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REMEMBERING YOLANDA

By MJ Quiambao Reyes

Same month 7 years ago, The Little Swallow, Inc. (TLSI) has become a very busy swallow. Wala kaming sinayang na panahon. Tulong agad, tulong muna, bago kuda – even when I was one of the very few vocal critics of the previous admin then.

Our relief packs were among the first to arrive in the affected areas. We used our office in Ortigas and our own residence as instant relief operation centers and suspended our office work for a week. We packed and quickly arranged our relief assistance for Tacloban, Guiuan in Eastern Samar, and Bantayan Island.

While a lot of relief goods (coursed thru DSWD) were left at some warehouses to rot or were distributed way too late, our TLSI relief packs have all been transported and distributed with utmost speed to those who have not eaten and drank anything for days.

The pieces in our equation were as follows:

1. Available funds from TLSI founders and volunteers plus additional donations from few personal friends & family (here & abroad who promptly shared in cash & in kind).

2. Partner Transport. Some of HC’s regular service providers like Seagate Logistics helped us transport the goods for free. We also made use of C130 Military planes and the private plane of the Balesin island resort.

3. Selfless and very efficient volunteers (who promptly purchased the goods, repacked, & coordinated the dispatch).

4. Prompt and proper coordination with other NGOs who were already there in the affected areas doing the distribution like Operation Blessing & Compassion Intl.

Looking back, I’m glad we did not course our assistance thru DSWD back then.

Oh, it was also during Yolanda relief operation that I saw then Mayor Duterte’s compassion & kind of leadership.

With him as the President now, I think we can more rely on DSWD & other gov’t agencies when it comes to transporting and distributing relief packs. This time, for our brothers who are badly affected by the recent typhoons & flash flood.

How hard is it for this admin’s critics to do the same? To at least shut their mouths first and focus on helping?

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