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It has been a tiring yet fulfilling week for the staff of various child-focused organizations helping out the community of the Olandes Batibot Early Learning Center (OBELC) located in Sitio Olandes, Barangay Industrial Valley Complex in Marikina City.  This area has been the focus of the relief efforts of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center and its network organizations like Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns, the Parents’ Alternative for ECCD, Inc. (PAI) and the Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia (ARCSEA).  The group adopted the name Task Force: Children of the Storm 

What we have done so far:


1. Relief efforts 

Our efforts to appeal for assistance for the flood victims started in September 28, as soon as the roads were safe for travel.  An ad-hoc Task Force was immediately formed, with CRC in the lead, to plan out immediate response for the community.  The teachers and some parents of the OBELC were mobilized to look into the families of the current OBELC students as well as the other residents of the community.  The group went house to house and gave out stubs for relief. 


The system of house-to-house distribution of relief stubs proved to be more efficient and effective.  Compared with other relief efforts, which usually got mobbed, our relief distribution was orderly and systematic.  It also made sure that the residents retain their dignity and pride as they need not run after relief packs nor engage in tug-of-war with other victims just to get their share. At the end of the week, we were able to reach out and provide relief packs to 1,145 families of the estimated 3,000+ resident families of Sitio Olandes.  Our survey system ensured that a family receives relief only once so that other families can also benefit.

We also established a standard relief pack based on the actual needs of the residents.  Our standard relief pack contains a minimum of 2 kilos of rice, 2 canned goods, 2 noodles and a set of clothes for adults and children.  As more relief goods poured in, more items were added like mineral water, biscuits, and toiletries.

Volunteers were mobilized for the repacking of the donated goods.  Students, parents of OBELC kids whose place were not affected, even children of staff members were on hand to help in the CRC office which is also the main operations center.

2.      Temporary shelter

CRC became temporary shelter to the families of staff and teachers whose homes were also flooded in Olandes.  A total of 6 families (11 adults and 16 kids) were provided with dry place to stay and food for nourishment.  The children stay in the office during the day while the adults attend to the cleaning of their homes.  This way, they would not have to worry about the welfare of their kids.  Parents of the kids also take turns, with the staff in cooking, cleaning and ensuring the needs

3.      Psycho-social Processing

 The 16 kids staying in the office participate in the psycho-social processing sessions daily.  Our psychologists and social workers take turns in caring for the children, ensuring that their routines were maintained despite the absence of classes.  The children expressed their fears regarding the conditions of their homes and their anxiety over the news of a coming super typhoon.  This week, they are due to visit their community and the day care center. 

4.      Clean-up

Several inches of mud and flood water and very low visibility (the community still has no electricity) were tackled by the volunteers mobilized by the Task Force during the clean-up operations.  The group prioritized the OBELC since the whole school was submerged in flood waters.  They were able to salvage only very few things.  The children’s books, writing materials, Encyclopedia, visual aids, children’s drawings and even the computer were all irretrievable and were thus, thrown away.  The lack of flowing water made the task of cleaning even more daunting.  A solution that the volunteers from the Community of Learners Foundation came up with was to bring the materials such as blocks, chairs, tables, kitchen utensils, etc to their school for cleaning, to be returned later when things get “normal” again. Aside from the school, the TF also helped the affected staff and teachers clean up their houses.  A total of 5 houses were prioritized.

5. Volunteer-mobilization

Filipinos can only rely on each other during tragedies, especially since our government has proven to be inutile, helpless and unreliable, during crisis such as this.  In one week’s time, we were able to mobilize 174 volunteers, majority of who were students from the University of the Philippines.  They helped in the repacking of relief goods, clean up of the day care center and homes, and in the children’s activities as well as in the technical and logistical needs of the CRC evacuation center.   Acknowledgements…part 1 

On the first day of the SOS call, the Citizen’s Disaster Response Center responded by providing a truck in which the staff and residents, especially the children of Olandes can be evacuated.  Unfortunately, the flood waters rose so fast that it was impossible even for the truck to pass.  The CDRC truck had to return the next day to put to safetythe 16 kids and 11 adults currently housed in the CRC office.

CDRC also provided the initial 300 relief packs which was distributed to the residents last September 29.  It also facilitated the donations of Allkey International.  Bgy Capt. Raul Datiles of Bagumbuhay, Project 4 where the CRC office is located also provided its vehicle to transport cooked food donated by Ms. Angel Locsin through the Gabriela Women’s Party on the same day.  A sack of clothes were also donated by Quezon City District 3 Representative Mat Defensor through the Barangay.

 We also acknowledge Rep. Liza Maza and Rep. Luz ilagan of the Gabriela Women’s Party, who contacted their respective media network when the OBELC teachers called for rescue for the community.  Rep. Maza also conducted an ocular visit to the area last October 1 and called up Marikina City District 1 Representative Cong. Del De Guzman to inform him of the residents’ plight and requests. 

Below is the list of donors on the first week of the relief operations:

Donations in kind:

  1. Santiago family - 3 sacks of rice; 3 boxes of soft drinks in bottles and 3 boxes of soft drinks in cans
  2. De La Salle University COSCA - 300 packs (350 after repacking)     
  3. Dra. Lourdes Tilde - 1 sack rice      
  4. Ms. Neneng Lacanilao - 1 sack rice and 1 bag of clothes
Anonymous (donated while the TF is conducting relief operations along C5 road near Olandes in Marikina) - 50 blankets 

  1. teachers and students of Community of Learners Foundation - 250 relief packs
  2. University of the Philippines students and professors - 550 relief packs
  3. Rhona Montebon and Irma Lacorte – 50 relief packs
  4. Valle Verde 5 Homeowners Association – relief goods
  5. Mrs. Yabut – relief goods
  6. All-UP Workers’ Union – use of vehicle  

    Financial donations:  

    • Ms. Jane Pajarillo
    • UP Alumni Association Hong Kong chapter
    • Mr. Chito Perez
    • Mr. Mark Perez
    • Mr. Rudy Avila
    • Ms. Anita Bonsubre
    • Ms. Roseann Gaffud
    • Ms. Phoebe Maata