Petron's Relief Operations for Earthquake Victims in the Visayas

In the aftermath of the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that shook the provinces of Bohol and Cebu in the Visayas Region last October 15, Petron quickly mobilized to undertake relief efforts. However, because of the severity of the damage sustained by these two towns during the earthquake, getting there proved to be a challenge, as bridges collapsed and roads cracked open. For our relief goods loaded in a ten-wheeler truck, getting from Tagbilaran to Antequera and Loon took a good three hours. Our volunteers on the other hand had to take the land trip from Tagbilaran to Abatan, then a boat ride from Abatan to Maribojoc, and then back on the road from Maribojoc to Antequera and Loon.

As this was the first time for Petron to provide post-earthquake assistance, we noted a critical difference with that of flood disasters. When the rainwater eventually subsides, residents can immediately return to their homes to start rebuilding. In the case of earthquakes, the residents had nothing to return to. Either their homes had been completely destroyed, or the structural damage has made their houses unsafe to settle back into. Those who survived the quake are now faced with the harsher reality of having to live in makeshift tents along the roadside, and exposed to the elements. Schools, too, are unsuitable to serve as venues for learning. Rebuilding Bohol will require literally putting back together the building blocks of their homes.

For the meantime, the immediate task is to reach out to the quake survivors with the vital supply of water, food and other relief items. As soon as it was safely possible, we started our soup kitchen and relief work on Sunday, October 20 in Poblacion, Antequera. The goods are directly handed out to the beneficiaries.

By October 26, we would have directly serviced 2,488 families from 15 barangays in the two hard-to-reach municipalities of Antequera and Loon. Within this period, we were also able to provide goods to 59 families of our service station personnel in these municipalities.

Petron also turned over P100,000 to the Corporate Network for Disaster Response, through its Executive Director Ms. Conchita Ragragio, in support of relief operations to the Visayas. This amount came from employee donations. The company likewise activated over 500 service stations nationwide as an initial response to receive donation of relief items from motorists.

For the on-the-ground efforts, Petron organized a team composed of Petron Foundation, Tagbilaran and Mandaue Operations, and NSD-Reseller which deployed to Bohol on October 19 to conduct the necessary pre-work, such as goods purchase and repacking, data gathering, site inspection and coordination with groups concerned (Tagbilaran depot, DSWD and its local agencies, local government officials and command centers per municipality). The following day, October 20, company executives (Visayas Operations District Manager Rito Apas NSD-Reseller AVP Nolan Rada, VisMin Reseller head Fernan Magnayon, and Petron Foundation GM Malu Erni) led employee volunteers in conducting soup kitchens and relief goods distribution, with the able coordination of Mandaue Operations Joyce Palermo. Managers from Petron Pandacan, Limay, and Mandaue terminals for their part took charge in the shipping of the goods from their respective facilities to Cebu and Tagbilaran. Petron’s business partners have also been doing their share in donating relief items or helping facilitate the relief operations process.