TYPHOON Ompong, packing winds of over 200 kph, made landfall in Bicol on the 15th of September to wreak havoc over a 900-km area across northern and central Luzon with its weapons of destruction: rains without letup and whipping winds. By the time it was done, thousands of families had fled to evacuation centers, in need of food, clothing, medicine and sleeping stuff. Its worst toll: 78 dead in a landslide in the village of Ucab in Itogon, Benguet, not far from Baguio.
The Disaster Relief team, headed by Chair Chris Ferareza and PE/Dir. Bimbo Mills, both old hands in disaster relief work, was in full alert at once. The committee quickly coordinated with RC Baguio Summer Capital through the connection of PDG Sid Garcia with PDG Oyan Villanueva who got us connected to the club president, Anton Baltazar. Losing no time, the two clubs went to work.
The Club quickly activated its partnership arrangement with Puregold supermarket. Initiated by PDG Pepito Bengzon during his term as district governor of D3830, the Puregold connection worked to pack 500 hygiene kits containing soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, alcohol, toilet tissue and hand/face towels. The Club also ordered 500 blankets and received 700 pairs of sandals from Dir. George Barcelon.
On September 20, Rtn. Drexx Laggui and CoS Ron Dotaro motored to Baguio where they met with the members of RCBSC and mapped out the relief ops in four evacuation/calamity sites – Tuding ITC, where most of the evacuees were housed, and three sites in Ucab - KKMI Church, RBCF Church and Lower Gomok
RC Baguio Summer Capital Pres. Anton hosted dinner for the volunteers and the members of RCBSC hosted a fellowship dinner at the Baguio Country Club.
While in Benguet, a request came in from Pres. Marlon Lapid of RC Vigan, a brother club of ours, for support in the relief ops in Brgy. Mindoro, a coastal barangay in Vigan which was battered by Ompong. The Club immediately dispatched P25K worth of relief goods, which the Vigan Rotarians distributed to 88 families on September 23.
The relief ops for Ompong were in honor of PDG Robert Kuan who passed away on the very day the super typhoon struck. PDG Robert had actively supported schools and communities in Baguio through his gift-giving and substantial contributions to the Adiwang Elementary School, and as an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Vigan.
Thanks are due to PDG Oyan for sponsoring Drexx’s accommodation at Venus Hotel in Baguio and to RC Makati Poblacion (led by Pres. Marites Di) for donating P15,000, which bought 75 bags of hygiene kits.
The Club’s kind assistance to communities in Itogon and Vigan was made possible by the generous and timely donations from our members: cash donations of P220,000--PP Joe Alejandro, PP Felix Amparo, Felix Ang, Toffy Concepcion, Dir. Michael Escaler, Chris Ferareza, Vic Floresca, Sec. Eddie Galvez, Wilson Lim, Wash Lou, PN Peter Manzano, PE Bimbo Mills, Manny Padiernos, Johnny Sy, Johnson Tan; and 1,200 pairs of sandals from Dir. George Barcelon.