By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine Army (PA) distributed relief items to victims of the on-going eruption of Taal volcano in Batangas on Tuesday.
Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay, Army Chief, spearheaded the activity in Santo Tomas town where around 200 families received relief goods from reservists of the 401st Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion.
“Nagpapasalamat po kami kasi naalala po nila kami na bigyan ng tulong,” Marilyn Olimpiada, one of the evacuees, was quoted by the Army as saying.
The 52-year-old evacuee left her home in San Isidro, Taal Island with her family on Sunday night after Taal’s initial outburst.
They took refuge at an evacuation center in Poblacion 3, Batangas City.
Meanwhile, Corporal Marissa Castillo, one of the first military responders when Taal spewed ashes in a phrearic explosion, said the sleepless nights were all worth it when they received thanks from the victims of the eruption.
“Sobrang masaya sa pakiramdam na nakakatulong kahit wala kaming tulog. Three days and three nights talaga kaming nasa labas para tumulong sa mga nasalanta. Anytime naka-antabay kami to help them (I am really happy to help even we lack sleep in the process. We were out there for three days and three nights to help the victims. We are on standby anytime to assist them),” Castillo said.
Castillo was enlisted in the military’s reserve component in May 2019.
According to Gapay, the relief items came from the initiative of private individuals and business entities that were donated to the military.
The Philippine Army then provided trucks and personnel to help transport the donations.
“We share in the difficulties of the people affected by this calamity. We are here now as a sign of our commitment to serve those who are in need. We hope that this gesture will inspire others to do the same to help in whatever way they can,” Gapay said.
Alert Level 4 was still raised over Taal as of Wednesday which means that even if it has decreased volcanic activities, the possibility of a hazardous eruption is still imminent.