Japanese expats in Mindanao distribute relief goods to typhoon ‘Pablo’ victims

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05:35 PM December 25th, 2012

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By: Frinston L. Lim, December 25th, 2012 05:35 PM

NEW BATAAN, Compostela Valley, Philippines – For a group of expatriates employed by a Japanese manufacturing company in Mindanao, it was a way of paying back when they visited and handed relief goods to victims of typhoon ‘Pablo’ here on Christmas Eve.

Officials and employees of wall panel maker Nakayama Technology Corporation (NTC) trucked in from Davao del Sur 6,000 packs of relief goods to disaster-stricken residents here on Monday.

“We had visited the devastated village of Andap last Dec. 21 and were struck by how massive the destruction was and how pitiful the condition of the people is, so we decided to return today,” said Akihiro Ushimaru, NTC executive vice president.

In his broken Filipino, Ushimaru led the long line of officers and employees of the Digos City-based company in greeting the evacuees “Maligayang Pasko” as he handed them packs consisting of five kilograms of rice, several canned goods, packs of noodles and a bar of laundry soap to the evacuees.  Wide smiles of gratitude were etched in everyone’s face.

Ushimaru said the company joined in the legions of donors to the typhoon victims not only “as our social responsibility but also as a means of turning the favor of Filipino generosity.

The Philippines, he said, was among the first nations to condole with Japan when his country was rocked last year by a magnitude-9.0 quake and a massive tsunami that left over 23,000 of his countrymen dead or missing.

Two of his employees – Mitsuo Saito and Yokoyama Kazushi — were directly affected by that calamity.

“They also understood what the (typhoon) victims are enduring now,” said the NTC executive.

Aside from handing out relief goods, Ushimaru said his company has been opening its doors to typhoon victims who would like to work for them.

Slots for 400 factory workers are open for qualified male residents in Pablo-ravaged areas in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.

He said qualified applicants would be given P301 a day wage and could opt to stay at the company’s workers’ dormitory in Digos.

“Providing them food is not enough. They must be given means of livelihood so they can start again,” said Ushimaru, also the president of the Japanese chamber of commerce in Mindanao.

He said he has coordinated with New Bataan Mayor Lorenzo Balbin to act as a sort of “guarantor” in vetting for applicants.

“We already received applications since last week but we encourage more of those who are interested,” Ushimaru told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The NTC executive said he would also ask assistance from the Japanese embassy in Manila to provide heavy equipment to help in the clearing and rehabilitation efforts in areas devastated by the typhoon.

The Japanese was also moved by the Filipinos’ way of facing the crisis.

“You can see in their smiles…I believe they are still happy (despite what had happened),” said Ushimaru.

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