More than 300 families, countless patients in hospital tents and community health centers, and more than a hundred children benefitted from the PwC Philippines' relief mission held from 15 to16 November in municipalities of Bohol. These are the survivors of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that shook the island province in October of this year. The situation worsen after Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan).
The daunting challenge of delivering relief goods over ruined roads and the constant threats of and actual experience of aftershocks was worth the effort as our firm, through our Corporate Responsibility team, met the townsfolk who welcomed them with grateful hearts.
Thank you for your kindness and generosity. Our donations were matched by the firm and funds were used to procure medicines and relief goods, each pack consisting of hygiene kits, underwear, diapers, high-protein canned goods and other food supplies hopefully enough to support a family for a week. Mosquito nets, donated by a client were also distributed and LBC Express, also a client, assisted us in transporting the goods to Bohol.
Volunteers and community leaders organized by Silver Gran assisted our CR team, led by Gina Detera and Allan Cao. Silver's ancestral home was also destroyed by the earthquake. Completing the CR team were Dennis Bautista, Len Estigoy, and Bing dela Cruz.
A month after the earthquake hit Bohol, the towns of Loon, Maribojoc, Antiquerra, and Alburquerque still carried the damaging results of the calamity. In order to reach these towns, our CR team navigated uneven and rough roads. A major bridge connecting these areas was destroyed and the team carried the boxes of relief goods into a ferry crossing a river. They joined long lines of people waiting for their turn to cross.
Along the way, houses big and small, simple or grand were on their sides while some were reduced to debris. Century old churches were not spared and even some new buildings surrendered to the force of the earthquake. Families built tents beside their ruined homes while schoolchildren shared their makeshift rooms with evacuees. Since power depended on limited generator sets, our team had to take short cuts in order to avoid travelling in total darkness towards the night.
Amist a backdrop of ruins and the hardship these families went through, people waited patiently for the CR team with a ready smile of gratitude and hope. Our first stop was Loon, the town worst hit by the earthquake. We distributed the relief goods in the makeshift tents which also served as a hospital. In our own simple way, we comforted the patients by providing them much-needed medicines, as well as words of encouragement. In Antiquera and Alburquerque, health centers served as distribution point for families. In a remote area in Maribojoc town, the community leader admitted that there were the last 'barangay' to receive goods as relief operations were held in town centers.
As we traveled back home after two long days of relief work, our efforts were more than rewarded by the signs we saw by the roadside, which read – “Daghan Salamat sa mga donors!” (Thank very much to our donors!).