Super typhoon “Rolly” (international name: Goni) has become a “baptism of fire” for the new head of Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Church in the country.
The super typhoon hit as Father Antonio Labiao Jr. is on his third month as executive secretary of the National Secretariat of Social Action, Justice and Peace of the Catholic bishops’ conference.
Now he looks forward to traveling to the region most affected by the disaster.
“Saturday evening, I talked with our Social Action Center director in Virac and he informed me of their preparations for ‘Rolly’s’ landfall. He also updated me on their preemptive steps to keep the people safe,” said Father Labiao.
“However, by Sunday morning, they failed to contact their counterparts in (the province of) Catanduanes,” he added.
The priest said at least 65 percent of residences that are made of light materials and 20 percent of houses made of concrete were destroyed in the province, leaving about 15,000 people in temporary shelters.
He said at least 200 houses were buried in lahar in two villages in Guinobatan town, in Albay province. (Other media reports said at least 300 houses were destroyed.)
“We have already issued our appeal to other [dioceses and archdioceses] for help,” said Father Labiao said, adding that church leaders in the Philippine capital have already pledged support.
The Catholic Relief Services has also launched relief efforts in affected communities.
“We may partner with the government to find a possible relocation side for those displaced,” said the priest. He said efforts to rebuild homes in unsafe environs will only be “useless.”
Appeal for donations
Several religious organizations have started soliciting donations for those who were affected by the typhoon.
“As we join forces in prayer, let us also be united in service to our sisters and brothers who are affected by typhoon Rolly,” read a social media post of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines.
“Your donations will allow us to reach a greater number of people affected by the typhoon, especially those who are underserved,” it said.
Cash donations may be deposited through the AMRSP’s Metrobank account.
Account Name: Assn of Maj Religious Superiors Special Fund
Account Number: 259-3-259-07445-3.
Caritas Manila, also issued a similar appeal for the typhoon victims.
“Cash donations at this time of crisis will truly help meet the initiatives of the Church in providing for their immediate needs,” said the organization.
Donations may be sent to Caritas Manila, Inc.
Banco De Oro Savings Account No: 000-5600-45905
Bank of the Philippine Islands Savings Account No: 3063-5357-01
Metrobank Savings Account No: 175-3-17506954-3
RCBC Savings Account No: 000-300-090-2216
For dollar accounts:
Bank of the Philippine Islands Savings Account No. 3064-0033-55
Swift Code – BOPIPHMM.
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines also called for donations.
“Families in evacuation are in urgent need of food, hygiene and sanitation kits, sleeping materials, and non-food items,” said the group.
“We encourage everyone to pray and act in solidarity with our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. We are now welcoming donations at 879 EDSA, West Triangle, Quezon City,” the NCCP said.
The NCCP said cash donations may be deposited to:
China Banking Corporation
PH Peso Acct: 223-009641-3
US Dollar Acct: 223-700011-4
Swift Code: CHBKPHMM