Members of the Philippine national surfing team have been accounted for and are safe after Typhoon Odette hit the island of Siargao last week.
United Philippine Surfing Association president, Dr. Raul Canlas said this after receiving a status report on their situation.
“UPSA is coordinating with the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee for monetary support and such with the members of the national team in Siargao. Communication for now is difficult, but we are able to buy satellite phone on occasion. All members are safe,” said Canlas.
Canlas, who is an adviser of the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases on health protocols, is currently monitoring the conditions concerning the professional and amateur surfing community in the island.
Last Dec. 12, Super Typhoon Odette (known internationally as Rai) destroyed the popular tourist island, which has been welcoming visitors again after COVID-19 restrictions have eased throughout the country.
Siargao, located in the province of Surigao del Norte and is popular with surfers and tourists, was expected to have a great Christmas season, only to be devastated by Super Typhoon Odette.
Odette was the strongest storm to have hit the archipelago this year, next only to Typhoon Yolanda many years ago.
UPSA officials said members of the surfing community have been affected.
Canlas said assistance being sought through the PSC and the POC is expected to reach proper hands in the coming days.
National Training Director Marc Velasco of the PSC is currently coordinating efforts to assist their community, according UPSA officials.
UPSA spokesman Raph Tecson said there are now efforts to evacuate members of the national squad out of the island.
Among them is Edito “Piso”Alcala Jr., who recently took part in the 2021 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games.
“On my phone convo with Piso yesterday, he said John (Carby), Marama (Mark Tokong) and Wilmar (Melindo) are trying to get their families out of the island due to scarcity of food and clean water. John and Wilmar both have two daughters, and Marama has a two-year-old daughter,” said Tecson.
The national squad is coached by Carby and Melindo.
The UPSA also reported that they are also seeking assistance for local surfing standouts Philmar Alipayo and Ikit Agudo.
Agudo and Alipayo, the husband of actress Andi Eigenmann, were reportedly in Manila when Odette struck.
Unfortunately, the national team has not heard from both of them, after the two made efforts to organize relief operations for affected members of the surfing community in the island.
“They were supposed to fly from Manila to Siargao the day typhoon Odette hit the island. Na-cancel ang flight nila. Last Sunday, they hopped in the first special flight for relief ops from Manila to Siargao.
Currently, the team hasn’t got a word from them,” added Tecson.
Meanwhile, the PSC said it will release P2 million for relief efforts in the Odette-devastated Visayas and Mindanao areas.
PSC chairman William Ramirez has tapped former Executive Director and Fr. Vicente Uy for this undertaking.
Fr. Uy is now Private Schools Athletic Association Region VII President, to spearhead distribution of care packages in typhoon-hit areas in Visayas and Mindanao.
Relief operations will be supervised by Fr. Uy in coordination with concerned local government units, universities and parishes.
“Fr. Uy has the leadership and integrity to be on top of this on the ground. We are directly coordinating with him. The PSC, archdioceses, universities, teachers and the sports community will come together and help,” explained Ramirez.
This Monday, the PSC partnered with the Armed Forces of the Philippines on the transport of about 10,000 bottled water and 900 units of mattresses to the local government of Bohol.
The PSC Board also approved the release of a P15,000 financial assistance for each of the 136 athletes and 31 coaches affected by the typhoon.