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Editorial

Time to help

/ 03:14 AM October 10, 2011

It’s a time of coming together. The damage caused by Typhoon “Pedring” in Luzon may exceed that of Tropical Storm “Ondoy” two years ago, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Initial estimates put the damage from Pedring as exceeding P13  billion. The estimate is by no means final; the NDRRMC has yet to determine the full cost of the damage to farmlands and fisheries as well as to roads and bridges in Central Luzon and even Northern Luzon. Moreover, it also has yet to report the damage wrought by Typhoon “Quiel,” which hit the same areas pummeled by Pedring.

As to the death toll, the NDRRMC said 56 people died during Pedring’s onslaught, while Quiel’s death toll has reached four.

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The council’s records place Ondoy’s damage to crops and infrastructure at P10.9 billion. In that calamity, up to 464 people died, and 37 others went missing.

The estimate on Pedring’s damage to agriculture and infrastructure does not yet account for areas in Central Luzon that remain flooded even after the typhoon left the country on Sept. 28. Damage to crops and livestock has reached P7.5 billion, including P6.8 billion in palay losses, while damage to roads, bridges, schools and hospitals has reached P1.25 billion. In Bulacan, thousands of families have been displaced and evacuated to schools and churches. Many continue to stay there as of this writing, as the waters have not receded from their fields and neighborhoods.

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Meanwhile, Pangasinan has lost more than P700 million worth of crops, roads, bridges and dikes to the two typhoons.

Nueva Ecija, Luzon’s biggest rice-producing province, has lost an expected rice harvest of more than 300,000 metric tons (MT). At P12 a kilogram, total loss would amount to P3.63 billion. Some 188,000 hectares were planted to rice this cropping season, but only about 3,000 hectares had been harvested before the typhoons struck. Of the total area planted, 154,526 hectares were projected to suffer losses of 30-80 percent.

With the unprecedented humanitarian and economic disaster, the Inquirer and the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR)—a network of business associations, corporations and corporate foundations—have come together to provide relief and assistance to victims of Pedring and Quiel. Donations such as canned goods, noodles, rice, water, hygiene kits and blankets may be sent to the Inquirer head office on Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets in Makati City. Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Help Fund’s Current Account No. 4951-0067-56, under the name of Philippine Daily Inquirer Inc., in the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch in Intramuros; or in CNDR’s BPI Savings Account No. 0031-0654-02 or BDO Savings Account No. 004640030358. (Inquiries may be made at the Inquirer’s corporate affairs office, 8994426 or 8978808. Ask for Connie Kalagayan or Bianca Kasilag.)

As always, you can count on Filipinos to come together and aid their brethren affected by calamities. And we are seeing the same beautiful show of generosity right now as several initiatives, not just Inquirer-CNDR’s, have been forged by the private sector, most especially the churches, to rush aid and relief to the victims of Pedring and Quiel. In Plaridel, Bulacan, for example, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Malolos under Bishop Jose Maria Oliveros and the parish church under Fr. Nicanor Lalog, who’s also a journalist and a consultant-broadcaster on Radio Veritas, have been providing refuge for a number of displaced families in its chapels and is aiding victims hemmed in and marooned by the floods. The refugees are in acute need of water, food and medical attention, according to Father Lalog. If you want to help, you may deposit your donation at the Archdiocese’s Commission on Service bank account with BPI Plaridel, Account No. 4720-0031-18. For donation in kind, find out what the refugees really need from Father Lalog, 09209816629.

As expected, the Caritas Manila of the Manila Archdiocese headed by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, the primate of the Philippine Church, has been aiding the other dioceses and churches. All collections in all Sunday Masses in Manila on Sunday, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, would go to the typhoon victims and relief efforts to aid them, said Cardinal Rosales. Fr. Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila, said the smallest donation is much appreciated. “It doesn’t need to be a lot, even a single canned good would go a long way,” the priest said. How true. Small gestures of charity are big steps for humanity.

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TAGS: disasters, Natural calamities, NDRRMC, Ondoy, Pedring, Quiel, Typhoon
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