Friday, May 29

Reaching out to tropical storms Vinta and Agaton survivors in Iligan

January 30, 2018 | Chloe Dela Cruz

A Tzu Chi volunteer gives the rice stub using her two hands, bowing with humility, with a genuine smile on her face, while the recipients joyfully and gratefully accept it. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi Foundation conducted rice stub distribution in 14 barangays in Iligan. Volunteers from Manila organized the event and were happy to see the gratefulness in the recipients’ eyes.

  • Rice stub recipients appreciate the volunteers’ efforts to reach out to them, they admire the will and goal of Tzu Chi Foundation to give help to everyone in need and suffering from calamities.

On December 22, 2017, tropical storm Vinta (Tembin) made landfall in Northern Mindanao and brought torrential rains. On January 2, Tropical depression Agaton entered Mindanao and triggered floods and landslides in Iligan City, as it dumped rains on areas still reeling from back-to-back storms the previous week.

Floods up to knee-deep swamped parts of barangay Palao, Hinaplanon, Tubod, Tipanoy, Santiago, Tibanga, Bagong Silang, San Miguel and Tambacan and some of the roads were impassable.

After learning what happened in Iligan, Tzu Chi Foundation immediately coordinated with the office of the social workers of Iligan City and with its Lone District of Iligan Representative, Frederick W. Siao.

On December 27, Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers checked on the condition of the affected families. They met with local businessman Dominic Siao (brother of Congressman Frederick Siao), who generously offered his property to be used for storage of sacks of rice until the day of the rice distribution.

After a series of surveys and information gathering, Tzu Chi volunteers from Manila went to Iligan on January 26 to prepare the venues and lists of recipients for the rice stub distribution.

“Our rice recipients are the survivors of tropical storms Vinta and Agaton, to think that Agaton came right after Vinta exited, life is really hard for them. We are not yet sending our help to them, and based on reports there are casualties here so Tzu Chi Foundation came here to give rice,” says Jimmy Chua.

On January 30, 19 volunteers from Nangka and Tumana, Marikina also went to Iligan to help the other volunteers who are already there in the distribution of rice stubs. They held the first rice stub distribution on the same day.

They allotted two days for the rice stub distributions in 40 Barangays in Iligan.

On the first day, they distributed rice stubs to almost 7,000 families from 14 Barangays namely Dalipuga (857 families), Hinaplanon (1,542 families), Bagong Silang (286 families), San Miguel (180 families), Villaverde (244 families), Del Carmen (597 families), Santiago (335 families), Saray (288 families), Tibanga (332 families), Sto. Rosario (71 families), Poblacion (185 families), Tambacan (868 families), Tubod (801 families) and Tomas Cabili (353 families).

Rice stub recipients can’t hide their excitement to claim the rice from Taiwan. According to them, it will be their first time to eat rice from Taiwan. Their lives after the typhoons became more difficult, the prices of their basic needs went up and some of them lost their livelihood.

Racquel Pacuelo, 78, willingly waited for hours until the volunteers came to their Barangay, Dalipuga, to claim for her rice stub.

”I am already 78 years old, yet I am the only one who works for our daily living. I work at the farm, I do household chores, because my husband is already blind, and my two children have their own family,” narrates Pacuelo.

She also has a problem with her eyesight, but she can’t afford to see a doctor since her income is not even enough for her and her husband’s daily needs.

“(That’s why I consider this rice as a blessing from above) It is such a big help for us-as I don’t need to buy rice for months, it also means I don’t have to work too much. I can rest even for a while,” adds Pacuelo.

As early as now, the Iliganons are already thinking of what they can do to give back to Tzu Chi. The rice that they will receive will only last up to a month- if not days- but the fact that Tzu Chi remembers them and went out of their way to see them, made the residents feel loved.

“It’s actually my first time to meet Tzu Chi Foundation, but I heard a lot of good stories about it. We are very happy that you came here to help us; we are really grateful and delighted. You are from Taiwan, of a different nationality but you showed great love to us Filipinos,” says Panesa.

Panesa, a Purok Leader in their Barangay, pledge to create a program where the people will collect their recyclable materials, and donate the proceeds to Tzu Chi.


Help Tzu Chi help others. If you wish to extend aid to the survivors of Tropical Storms Vinta and Agaton, visit Tzu Chi Paypal Donation

  • On January 30, Tzu Chi volunteers from Manila arrived in Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan De Oro, and they immediately went to Iligan City to help the other Tzu Chi volunteers who were already there, preparing and organizing the rice stub distribution for

  • The volunteers show how disciplined they are as they walk in line going out the Laguindingan Airport.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer, Jimmy Chua, gives the volunteers their assignments for the rice stub distribution. The volunteers were divided into three groups to make the stub distribution faster. They are going to distribute approximately 7,000 rice stubs to families in 14 barangays. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers discuss their strategy in managing those who will claim their rice stubs. Massive numbers of people and dialect differences make the process challenging. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer Jimmy Chua gives a short introduction about Tzu Chi Foundation to the rice stub recipients in Barangay Dalipuga. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • A total of 857 families in Barangay Dalipuga receive a rice stub, they will claim their rice on February 2.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • One of the volunteers from the Office of Representatives talks to his fellowmen in their own dialect and gives instruction on how they can claim their rice stubs.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • In Tubod Laville Gym, a total of 1,154 families claim their rice stub. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer Teodulo Granada explains to the residents what Tzu Chi Foundation is, he also talks about the foundation’s advocacies and four missions. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Racquel Pacuelo is having a hard time to see her name on the list that is why she asks for the help of a Tzu Chi volunteer. She also asks the other volunteer to sign for her. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Because no one will take care of their child, mothers don’t have a choice but to bring their children as they claim their rice stubs. They know it’s uncomfortable for their children, but they need to claim their stub and get their rice in order to help them lessen their food expenses for a month.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Rice stub recipients express their joy and gratitude to Tzu Chi Foundation. According to them, for families like them who are always in a tight budget, rice donations are a big deal and big help.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】