Tzu Chi volunteers conclude their five-day outreach for those affected by Tropical Storms Vinta (Tembin) and Agaton (Bolaven) with a rice relief activity for six barangays in Iligan City on February 3. The activity benefitted a total of 1,267 families, some even recalling the help Tzu Chi put forward seven years ago during the siege of Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi).
Six barangays in Iligan City battered by two tropical cyclones were blessed to receive 20 kilos of rice from Taiwan distributed by Tzu Chi Foundation.
A total of 1,267 families on February 3 gathered at Sta. Filomena Central School in Barangay Sta. Filomena and received their share of love. The six barangays—Abuno, Tipanoy, San Roque, Kiwalan, Acmac, and Sta. Filomena—bore the brunt of Tropical Storms Vinta (Tembin) and Agaton (Bolaven) that hit consecutively.
Though this was the last day of Tzu Chi’s five-day relief operation, the foundation will continue to spread hope and love to the affected residents through the teachings of Dharma Master Cheng Yen.
The families were grateful for having been helped a second time by Tzu Chi – the first was after Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi) in 2011. For Tzu Chi volunteer Zenaida Gaborni, no words can express how happy she is to have been part of the outreach.
A native of Barangay Kiwalan, she left for Manila 18 years ago to seek better job opportunities. She crossed paths with Tzu Chi in 2009 after Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana). When she learned about Tzu Chi’s relief operation, she immediately volunteered not just to see her family but also to help her fellowmen.
“I am beyond grateful because Tzu Chi is able to reach my hometown in Barangay Kiwalan [after being affected by the storms], most especially to Master Cheng Yen,” states Tzu Chi volunteer Gaborni.
Local volunteers complemented the Tzu Chi volunteers on site to help accommodate the large number of recipients. Agner Gomez, 32, was inspired to serve his fellowmen after learning about the compassion that defines Tzu Chi.
“[I volunteered] because it is nice to help others, even though you don’t have the means [money] to help. You just have to show compassion to others in helping them out,” shares Gomez, a father of three who makes ends meet as a tricycle driver. He adds that his family is often in debt for the rice they buy, which is why the 20 kilos from Tzu Chi is a big help.
Urbano Etulle, 68, is a father of five in the mountains of Barangay Kiwalan. He wakes up as early as 5:00 a.m. to work as a helper in a factory. In his free time, he works as a gardener or janitor at Sta. Filomena Central School. With his earning of Php300 a day, he’s unable to pay for his medication to manage his arthritis. “I am thankful for the 20-kilo sack of rice because now I don’t have to work too much [as long as the sacked rice is enough] just to serve rice when we eat,” he shares.
Join Tzu Chi in helping others! Visit Tzu Chi Donation for more information.