For many Filipinos, the Christmas holidays are meant to be celebrated with the family, sharing extended meals, catching up on each other’s lives. Typhoon Nina, which hit Southern Luzon on Christmas day, changed all that for the 326,632 families in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Region 5 and Region 8. Ofelio and Francia Abellon and their seven children are among those who lost their home to typhoon Nina on Christmas Day.
Upon the prodding of the local government, the Abellon family together with their neighbors went to the evacuation center to seek safe shelter while Nina brought on its full might. When the skies cleared, they went back to their place only to see their house leveled to the ground.
“Pansamantala kaming gumawa ng matutulugan sa tabi ng nasirang bahay gamit ang trapal na bubong. Narecover pa naman namin yong konting yerong natangal at nayupi at inaayos ng asawa ko para magamit ulit namin ang nasirang bahay (We made a temporary shelter next to the site of our old house. We’ve recovered some of the roofing and my husband and son are fixing them so they can be used to rebuild the house,” said Francia.
The Abellons said that they are grateful to Aboitiz Power Renewables Inc. (APRI) for giving them relief packs. They are also grateful to SEZ for restoring power in the area by removing and replacing the electric posts and lines destroyed by typhoon Nina.
Since barangay Naga is the host community of APRI’s Tiwi geothermal facility, APRI TMs immediately distributed relief packs to more than 800 households.
Soon after, the Aboitiz Foundation in coordination with Pilmico Foods Corporation and Aboitiz Equity Ventures went in with the relief assistance team that turned over 205 boxes containing 14,285 The Care Packages for distribution to the affected families.
The Care Package contained packs of 100-gram high-energy biscuits loaded with 450 kilocalories (equivalent to one full meal) each, designed as an efficient disaster relief solution that not only addresses hunger but provides adequate nutrition via a sustainable food.
Dropping Holiday Plans to Help People in Need
The holiday plans of the 25 linemen from the Visayan Electric Company (VECO), Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) and Subic EnerZone (SEZ) also changed because of Typhoon Nina. They traveled by land and sea to Albay for hours, bringing heavy equipment to help restore distribution lines and posts that were damaged by the typhoon.
Daryl Bonbon, Head of the VECO Distribution Services Department, said that he would gladly volunteer to help again even if it meant being away from his family.
Bonbon led two teams of VECO linemen who left Cebu on Dec. 30 for Calbayog, Leyte and then San Isidro, Samar and later to Matnog, Sorsogon before reaching the province of Albay.
They were later joined by a team of five SEZ linemen and two gangs from DLPC who traveled all the way from Davao City via Surigao del Norte and Samar, taking the same route used by VECO teams.
Like his colleagues from the AboitizPower DU, Bonbon was planning to greet the new year with his family. He was looking forward to reuniting with his family in Leyte as he was unable to join them for Christmas because VECO was also on alert mode due to Nina.
He said, though, that he does not regret being asked to join the power restoration efforts in Albay. “This is a very rare opportunity to help our fellow Filipinos. New year celebration comes every year and this opportunity may never come again,” he said.
The teams from VECO, DLPC and SEZ stayed in Albay for a month to complete the power restoration work in the area.
Although it was difficult (being away), it’s very rewarding. We were able to energize the town proper a day after the substation serving here was powered up. – Daryl Bonbon, Head, VECO Distribution Services Department