Typhoon survivors turn to Internet for help
LUCENA CITY, Quezon -- Desperate for funds to rehabilitate their badly damaged town of Mulanay, which was severely hit by successive typhoons last year, local officials have turned to the Internet to reach out to town mates abroad.
In the website of “Mga Mulanayin” (http://mulanayinglobal.org), Mayor Prudencio Maxino Jr. appealed to expatriates for assistance for the town’s rehabilitation.
“I am appealing to our kababayan (town mates) abroad to extend a helping hand by way of valuable donations to alleviate the plight of our grieving Mulanayins,” the mayor wrote in an open letter, a copy of which was posted in the website.
The website has long been administered by Edwin Luna, a Mulanay native who is now based in Chicago, to foster strong ties among Mulanayins living abroad and to bridge the gap back home.
Maxino said the estimated typhoon damage in the town reached P200 million.
Students of the town’s public school, which was severely damaged by the typhoons, also turned to the website for help.
“With all humility, we, the administration, parents, students, faculty and staff of Mulanay Institute, express our appeal to your generous heart to rebuild our school which was partially damaged by typhoons Milenyo and Reming in just a span of three months,” Jean Myreen Rivera, president of the Mulanay Institute Student Council, said in a letter posted in the Internet.
Rivera said the old building, which was serving as classrooms, library and guidance office, was severely destroyed, prompting members of the school community to condemn it.
“Now, we do not have any space to transfer the facilities. With the very meager income of the school, we cannot help but solicit financial assistance from our kababayan who are getting their education in this school,” she said.
When this correspondent visited the school after Typhoon “Milenyo” (international codename Typhoon Xangsane) last year, the students were still using the damaged and roofless building to continue with their studies. But the succeeding typhoons rendered it completely useless.
To alleviate the plight of the survivors, Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez distributed farm tools and equipment, seeds for cash crops, high breed corn and palay, swine and other livestock under the “Agri-Rehabilitation Program for Bondoc Peninsula” of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Suarez said the Bondoc Peninsula lost at least 17 percent of the coconut trees and those that have survived would not bear fruits for the next two years.
“The people need alternative livelihood which is now being offered by planting high value crops. This is an opportunity for the farmers who have long been dependent on coconut to explore alternative livelihood,” Suarez said during the distribution ceremony in Unisan town last week.
Mulanay Vice Mayor Andy Baronia said the distribution of high value vegetables seeds and modern farm equipment partly fulfilled the needs of the survivors. Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon
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