The cleanup of the Tzu Chi Ormoc Great Love City continues through a cash-for-work program that accommodates its villagers. Launched in December 26, the program aims to hasten clearing up the village from debris and mud left by Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-Tak). Each participant receives Php250 cash allowance after a day of cleanup.
Nine-year-old Angel Carlyn Jandoc’s father is among the cash-for-work participants.
Since his parents separated, Angel and her three siblings have been living with their father. It was not easy since he is suffering from Hypokalemia, or low potassium level, which makes it hard for him to work and provide for his children’s needs. His mother Josephine Bantig helps raise his children.
When the cash-for-work cleanup program started, Angel’s father registered. Despite his condition, he knows he can still contribute in cleaning up their community. Besides, he needs the cash allowance so he can bring home food to his children.
Angel sees the sacrifices of his father and recognizes the efforts of Tzu Chi volunteers from Manila, who has been in Ormoc since December 20 to help the villagers get back on their feet. Prior to the cleanup drive, Tzu Chi volunteers distributed cash assistance worth Php3,000, Php4,000, and Php5,000 depending on the number of families, used clothes and eco-friendly blankets.
Angel’s family is among the recipients of these aids.
To reciprocate, she goes around the community at night to do Christmas caroling with her siblings and cousins. Since they began doing this, Angel has been setting aside the money she has collected into an empty plastic bottle, intending to donate it to Tzu Chi.
Angel has her own needs. She lost all her school supplies in the flood. Her school uniforms and shoes are all gone. Still, instead of keeping the Php50 she has collected from her Christmas carols and gifts, Angel was determined to donate it to Tzu Chi.
“She refused to spend the money for herself. Sometimes I would tell her to that I would borrow it but she won’t give it to me. She said she will be giving all of it to Tzu Chi,” her grandmother, Josephine Bantig, 60, says.
Angel’s example has become an inspiration to her adult fellow villagers.
“I heard she is donating the money she gathers to Tzu Chi. At a young age, she is able to do this. It is truly admirable,” says Gina Laurente, 48
Another resident, Lelanie Estrera, 55, agrees. “She’s not doing this for her own gain. Unlike children her age, she won’t use the money so she can go to the computers shops or to the stores but is saving them to help others in need. I hope more children will learn from her,” she adds.
On Angel’s part is the most she can do to help given his age and current status in life. When she finally turned over the donations, Angel told the Tzu Chi volunteers, “It’s just a small amount but wait for me. I will study well so when I become a doctor, I will donate a bigger amount.”
“Tzu Chi has helped us when the storm happened, I know that they are helping other disaster victims so I am donating the money I gathered to somehow help,” explains Angel.
Meanwhile, progress can be seen inside the village when the third day of the cleanup drive ends. Waterways have been cleared of mud and the streets are passable again. Without the debris scattered everywhere, the place looks brighter.
Marissa Nacuboan has been part of the cleanup since day one of the cash-for-work program. Through the allowance she receives, she manages to save up some money in preparation for returning to school in January.
At present, she is a first year Education student at the Eastern Vsayas State University. Poverty kept her from stepping into college back in her younger years. Now that her three children are all grown up and state universities are offering free tuition fees, Nacuboan seizes the chance to finally realizes her dream of becoming a teacher.
“I realized how difficult it is to live without a college degree. I make sure to set aside Php150 from the daily cash allowance for my school expenses in January. We are really thankful to Tzu Chi for giving us this chance to recover from the tragedy,” says Nacuboan.
Angel Carlyn Jandoc drops the Php20 she receives from a neighbor after their caroling into her empty plastic bottle.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Cash-for-work participants cheer “Rise up Great Love City! Go! Go! Go!” before they disperse to their respective area assignments.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Villagers work together in cleaning up the streets. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Wheelbarrows make it easier to move the mud and debris from the alleys into the main streets where it will be picked up by the heavy equipment.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
After the flood, mud has settled and clogged the waterways, posing threats to the villagers’ health. The cleanup drive participants prioritize clearing up these areas first.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Thick mud has settled in the waterways, preventing the flow of water. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Great Love City villagers prove that there is strength in unity as they clean up their community by working together. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Tzu Chi Foundation deployed pay loaders to hasten the cleanup.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
After the flood, piles of debris are left on a street inside the village.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Three days since the cleanup drive started, the streets have been cleared of debris. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Marissa Nacuboan, 50, (right) joins in the prayer. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Cleanup participants donate their loose changes, practicing the virtue of giving. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
After a day of cleanup, the participants receive their cash assistance. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
A Tzu Chi volunteer bows as she hands the cash assistance to the cleanup participants.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】
Some of the cash-for-work participants show the cash assistance they received. Each participant is given Php250 daily.【Photo by Jamaica Digo】