Volunteers pour in for 'Oplan Sagip Bayan'
Manila (1 October) -- Answering the call of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a total of 315 volunteers as of late Tuesday showed up at Kalayaan Hall in Malacaņang to repack and distribute relief goods for the victims of typhoon "Ondoy" under "Oplan Sagip Bayan."
According to Cookie Aydinan, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief of staff and overseer of the relief operations, a total of 3,000 relief packs were brought to Ever Gotesco in Quezon City, 1,000 packs to Taguig, 700 bags to the Tanay evacuation center, 500 bags to Montalban, and 600 bags to Taytay. About 1,000 bags were distributed in Malacanang.
Each bag consisted of food items such as rice, sardines, noodles and non-food items like clothes, towels, and blankets.
"It is unfortunate that misguided elements are spreading in the internet the canard that the volunteers are being paid," said Aydinan. "It is not only untrue, it is unfair, unjust and cruel to the volunteers."
Volunteers were mostly government officials and employees of PMS, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Office of the President (OP), and Office of the Press Secretary (OPS). Volunteers also came from schools such as Far Eastern University (FEU), Centro Escolar University (CEU) University of the Philippines (UP) Manila, San Beda College, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), San Sebastian College, Philippine Normal University (PNU) and Juan Nolasco High School.
Joining the volunteers were presidential daughter Evangeline Lourdes Arroyo-Bernas, presidential daughter-in- law Maria Victoria Manotok-Arroyo and her daughter Ebie, and the two daughters of Pampanga congressman and presidential son Juan Miguel Arroyo, Mikaela and Monique. Members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) ladies club, the spouses association of PSG officers and enlisted personnel, also went to Malacaņang to help in the relief operation.
President Arroyo dropped by the relief center in the evening and personally thanked the volunteers. She was accompanied by PMS head Hermogenes Esperon.
"Oplan Sagip Bayan" is open 24 hours every day and will remain operation for as long as necessary. (PIA-MMIO) [top]