JULY 23, 2021, MANILA— The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), in partnership with Pilipinas Shell, Aboitiz Foundation, and UPS Foundation, delivered much-needed aid to the communities hardest-hit by the recent Taal volcano eruption, in nine evacuation centers in the municipalities of Agoncillo, Laurel, and Talisay, Batangas.
Through the “Aksyon Para sa Batangas” response program, PDRF deployed staff to repack and distribute hygiene kits, face masks, and other donated relief items to the different affected communities in Batangas.
Each hygiene kit contained bath soap, alcohol, shampoo, sanitary napkins, toothpaste, toothbrushes. Logistical support was provided by the UPS Foundation through the deployment of one ten-wheeler van and three six-wheeler trucks to help deliver the relief goods. Ronald McDonalds House of Charities likewise donated 1,500 toys to the children currently staying in the evacuation centers.
Other private companies who contributed to the relief efforts were: PLDT-SMART, Globe Telecom, Ayala Foundation, the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF), Manila Water Foundation, Rebisco Foundation, Phapcares Foundation, BDO Foundation, ICTSI Foundation, Bauan International Port, Inc and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation.
“In Pilipinas Shell, we believe in the importance of public and private sector partnerships during a time of crisis, as we attempt to build our country’s resilience. As survival is our main goal, we elevate our fellow countrymen through these necessary donations. In view of the persistent threat of the pandemic, it was difficult to practice safe distancing and sanitary conditions at the evacuation zones; yet PDRF and other government agencies/partners secured the delivery of much-needed aid to the most affected evacuees,” Pilipinas Shell Vice President For External and Government Relations Serge Bernal shares.
Last July 1, following a short phreatomagmatic (involving both magma and water) eruption by Taal Volcano, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) placed the province of Batangas under Alert Level 3, warning that the movement of magma from the volcano may further drive other eruptions. Taal Volcano Island remains a Permanent Danger Zone (PMZ) and all activities around the island are prohibited due to risks of ash and debris in the air as well as volcanic tsunamis. This catastrophe rocked the region already struggling to deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PDRF likewise aided the region during the Taal eruption in 2020. The Assistant Provincial Administrator and Head of Logistics, Provincial Incident Management Team, of the Provincial Government of Batangas, Mr. Mr. Colin Berberabe Garcia, shared this message:
"The People of the Province of Batangas are grateful to the continued support of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation team and partners. We now have on our hands an unprecedented ‘Triple Whammy’ event - a volcanic eruption, a pandemic, and the rainy season, all happening simultaneously. Despite these challenges, the PDRF serves as a helping hand to our people, especially to our evacuees and responders, and also as a guiding light towards recovery and resilience. Thank you for bringing us help and hope, and together, let us build back better!"
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, as of July 18, a total of 18, 968 persons from 5, 361 families have been affected by the volcanic eruption. Twenty-two evacuation centers have been set up to accommodate the displaced communities. The entire CALABARZON region is currently under a State of Calamity with classes suspended in 23 local government units (LGUs).
PDRF President Mr. Rene Meily said: “Taal is one of the most beautiful and dangerous volcanoes in the world. I’m proud of the private sector’s ability to respond to the recent eruption despite the ongoing pandemic.” PDRF is calling on its partners to continue to support the first responders in Batangas who are in dire need of food items, hygiene kits, PPEs, disinfectants, and other critical items. The foundation will continue to monitor the situation and will send regular updates as needed.
About PHILIPPINE DISASTER RESILIENCE FOUNDATION
Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) is the country’s major private sector vehicle and coordinator for disaster resilience. As an alliance of businesses dedicated to building the disaster risk management capabilities of the private sector in the country, PDRF aims to contribute to the sustainable development and the general welfare of the Filipino people. For more information, visit www.pdrf.org.
Maria Isabel Almenteros
Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation