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By:*Remy Zhali C. Caranay

After 42 years, Taal Volcano erupted again. The last time it erupted was in October 1977, several incidents of volcanic unrest were recorded in the past years. The January 2020 eruption has affected thousands of families and individuals. A total of 151,827 families or 586,045 persons were affected in Region III, CALABARZON, and NCR. Of which, a total of 1,123 families and 4,126 persons are taking temporary shelter in 16 evacuation centers while 51,968 families/ 191,451 persons are served outside evacuation centers (OCHA services: reliefweb.net). It caused millions-worth of damage just days after the initial eruption on January 12, 2020. The eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas, the Philippines on January 12, 2020, was a phreatic eruption from its main crater that spewed ashes across CALABARZON, Metro Manila, and some parts of Central Luzon and Ilocos Region, resulting to the suspension of classes, work schedules, and flights in the area.

The Baguio Episcopal Area has joined in providing help and much-needed disaster relief to people, who experienced crisis during the eruption of the Taal Volcano. Thus, Baguio Episcopal Area – Disaster Management Office coordinated with the BEA-DRRM Team to initiate the collection of any kind of donations and relay messages regarding the whereabouts of donation. UMC Districts and Churches collected in-kind and cash donations. Local churches and individuals have been generous with giving support to the people who are in need by means of prayers, cash, and relief items. The in-kind donations were collected by the Pastors and brought it to the district parsonage. The gathered cash and in-kind donations were brought to UMC Headquarters by Bishop Pete, Kier Ocampo, Arnel Eserio, TARPAC District Superintendents, and DRRM Teams. The SEPD sent their relief goods through Bishop Pete to DS Rev/ Elmer Borromeo in Tagaytay City. Mrs. Liza A. Cortez, executive director of the Asuncion Perez Memorial Center and Mrs. Phine Cedillo, MEA-Disaster Management Coordinator, led the pooling of resources for immediate relief distribution. In addition to working with local churches and organizations, the center collaborated with Government Service and Insurance System and the Malate Catholic School Alumni Association (umnews.org).

Furthermore, the cash donations were sent through the BEA fund (UMCCORRD) and then transferred to MEA-DMO. Other donations were directly brought to some churches for the people who are taking temporary shelter outside the evacuation center.


*Remy Zhali C. Caranay serves as the Assistant Disaster Management Coordinator of BEA Disaster Management of Office of the United Methodist Committee on Relief.