[Blueboard] Operation Sendong

Rona Valenzuela mvalenzuela at ateneo.edu
Thu Jan 5 11:23:47 PHT 2012


ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY
Office of the President




 

4 January 2012



 

Memo to   :    The University Community

 

>From         :    The President

 

Subject      :    Operation Sendong

 

 

Sendong continues to draw the magis in us.  Thank you truly for your magnanimity or great-heartedness.  I spent six years in CDO and know some of those affected.  In countless messages, they have conveyed to me their gratitude for your generosity.  Because of their competence, systems, and organization, Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan continues to be the hub of relief and rehabilitation efforts.

 

Here's a timeline of sorts of our action thus far:

 

Immediate relief.  17 Dec 2011, morning:  Members of the Dream (Disaster Reduction and Management) Team were deployed to organize the provision of relief goods in the form of food, water and clothing.  Coordination was done with Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB, led by our Jesuit scholastics) to purchase goods from suppliers in Mindanao so that delivery would be faster. 

 

The receiving area for donations was opened at Xavier Hall on 18 Dec (until 23 Dec, and reopened 27-28 Dec), while other donations in kind (clothing, medicines, etc) were received at the Ateneo School of Government.  These were dispatched to CDO and Iligan on 29 Dec with the help of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

 

The response, including those who went to Simbanggabi, was impressive.  All school units were actively involved in giving and soliciting funds.  With SLB, total funds raised so far now amount to P7 million. Of this, about P3M have been disbursed for relief operations. The remaining P4M are earmarked for rehabilitation.

 

Psycho-social support services.  One of our contributions was to provide psychosocial support.  This was done in coordination with XU members of the Psychology Department, Guidance and Counseling Office, and the Office of Mission and Ministry.  Three teams from the Loyola Schools Psych Dept went to CDO to train volunteers from the community (teachers, doctors, HR professionals, etc) who offered to provide counseling at the evacuation centers.  Over 600 volunteers were trained.  Our Psych Dept also helped train XU faculty to facilitate the XU colloquium sessions, scheduled before they resume classes on 9 Jan.  More than a thousand XU students and many faculty and staff suffered the loss of family members and homes.

 

Student initiatives.  Officers of the Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral and COA visited several evacuation centers and met with their counterpart student leaders in XU to assess the needs of those directly affected by the floods.  Among the immediate needs identified were replacements for uniforms, books and school supplies.  Gift checks are being solicited and fund drives organized for this purpose.  Our own students are also spearheading the "adopt-a-student" program to assist XU students.

 

Water treatment.  As early as 18 Dec, the Ateneo Innovation Center deployed a team that installed a water treatment system for CDO.  This lightning fast intervention on the part of our techies was critical as the entire water distribution system in CDO was severely damaged. 

 

Rehabilitation and rebuilding.  In a meeting with Fr Roberto Yap SJ (XU President), the Ateneo de Manila has signified its willingness to help in the rehabilitation efforts. A re-settlement community development plan is now being made on a 5-hectare site donated by XU.  This is in collaboration with DSWD, GK, Habitat, and others.

 

*  *  *

 

Again, thank you for your compassion and generosity.  Magis, borne out of love for God and love of others, is at the heart of the Ateneo way.  Much work still needs to be done.  Updates will continue to be posted on www.ateneo.edu.

 

May the Ateneo continue to help our people rise from this sorrowful tragedy.  May we be open to all the newness and conversion and change 2012 will bring.

 

 

 

Jose Ramon T Villarin SJ

President

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