PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) arrived at Dantes family compound in Quezon City yesterday, October 1, with some helpers already loading the relief goods that would be brought to two selected areas affected by typhoon Ondoy.
A few hours later, the volunteers also started to arrive, in their most comfortable clothes, for the second day of relief operations conducted by Yes Pinoy Foundation in Barangay San Andres, Cainta and Barangay Sta. Ana, Taytay, Rizal province. Its founder Dingdong Dantes, his family, and former onscreen partner Marian Rivera also joined the group. A few officers of the Philippine Marines also came to give assistance as they distributed the relief goods.
Yes Pinoy Foundation left Manila at around 1:00 pm with a truck full of repacked goods, most of these donated by private individuals, groups, and some even came from Dingdong's endorsements. Also, the Philippine National Red Cross shared 500 bags of relief goods to be given away to typhoon victims.
In an interview with the Stairway to Heaven actor, he explained that his foundation took the initiative to bring a little help to fellow Pinoys who were affected by Ondoy even though its main priority are the children of the Marines who died on duty.
He explained, "Well, Yes Pinoy Foundation is a scholarship foundation para sa anak ng mga namatay na sundalo. But because of what happened, we were able to receive donations and ginawa naming active 'yong relief operations for this time. Sa sobrang daming nag-donate, sa sobrang dami ng nag-participate, at sa sobrang dami ng nag-volunteer, it became [an endeavor for] this kind of relief operation."
In Brgy. San Andres, Cainta, Dingdong and Marian were greeted by screaming fans who were still soaked in knee-deep floodwaters. For a while they forgot that they had been strongly hit by a devastating typhoon. As the two celebrities distributed the plastic bags that contained the relief goods, the locals were ready with their camera phones to take photos of the Kapuso stars.
In Sta. Ana, Taytay, however, people were wilder than those in the first stop. The Marines and barangay officials couldn't get the crowd to properly line up for the donations. Yes Pinoy Foundation decided to pull out its truck and just give all the relief goods to the barangay officials in a place where there were no locals.
The operation ended past 7:00 in the evening. Although the volunteers felt exhausted from distributing the relief goods, they still managed to smile because they were able to help the typhoon victims who were still in need.
"IT'S JUST A START." With only around 1,600 bags of relief goods, Dingdong was aware that this was not enough to give everyone affected by the typhoon.
"Marami talagang hindi nabibigyan," Dingdong told PEP in a quick interview after the relief operations. "Kumbaga, it's just a small initiative from a group that is starting. I hope this can also serve as a wake up call for the other organizations, for other people who have the capability to do something for people who need something, for people who need things especially in times of calamities."
He pointed out that with this operation, he wanted people who are more well-off to become aware and extend their help to the victims of the typhoon.
He added, "You know, personally, I believe naman na mas malaki ang problema niyan after, e. Kasi itong relief operation, ibig sabihin ngayon lang 'yan. But the greater problem lies later on, so it is a challenge for everyone kung how we can help lahat ng mga nabiktima."
Dingdong also had environmental issues in mind. He said, "In the larger scale, it is a wake up call for everyone kung bakit nangyari 'to. I think we should get to the bottom of it. Kailangang magkaroon ng pagbabago somewhere, maybe, I don't know, how we treat our environment, how we treat ourselves, parang we should all realize these."
After the relief operations, PEP learned from Dingdong's manager, Perry Lansingan, that Yes Pinoy Foundation would also conduct a feeding program for the victims of Ondoy.
As of today, there are still flooded areas in the cities of Marikina and Pasig, and in Rizal province that need food, water, blankets, clothes, and other basic commodities. You can still help by giving donations and volunteering in charities. Please CLICK HERE to see the updated list of locations where you can volunteer or send in your donations.
CLICK HERE to view photos of the relief operations.