MANILA - Some of the country’s biggest firms are already mobilizing to help in areas badly hit by Typhoon Odette, a private sector foundation said on Monday.
The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), composed of some of the country’s major conglomerates, said teams from Meralco and Aboitiz Power have been deployed to restore power in typhoon-battered areas.
Telcos are also “working furiously” to restore communications services in affected provinces, said PDRF president Rene Meily.
Construction conglomerate DMCI is also looking to set up temporary evacuation centers in Siargao and Cebu where families can have a safe place on Christmas eve and enjoy noche buena despite the devastation wrought by Odette, Meily said.
PDRF meanwhile lauded the “outpouring of help” from all sectors, saying private citizens are looking to donate goods and relief items to typhoon victims.
“It’s christmas season. It’s a christmas typhoon, sometimes god gives us blessings that are well disguised,” Meily said.
“So we got hit by this typhoon, but it gives us a chance to maybe celebrate the true spirit of Christmas by helping people,” he added.
PDRF said it was surprised by the rapid intensification of Odette from a tropical storm to a Category 5 typhoon in 24 hours.
Up to now, the foundation is getting requests to help look for missing loved ones and missing tourists, Meily said.
Meanwhile, Meily suggested that for these areas’ long-term recovery, the government should consider setting up economic zones to attract more private sector investment.
He said that economic zones with low taxes can entice firms to set up shop in these areas and bolster their economies into “mini-Hong Kongs and mini-Singapores.”