On the last day of cleanup drive at Barangay Banaba, San Mateo in Rizal, flood victims from Barangay Tumana, Malanday, and Nangka in Marikina City volunteered to help clear up the village of mud and debris. Volunteers from Manila Chinatown’s Firefighter Association of Volunteer Fire Chief and Fire Fighters also came to flush mud off the streets.
Participants of Tzu Chi Foundation’s cash relief cleanup drive at Barangay Banaba, San Mateo in Rizal went beyond what was asked of them in order to help restore their community to cleanliness.
Richard Muleta, 28, and Renalyn Verbo, 62, were willing to get themselves dirty if it means they can help others.
On August 19, both were drenched and covered in mud after trying to clear the waterways of mud and debris that were stuck there in the aftermath of the flooding.
“If we don’t clean this canal then a lot of people will be inconvenienced. If another typhoon comes, flood will easily happen again,” said Richard.
They have tried all methods they could – using shovels, long steel rods, among others. But no matter how much he tried, Richard just couldn’t get to de-clog the canal. Then Renalyn found out about his dilemma and stepped out to help.
“He couldn’t fit inside the hole so I offered to do it instead,” shared Renalyn.
Inside the canal, it was dark and suffocating. But Renalyn went inside bravely.
“There was a thick layer of mud. I know we need to remove it and it can only be done if I go inside. I am worried about the children who will be affected if their waterways remain clogged up. I did it out of concern for everyone’s safety. I know it was the right thing to do,” she said.
Renalyn is not a resident of the village. She came from the nearby Banaba Extension and only joined the cleanup drive as she desperately needed the cash assistance. Like the rest, she was also badly affected by the flash floods. But when the need arose, she knew she has to do something. And she did.
Thanks to her efforts, the canal at South Libis is flowing smoothly again.
The thick layer of mud that blocked the streets of North Libis and the heaps of garbage in South Libis were also cleared up with the help of Barangay Nangka, Marikina City residents. They came forward to volunteer in the cleanup on August 19. They were also victims of the flooding but after Tzu Chi Foundation helped them clean their village under a cash relief cleanup program, they were inspired to give back.
A total of 100 residents of Barangay Nangka volunteered. From Barangay Malanday, also in Marikina, 20 residents came to help.
“When I woke up this morning I was very surprised that I saw my neighbors outside my house, expressing their willingness to come here and volunteer. I didn’t even have to beg them to come,” shared Tzu Chi volunteer Violeta Bumatay from Barangay Nangka. Including herself, she brought 16 individuals to help in the cleanup.
Marilu Tapayan, 36, learned not to dwell on her misfortune after seeing the situation at Barangay Banaba.
“I feel that we were more blessed because if I compare their situation to ours they have it worse. Even if we were also victims of the flood, it was nothing like this. Here it is very muddy and it will be very hard to walk around for the residents,” said Nangka resident Marilu.
Volunteer firefighters from Manila Chinatown also pitched in help to clear the streets of mud. Night has fallen but serving cannot wait.
“Until there are people in need we are very willing to come and help regardless of how far it may be or how hard it will be because this is our passion – to help other people in times of need,” said senior firefighter Darwin Huang.
With everyone pitching in help it became possible for the cleanup drive in Barangay Banaba to end on August 19.
During the closing program, participant Janise Cuesta, 36, spared Php200 from the assistance she received and gave it out as donation.
Janise was part of the cleanup since it started on August 16 and received Php800 assistance for every day. With the cash aid from Tzu Chi, she was able to pay for their electric and water bills, and Janise couldn’t ask for more.
“I have been given enough assistance. I think I can manage for the next days so this extra cash I have now, I wish to donate so that it may help others,” she explained.