Procurement Service organizes a relief operation in Batangas to give assistance to the affected communities following the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Taal’s volcanic activity might have weakened, but the spirit of “bayanihan” only continues to strengthen.

And if there’s one sector which should be at the forefront of any mobilization of efforts, it must be the government. The Procurement Service (PS) — an attached agency of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) — is apprised of this.

In honor of its commitment to serve the public — which goes beyond merely providing smart procurement solutions — PS organized a relief operation in aid of the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption on 18 January 2020.

A group of PS personnel, led by Jose Rafael Magno of the Human Resource Development Division (HRDD), distributed goods at the Batangas Sports Complex in Batangas City and at a residential place in Mabini, Batangas — both of which have been turned into evacuation centers.

The province of Batangas was placed under a state of calamity on 13 January 2020, a day after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised Taal Volcano’s alert status to Level 4, which indicated an imminent hazardous explosive eruption.

Thousands of families were affected when Taal Volcano — the country’s second-most active volcano — spewed ash that reached nearby provinces and even Metro Manila.

Magie Mendoza (left-most, wearing white), an employee of the Procurement Service, opens the door of her house in Mabini, Batangas to welcome evacuees from other towns.

Magno said that the residential place they visited in Mabini, Batangas was, in fact, an abode of Magie Mendoza, an employee of PS Main – Marketing and Sales Division. In an interview, Mendoza confirmed that their residence had been a home to a total of 47 people from 14 families.

Halong masaya at malungkot, kasi nakita nating nahihirapan sila. Pero masaya kasi makikita rin sa mga kababayan natin na buhay na buhay ang pagtutulungan,” Magno said.

In its latest tally, HRDD reported that a total amount of ₱39,831.00 was collected in cash, and was used to purchase, among others, coffee, toothbrush, toothpaste, bath soap, shampoo, laundry soap, and diaper. In-kind donations included sacks of rice, canned goods, bottled water, toiletries, used clothes, wood pallets, and tarpaulins.

Procurement Service delivers and distributes the donations it collected to evacuees at the Batangas Sports Complex.

 “Hangga’t hindi talaga cleared ‘yung nangyayari sa Taal, tatanggap pa rin tayo ng donations para sa maaaring iba pang relief operations,” Magno assured.

So, how has the Taal Volcano been lately?

On Sunday, 26 January 2020, state seismologists lowered Taal Volcano’s alert status to Level 3, which means a “decreased tendency towards a hazardous explosive eruption.”

In Phivolcs’ latest bulletin, issued at 8 am on 28 January 2020, the activity in Taal Volcano’s main crater in the past 24 hours has been characterized by “weak to voluminous emission of white to dirty steam-laden plumes.” It adds that the alert status could be downgraded to Level 2 if the volcano continues to exhibit moderate level of unrest for two more weeks.

Residents have also been given the option to return to their residences, except for some villages within the seven-kilometer radius of the volcano’s crater. Despite this, Phivolcs cautions that the volcano’s unrest has not yet ceased and that people must remain alert.

PS also stands for Public Service

When the situation demands, especially in times of natural disasters and calamities, PS goes above and beyond its call of duty.

Kapag may nangangailangan, kasama man [sa PS] o hindi, kailangan tumulong,” Magno said, when asked about the importance of initiating donation drives in support of the affected communities.

HRDD will facilitate a second relief operation in Batangas on February 1, Saturday.

Jose Rafael Magno (left-most, wearing yellow) leads the relief operation of Procurement Service in Batangas for the victims of Taal Volcano eruption.

 “Hopefully, the alert level of Taal continues to go down. However, if assistance is still needed…HRDD will continue accepting donations,” Magno added.

Expressing his gratitude to his colleagues, and on behalf of PS personnel who volunteered for the relief operation, Magno encouraged, “Gusto kong iparating sa inyo na marami tayong natutulungan… Kung mayroon tayong opportunity na magbigay at tumulong sa ibang tao, gawin natin.”

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