It has been almost two months since the devastation of Super Typhoon Odette has caused a lot of Dinagatnons to lose their homes. Amongst the heavily affected were the personnel of the Department of Labor and Employment Province of Dinagat Islands Satellite Office (DOLE PDISO).

Our office prepared for the coming storm, but we never imagined the kind of typhoon that hit us. It left our office, our staff’s homes, and our hearts devastated. But despite the loss, we are grateful for the lives spared. All 29 staff and immediate families were unharmed.

 

Damaged homes but not hearts

After the onslaught of Odette, the majority of the personnel either have their houses partially or completely damaged. Some resorted to staying with their relatives and/or friends. 

One of the most affected is Mr. Arnaldo A. Anito, Administrative Assistant III. His house was completely damaged because of the typhoon, and he and his family had to stay for a couple of days at his neighbor’s house. 

“Dili jud lalim among nasinati kay Odette. Naguba among balay ug halos semana mi nakipuyo ra. Maong dakong kinasing-kasing nga pasalamat sa tanan ng ani tabang. Sa tanan nga naghatag ug materyales, nasugdan na namo ug repair ang among balay. Salamat sab sa mga nag donate ug bugas san tubig.” These were the words shared by Mr. Anito. 

Even with the damages incurred, all the DOLE PDISO personnel continued to tirelessly assist the Dinagatnons. Everyone was hands-on in the implementation of TUPAD in the province post-Odette. In return, overwhelming help from friends, family, and colleagues came pouring in for everyone in the satellite office.

 

Help stormed in

The DOLE Caraga Regional Office as well as the different Provincial Offices, namely the DOLE Agusan del Norte, DOLE Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Sur, have donated not just relief goods and potable water to the personnel of DOLE PDISO but also cash donations for the rebuilding of their houses. DOLE Regional Offices from Region IX, Region X, and Region XI have also sent their donations in kind and cash. Families and friends of DOLE PDISO personnel who are residents of Butuan did not miss out on the opportunity to help as well. 

A total of fifty-one thousand pesos (Php 51,000.00) cash donations were used mostly on food and construction materials to rebuild the houses of each DOLE personnel affected by the typhoon. 

Transporting loads of donations from Butuan City to the seaport at Surigao del Norte was also easily facilitated. During the first delivery of donations, the AgusanUp office of the Province of Agusan del Norte lent a vehicle, while the Destiny Church Butuan lent a mini dump truck for the second delivery of donations.

A group called Mommies for Mommies generously provided hygiene kits, sanitary kits, baby essentials such as diapers and food. Several donated clothes also benefited the families of our staff who had their belongings washed away. 

The gratitude of the support staff to all the help they received was immeasurable. Estefanee Quimbo, one of the TUPAD coordinators said, “Dako nakong pasalamat sa hinabang nga gihatag sa ako, hilabina sa sin kay kini nakatabang sa amo nga nabutangan na jid ug atop ang among balay kay after Odette mga buslot ug gitupi-tupi ra nga atop ang gimantinel namo. Ug nagpasalamat sab ko sa DOLE ug sa nag sponsor sa mga pagkaon ug mga sanina. Daghan kaayong salamat.”

The last leg of 2021 was indeed challenging especially for the residents of the Province of Dinagat Islands. Come hail or high water, the DOLE PDISO will continue to serve the Dinagatnons. And behind the resilience that DOLE PDISO can take on, is the camaraderie portrayed by colleagues in DOLE, generosity of family and friends, and encouragement even from strangers that were there to cheer us on.