After receiving words of gratitude from earthquake victims in Bohol for the two weeks-worth of relief supplies they distributed, it is the turn of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Australian Aid (AusAID), and the World Food Program (WFP) to thank some 100 volunteers who helped repack goods at the DSWD warehouse in Tubigon.
“Without the help of the volunteers, we wouldn’t have met the target number of food packs for the affected families. To all the volunteers, thank you,” Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said.
The volunteers hauled and repacked goods on a 24-hour schedule to produce 10,000 sacks of food packs a day. They also loaded and unloaded sacks from the National Food Authority warehouse at the seaport and airport to the DSWD warehouse.
The food packs contain 20 kilos of rice, 10 cans of sardines, 10 cans of beef loaf, 10 pieces of noodles, 10 sachets of chocolate drink, and 10 sachets of coffee in one bag.
Three persons are needed to haul one sack of food packs.
More than 50,000 family food packs were distributed in hardest-hit towns over the weekend.
Some of the volunteers, who themselves are affected by the earthquake, are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department.
“I am a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary, I am here to help in my own small way to give back and thank the government for all the help extended to my family. Before, I can hardly send my children to school, the Pantawid Pamilya program is such a big help. I lost my home to the earthquake; DSWD and the LGU responded by giving me shelter and food. I know how important it is to get these food delivered to different families who are also victims of the earthquake,” said Luciana Asumbrado, 41, mother of five, when asked on why she volunteered.
Another volunteer, Rowena Giducos, 31, mother of three, said, “I see to it that I make time to help because I know how it feels to be a victim of a disaster. I witnessed how our house crumbled to the ground.”
WFP country director Praveen Agrawal said, “It is people like Rowena and Luciana who kept the DSWD warehouse going 24/7.”
Australian Ambassador Bill Twedell is thankful that the Australian government is part of the disaster response team.
He shared “how humbled [he is]by [the]response of the people in Bohol as he felt overwhelmed [by their]resiliency, ability to smile, and their willingness to help others even though they are also victims of the earthquake.”
Ambassador Twedell likewise expressed his admiration for Secretary Soliman and Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto.
“They are simply amazing because they are able to motivate people to help, which is definitely not an easy task,” he said.
Secretary Soliman assured, “We will ensure that the relief and rice will be delivered to those families who need food the most.”