Benguet reaches out to Taal eruption victims
Benguet farmers and traders joined hands with the police in sending vegetables to evacuees of the Taal Volcano eruption.
La Trinidad Municipal Police Station Chief, Maj. Roldan Cabatan, said his office was responsible in the collection of relief goods, transportation, and coordination with the local police in the various areas in Batangas to ensure the relief items will be received by those affected.
“The initiative is from the community of Cordillera, saan lang met nga Benguet, so we gathered these efforts into one so that the impact would be greater for those affected in Batangas,” Cabatan said.
He said they started on Jan. 15 gathering 3,000 kilos of assorted vegetables brought to the various evacuation centers in Lipa City.
The next day, the vegetables gathered were brought to Ibaan. The town’s police office assisted in the distribution of the relief goods.
LTMPS personnel set up a temporary stall near the entrance of the vegetable trading post where farmers, traders, porters, and disposers who are members of the League of Associations at La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Area, Inc. brought their donations.
He said they are coordinating for the distribution of the relief vegetables in batches to assure these will be distributed immediately, since these are perishable items.
“A truck owner willingly transported the relief goods for free, allotting a space in his truck to be loaded with 3,000 kilos of vegetables daily,” he said.
Aside from the vegetables, financial aid coming from the various farmers, traders, were also collected by the local police to be turned over to the displaced communities in Batangas.
Cabatan said their joint efforts will continue until there are those willing to donate.
Augusta Balanoy of the League of Associations at La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Area, Inc. said they are also gathering toiletries and mats needed by the evacuees.
Balanoy said they are coordinating with the Department of Agriculture for the transport of the relief goods on Jan. 19.
Meanwhile, farmers, disposers, buyers, and traders from the nearby Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center in partnership with Coastland Mission also gathered vegetables and goods to be delivered to affected Taal residents.
These efforts are reminiscent of the Oplan Sayote relief program mobilized by Benguet farmers where 250 tons of sayote and other relief goods were given to those affected by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991. – Ofelia C. Empian