It has been exactly a month since the Taal volcano shook the country with its spews of ashes and lava, and while the unrest may seem to have toned down, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) alert level remains at Alert Level 3 as of February 11.
Coinciding with the its 15th founding anniversary on February 11, Manila Water Foundation, instead of organizing a festive fête, chose to heed to the call of Taal evacuees who are still left homeless.
Agos ng Pag-Asa at Tanauan North Central Elementary School
In partnership with Manila Water, Laguna Water, South Luzon Water and Tanauan City LGU, Manila Water Foundation's anniversary activity kicked off at Tanauan North Central Elementary School, with sessions lined up on disaster preparedness and hygiene education for its pupils, teachers, and parents.
"Isang napakagandang oportunidad ang ibinigay sa atin ng Manila Water Foundation upang piliin na ipagdiwang ang kanilang 15th anniversary na tayo ang kanilang kasama," said Principal Rowena Tercero of Tanauan North Central Elementary School.
To talk about safety precautions in times of disasters and calamities, Manila Water Foundation invited Tanauan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office Head Engr. Ryan Parino.
Afterwards, a Health in Our Hands session was conducted teaching the seven steps to proper handwashing and toothbrushing as preventive actions against communicable diseases--in time for the recent outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov).
Linis Lusog Ligtas kits from partners were also distributed to the participating parents and students after the activity: P&G Philippines for hygiene products, laundry supplies and clothes; AC Health and Generika Drugstore for N95 masks and medicines; Ayala Coop for school supplies, rice and whistle/flashlight; Ayala Foundation and Ayala Malls for medicines and biscuits / crackers, donated by its customers; and Manila Water Enterprise for hygiene kits, food packs, and clothes.
"Ito pong ginawa ninyo ngayong araw ay hindi namin malilimutan, sapagkat ito po ay bahagi ng aming proyektong Project Hope, which highlights opportunity and protection for everyone. Our pupils are our utmost priority. Their safety and protection is our first priority, at bahagi po niyan ay maturuan sila ng tamang gawain para sa kaligtasan at para sa kanilang kalusugan. Thank you so much for choosing Tanauan North Central Elementary School as the recipient of this activity," Principal Tercero thanked.
Overall, 400 Grade 6 students and 100 parents and teachers participated in the activities.
Agapay at Sambat, Tanauan City
After the disaster preparedness and hygiene education sessions at Tanauan North Central Elementary School, Manila Water Foundation dropped by Barangay Sambat in Tanauan City to distribute hygiene kits, towels, detergent and fabric conditioner to the 25 families still sheltered at the evacuation center.
Agapay at Wawa, Tanauan City
For its next stop, MWF headed to Barangay Wawa in Tanauan City and distributed MWF packs, towels, laundry supplies, and food packs to 169 families.
Sharing her experiences as an evacuee, Virgie Mendoza of Barangay Wawa recalled her experience during the first days of the volcano's unrest. "Kaba, pag-aalala, 'yung mga naiiwan namin sa bahay kung papaano na dahil pinalikas nga kami nang ilang araw, na hindi kami makakapasok sa aming lugar," she said. "Naka-dalawang linggo at mahigit kami sa evacuation center. Mahirap talaga maging evacuee, dahil sa dami namin. 'Yung pagdumi at 'yung pag ihi ay pila-pila. ," she added.
"Nakakatuwa dahil kahit na tapos na itong [pag-aalburoto] ng bulkan, may dumating pa rin na biyaya. Nagpapasalamat kami sa lahat nang nagbigay ng mga ito. Maraming-maraming salamat, malaking kaluwagan din sa amin ito, kasi matagal kaming hindi naghahanap buhay. Nagpapasalamat din kaming lahat dito sa Barangay Wawa sa P&G at sa Ayala Corporation sa biyayang ibinigay sa amin, at happy anniversary Manila Water Foundation," she shared.
Agapay at Talaibon, Ibaan
For its last stop, MWF capped off its anniversary fête at a housing site turned into an evacuation center in Talaibon, Ibaan, Batangas which houses evacuees from the hardest hit areas in Batangas.
162 families received MWF packs, detergent, fabric conditioner, deodorant, biscuites, four sacks of clothes, three boxes of medicines.
MWF is grateful to the following partners for extending their resources to the affected families, placed in Linis Lusog Ligtas kits: P&G Philippines for hygiene products, laundry supplies and clothes; AC Health and Generika Drugstore for N95 masks and medicines; Ayala Coop for school supplies, rice and whistle/flashlight; Ayala Foundation and Ayala Malls for medicines and biscuits / crackers, donated by its customers; and Manila Water Enterprise for hygiene kits, food packs, and clothes.