Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines has donated a total of 4,000 sacks of rice, 3,000 thermal blankets, and several boxes of medicines to help the displaced families caught in the armed conflict between the military and rebels in Zamboanga. On October 3, the loading of relief items has taken place at Sangley Point, Cavite City, where the cargo ship, BRP Benguet LT507, is docked.
Lt. Rommel Rodriguez, one of the officers supervising the delivery, thanks Tzu Chi Foundation and other organizations for showing kindness in this time of social unrest.
Proving that distance is not a hindrance to helping people, Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines has donated sacks of rice, thermal blankets, and boxed of medicines to help the displaced families caught in the armed conflict in Zamboanga at present.
The Buddhist organization has deployed five trucks containing 4,000 sacks of rice, 3,000 thermal blankets, and several medicines for common illnesses, all of which have been loaded onto BRP Benguet LT507, a government-owned cargo ship headed for Zamboanga. Docked at Sangley Point, Cavite City, the ship will deliver the goods to aid the families. Each sack contains 20 kilos of rice.
From the warehouse of the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Tzu Chi volunteers have worked together to carry thousands of rice sacks needed for the loading. Ever since the foundation’s relief distribution activities have started, DSWD has offered its warehouse to the Buddhist group as a storage area for free.
On the other hand, the thermal blankets, which are made from recycled PET bottles, have been loaded onto a truck in Tzu Chi Great Love Campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila. Volunteers from Marikina have joined efforts to carry out the task.
On October 3, the loading of these relief items have finally taken place. Docked at Sangley Point, Cavite, BRP Benguet LT507 has opened its doors to accommodate the rice, blankets, and medicines from Tzu Chi. Twenty-six volunteers have persevered in transferring the relief items from the trucks to the ship from 6 pm to near midnight.
When asked about the current situation in Zamboanga, Lt. Rommel Rodriguez, one of the officers supervising the delivery, says that the armed forces are doing their best to contain the remaining groups of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the area. “Our priority is the safety of the civilians,” he mentions.
Lt. Rodriguez is very pleased with the generosity of Tzu Chi Foundation. “This is a huge help to the displaced families who need food and shelter at the moment. It’s encouraging to see that in times of crisis, people like you lend a hand to our less fortunate countrymen,” he adds.
“We should continue helping one another regardless of our differences. It’s a symbolism that we can do something collectively. Thank you very much for this,” Lt. Rodriguez ends, thanking Tzu Chi Foundation and other organizations, such as Red Cross, DSWD, and ABS-CBN, that have sent their donations.
According to Mark Louwie Ramos, a representative from the Public and Civil Affairs Unit, they wish they could accommodate everything sent to them, but unfortunately the ship has a limited capacity. “We cannot thank you enough for doing this for the people in Zamboanga,” Ramos says.
A few hours after the loading of relief items, the cargo ship will head straight for Zamboanga and is expected to arrive there in three to four days.