PLDT and wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) together with the PLDT-Smart Foundation are helping residents in Aparri, Cagayan get back on their feet after the onslaught of Tropical Cyclone Maring in October.
Working with the local government unit, PLDT, Smart and PSF launched the cash-for-work program that benefitted around 240 families who were severely impacted by the storm.
The initiative saw the group donating cleaning materials to help in cleanup efforts. Those who participated also received daily wages for the three-day program, providing families immediate livelihood opportunities after the storm.
“Guided by our core value of ‘malasakit’ or compassion, we initiated the cash-for-work program in Aparri to help residents jump-start their lives after the devastation they suffered from Severe Tropical Storm Maring. PLDT and Smart are committed to help communities we serve especially in times of calamity,” said Cathy Yap-Yang, First Vice President and Group Head of Corporate Communications at PLDT and Smart.
Roda Noriega of Barangay Tallungan is grateful to have been part of the program.
“I will use my salary to buy food especially rice. We’re not only recovering from the effects of the storm but we’re also trying to survive in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
The program is also a boost for single parent Olivia Cabebe.
“I’m grateful for PLDT, Smart and PSF for the assistance we have received. The pandemic has made life especially difficult for single parents like me who don’t have permanent jobs,” she said.
Based on data from the local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, almost 6,000 families were affected by Maring. The storm also left around Php 150 million worth of damage to farmlands in its wake. It also destroyed some Php 1.8 million worth of livestock, fishery products and equipment.
This cash-for-work program falls under PLDT and Smart’s #SafeandSmart initiative that provides relief assistance to communities affected by disasters including efforts to aid their recovery.
These efforts exemplify the commitment of PLDT and Smart to help the country attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 11 of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable by significantly reducing the number of people affected by disasters.