ORMOC CITY—The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) conducted the second wave of its relief operations and medical mission here on Wednesday, giving away some 80,000 relief packs and providing free medicines to survivors of Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan).
Ormoc residents said this was the biggest relief operation they have seen since the November 8 tragedy in the city that had also survived the flashfloods of 1991, which claimed 5,000 lives.
The project, called “Lingap sa Mamamayan” or Aid to Humanity, was simultaneously held at the INC house of worship in Ormoc City and in the plaza near the old municipal building.
INC General Auditor Minister Glicerio B. Santos Jr. said INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo ordered a second phase of the relief operations initially held on November 14 in Ormoc City so that more people would benefit from the mission. Another relief and medical mission was conducted in Carigara, near Tacloban City, on November 16, where some 30,000 more residents were given relief goods.
The following day, a Sunday, simultaneous relief operations were conducted in 10 other sites in the various areas hit by Yolanda.
These were in Bogo and Bantayan in northern Cebu, on Camotes Island and in Danao City in southern Cebu; Kalibo in Aklan; Sara in northern Iloilo; Tabuk in Roxas City, Capiz; and the towns of Hernani, Salcedo and Quinapundan in Eastern Samar.
That week alone, around 200,000 relief packs were given to the typhoon survivors in these areas.
The relief distribution, under the Lingap sa Mamamayan project was done in cooperation with the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation Inc., the INC’s charitable arm.
“The INC church administration saw the need for a bigger relief and medical mission for the survivors of the typhoon. We will help more people in this time of crisis,” Santos said in an interview at the relief- distribution site in the Ormoc City Plaza.
The INC project to give relief aid to typhoon survivors was initially held on November 14 in Ormoc City, where some 30,000 people were given relief packs, each containing 3 to 4 kilos of rice, canned goods and noodles.
On November 26, 80,000 more bags of relief goods were given—30,000 bags were distributed in the INC compound in the city and 50,000 in the town plaza. Thousands benefited from it. Residents noted there was no preselection of relief recipients. All they needed to do was to line up and they got their relief bags.
“Mabuti rito walang pili-pili. Kahit sino pwedeng pumila. Wala nang ticket na kailangan,” said Isauro Piamonte, 35, one of the beneficiaries. He said that in the distribution centers in the barangay and in the other foundations, they needed to enlist first and get a ticket before they could line up for relief.
“Dito nalaman namin namimigay ang Iglesia nang walang pili, kaya pumunta kami rito. Kahit bata binibigyan nila. Marami, parang hindi nauubos,” he said, noting how relief bags from trucks kept pouring in so everybody who lined up had his or her share.
Nida Chu, 46, also noted the selective distribution in certain barangays in their area. Worse, some relief packs were allegedly cut in half.
“’Yung tatlong kilo ng bigas na ibibigay, nababawasan pa. Nagiging isang kilo na lang at isang pakete ngnoodles,” Chu said.
Antonio Olarte, 62, from Alta Vista, said that in his barangay, only registered voters were being given relief goods. He was thankful he got a relief food bag from the INC, although he was not a member of the group.
Organizers of the Lingap sa Mamamayan said all the people there, regardless of religion, were the targets of their relief and medical mission.
“This is to show our love for our fellowmen,” said Santos, quoting the directive from Manalo.
Volunteer doctors, nurses and paramedics from Metro Manila, including those from the New Era General Hospital in Quezon City, and from Cavite and Cebu, helped in the medical mission in Ormoc City on Wednesday.
Dr. Berlin Serrano, an anesthesiologist, said all the members of the medical teams who were helping out in the Lingap sa Mamamayan only wanted to share their love and concern for fellow Filipinos in these times of disasters.
On November 29 the INC Lingap sa Mamamayan for Yolanda survivors also held a massive relief distribution and medical mission in Tacloban City.