Manila Water Foundation marks 15th year at Batangas Evacuation Centers, Tanauan School
It has been exactly a month since the Taal volcano shook the country with its spews of ashes and lava. Coinciding with its 15th founding anniversary, Manila Water Foundation (MWF) chose to go beyond a festive commemoration and instead heed to the call of Taal evacuees who are still left homeless.
Disaster Preparedness and Hygiene Education Sessions for Tanauan Pupils
Advocating on disaster preparedness and hygiene education, MWF’s anniversary activity kicked off at Tanauan North Central Elementary School (TNCES), with sessions on safety precautions in times of disasters as well as proper handwashing and toothbrushing.
“Isang napakagandang oportunidad ang ibinigay sa atin ng Manila Water Foundation upang piliin na ipagdiwang ang kanilang 15th anniversary na tayo ang kanilang kasama,” said Principal Rowena Tercero of TNCES during her welcome speech.
To talk about safety precautions in times of disasters and calamities, MWF invited Tanauan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office Head Engr. Ryan Parino to lead the discussion. He expounded on the types of disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruption, and critical safety practices during these times. He also relayed important lessons gathered from historically recorded disasters.
Afterwards, a Health in Our Hands session was conducted teaching the seven steps to proper handwashing and toothbrushing as preventive actions against communicable diseases—in time for the recent outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The pupils learned that handwashing with soap and clean water during critical times can be a do-it-yourself vaccine against communicable diseases. They also learned about the importance of proper oral hygiene to one’s health and tips to keep one’s mouth and teeth healthy.
Grade 6 pupil Steven Mugsy Agojo expressed his gratitude on the learnings he acquired during the activity. “’Yung mga lola ko po ay taga-Taal, lumipat po muna sila sa amin at maraming pong ash po sa kanila,” he shared. “Natutunan ko po na dapat laging handa sa mga pangyayari at sakuna tulad ng pagsabog ng bulkan at lindol. Nakakatulong po ‘yung mga tips dahil iyon po ay mahalaga at ma-apply po namin sa everyday life,” he added.
Linis Lusog Ligtas kits from partners were also distributed to the participating parents and students after the activity: P&G Philippines for hygiene products, laundry supplies and clothes; AC Health and Generika Drugstore for N95 masks and medicines; Ayala Coop for school supplies, rice and whistle/flashlight; Ayala Foundation Inc. and Ayala Malls for medicines and crackers, donated by its customers; and Manila Water Enterprise for hygiene kits, food packs, and clothes, donated by its employees.
“Ito pong ginawa ninyo ngayong araw ay hindi namin malilimutan, sapagkat ito po ay bahagi ng aming proyektong Project Hope, which highlights opportunity and protection for everyone. Our pupils are our utmost priority. Their safety and protection are our first priority, at bahagi po niyan ay maturuan sila ng tamang gawain para sa kaligtasan at para sa kanilang kalusugan. Thank you so much for choosing Tanauan North Central Elementary School as the recipient of this activity,” Principal Tercero added.
The activity was in partnership with Manila Water, Laguna Water, South Luzon Water, and Tanauan City LGU. Overall, 400 Grade 6 students and 100 parents and teachers participated in the activities.
A Wave of Hope for Taal Evacuees
Though Taal Volcano’s unrest may seem to have toned down, some areas and barangays in Batangas are on lockdown with thousands of evacuees yet to go back to their homes and accommodated at evacuation centers.
After the disaster preparedness and hygiene education sessions at TNCES, MWF dropped by three other barangays which houses evacuees to date. First stop was at Barangay Sambat in Tanauan City to distribute hygiene kits, towels, detergent and fabric conditioner to the 25 families still lodged at the Barangay’s evacuation center.
Next, MWF headed to Barangay Wawa in Tanauan City and distributed hygiene kits, towels, laundry supplies, and food packs to 169 families. Sharing her experiences as an evacuee, Virgie Mendoza of Barangay Wawa recalled her experience during the first days of the volcano’s unrest. “Kaba, pag-aalala, ‘yung mga naiiwan namin sa bahay kung papaano na dahil pinalikas nga kami nang ilang araw, na hindi kami makakapasok sa aming lugar,” she said. “Naka-dalawang linggo at mahigit kami sa evacuation center. Mahirap talaga maging evacuee, dahil sa dami namin. ‘Yung pagdumi at ‘yung pag ihi ay pila-pila. ,” she added.
“Nakakatuwa dahil kahit na tapos na itong [pag-aalburoto] ng bulkan, may dumating pa rin na biyaya. Nagpapasalamat kami sa lahat nang nagbigay ng mga ito. Maraming-maraming salamat, malaking kaluwagan din sa amin ito, kasi matagal kaming hindi naghahanap buhay. Nagpapasalamat din kaming lahat dito sa Barangay Wawa sa P&G at sa Ayala Corporation sa biyayang ibinigay sa amin, at happy anniversary Manila Water Foundation,” she shared.
For its last stop, MWF capped off its anniversary fête at a housing site turned into an evacuation center in Talaibon, Ibaan, Batangas, which accommodates evacuees from two of the hardest-hit areas in Batangas: Barangay Alas-As in San Nicolas and Barangay Pulang Bato in San Juan. 162 families received MWF packs, detergent, fabric conditioner, deodorant, biscuits, four sacks of clothes, and three boxes of medicines. MWF is grateful to the following partners for extending their resources to the affected families, placed in Linis Lusog Ligtas kits: P&G Philippines for hygiene products, laundry supplies, and clothes; AC Health and Generika Drugstore for N95 masks and medicines; Ayala Coop for school supplies, rice and whistle/flashlight; Ayala Foundation Inc. and Ayala Malls for medicines and crackers, donated by its customers; and Manila Water Enterprise for hygiene kits, food packs, and clothes, donated by its employees.