Negros town councilor, pastor gather 62,000 face masks for Taal eruption victims
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – A town councilor from Negros Occidental and his pastor friend from Capiz, along with the others, braved the 25-hour long drive from here to Batangas province to deliver the 62,000 face masks for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption.
Hinobaan, Negros Occidental Councilor Jason Tupas and Pastor Russell Ban of Roxas City in Capiz became friends when they met in a motorcycle riders group. It was their idea to start a donation drive early this week to help the victims of the ashfall.
Their group, onboard a pick-up truck, arrived in Batangas Thursday morning, January 16. “We packed everything in one vehicle. Our pick-up looks like a canter truck,” Tupas said in jest.
They then headed to evacuation centers, some near the danger zone, to distribute the face masks to the victims. He said the displaced families there needed water and medicines.
“We could not cover all the evacuation centers to distribute the face masks. The remaining items will be turned over to the provincial government so they can distribute to the victims,” Tupas added.
Aside from the face masks, they were also able to gather hand towels, a generator set, goods, toiletries, used clothes, and water containers for their campaign, which they called “From Negros and Panay with Love.”
Tupas said he was overwhelmed by the support of the residents of Negros Occidental and Panay. “We were able to gather 62,000 masks in just 48 hours,” he added.
Outraged by the surge in the prices of face masks in Luzon after the ash fall, “I called on my friends to convert our feelings into action. And since the Visayas was isolated from the situation, we really have to do something. I’m thankful that many have answered that call,” he said.
Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas, in a video posted by Tupas on his Facebook page, thanked the people from Negros Occidental and Panay for their efforts in helping the Taal victims.
Tupas was not new to helping others in need. He had earlier launched relief efforts for war-torn Marawi City, earthquake-hit North Cotabato, and storm-battered Capiz. – Rappler.com