The Philippines usually averages around 20 typhoons annually, but as everyone can agree, the year 2020 is far from usual.
Just a few days after Super Typhoon Rolly on October 31, Typhoon Ulysses rolled in on November 11, leaving very little time in between to recover from the devastation it wrought.
As of this writing, combined fatalities from the 19th and 22nd typhoons of the season, respectively, are at about 65, still with about 30 missing, and damages assessed at around P22 billion (US$456 million) all across Luzon.
This makes it an all-hands-on-deck situation from public and private sector relief workers. One private sector group, the various businesses comprising the MVP Group of Companies, has been pitching in since Day One. And in the case of Meralco, even beyond its franchise’s area of responsibility.
Most recently, led by MVP Group chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) donated rescue boats and personal floatation devices to the Philippine Air Force to aid in emergency and rescue operations in areas around Metro Manila still under duress from Typhoon Ulysses.
Alagang Kapatid Foundation, Inc. (AKFI), the CSR (corporate social responsibility) unit of TV5, PLDT’s multimedia arm, sent immediate relief packages to families in Marikina City.
AKFI, together with Smart Communications, distributed snack packs and drinks to about 1,000 residents of Barangay Tañong, one of the suburbs in Marikina adjacent o the Marikina River.
Smart Community Partnerships and PLDT Community Relations, CSR divisions of Smart and PLDT, also partnered with AKFI to distribute ready-to-eat food packs to residents of Barangay Banaba in San Mateo, Rizal.
Residents of Banaba, in particular those from riverside Provident Village, were hit hard, with flood waters reaching up to rooftops in low-lying areas.
During the height of Ulysses on Thursday morning, it was reported that the river rose to 22 meters, surpassing even the levels of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009.
Already in Bicol, the One Meralco Foundation (OMF), Meralco’s CSR group, has also responded to the Marikina crisis.
The OMF team handed out immediate relief, such as food packs and others, to over 100 families from Barangay Tumana who were seeking shelter at Marikina High School, even while flood waters were still high.
“Filipinos have an indomitable spirit. We will survive this,” said Pangilinan. “But there’s still a lot of work to do here, so you can be assured that the Group will be helping as best it can.”
Meanwhile, Alagang Kapatid has launched a donation drive for residents severely affected by Typhoon Ulysses. For cash and in-kind donations, you may visit AFKI’s Facebook Page for more details.
All these efforts are happening alongside the continuing initiatives of the MVP Group to provide aid in areas of communication, education, health, infrastructure, and livelihood, and help communities recover from the COVID-19 crisis.