Lady pdls among those first to respond to call for help during ompong

BAGUIO CITY – Being marooned by life's circumstances did not stop the wards of the Baguio City Jail Female Dormitory from helping out whenever opportunities arise.

Last Sept. 15 while huddled at their cells listening to typhoon "Ompong's" wrath, the close to 100 lady persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) under the wardenship of J/C Supt. April Rose Ayangwa were roused to action when a fellow PDL on duty in the control area learned of a call for help via social media to supply food for the Batang Pinoy athletes whose assigned mess halls were incapacitated by the howler.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan said over 2,000 athletes from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao contingents about to take part in the Batang Pinoy National Championships held in the city last Sept. 17-24 were billeted in various schools in the city when the typhoon hit.

Some of the groups' assigned caterers failed to deliver their meals because of the heavy rains and strong winds prompting the mayor to order contingency measures to supply the athletes' food alongside a call for donors to also help if they can.

"The Facebook post said breakfast and lunch have been taken care of by the city government but donations for snacks are welcome so the PDLs approached us and asked us if they can bake snacks for the athletes like puto (rice cake) and the children's favorite treat, the choco mallows," Ayangwa related.

She said the inmates volunteered to make use of the P3,000 "female fund" saved from the proceeds of their baking business to defray the cost.

The jail officers also on hand at the time to respond to the red alert status passed the hat and raised P3,500 more.

"Despite the heavy rain and the power outage, we checked and found that one grocery store was open so we purchased the supplies and the cellmates whose turn it was to bake at that time went to work in the kitchen for three hours," the jail warden said.

The jail officers delivered the finished products – 1,000 pieces each of puto and choco mallows around 5 p.m. at the City Hall.

The mayor's Executive Asst. IV Ryan Mangusan said the puto were distributed to the Visayas and Mindanao delegations while the choco treat was forwarded to the Philippine Sports Commission national secretariat for distribution.

"The inmates expressed joy that they were able to help in that time of need despite their being incarcerated. They were so happy realizing that they can do something to the community and that it is not always the community that is helping them," Ayangwa said.

The inmates led the list of the groups and individuals also went out of their way to donate food, clothing and other items not only for the athletes but for the typhoon victims totaling 540 families or 2,222 individuals staying in 42 shelters being manned by the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development.

Mayor Domogan thanked the benefactors led by President Rodrigo Duterte and the nameless others who 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.

"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 and the others who reached out not only to the city but also to the other parts of Benguet in need of help. 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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