In the wake of the destruction brought by Typhoon Odette in Visayas and Mindanao just one week before Christmas 2021, Filipinos gathered in the name of bayanihan to help the affected families and communities rise and rebuild.
Cebu Pacific (CEB), the Philippines’ leading airline, worked hand-in-hand with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and regular citizens in extending help and uplifting lives. With its large, nationwide coverage of flights and personnel who are rooted in the company value of service excellence, CEB was able to quickly mobilize relief to affected areas.
From the air to on-the-ground
The country’s preferred cargo carrier with the widest domestic network partnered with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) and the Office of Civil Defense to provide special humanitarian flights for 32 medical personnel from Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium, along with a cargo of assorted medicines and medical equipment from the Department of Health (DOH) to the CARAGA Region via Siargao. This was part of an urgent medical mission to Odette-impacted communities who were suffering from a stomach flu outbreak due to the lack of potable water in these areas.
PDRF President Butch Meily was thankful for the airline’s help in bringing medical aid to those communities. “Cebu Pacific’s assistance has been crucial in getting the PDRF team, healthcare professionals, medicine, and relief goods to areas where they were desperately needed. We are grateful to the men and women of the airline for their support,” he said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) likewise tapped the logistical support of Cebu Pacific to expedite the delivery of relief items to areas affected by Typhoon Odette. Around 1,340 family food packs were transported by the airline to Caticlan, Cebu, and Palawan from December 22 to 30, 2021. The cargo also included 30,000 pieces of Disaster Assistance Family Access Card (DAFAC) forms which helped the DSWD ensure that all families hit by Typhoon Odette are given appropriate assistance through a monitoring system.
“With the extent of damage caused by Typhoon Odette in transportation, electricity and communication lines, the generosity and support of Cebu Pacific to the DSWD’s relief operations greatly helped in the expeditious delivery of the much-needed assistance to our affected kababayans,” DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista said.
One of the challenges in the disaster-stricken areas was to prevent a surge of COVID-19 in their evacuation centers. To help monitor the number of COVID cases in Eastern Visayas, the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines dispatched 2,000 rapid antigen test kits to the region, tapping Cebu Pacific as its logistics partner to transport the test kits to Tacloban City last January 7. Cebu Pacific airlifted additional antigen kits for WHO Philippines on the week of February 7 .
Cebu Pacific was also supportive of private initiatives such as the distribution of Waves for Water filtration systems by travel vlogger Kyle Jennerman and Northern Mindanao Mountaineering Society to the coastal barangays Bayanihan and San Antonio in the Municipality of Libjo in Dinagat islands. The airline was able to fly out the filtration buckets from Manila to provide safe drinking water for the communities. “Without the help of Cebu Pacific, we wouldn’t have been able to bring these donated water filters at a critical time when its most needed in the community. We are so thankful.” according to volunteer organizer Sam Jennings.
Animal welfare was another major concern during the recent calamity, and Cebu Pacific helped PeTA Asia care for the affected people and pets by carrying three shipments of 350kgs of animal and human food including rice, canned goods, water filters, vet meds, solar panel, tarps, and drinking water for the Bohol Animal Rescue and Kindness (BARK) Center in Bohol and the Island Rescue Organization in Cebu.
Massive rebuilding efforts are still being conducted in many of the typhoon-affected areas. Damage to agriculture and infrastructure has been reported in several areas of Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
With the renowned resilience of the Filipino, affected communities are rising up against the challenges, and Cebu Pacific Air is committed to continuing its support for these initiatives.
“Aside from offering safe and reliable travels to our different local and international destinations, we want to continue to make life better for veryjuan, and this includes being there for our kababayans most especially in their time of need,” says Michael Ivan Shau, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Cebu Pacific.
For those interested to partner with CEB, humanitarian requests may be sent to [email protected].