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PIA Press Release
Wednesday, January 04, 2012


OWWA conducts relief operations to ‘Sendong’ survivors

by Nestor B. Flores Jr.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, January 04 -- After tropical storm ‘Sendong” hit Northern Mindanao, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) conducted relief operations for the affected Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

The affected barangays in Cagayan de Oro were identified through data collated from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Actual site visits and consultation with OFW families were also conducted by OWWA, region 10.

Due to the damage to Cagayan de Oro City’s water system, safe drinking water and ready-to-eat food emerged as the most needed commodities.

Responding to this need, OWWA packed relief goods, consisting of two bottles of mineral water at 10 liters per bottle, instant noodles, sardines, corned beef and crackers. A total of 1,278 of such packs were distributed.

Andres Capin Jr., a recipient of this pack said, “The bottled water is our utmost need as of now because the groceries and department stores have run out of supplies while refilling stations have long lines of customers. I am glad that OWWA is giving free bottled water and grocery items. This is a big help for us.”

Meanwhile, in Iligan City, the identification of beneficiaries was done with the help of two OFW Family Circles (OFCs); the Iligan Overseas Workers Association (IOWA) and Star of the Sea, a group of seafarers’ wives.

Both are based in Iligan City with most of IOWA members living in Barangay Hinaplanon, one of the hardest hit areas along the Mandulog River. Requests from walk-in applicants were also forwarded to OWWA by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Lanao del Norte Provincial Office.

Two hundred OFW families in Iligan City each received a pack of 10 kilos of rice from OWWA during its relief operations on December 29, conducted with the help of DOLE Officers in Iligan City.

The survivors were encouraged by OWWA officers to share their experiences. One of them was Germine Sugabo, an employee of the Department of Education (DepEd) and whose husband, Mayroven is currently working as a welder in Jubail, KSA. She recalled that her two children, aged 15 and 11 years old and a cousin were spared from the disaster by her office’s Christmas Party in the afternoon of December 16.

Since it was already raining that time, she instructed her children to stay in their grandmother’s house in Barangay Tubod, also in Iligan. A few hours later, their house and those of the entire Bayug Island in Hinaplanon were swept away to the sea.

Sugabo is now acting as a Coordinator of Purok 7, one of the 8 puroks in Bayug Island where she accounted 93 families with a total of 345 members, 13 dead and 73 missing as of December 29.

The relief operations in Northern Mindanao were held from December 21-29, 2011 reaching out to a total of 1,478 OFW families. Of these, 177 said that their houses were either totally damaged or washed out, deaths occurred in 18 families while 9 others were still searching for missing loved ones.

OWWA spent P362,000.00 for the entire operations. Requests, however, are still coming in, mainly for school supplies of the children of affected OFWs.

RWO-10 also received a report that Ferdinand Tamula Simbajon, an active OWWA member died when the floods hit his mother’s house in Orchids Subdivision, Santiago, Iligan City. (OWWA/PIA-10)

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