24 NOVEMBER 2020, TUGUEGARAO CITY—The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) and its private sector partners delivered food and non-food relief items to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Region II as part of its ongoing relief efforts for the affected communities of Typhoon Ulysses (International name: Vamco) in the Cagayan Valley Region. This provision of immediate, life-saving assistance is included in the UN Humanitarian Response Plan.

In a recent turnover ceremony titled “Aksyon Para sa Cagayan,” an estimated two tons of hygiene and dignity kits from PWC Philippines – Isla Lipana & Co and PLDT Vice President & Deputy Head for Public Affairs Carlo Ople and food packs from Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. were turned over to OCD Region II for repacking and distribution to the affected families in the region. AirAsia provided air transport, lodging, and manpower support for the relief items.

Each hygiene kit included bath soap, laundry soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, a pail with a cover, a dipper, shampoo, and surgical masks to ensure compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The food packs included rice, sardines, corned beef, instant noodles, and coffee.

PDRF and its private sector network, as well as representatives from the United Nations, Germany, and the Netherlands, travelled to Tuguegarao City to oversee the delivery, packing, and distribution of relief items. They also participated in a fact-finding mission in Tuguegarao City and Municipality of Peñablanca to survey and assess the impact of Typhoon Ulysses.

This mission included the Ambassador of the Netherlands H.E. Saskia de Lang, the Ambassador of Germany H.E. Anker Reiffenstuel, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez, PDRF President Rene Meily, PDRF Executive Director Veronica Gabaldon, AirAsia Chief Finance Officer Ray Berja, Mayor of Tuguegarao City Jefferson Soriano,  OCD Region II Director Harold Cabreros, Dr. Teofredo Esguerra of Wilderness Search and Rescue Philippines, Iliac Diaz of Liter of Light, and representatives from Aboitiz Foundation.

As of this writing, another two tons of relief goods from private donors are en route to Tuguegarao City via land transport. These include 1,200 kg of rice, 400 bottles of alcohol, corned beef, instant noodles, sardines, toothpaste, and shampoo.

Last November 9, when Tropical Depression “Ulysses” became a Severe Tropical Storm, PDRF activated its Emergency Operations Center in Clark, Pampanga and began communicating vital information to its private sector network to initiate disaster response.

The typhoon has affected nearly a million families or nearly 4 million individuals in Regions I, II, III, V, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, NCR, and CAR with an estimated PHP 4.2 million damage to agriculture and an estimated PHP 6 million damage to infrastructure.

The private sector response to Cagayan Valley has gone beyond the donation and distribution of relief goods and has also included services like providing trucks and boats and deploying rescue teams to the severely-hit areas. The partnership between the private and public sectors forms a crucial part of the national response plan and it is only through coordinated efforts and a whole-of-society approach that the country will be able to recover from this recent onslaught of natural calamities.