By Francis N. Tolentino
Time and again, the Filipino’s inherent goodness and generosity emerges as our most distinct character as a people, especially in times of distress and emergencies. Our resilience to disasters and tragedies, apart from being attributed to our preparedness campaigns and mitigation measures, may well be springing from the assurance of those affected that support will flow from all corners of the nation when peril strikes.
I am deeply grateful to the Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for their overwhelming response to our invitation to engage themselves in the Adopt a Municipality Program following the eruption of Mayon Volcano earlier this year and extending their invaluable support to their partner LGUs in Albay. Last week, the city governments of Marikina and Parañaque handed to MMDA a check donating P500,000.00 each to be remitted to Albay through bank transfer. Malabon City on the other hand donated P1,000,000.00 while Pasay City’s P500,000.00 check donation is ready for turnover to MMDA. The following financial assistance were likewise directly given to the identified beneficiaries in the province of Albay: P1,000,000.00 for the Province of Albay from San Juan City; P1,000,000.00 for the City of Legazpi from Mandaluyong City; P500,000.00 from Navotas City for the Municipality of Guinobatan; P300,000.00 from the City of Muntinlupa for the Province of Albay; and P500,000.00 from the City of Las Piñas care of Vice Mayor Louie Bustamante. Pledges have likewise been made by the City of Manila P500,000 and the City of Pasay P400,000 for the Municipality of Sto. Domingo, Albay). Our good friend Mayor Herbert Bautista of Quezon City also pledged to donate P1,000,000.00 each to the nine local government units of Albay directly affected by the eruption. Other than financial support, relief packages and medical assistance have been generously provided by the MMDA Road Emergency Group and Public Safety, the Metro Manila Mayors Spouses Foundation Incorporated and the City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Offices (CDRRMOs) of San Juan, Parañaque, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Taguig, Valenzuela, and Muntinlupa (combining for a total of 146 personnel deployed and 35 vehicles including ambulances and fire trucks).
As the Overall Crisis Manager for Mayon, I thank the Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) headed by Chairman Danny Lim and GM Jose Garcia for heeding the call for support and assistance for our afflicted brethren in Albay. Indeed, we can only find solace that help should come from our countrymen in times of distress.