OSSFF assists Baranggay Bagumbayan and Libis Elem during Ondoy flood relief

In late September 2009, typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng brought floods that ravaged all of Metro Manila. In the short span of 10 hours, Ondoy brought nearly 40 centimeters of rain down on Metro Manila and flooded 80% of the National Capital Region. The previous record was 33 cm in 24 hours, which was way back in July 1967. Everywhere, devastation laid waste to homes, cars, properties, and lives. Some gruesome statistics –
120,000 families (645,000 people) affected; 38,000 families (155,000 people) evacuated or forced to leave their homes; 21,000 rescued; 460
NCR evacuation centers mobilized, primarily public schools and barangay halls; 300 dead or unaccounted for. In places beside the Marikina and Pasig Rivers, such as Pasig, Marikina, Taguig, Camanava, and parts of Manila and Quezon City, floodwaters went up as high as 20 feet. It took over 12 days before the floodwaters receded enough for the families to return home and start the long process of rebuilding homes and lives.

Bing del Rosario visited the Bagumbayan area on October 3 and found that over 600 families had been evacuated from their shanty homes near the Marikina River and given temporary space in both Bagumbayan Elementary School (250 families) and the barangay basketball court (350 families). The barangay captain, Dr. Elmer Maturan, had mobilized his staff to secure relief goods and cook food for the evacuees. Taking cognizance of their plight, Bing donated P60,000 in cash to the barangay to assist in purchasing of basic necessities – slippers, shorts, t-shirts, plastic sheets, and cooking supplies. “Your donation was so welcome and appreciated – it really helped Bagumbayan since we were already running low on funds,” Elmer “Doc” Maturan said.

Bing also visited Libis Elementary School. Although it wasn’t transformed into an evacuation center, a great percentage of the Libis student population belonged to shanty families who lived beside the Marikina River just half a kilometer away. With the swollen waters of Marikina River flooding into their homes, some 150 children had lost their schoolbags, schoolbooks, and clothes. The children started trooping back to class – barefoot, wearing overworn sandos, dirty house shorts, and clutching plastic bags that now served as their schoolbags.

So the appeal came from principal Thelma Co – could One Small Step Forward Foundation help these students? And the Foundation answered positively. It put up a P20,000 fund which the school special committee used to buy Divisoria-sourced boys’ and girls’ white shirts (two sets each for 40 kids), notebooks, pencils and writing pads for 150 students, slippers (a pair each for 30 kids), and underwear (3 pieces each for 50
kids). This example inspired another donor organization, the Ladies of Charity, prompting them to provide similar assistance the week after to Libis Elementary School.