There are more than five million people hungry because of Typhoon Pablo (International name: Bopha) and Peacebuilders Community had no available funds for relief operations.
On 4 December 2013, Pablo leashed its fury in Mindanao leaving more than a thousand people dead, hundreds of thousands of families homeless and millions without livelihood. Mindanao Development Authority reported that losses reached P9.6B. Food insecurity is a big threat to the people.
As an organization, PBCI is not a relief distribution center. However, we are guided by our theology which is summarized by the four harmonies – with God, with self, with others and with God’s creation.
Our community seeks to actively embrace people through wholistic ministries regardless of faith and views because we believe that Jesus Christ who is the core of our mission cannot be separated from Peace. In his life, Jesus Christ fed the hungry, healed the sick and comforted those who mourn.
In response to that sacrificial love, PBCI sought to address the immediate need of food, basic healthcare and psychosocial services. So despite the lack of funds, the management team called for a meeting with the administrative staff presenting to them the issue: Are they willing to step out in faith and let PBCI borrow their next month’s salary to buy food packs? The decision was unanimous and P100,000 was chipped in for the relief operations.
The money was enough for 650 families but barely a week after, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) came and said, “Can we partner with you?” Individuals and other organizations, like Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Church Canada, and Unifrutti Group Philippines also came in.
As of 19 January 2013, 13,932 family packs have been distributed in 32 sites in five towns of the provinces of Compostela Valley, Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental. Distributed also were 116 boxes canned goods/100 cans per box, 50 mats, 70 pcs blankets, 9 pcs bedsheet, 7 boxes cup seafood noodles, 20 boxes dried pineapple, 32 boxes noodles, 1 box toiletries
With the help of our local partners, we targeted areas that are deemed hard to reach.
On 11 December, 650 family packs were distributed in Brgy. Casoon and 500 family packs in Mandaya Village, both in New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province. Only a Skylab can be used as transportation to Casoon. A Skylab is a motorcycle with two planks at the side.
On 18 December, 2877 families received family packs in Compostela National High School, Compostela Elementary School, Bantacan National High School, Bantacan Elementary School, San Roque Elementary School, New Bataan National High School, Brgy. San Roque in New Bataan, St. Bridget Seminary, Andap National High School, and Calvary Baptist Church. In Calvary Church, the families served are indigenous peoples who came from places far from the town center.
On December 24 – 25, 5388 family food packs were distributed in Lingig, Surigao del Sur, Boston, Brgy. San Antonio in Cateel, and Brgy. Baculin, Brgy. Dapnan, RVM sisters and Brgy. San Victor in Baganga.
In Lingig, the distribution was church-based which includes the Roman Catholic Church, Seventh Day Adventist, Fundamental Baptist Church, Baptist Church, United Church of Christ of the Philippines, Four Square Gospel Church and House of Praise.
It is in this operation that we had a healthcare team and a psychosocial team composed of volunteers from both Muslim and Christian faiths.
On 5 January 2013, 2592 family packs were distributed in Brgys. Malibago, Tandawan, Maglahus, Aliwagwag and Aragon in Cateel. Brgy Sibahay in Boston was also given relief goods.
On 19 January, 1600 food packs were distributed in Manurigao, New Bataan. General Baptist Church in Compostela Valley was given 22 boxes sardines/100 cans per box, 212 food packs, 363 water packs, 50 mats, 70 pcs blankets, 9 pcs bedsheet, 7 boxes cup seafood noodles, 17 boxes canned goods, 20 boxes dried pineapple, 32 boxes noodles, 1 box toiletries. The church in turn, distributed the goods to five other churches. St. Bridget’s Convent 108 food packs, 75 boxes and 1 sack sardines/1 box contains 100 cans, approximately 600 water packs.
Each family pack contains eight kilos of rice, 250 grams dried fish, 500 grams mung beans or five pcs instant noodles, one bar of laundry soap, six canned goods, one kilo sugar, three liters of water, one liter of oil or 500 grams of chocolate drink for kids and 250 grams salt. In the last operation, toiletries and dried pineapples were added.
The relief operations in itself is a short-term project but it is anchored on rehabilitation and development. For the first two months, PBCI is helping out in the relief distribution while coordinating with other organizations, churches, local Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) teams and government agencies regarding housing and livelihood. Two communities will be focused on for community development with focus on the PAR concepts.
With the grace of our Creator, we pray that our small contribution will help in the attainment of a sustainable peace in our beautiful land.