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After Ondoy-Pepeng, brace and pray again for Ramil...

2009 - Typhoon "Ondoy"

After Ondoy-Pepeng,
brace and pray again for Ramil...!!!

- October 15th,

JPEG - 151.9 ko
Tropical Storm "ondoy" ( Ketsana ), 26 September 2009... A bus stranded by floodwaters. People wait for a makeshift raft to ferry them along or across Aurora Blvd. ( Shot from V. Mapa station

Sisters Fe, Melania & I were able to leave Baguio in a DPWH (Department of Public Works & Highways) van with an alumna who works in government. The 10 hours ride gave us a dramatic panorama of destruction : mountains, infrastructure, agricultural lands, lives !!! We met so many funeral processions along the way as it was time to bury loved ones from the Cordillera down to La Union & Pangasinan.
In Baguio, we turned over concrete needs for relocation & rehabilitation of the badly affected families of our barranggay to the Cordillera department of Social Welfare and we know immediate service will be delivered as genuine concern now reigns everywhere. This is further assured by our alumnae in government who are all working hard, too. Café-by the Ruins continues to be a channel of relief operations. Class ‘67 alumnae just sent a plane-load of medicine, blankets, etc. to Mitos Benitez who is still on full-time work with her volunteers in the remote areas of Benguet.
Meanwhile we are all concerned with our Baguio house because Ramil is expected to hit the whole Northern Luzon this Wednesday night (Oct. 22) with stronger force than Pepeng. While a temporary canvass shield has been put up, we know massive work awaits as we are dealing with the foundation of our chapel itself and the area that goes up to our grotto. This is God’s house. We know we need to listen to him a lot as we go about our work.

- October 18th.

Old Girls’ Day in San Lorenzo. The Silver Jubilarians awakened & expanded our common heartfelt desire to “put ourselves in our people’s shoes”. The soul-filled velada ended with Maitel Minana, Sandy Prieto & Vina Concepcion (maiden names) solemnly addressing all to “be one with us...as we put on the next pair of shoes in the next journey that lies ahead” and with their whole batch, took off their shoes to “feel the earth that we want to walk with our people !” Tears on stage and way past Mother Rose Hall convinced me that they can’t end there. Chinit & I offered to “catch” this powerful emotion by offering a “post-velada” process at MEI this Thursday. We want to respond to their need for accompaniment as they try to fit into the sandals of Jesus on their way home to different parts of the Philippines and abroad. Be with us on this day with your prayers.

Meanwhile tons & tons of food and other goods are arriving from the UN and other countries. Financial aid has started to arrive to address immediate needs. Our own Assumption family all over the world (sisters, alumnae, friends) continue to send help. Pinky V, Millete O, Sisters Fe and Ana Maria are in constant communication & coordination. At this point, we want to move to rehabilitation stage. As there are many groups helping now in repair, reconstruction & relocation in Metro Manila, we would like to help in the rehabilitation of our rice bowl of Luzon. Concretely, this means helping farmers get started with a sack-full of rice seed (what they need for 1 hectare) so they can plant again before January. We have trusted alumnae contacts and other places who can facilitate this operation. A sack of rice seeds cost 1,200 pesos and we invite all students, staff, parents, alumnae, friends who want to help rebuild our food bowl to foresee the most basic need when this flow of relief goods will come to an end.

Thank you for all who responded so generously to our people’s pains. Pain & compassion serve as great equalizers. More and more I believe God’s reign is making a good landing on our wet, wet soil.

Sr. Regina Victoria

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