After being struck by two tropical cyclones, over 1,000 residents from different barangays on February 2 gathered at Barangay Digkilaan, Iligan City to receive rice from Tzu Chi Foundation’s rice relief activity.
Among the participating barangays are Mainit, Rogongon, Digkilaan, Hindang, Bunawan, Kabacsanan and Bonbonon.
The locals make a living through coconut and corn farming. To eat even just a cup of rice, they have to go down the mountains and buy a few kilos regardless of the hefty price tag.
The inundation left by two consecutive cyclones, Tropical Storms Vinta (Tembin) and Agaton (Bolaven), compounded their woes.
Rosemarie Orong spends Php100 to ride a jeepney from Brgy. Kabacsanan to the venue and back. The 32-year-old housewife doesn’t mind, believing that the sack of rice that she received is more important.
Her husband works at a coconut farm, but the income is not enough to sustain their needs, especially food. “This is really a big help to my family because we don’t have to think of how and where we will buy rice every day,” she says.
Junairah Macaling takes her 10-month-old daughter Jaziyah, who has a cleft lip, to the relief. She is grateful for the sack of rice, as she’s in debt for the kilos of rice she promised to pay in due time.
“One of the most important meals of the day is eating rice because it gives you the energy you need [apart from the viands],” explains Macaling.
Congressman Frederick Siao, representing the lone district of Iligan City, is glad to have mediated the help of Tzu Chi to indigent families. He is known to extend a helping hand to these people.
“People’s lives, especially here [in the province], are really hard. [By just] having 20 kilos of rice is a big deal to a low-income family and may last for a week or so. It’s really a big help for them,” shares Siao.
“I am grateful because, whenever there are sudden disasters in our place, Tzu Chi is always here for us. On behalf of my constituents and my community, I’d like to thank Tzu Chi Foundation for the great help in our place,” he adds.
For Tzu Chi volunteer Teodulo Granada, the rice relief in Barangay Digkilaan is memorable for the warm welcome and genuine appreciation the people have shown to the volunteers.
“Giving the 20 kilos of rice really makes them happy. Us as well because you can really feel their sincerest gratitude. Now, they are able to go home with the biggest smiles in their faces,” gratifies Granada.
Between February 2 and 3, a total of 44 barangays have seen rice relief activities.
Join Tzu Chi in helping others! Visit http://tzuchi.org.ph/how-to-help/donation/ for more information.
Residents from barangays far from Digkilaan have to spend Php100 to take a jeepney to and from the venue. 【Photo by John Jay Rosete】
At the break of dawn, Tzu Chi volunteers and local officials set the venue. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigidgan】
Tzu Chi volunteer Teodulo Granada spearheads the rice relief at Barangay Digkilaan. He hopes that, through sharing Jing Si wisdom, he can inspire the residents to become Tzu Chi volunteers of Iligan City. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Apart from receiving a sack of rice, recipients also learn how they can express their love using sign language. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
On behalf of the residents of Iligan City, Congressman Frederick Siao gives his words of thanks to Tzu Chi Foundation for the blessing of rice. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Rosemarie Orong (left) shares that the rice is a great relief to her family. They won’t have to wonder where and how will they be able to eat rice for as long as the 20 kilos last. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Heavy rainfall forced this container of rice from Tzu Chi to be moved inside the venue.【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Junairah Macaling expresses her deepest gratitude to the volunteers for the gift of rice. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】