MAKILALA, Cotabato (UPDATE)—Private individuals from neighboring provinces have been spotted along the national highway, giving out relief goods to residents affected by the series of earthquakes that struck Mindanao.
On Saturday morning, sales officer Julius Umali and his friends were seen by the ABS-CBN News team giving out plastic bags of relief goods around Makilala town in Cotabato.
One of them even crossed the national highway to hand over a pack to an old man who had a hard time walking.
Umali, who agreed to a quick interview before heading to the next town, said he and his friends prepared 300 bags of relief goods.
“Tulong lang po namin kasi mas kailangan nila dito kaysa sa amin (It’s our way of helping because they need it more than we do),” said Umali, who hails from Digos City.
He said they’ll be heading to Malasila village in Makilala, where an evacuation area is located, to distribute the rest of the aid.
Since they only have two vehicles, they will have to go back to Digos to get the rest of the relief packs and do another round of distribution.
Local government units of neighboring towns and provinces have also been seen around Cotabato, distributing goods and water.
According to Makilala officials, Midsayap town has been sending its two water tankers to supply them with potable water.
On Friday night, the Maguindanao provincial government was also seen distributing food packs and pails to evacuees.
In Brgy. Upper Bala in Magsaysay town, business owners Florencio and Gladys Joy Aradillos and their friends facilitated the distribution of relief packs.
Hailing from Digos, the couple and their friends from the 7th Day Adventist Youth distributed relief packs and tarps.
Joining them were the Labiaga family who gave away 500 ready-made meals in Makilala.
“Biktima rin kami ng lindol pero malaki pasalamat namin sa Panginoon kasi hindi gaano na-damage ang Digos City,” Florencio said.
(We’re also victims of the earthquake but we’re thankful for the Lord because Digos City wasn’t badly hit.)
He explained that they chose the area because it was where his parents used to live.
“Mahirap talaga maging biktima nito. Maswerte nga tayo kasi comfortable tayo sa ating mga bahay. Kung meron man tayong damages sa ating mga bahay OK lang. Sa kanila talagang mahirap na mahirap talaga,” he said.
(It’s really hard for the victims here. We’re lucky that we’re comfortable in our homes. Even if our homes were damaged, it’s not as bad. Here, their situations is very difficult.)
“Sa mga kababayan ko po na medyo maluwag-luwag ang bulsa natin kahit konting amount lang po na maiambag ambag natin malaking tulong na po iyon sa kanila,” he said. “Sino mang may mabuting kalooban d'yan let’s help one another.”
(For our fellow Filipinos who have extra money, even if just a small amount, let’s share. It’ll be a big help for them…Let’s help one another.)
For groups wanting to send help, Magsaysay Mayor Arthur Davin asked that they coordinate first with the local government units so relief goods can be equitably distributed.
He said this would ensure that far-flung areas will get their share of food and water.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Western Visayas sent an estimated 3,000 food packs for families affected in the Davao region and Soccsksargen.
Each family food pack contains 6 kilos of rice, 6 sachets of coffee and 8 canned goods.