after top management delegated personnel from different departments into Bayog to handle food packing. Sacks of rice were immediately procured from rice suppliers, canned goods from local groceries as well as coffee and bottled water.
Mayor Matias allowed the team to use the gymnasium for food packing and provided the assistance of the Bayog PNP who did not leave the venue until the last pack of food was prepared.
A total of 1,377 affected families from lowland barangays of the town received food packs from TVIRD.
“I sincerely thank TVI for these food packs. It helped my constituents in their hour of need,” Mayor Matias said when Community Relations Officer Lope Dizon went to his office for coordination. Residents and purok leaders likewise expressed their appreciation for the company’s swift response.
The LPA brought continuous rains that overwhelmed parts of Sibugay River and brought heavy flood waters into the lowland barangays, killing farm animals and submerged an estimated 100 hectares of rice lands and corn fields. Waters from Dipili and Depore Rivers – which run through TVIRD’s mining area – were kept at bay. (Press Release)