Aid pour to typhoon ‘Odette’ victims from MWSS and water firms

Typhoon Odette, the strongest typhoon to hit the country last year, affected a total of 2,366,309 families or 8,409, 602 persons.

According to Situationer Report No. 39 posted at the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) website, 11 out of the country’s 17 regions were affected, translated to 531 cities and municipalities  of which 361 were declared under the state of calamity. Houses, roads and bridges, communication lines, agriculture, power and water supply were damaged. Government efforts to immediately extend assistance to the affected population were reinforced by private sector initiatives.

Among those who extended assistance included companies in the water sector industry, namely, the Manila Water Company, Inc. (Manila Water), Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad), San Miguel Corporation and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS). To ensure access to safety potable water, Manila Water President JV Emmanuel “Jocot” de Dios deployed a mobile treatment plant (MTP) to Siargao. It was in Siargao Island where typhoon Odette made its first landfall on December 16, 2021.

The mobile treatment plant is capable of treating and converting any type of raw water into potable water. It can produce up to 3,000 liters of drinkable water per hour and can operate up to 12 hours daily. Various areas in the province of Surigao del Norte were also recipients of safe water brought by Manila Water tankers with a capacity of 10,000 liters of water per trip. Manila Water  distributed almost 23,000 liters of water to 5,000 residents in Siargao. Other typhoon affected areas such as Cebu and Bohol also benefitted from Manila Water’s mobile treatment plants as the company dispatched two MTPs and several water tankers. For his part, Manila Water Foundation President Donato C. Almeda who is also Manila Water Chief Regulatory Officer, also ordered the speedy distribution of bottled water and hygiene kits in Bohol, Cebu, Dinagat Island, Palawan, Siargao and Southern Leyte. Project partners for this endeavor were the Philippine Coast Guard, P& G Safeguard Philippines and other business units of Manila Water, namely, Boracay Water, Clark Water and Laguna Water. Meanwhile, Maynilad President Ramoncito S. Fernandez deployed Maynilad MTPs along with the manpower to operate these MTPs that can produce a total of 43,000 gallons of water per day for typhoon-affected areas. It also donated P6.5 million cash aid through the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation and One Meralco Foundation for typhoon Odette survivors.

Leading the charge for Maynilad timely assistance to typhoon affected areas was Maynilad VP for Corporate Communication Marie Antonette De Ocampo who made a round-the-clock trip to the Visayas on New Year’s eve via PAL/PAL Express.

In her FB post on December 31, 2021, De Ocampo wrote: “Mission accomplished for Maynilad and our kapatids in the MVP group of companies Marge Macasaet Barro of the Makati Med Foundation and Jeffrey O. Tarayao of One Meralco Foundation after we turned over our donation earlier today for the communities affected by typhoon Odette to the Office of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), represented by Undersecretary Anthony Gerard Gonzales.Huge thanks to PAL / PAL Express for this partnership. Sleepless at Mactan Airport yet big smiles behind the masks.”

Around 10,000 bottled water were also sent to the provinces of Bohol. Cebu, Palawan and Surigao del Norte.For her part, MWSS Administrator Leonor “Bobby” Cleofas ordered the deployment of the agency’s mobile water treatment plant was first dispatched to Talibon, Bohol, the hardest hit municipality in the province.

According to MWSS, its MTP can pump from streams and is capable of treating compromised water, recycle floodwater into purified, potable state at a rate of 4,000 liters per hour. A team of volunteers traveled to the Visayas led by Engr. Jose Escoto, Department Manager, Field Operations Management of MWSS. Accompanying him were Engr. Wilson Baluca, Engr. Joseph Burdeos, Mr. Wilfredo Gonzales, Mr. Ramil Ochavillo, Mr. Willie De Guzman, and Mr. Cenon Ordoña. They were tasked to provide potable drinking water to the residents of the devastated area. Affected families in the municipality numbered 20,947 or 62,841 individuals. MWSS supplied a daily average of 21,300 liter containers of potable water, four sorties of water tank with 2,000 liters capacity and two static tanks refilling to affected barangays in Talibon.The team stayed in Talibon from four days after which they traveled 95 kilometers to service the water supply needs of Albuquerque, another municipality in Bohol. Typhoon Odette has affected 2,841 families or 8,523 individuals in Albuquerque alone. MWSS treated about 15,000 liters which were distributed to residents. With the surge in COVID infections in the area, MWSS also ensured potable water supply to the rural health unit in the municipality and refilling three static tanks with 1,500 liter capacity. On the other hand, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) President Ramon S.Ang whose subsidiary Luzon Clean Water Development Corporation (LCWDC) is the third concessionaire of MWSS, has extended over P35 million worth of food and water donations to provinces hit by typhoon Odette aside from donating 24,000 liters of water from LDWDC’s Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project. SMC also partnered with the armed forces on an extended feeding program through its AFP Mobile Kitchen, which brings hot meals, including donated SMC food products, to various locations all over Cebu. Emerging from the devastation and rebuilding on what has been left by the calamity, victims are confident they can rise again with the assistance extended by government and the private sector.