Eight months after ‘Ulysses,’ #BrigadangAyala returns to Cagayan
Written by: Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Communities who suffer the most from natural disasters lament that much-needed assistance from the government and the private sector suddenly comes to a halt a few days or at most weeks after disaster strikes, and just when they need it the most to get back on their feet.
AC Energy Corp., the publicly listed energy platform of the Ayala Group with a generating capacity of 1,200 megawatts, is proving to be an exception to the rule, as it has come back to the province of Cagayan eight months after it was battered by Typhoon Ulysses, which slammed Luzon in November last year.
In partnership with the Technical Education and Skills and Livelihood Authority (TESDA), AC Energy and Ayala Foundation are starting in two communities a disaster resiliency program through a livelihood training program that will provide families new and sustained sources of income.
This program that will directly help 300 mothers or heads of families in disaster-hit communities is in keeping with the Ayala group’s belief in sustaining efforts to help communities on their way to recovery through #BrigadangAyala.
#BrigadangAyala is Ayala Group’s united contribution to serving people and communities nationwide. It is Ayala Group’s integrated response to its almost two century-old commitment to national development by doing various social development and corporate social responsibility initiatives—ranging from disaster relief and response, assistance for public education, championing of social enterprises, and public health advocacy, among others.
An initial 50 mothers from the towns of Lal-lo and Buguey, Cagayan, will be trained in cookery and baking and pastry skills. The remaining 250 participants will also get training through the rest of the year. The training will be conducted under the Mobile Training Program of TESDA, and will also cover the towns of Amulung, Solana, Enrile, Baggao, and Alcala.
“This partnership with AC Energy and TESDA for a disaster resilience program in Cagayan is in keeping with our efforts to align with the needs of stakeholders, focusing on interventions that make the most impact in the lives of people,” said Ruel Maranan, president of Ayala Foundation. “As Ayala Foundation celebrates its 60th anniversary, we affirm our faith in the Filipino as we all stand resilient in the face of challenges.”
“It is our privilege to serve the communities of Cagayan, together with Ayala Foundation, TESDA, and the rest of the Ayala group,” said Eric Francia, president and CEO of AC Energy. “Initiatives such as these show that helping communities become self-sustaining and resilient in the face of disasters is also good for business, community development, and our shared goal of building the nation.”
Narlyn Dazo is one of those eagerly looking forward to the training, which she believes will help her and her family fully recover from the wrath of Ulysses.
Dazo tried her hand at baking bread, and cinnamon rolls to make ends meet. She had lost her job due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was also hard hit by the typhoon, thus she had to find an alternative source of income. Fortunately, she was able to sell her products and wants to learn even more to be better at her newfound business.
“Inaasahan ko na magkaroon ako ng sariling bakeshop para makatulong sa pamilya ko. Thank you kasi sa mga ganitong programa malaking tulong ito para sa amin, tapos lalo na ngayon pandemic, hindi mo alam kung saan, hirap naman kasi mag-apply kung saan saan so mas okay na yung magkaroon ka ng sarili mong business para mabuhay,” she said.
Also excited is Judith Domingo, who turned to selling home-cooked meals to earn some money for the family.
“Masaya at excited ako kasi gusto ko talagang ituloy yung negosyo (vending home-cooked meals) ko kasi maraming pamilya na umaasa sa akin. Inaasahan ko na madadagdagan yung kaalaman ko tungkol sa negosyo,” said DOmingo, another beneficiary from Cagayan, which was one of the provinces hard hit by Ulysses, considered one of the more destructive typhoons to hit the country in recent years
Based on estimates, Typhoon Ulysses resulted in extensive crop and infrastructure damage amounting to roughly P20.3 billion.
The Ayala group was among the first private groups to mobilize relief operations in Cagayan.
With Ayala Foundation taking the lead, the Ayala group provided emergency relief support for 1,800 families or 9,000 individuals in Cagayan. This support came in the form of food packs, installation of Libreng Tawag and WiFi stations in evacuation sites, and delivery of essential medicines to the Provincial Health Office.
Ayala Foundation, AC Energy, Globe Telecom, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Generika, and the Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative came together for the relief operations, in a show of group strength.
Ayala Group also provided support for learners and teachers in Cagayan, who are currently adapting to the new normal of education. Public school students and teachers from the towns of Lal-lo and Buguey received transistor radios, face masks, and Globe Home Prepaid WiFi kits.
With the latest support package, AC Energy, along with the rest of the Ayala Group, puts into practice what it preaches about inclusive growth, that in development, no community should be left behind.
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