22 November 2009

Kho Association Relief Goods Operation 2009

The third and final leg of the Philippine Kho Association's Relief Goods Operation concluded just last Saturday, November 21. After a series of typhoons hit Luzon, the sad aftermath is a horrid depletion of many basic resources, the ever threatening price increases in all staple necessities as well as a loss of morale in people as many still desperately find solace and answers to address their daily needs.

Thus officers and members of the Philippine Kho Association has taken upon themselves to aid in alleviating the burden of many of our suffering comrades. Together with REACT Philippines Inc., a three phased relief operation drive was organized to help several local communities.

Phase 1:
Dagupan, Tayug, San Nicolas

Due to some sad circumstance, I wasn't able to take part in the said outreach. Therefore, I can merely share photographs of the event c/o Allan Co. Kho Youth League's president, Zenaida Co, was present in the said outreach.

Phase 2: October 24, 2009
Marilao and Meycauayan

I was able to attend the second leg of the operation, leaving our headquarters promptly at 8am. Me and my fellow youth sector officers were tasked in distributing medicines, positioned at the end of the Relief Goods train.

Our first stop was a covered court in Marilao. Tickets were provided to barangay officers earlier to circulate among those who are most in need, and only those with tickets will be able to avail of the relief items. Photos and video is care of Peterson Co.

It felt like an endless line of trick-or-treaters; we were shooting goodies into their little containers and seeing their faces light up, brightened by a smile as most of them whole-heartedly express their gratitude. Others though, would try to quicken their pace, not looking at you anymore, sometimes getting lost in confusion and excitement, as ushers push everyone to speed up the line. There were many more who were waiting for their turn.

There were a variety of items being given away including pails, rubber slippers, instant noodles, rice packs, detergents, biscuits and medicine. Being in the medicine division, we gave away four different kinds of pills targeted to temporarily resolve common problems that may have risen from the typhoon: Diarrhea, Leptospirosis and the Flu. The last blanket of pills being a Vitamin C multivitamin pack, meant to strengthen the immune system.

A general rule though that I learned first hand was: never to offer or casually give a freebie to one requesting for special treatment. One of our peers good-naturedly gave a child a pack of medicine that he was requesting, and upon seeing this, the crowd rushed towards her and began to help themselves. Needless to say, she was powerless over the surge of desperation and greed that blinded the group. Her box was emptied in a few seconds, with none of the mad-striken hoarders having any idea what the medicine was meant for.

After our Marilao visit, we headed to Meycauayan, Bulacan - where we were greeted with a line of people waiting under the noontime sun, hoping for their packs of relief goods.

Having no camera, I am dreadfully thankful once again to big brother, Peterson, for shooting a clip of the queue for me to blog about. Once again, we were in the medicine division. Thankfully, a tent was raised to spare us from roasting unprotected during the lunchtime heat.

Phase Three: November 21, 2009
San Pablo, Laguna

Once again, together with my brother, Ahya Peterson and Allan, Clifford, Atsi Zeny and Gryshee, and the officers of the seniors section, we headed South to administer help among those stricken by the recent calamities.

Upon arriving, we were greeted by waves and smiles as we headed to the covered court where the recipients were already ready and waiting. As the crew set up, we were led behind the court - revealing still the sad flooded state of the area. After over a month since the low pressure strikes, the water has not yet subsided - which they attribute to their close proximity to Laguna de Bay. Photos are care of Allan and Peterson Co. Video is once again from Peterson.

I overheard that a thousand tickets were given to the barangay officials to disperse, and judging from the mass that communed in the area, it is highly possible. This was the biggest crowd, among the three outreaches I've attended, that I've seen.

This time, Gryshee and I were tasked to distribute plain white t-shirts to the victims, especially since many either lost their basic clothes to the flood or have heavily muddied apparel that are barely acceptable for everyday wear. Generally, the same basic items were being given away.

Below is a picture of the team that took time off to attend the last phase of the Relief Goods Operation.

At the end of the day, it does feel fantastic to be able to help others - in our little ways. The thank yous and smiles, quite curiously, was sufficient payment for all the trouble. Although, I doubt that the goods we provided would be able to sustain them for an entire week, I believe it would help give them a jumpstart in rebuilding their lives.

It is true, as Confucius had wisely said, "Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for life." With these outreaches, we merely just gave them a fish, to help them for a day, to boost their morale - but in the long run, it is up to them to restore their lives into normalcy.

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