Starting ’em young: kids helping out at the Tulong Kapatid Center, Aug. 21. On the right is Brett Medel, VP and chief information officer at Philex Mining Corp. | BF

MVP Group to help rehabilitate quake-devastated areas

Friday, November 1, 2013

Crowd-funding campaign launched to further cause

Companies led by businessman and sports patron Manuel V. Pangilinan have vowed to extend more help, including the rehabilitation of devastated areas and through crowd-funding, to victims of earthquake in the Visayas, where the group•€™s representatives braved aftershocks, rough roads, and security threats to deliver relief goods and services.  

€œExtending help to our fellow Filipinos in time of disaster has been the advocacy of Mr. Pangilinan and the group,•€ Michael Toledo, SVP for Corporate Affairs at Philex Mining Corp. and head of the MVP Group•€™s Media Bureau, said. •€œWe are saddened by what has happened in Bohol and Cebu, but no one should lose hope as we are always here to help you.•€  

The group, known by Mr. Pangilinan•€™s initials, MVP, and the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) have also launched •€œBrick by Brick,•€ a website dedicated to source funds from friends and supporters for the reconstruction of areas hit by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Oct. 15, and the barangays devastated by armed conflict in Zamboanga City.  

Mr. Toledo said the funds raised through this campaign would be turned over to various groups•€”such as Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, a movement for poverty alleviation and nation-building; the Catholic Church•€™s social-action arm, Caritas Philippines; and the local government units•€”in Bohol, Cebu, and Zamboanga City.  

Menchie Silvestre, executive director of Alagang Kapatid Foundation, Inc. (AKFI) the CSR, or corporate social responsibility, arm of TV5, said her team is willing to finance soup kitchens in, say, Loboc, Bohol, if the situation does not improve and there is a need to feed marginalized families, although there are no more evacuees in this town.  

AKFI representatives provided relief packs•€”containing rice, canned goods, hygiene and first-aid kits, instant noodles, and bottled water•€”to 500 families in two barangays of Balilihan, 22 kilometers northeast of the Bohol capital of Tagbilaran City, on Oct. 27. A day earlier they served 300 families in two barangays in Loboc town, in addition to 1,000 families in Maribojoc•€™s five remote barangays, three of which they reached using habal-habal (a motorcycle modified to seat more passengers) on Oct. 24 •€“ 25. They have committed to go back to Loboc after the Halloween.  

€œRemote barangays we went to were very thankful that we sacrificed to bring the goods to their areas, despite security issues,•€ Ms. Silvestre said. •€œWe did not •€˜helidrop•€™ nor utilize •€˜copters to bring the goods because we wouldn•€™t have ample time to interact with the residents and properly introduce ourselves. It was best that we contracted habal-habalboys to bring us.•€  

The MVP Group of Companies has provided holistic relief operations immediately for the quake victims in Cebu and Bohol, just like what it did to the affected families in disaster-stricken areas since last December, when it launched Tulong Kapatid Center, its social-action arm.  

Philex Mining•€™s Mine Division sent an eight-man team, whose members are all experienced miners and well-trained in search, rescue, and recovery operations, to help victims trapped under rubbles in Bohol, while Smart Communications, Inc. deployed its fourth generation Long-Term Evolution (LTE) service, to enable victims and their loved ones to communicate with each other. LTE is the fastest commercially available wireless internet technology in the country.  

Rescue 5, the emergency response unit of TV5 News and Information (News5), had teamed up with the Philex Mining team, which has been conducting retrieval operations in Sagbayan, Bohol, by providing medical assistance to residents in the said town.  

For its part, PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) had shipped 2,000 eco bags to Cebu City that were already distributed to earthquake victims. There were also 250 relief bags from PSF and another 250 from the CSR arm of Manila Electric Co., One Meralco Foundation, Inc.

Maynilad Water Services, Inc., on the other hand, had turned over 400 water jugs to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, for distribution to families in evacuation centers. It had also turned over another 500 pieces of one-gallon bottled water to AKFI, which has organized a soup kitchen for 5,000 people.