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‘GIVE HELP DIRECTLY’

September 22, 2006

By HAZEL P. VILLA
Panay News, Sept. 22, 2006

NUEVA VALENCIA, Guimaras – Show that you really care. Deliver help directly.

Residents and an official of oil spill-affected villages here are requesting donors of relief goods to directly give their donations of cash and kind to the residents and evacuees themselves.

“It is better to give money and goods directly to the sitios and barangays. We appreciate that more,” said Ramon Ortiz, Sangguniang Bayan member here.

Editha Cayanan, 54, a shell gatherer in Brgy. Tando said “Ang relief naga-abot, pero indi mapuslan (the relief goods arrive but they are next to useless),” she said at the evacuation area of Tando on Thursday last week.

She said clothes that are in jute sacks to be distributed to residents and evacuees seemed like they have been pre-selected before distribution, claiming that she knew what real relief goods looked like since she has a sister dealing in ukay-ukay (used clothing for sale).

Rema Cagayan, 39, seconded the opinion of Cayanan, citing her appreciation for the couple from the Singapore Evangelical Church who arrived on September 7 and personally distributed one sack of rice, powdered milk and relief goods per house in Tando village that has 204 households and a population of more than a thousand.

Cagayan said that since Petron-chartered MT Solar 1 carrying 2.19 million liters of bunker fuel oil sank off southern Guimaras on August 11, she could remember three instances of receiving relief help.

On the third week of August, Cagayan said help came from Petron and Taos Puso Foundation that gave at least five kilos of rice and several canned goods.

The provincial Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) delivered help on the third week of August – distributing two kilos of rice, two packs of noodles and two canned goods to affected households in Tando.

The PDSWD came back on the first week of September again to distribute four and a half kilos of rice, four packs of noodles and canned goods.

Most donations are entrusted to the government’s Task Force Guimaras, the Red Cross or sent directly to the Guimaras Provincial Capitol in the capital town of Jordan.

There are two kinds of Guimarasnons affected by the oil spill, said Anna Maria “Lally” Nava, officer in charge of the Red Cross Guimaras Chapter.

The directly affected are those in the towns of Nueva Valencia, Sibunag and San Lorenzo with bunker fuel oil on their shores and mangroves and are daily receiving the brunt of the effects of environmental pollution.

The indirectly affected are those residing in the towns of Jordan and Buenavista that have no oil spill but have done away with fishing as a livelihood because there are no buyers of fish from Guimaras even though the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said Guimaras fish are safe to eat.

The five towns of Guimaras have a total population of about 152,000, said the Provincial Economic Development Office.

“It must be considered that those indirectly affected by the oil spill also need help,” said Nava in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon.

The Red Cross has donated to Guimaras province 600 boots, 1000 gloves and 1000 masks on top of being the conduit for donations from Iloilo City and other parts of the country, said Nava, wife of Jordan mayor Felipe Nava.

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