Typhoon “Ondoy” surprised the Philippines like a thief in the night, robbing thousands of victims of their shelters, possessions and food, and leaving them distraught and traumatized.
More surprising than the damage itself brought by this typhoon was the overwhelming response of the people both in the country as well as those outside Philippine shores. Simultaneous with the waters flooding the city, concerned citizens quickly established large rescue and relief operations for people stranded in their communities, workplaces and wherever Ondoy trapped them. The Sisters of the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) were among those concerned citizens who rushed to the aid of those in dire need.
With compassionate concern through God’s grace, the RVM Congregation’s lay partners and staff together with the Sisters themselves brought canned goods, rice, clothing, noodles and cooked food to some of the most devastated areas of the city. Covered in their visits were the towns and districts of Tumana, Marikina; Lower Bicutan; Taguig; Clemencia, Bagong Silangan Quezon City; dela Costa Homes, Montalban, Pulang Lupa East Fairview; Payatas A & B; Tunasan, Muntinlupa; and Binangonan, Rizal. Some of those areas remain under water even after a week, while the flood victims clamor for urgent assistance by way of food, medicine and clothing.
They also reached out to their own employees and students, and many others including the families and relatives of the Sisters. Such was a tremendous show of sensitiveness and generosity for the helpless in their urgent need. In a calamity like this, unselfish service has to come to the fore motivated by Christian love.
Let us have our imagination ruminate as we behold the heart-wrenching experience for the victims who had to leave their homes and belongings to seek shelter in evacuation centers; the uttermost grief of the families left behind by those who were carried by the raging waters of flood and eventually died; and the ever painful loss and hopelessness of the people who were left homeless and sick. All of these because of typhoon “Ondoy”. In contrast, see how God worked in the hearts of those people taking the extra time and effort by donating money, food, material things, and encouraging the victims stand up from the enormity of this blow. Listening to their stories as we allowed them to relate to us their harrowing experience gave them relief to some extent.
The challenge is still not over. Basking in complacency for whatever success we had accomplished, nothing can be more fitting than to raise our mind and trust to God in prayer that we may see the direction that His finger points to us. We owe Him our deep gratitude for everything that transpired together with the donors whose wholehearted assistance impelled us to serve.
“Ondoy” indeed, may have flooded Metro Manila’s towns and roads, but it will take more than a storm to stop the overwhelming flood of the people’s generosity and fighting spirit to conquer any enormous calamity.