By Mar S. Arguelles
LEGAZPI CITY --- Millions of pesos worth of donations from various private corporations and foundations keep pouring in Albay as Mayon volcano shows decreasing sign of restiveness after months of fear and anxiety among the affected residents and evacuees.
Report reaching the Regional Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) said several companies from the mining industry and a private foundation have stepped up efforts to assist thousands of displaced families that were housed in various evacuation centers in the province since Mayon Volcano showed its restiveness in the middle part of January this year.
Claudio Yucot, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director and RDRRMC chairperson, said there are 17,329 families or 66,009 persons who are still housed in 61 evacuation centers in the towns of Malilipot, Bacacay, Sto Domingo, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, and the cities of Tabaco, Ligao, and Legazpi.
Yucot said the national and local governments have so far spent a total of P325M as assistance given to thousands of displaced families affected by Mayon volcano eruption.
Mining companies donations
A total of P7.7M worth of relief goods, shelter and medical supplies were donated by major mining industry players to the displaced community members who are now in evacuation centers, according to Marionne Ruiz, Public Affairs chief of the Filminera Resource Corp, a mining firm operating in Aroroy town in Masbate.
Ruiz is tasked by the Council of Mines to coordinate with the Departments of Environment and Education for the millions of pesos worth of relief assistance, including tents donated by 15 mining companies operating across the country.
Ruiz said the bulk of the contributions was from the Masbate Gold Project (MGP), whose mine site is situated in Aroroy, Masbate.
The mining firm is the single largest investor in the province of Masbate, whose Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) has lifted Aroroy from a fourth-class municipality into a first class category.
The two firms under MGP: Filminera Resources Corp. and Phil. Gold Processing & Refining Corp. jointly donated 25 large military-grade tents that can shelter up to 40 people to the Department of Education (DepEd) regional office.
The donated tents have held up to the standards of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and have been approved to be used as temporary classrooms.
The tents will be used as temporary classrooms for the students affected by the Mayon eruption, as the schools and classrooms in Legazpi are currently being used as evacuation centers for families who have been moved to safety from the damages and dangers of the Mayon eruption.
An OCD report indicated that currently there are 72,166 learners in 53 public schools that were affected when their classroom were used as evacuation centers.
The report said the DepEd was able to build 188 of the 196 Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS) it needed to accommodate the thousands of elementary pupils whose regular classes were disrupted by the forced evacuation.
Aside from the tents, the MGP has also donated P 3.5M worth of relief goods to the evacuees.
Other companies who contributed include Orica Philippines Inc., OceanaGold Phils., Inc., Philippine Nickel Industry, Carmen Copper Corporation, Mt. Labo Exploration & Develop Corporation, Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project, MGB CAR, Greenstone Resources Corporation, LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc., Central Luzon IEC, National Community Relations Practitioners of the Philippines, Carascal Nickel Corporation, Nickel Asia Corporation, and FCF Minerals.
The donations were mostly food packs and dust masks, hygiene kits, medicine and clothes to the evacuated families.
Earlier, business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan’s group of companies held a 7-day (Feb 10-16) Mayon Tulong Kapatid humanitarian assistance that assisted over 8,000 people housed in at least seven evacuation centers in the towns of Camalig, Guinobatan, Malilipot, including the cities of Ligao and Legazpi.
Joyce Panaligan of Smart Communication Public Affairs department said the Tulong Kapatid was able to serve hot meals to displaced families staying in various evacuation centers in Albay.
Panaligan said aside from the feeding program, the Mayon Tulong Kapatid also provided hygiene kits, grocery packs, Manila water, “Libreng Tawag” parlor games for children and adults, and free cable viewing in selected evacuation centers chosen by the Alagang Kapatid Foundations.
Tulong Kapatid Foundation
Tulong Kapatid is a corporate social responsibility program of the MVP group of companies geared toward helping families that fell victims of calamities such as the Mayon eruptions.
Among the MVP group of companies are Smart, Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), One Meralco, Phelix Mining, Maynilad Waters, Alagang Kapatid Foundation and ABC 5 television network.
Each of the MVP group of companies has its significant role during the 7-day Mayon Tulong Kapatid disaster relief operation which started on Feb.10 until Feb, 16, this year, disclosed Menchie Silvestre, Executive Director of Tulong Kapatid Foundation.