Sagip-Tulong Relief and Medical Mission

I wish to report that your association conducted the relief and medical mission under RBAP SAGIP-TULONG FUND last Saturday, January 8. It was undertaken jointly with the Philippine Airforce arranged by our RBAP Vice President for Mindanao and President of RB of Cantillan, Inc. Gen. William K. Hotchkiss III (Ret.). PAF Civil Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Civil Military Affairs Operations Col. Artemio G. Orozco and Directorate for Civil Relation Deputy Col. Gregorio U. Untalan provided the M-35 truck to deliver 3 tons of relief materials to Infanta, Quezon.
The activity started at 2:30 am and returned to Manila by 9:30 pm of the same day. We coordinated the mission with Father Boy Macabenta, parish head of Infanta who allowed us to use the church and classrooms manned by seminarians and civil volunteers to repack rice and canned good items into plastic pails marked “Operation Sagip-Tulong”.

Simultaneously, SAGIP-TULONG medical corp of all-doctor volunteers from PAF Villamor Hospital led by Cpt. Dr. Zarina S. Sempio O – 129202 MC (PAF) provided treatment and prescribed antibiotics, anti-diarrhea, anti-respiratory capsules and syrup, vitamins and infection applications to more than 180 patients in a makeshift wing of the parish church amidst heavy downpour and unending mud layers covering everywhere.

Rural banking was certainly in its finest day! Using two streamers of “Operation Sagip-Tulong”, Infanta typhoon victims witnessed rural bankers commitment to extend help and medical care for those affected in the tragedy. Indeed, the day seemed short even if we started early at 2:30 a.m. There are a lot more work to raise back the town and residents towards proper rehabilitation and reconstruction. Public works crawl and construction materials hardly come not even in trickles, and most families and residents try to make do with little resources available. Agriculture lands have been devastated by the mudflows and debris of boulders and wood logs, and it will probably take years to bring fertility back to the soil. Infanta survivors look at March with great apprehension since food supplies would be running low by then, chiefly dependent on charity and donations which seem to be on its last drop. Likewise, sanitation and epidemic outbreak have to be addressed urgently.

Infanta looked like a coastal town hit by a tsunami that originated from the mountains instead of from the deep ocean. Could it be due to the floodwaters released from the nearby dam, aggravated by uncontrolled illegal loggings throughout the years? Being in ground zero is certainly most unnerving, and leaves many questions unanswered in the minds of the mission participants.

Only one thing was clear among us, that we have this mission of mercy to complete and to touch the lives of hapless victims whose faces are still blank from the enormity of the devastation that befell them. We want to bring a little flicker of hope and prayer, to go on with life with human dignity in a community that was once the pride and jewel of investors and speculators. Yes, that was the inspiration that pushed all of us including those who wished to have gone with the trip.

SAGIP-TULONG brought to the disaster area the following goods and services:

· FOOD – RBAP received assorted sacks of rice, and bought canned sardines, packed noodles and rice which were neatly delivered in 5 gallon plastic pails marked “OPERATION SAGIP-TULONG in cooperation with Philippine Air Force and various donors such as Bangko Pangasinan; Laguna Federation of Rural Banks; Cebu Fed. of RBs; Grepalife; Aklan Federation of Rural Banks; Classic Rural Bank (Batangas), Inc.; Rural Bank of Midsayap (Cotabato), Inc.; Philippine Prudential; Senen D. Glorioso; Country Bankers Life Insurance Corporation; Federation of Baguio-Benguet-Mt. Province Rural and Cooperative Banks; Santiago G. Sambrano II; Rural Bank of Cantilan (Surigao del Sur), Inc.; Rural Bank of Agno (Pangasinan), Inc.; Malayan Insurance Company, Inc; Meliza Agabin; Carol Chua; Providence Rural Bank (Cagayan), Inc.”

· CLOTHINGS AND MISCELLANEOUS – Clothings and blankets in bails were received by the Dugsang Buhay under the auspices of Father Boy Macabenta.

· CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS – We also bought assorted nails and hammers to be given to all barangays for the construction of homes, schools, and facilities.

· MEDICINE – SAGIP-TULONG purchased various capsules, syrups, suspensions and ointments for anti-biotics, anti-diarrhea, respiratory diseases, anti-fungal and infections as well as pedriatical multi-vitamins and antiseptics.

· MEDICAL SERVICES – Non-surgical services were provided by the 8-member group of doctors from the PAF Villamor Hospital treating more than 180 patients from various barangays organized by the diocese. Medical treatments ended at 2:30 p.m.

I would like to thank all the donors for their generosity in making the first mission trip of SAGIP-TULONG a reality. May their tribe continue to grow and prosperity shine upon their selfless hearts. I also wish to extend the gratitude of the whole association to the noteworthy cooperation of the PAF for hospitably accommodating our schedule and ensuring everyone’s safety throughout the procedure. Our hearts go for the energetic medical team of Captain Zarina S. Simpeo PAF, particularly my niece, Clarissa Glorioso, Rachel del Mundo, Fe T. Dimaculangan, Dario Flores, Glen Antonio, Gerardo Sy-Quia and Dennis Mula. They brought hope and light to the patients they treated, and may their future vocations be blessed and fulfilled. My son Senen Lorenzo Jr. eagerly assisted the orderly queuing of patients and distribution of medicine. Though he did not take up medicine for business degree, I am sure he felt good, as much as I did.

Our sturdy M-35 truck was driven by A2C Sol Marco R. Lomigo PAF assisted by A1C Francis B. Capalaran PAF, and our security was guaranteed by able escorts led by A2C Gilmen S. Zuñiga PAF, A1C Mauro S. Mauricio PAF and A2C Ira T. Tejada PAF. The medical announcements were prepared and posted by Sgt. Wilfredo B. Viado, Jr. PAF whom we thanked deeply for his gentle disposition coupled with military discipline. They made us feel comfortable in the folds of true soldiers of the people.

RBAP Director Felino SM. Angeles of RB of Cainta, Inc. cracked jokes and led songs to ease the discomfort, tiredness and dirt everyone suffered, and Director-Corporate Secretary RB of Labrador, Inc. President Mark Ernest D. Rosario was a weight lifter par excellence making the unloading of boxful of goods a piece of cake. Chit Javier stood tall and mighty in her exemplary and jolly mood helping me organize, contact and arrange everyone for the big Saturday event, and RBAP Account Officer Tintin Fernando was everywhere documenting the activities as our mission photographer and historian.

Shallie Recaido made the finances go a long way, and watched our budget with a sharp eye of stern young mother, as Selfa Distor gave the doctors much needed secretarial assistance in the house of God. Ruben, Vic, my own staff Joel, Larry, Mang Romulo and Michael provided us with the vital manpower lifting our spirits and bodies, as well as the relief goods. If there was a better chance of bonding, this is it.

Lastly, we thank Director Mercedes Coloma and Past President Jerry Coloma for the van and their driver Rodney, and my own driver Paquito who both drove our two vehicles superbly navigating through mud and muck of the disaster debris that were strewn all over Infanta and on the roads.

God really provided, as Mother Theresa said! And He made rural banks proud!

Bless you all!

By the way, we have SAGIP-TULONG Part II to bring seedlings, fertilizers and pesticides aside from the usual canned goods and rice, and medicine. May everyone come again with generous time and resources. I am sure it will be equally rewarding! See you again soon!

Cheers for all rural bankers of goodwill!

President, RBAP

View more pictures of the RBAP Sagip-Tulong Relief and Medical Mission