Mayor thanks volunteers, donors for propping up city amid ompong's fury

BAGUIO CITY - Typhoon "Ompong," as in any other calamity that hit the City, brought out anew the best among Baguioites.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Wednesday thanked the benefactors led by President Rodrigo Duterte and the nameless others who again rushed to the aid of the City Government revving up the response and rehabilitation efforts and enabled the City to quickly rise from the destruction caused by the howler that battered the City last Sept. 15.

The President along with some of his Cabinet members arrived in La Trinidad, Benguet last Monday for a post-typhoon assessment.

They awarded cash aids amounting to P20,000 each to the families of the fatalities among other pledges for rehabilitative assistance.

The amount augmented the financial assistance granted by the City also amounting to P20,000 to the 12 victims who perished due to the typhoon.

Domogan also thanked the volunteers who sacrificed their time, effort and expertise and even risked their lives as force multipliers in responding to numerous calls for assistance received by the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) Operations Center and the groups and individuals from all walks of life who made donations in kind for the evacuees and other people in need throughout the howler's rampage.

"It is really by helping one another that we can overcome any challenge. It happened in the July 16, 1990 earthquake where we recovered because of our teamwork and cooperation and I hope that we will continue to be this united in any calamity that will strike us in the future," Domogan said.

"We thank the volunteers who came and helped and who are still helping in the rescue and retrieval operations, the donors for their selflessness, the media especially those who filed reports that depict the general situation and not just the negative aspects for the all the help even as we are grieve with the families of the victims," the mayor added.

The CDRRMC said the seven rescue teams from the City Engineering Office, General Services Office, City Building and Architecture Office and the City Environment and Parks Management Officer were augmented by volunteers from the Baguio City Police Office, Baguio Fire Department, 14th (Cordillera Administrative Region) Regional Community Defense Group, K9 Cordillera Search and Rescue, Special Weapons and Tactics, Emerald Miners, Philex Mines, Philippine Army Engineering Battalion, UPMV K9, the Office of the Civil Defense, Bureau of Fire Protection Cordillera, private miners and others all throughout the rescue and retrieval operations.

As of press time Friday, the teams who are now joined by volunteers from other local government units like the cities of Olongapo and Angeles and the province of Nueva Ecija are still scouring the landslide sites in search of the three persons that remained missing: two in Lucnab and one in Kias.

At the height of the typhoon's fury, various groups and individuals also went out of their way to donate food, clothing and other items needed by the evacuees totaling 540 families or 2,222 individuals staying in 42 shelters being manned by the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development.

Among those benefitted were the more than 2,000 Batang Pinoy athletes from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao billeted in various schools whose kitchens were incapacitated by strong winds and rains.

OCSWD Officer Betty Fangasan listed at least 18 individuals and institutions apart from the Filipino-Chinese community who donated items in cash and in kind to the evacuees and other victims of the calamity.

The mayor also encouraged the benefactors to also reach out to neighboring towns of Itogon and Kabayan in Benguet which were more severely affected by the typhoon.

On Monday, he opened his office as transit point for donations for the victims and rescuers in said towns.

Last Friday, he dispatched the first batch of relief goods brought in by several groups and individuals to Ucab and Loacan barangays in Itogon and Kabayan.

Some private groups in the City like the Pasakalye Artists group and the Cordilleran Binnadang have organized their own fund drives for the victims both in the City and the neighboring towns.

"Thank you for proving once again that the bayanihan spirit is alive and well in our City," the mayor said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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