The Peace and Reconciliation Community in the Province of Nueva Ecija (PAR NE) actively responded to the disaster victims after the onslaught of typhoons Pedring (Nesat) and Quiel (Nalgae).
Bishop John Tayoto, former Chairman of Peace and Reconciliation Nueva Ecija (PAR NE), and currently the Chairman of the Peace and Reconciliation Commission (PARCOM) of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), reported how they responded to the disaster victims in their province.
The current Chairman of PAR NE, Rev. Joy S. Gabasa, initiated the Disaster Relief Operations. They were able to raise and distribute relief bags consisting of canned goods, noodles, and other basic survival items. A total of 183 bags worth Php 250.00 each, was distributed to four municipalities, namely: Bongabon, Licab, Pamaldan, and Cabanatuan. These municipalities are located in the first, second, and third districts of the province.
They were also able to share seven sacks of assorted canned goods, noodles, and other items to the pastors of the 4th District of the province. This group of pastors then re-packed and distributed the items to their constituencies.
Bishop Tayoto said, “we praise the Lord for the immediate sacrificial giving of the churches and individuals in Nueva Ecija who responded to the needs of their ‘kababayans’ (fellow citizens) given that they were also victims of the same typhoon.
Last year, PAR NE was organized after they finished a three-session course on Disaster Risk Management, facilitated by PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) in partnership with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC). The pastors and church leaders, coming from the different towns of Nueva Ecija actively participated and shared their personal experiences about Disaster Response. PAR NE embraces the same Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Core Values of PBCI and PCEC. The member pastors and church leaders actively shared the PAR Values to their local churches. Some of the church leaders also organized Disaster Relief Fund Allocation for their local church.
On September 24, 2011, Typhoon Nesat (local name: Pedring) entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility and moved out of the country on September 28. It had maximum sustained winds of 150 kph.
According to the report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), typhoon Nesat affected 35 provinces of the country, in nine regions around Luzon. The typhoon left 83 dead, 91 injured, 20 missing, and 135 rescued survivors. The typhoon damages cost Php14,964,489,302.72 total on infrastructure and agriculture. Several schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, crops, livestock, and fisheries were destroyed.
During the onslaught of the typhoon, storm signal no. 2 was raised in the province of Nueva Ecija. It was declared under State of Calamity on 11 October 2011. According to the NDRRMC, 13, 041 families or 57, 308 individuals from 75 barangays (villages) in the entire province were affected. More than 6, 000 families stayed at 43 evacuation centers. An estimated total of Php 7, 325, 000.00 worth of damages on infrastructure and crops were lost.
Shortly after typhoon Nesat, another typhoon, Nalgae (local name: Quiel), immediately followed and affected the Philippines. Because of the previous typhoon, the soil can no longer absorb more water, so there were reports of incidents of landslides and flooding. It affected 17 provinces, which were mostly affected by the previous typhoon Nesat. It left a total of 19 dead, 12 injured, 7 missing, and 11 rescued survivors. The province of Nueva Ecija was once again affected. There were 21, 106 families affected in the ten municipalities of the province.
As the rice granary of the Philippines, Nueva Ecija lost an estimated Php 3.63 billion worth of rice produce. The two typhoons hit during the vulnerable stages of the rice plants; thus, allowing unfilled or half-filled rice grains. Because they would weigh less, the farmers will lose almost all their capital.
While PAR NE was able to help in some ways, they still express a great need to be able to help more affected families. They are praying for people who will help them respond to the requests of the victims of the calamity on the medium and long-term rehabilitation.
PAR NE encourages our brothers and sisters around the world to continue to pray for God’s grace, not only for the people of Nueva Ecija, but also for the people in Visayas and Mindanao.