Relief Operations in Cagayan.
Beta Epsilon transports 34K meals to flood-hit Cagayan Valley
The province of Cagayan was severely devastated by Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) last November 13, 2020. The typhoon caused severe flooding that left several citizens homeless and landslides that disconnected remote communities from the main center of livelihood in Cagayan.
The public outcries of several citizens and the heart-breaking calls for help of children while they were drowning in the dark spurred a collaboration among organizations nationwide, including the UP Beta Epsilon Fraternity, A&B Philippines, and FEED Philippines.
The UP Beta Epsilon, under the guidance of Alex Ibasco BE’78, Ramon Castillo BE’79, and Ojie Alzona BE’75, collaborated with FEED Philippines to give out 34,000 meals in Cagayan (10,000 cooked meals and 24,000 ready to eat meals or MREs), and with A&B Philippines to facilitate the first outreach in Cagayan and to deliver 350+ relief packages to Brgy. Mocag, Cagayan, a remote community in Cagayan.
Selecting the barangay roots back to one heart-breaking story encountered by Marrod Cruz BE’14. A hardworking man named Erik was completely devastated that he could not contact his family in Cagayan. As a Betan, Marrod took the initiative to locate Erik’s family and to give relief to that specific community. In parallel, our very socially impactful brods, Alex, Ojie, and Ramon initiated the accumulation of 24,000 MREs to be handed out to several communities in Cagayan. With the common goal to provide immediate relief to several families in Cagayan, UP Beta Epsilon and A&B Philippines, an organization founded by Marrod together with Rovin James Canja BE’14, Mark Jay Gregorio BE’11, and Johnery Idio BE’17, sealed their partnership and agreed to personally go to Cagayan and hand out MREs and relief packages to different communities.
After a week of preparation and a day of road trip, UP Beta Epsilon, FEED Philippines, and A&B Philippines arrived in Cagayan on November 20, 2020. The team immediately coordinated with local personnel to connect our resources to those needing these resources the most. As expected, Brgy. Mocag was among the communities that only a few groups tried to reach. To ease out the logistics within the area, brod Lito Bermudo BE’79 took the initiative to provide our team with several delivery trucks and other resources.
One day into Cagayan, one can easily spot how difficult the situation was as shown by flood marks, devastated crops, and families living along the streets. Going to Brgy. Mocag specifically was very challenging as the landslide was not completely cleared out yet. It was indeed painful to see how such a paradise could be troubled by a very strong typhoon.
On November 22, 2020, the team began packing and preparing as early as 7:00 AM. An hour later, the team traveled for 2-3 hours along rugged and landslide-damaged roads just to reach Brgy. Mocag, Cagayan.
During the outreach, it was very heartwarming to witness the smiles of several families especially the elders and those who are sick as they now have additional resources that will feed their stomachs for days or even weeks. The outreach programs continued until all of the MREs were distributed across different communities in Cagayan. The experience was very life-changing for our brothers. It shows how simple kindness can go a long way to several people nationwide. Imagine what more we can do to change our country should we take more initiatives on kindness and compassion.
November 20, 2020