Last January 31, 2018, the Children’s Joy Foundation Inc. (CJFI) launched a massive feeding and relief operations for the Mt. Mayon evacuees, together with volunteers from Handog ng Pagmamahal, Life Giver, and Sheavers’ Association in far-flung barangays in Guinobatan, Albay.
According to Hon. Ann Gemma Ongcojo, Municipal Mayor of Guinobatan, their municipality houses thousands of evacuees that are seldom visited by Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) providing relief assistance because the evacuation centers are located too far from the town center. Mayor Ongcojo further said that they were grateful that CJFI has chosen to conduct the relief operations in Guinobatan.
Many evacuees were surprised when the Children’s Joy Foundation, Inc. volunteers arrived in the identified schools which were used as evacuation centers. Delighted by the hot meals and food packs that the volunteers brought with them, most of the evacuees hurriedly lined up and patiently waited for their turn to receive the relief assistance, even as the CJFI team were just setting up – which was a heart-tugging scene.
Based on official figures from the local government, a total of 22,399 families or 86,052 persons in 61 Barangays in the Municipalities/Cities of Bacacay, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Daraga, Tabaco city, Malilipot, Santo Domingo (Libog), and Legazpi City in the province of Albay were affected by the eruption of Mt. Mayon.
Meanwhile, the Life Giver Association, Sheavers’ and the Handog ng Pagmamahal Association jointly conducted a medical mission and livelihood training program for the evacuees of Mt. Mayon in Guinobatan, Albay. The evacuees who participated in the program were also given starting kits so that they can begin earning money form their acquired skills.
More than 3,500 individuals were able to receive the help extended by CJFI and its partner associations in Guinobatan.
Maria, one of the evacuees in Inascan, Guinobatan stated in an interview, “Sa totoo lang po kayo pa lang ang kauna unahang nagbigay ng libreng konsultasyon at gamot para sa aming nailikas mula sa 6-8 km danger zone mula sa bulkan. Nagpapasalamat din po ako kasi bilang single parent sa siyam (9) na anak at almost 43 years na residente na dito ay malaking tulong na po sa akin ang naibigay niyong serbisyo sa amin. Binigyan niyo din po ang ilan sa kababaihan ng pang manicure at pedicure kahit po paano at pansamantala may makukuhanan po ng panghanap buhay ang ilan sa amin. Nagbigay din po kayo ng palaro sa mga bata. Maraming salamat po sa Children’s Joy Foundation (Actually, you are the first who has given us free medical help and medicine since we evacuated from the 6-8 km danger zone from the volcano. I am really thankful because as a single parent of 9 children and a resident here in Inacan for almost 43 years, the services you have provided are a great help. You also provided manicure and pedicure kits to the women which they can use to earn a living. You also provided play therapy for the children. Thank you so much, Children’s Joy Foundation).”
Since the year 2012, CJFI has strengthened its disaster relief and response programs in the Philippines to reach more children and families in need.Written by: Jhomel Santos, SMNI Correspondent