In what could be the biggest relief operation by a private organization, by far, in the island of Panay, the Manila-based Ruth Foundation for Palliative Medicine and Hospice Care, headed by its Program Director, Dr. Rumalie “Mae” Alparaque-Corvera and her husband Atty. Peter Irving C. Corvera, accomplished the distribution of around 32 tons of food and supplies to the five island barangays of Talotuan, Macatunao, Tambaliza, Igbon and Polopiña.
The Ruth Foundation distributed 3,000 “family packages” consisting of five kilos of rice, canned goods, medicine, vitamins, soap, and other food supplies to each household in these five barangays, and “barangay packages” consisting of building equipment and materials such as hammers, saw, shovels and tents which were received by the respective barangay captains.
Medical services such as tetanus shots and wound dressings were likewise provided in makeshift clinics and basic medicine such as antibiotics were dispensed to the populace of Talotuan. These outlying island barangays of Concepcion, Iloilo was the area of the first landfall of super typhoon “Yolanda” in Panay, and probably one of the hardest hit areas. What made relief efforts to the islands difficult was the logistical challenge of the lack of sea vessels to ferry the supplies since most of the pump boats in the area were destroyed by the typhoon.
The relief team of around 50 volunteers was composed of medical personnel from Metro Manila, and senior students from the Social Work Department of Central Philippine University, headed by Edwin I. Lariza (Co-chairman of the Executive Committee of the Provincial Development Council) who provided the needed community coordination, organization and data gathering.
Foreign volunteers, Mr. Jon Sullivan of the United Kingdom and Adrian Lee from Singapore also joined the effort together with Foundation Board members, Mike Trinidad and Major Roy Aguto of the Bureau of Fire Protection.
The team was given logistical support by the provincial government, through Provincial Administrator Raul Banias who provided six dump trucks and boar assets to ferry the goods and police personnel to provide security escort for the team. Mayor Milliard Villanueva of Concepcion also provided coordination support for the team.
The Foundation intends to continue its assistance by a proposed plan “adopt” one of the barangays for long-term livelihood assistance project. (Source: Panay News, p7. November 21, 2013 edition)