27 December 2021 (Monday)
Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), through the leadership of Director General Charito ‘Ching Plaza who is the new Wing Commander of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve (AFWR) of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), spearheaded bayanihan efforts, in the spirit of Christmas, by conducting relief operations to six regions in the country which are affected by Typhoon Odette.
“Christmas doesn’t just happen in one day. Every day is an opportunity for us to help our fellowmen especially those in need like the victims of this unfortunate disaster,” noted the PEZA Chief.
Early in December 2021, Typhoon Odette ravaged several provinces in Visayas and Mindanao, resulting to distraction of PhP 4 billion worth of infrastructure and PhP 3 billion worth of agriculture according to reports. Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has reported on Sunday, December 26, that casualties already totalled to 378 with around 60 people still missing.
PEZA-AFP Relief Operations
On December 21, the PEZA Board has approved a total of PhP 1 million to be allocated for the relief operations, providing essentials such as food, water, medicine, and assistance for the victims of the typhoon Odette specifically those located in Cebu, Bohol, Caraga region’s provinces of Dinagat, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur, Siargao, Palawan, Southern Leyte, and Negros Occidental.
Moreover, PEZA is also seeking help and assistance from its locator companies who wishes to extend help through this operation.
According to the PEZA Chief, “PEZA partnered with the Philippine Air Force (PAF) under my office as Wing Commander of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve (AFWR) to participate in the conduct of Relief Operations for the victims of Typhoon Odette.”
With this, the PEZA Reservists have been commissioned to volunteer in the repacking, distribution, logistics, security, management work for the relief operations beginning December 26 onwards. “Reservists in PEZA who are assigned in the zones are likewise encouraged to coordinate with their respective Air Force Reserve Mobilization Centers / ARCENs to volunteer your services,” noted Plaza.
Photo of PEZA's AFP Reservist members who are preparing at Baseco Port, Manila the relief goods to be transported to regions in Visayas and Mindanao that are affected by Typhoon Odette
PEZA Reservist Program
Brainchild of Director General Plaza herself as part of PEZA’s Transformation Road Map, the PEZA Reservist program seeks to train and develop the skills of both the PEZA employees and ecozone workers to respond to disasters, calamities, and emergencies.
“I would like to reiterate that we are not militarizing PEZA. We are just making sure that, through this program, we can assure our investors peace and prosperity within our economic zones and in the country especially in times of disaster and calamity like today,” explained the PEZA Chief.
In November 2020, PEZA also conducted the Handog PEZA Relief Operations for the victims of Typhoon Ulysees in Marikina and Rizal. The same operations were conducted during the eruptions of Taal Volcano.
PEZA Reservists unloading pails of relief goods for the victims of Typhoon Ulysees in 2020
Maintaining a positive outlook
“While it is unfortunate that this happened to our countrymen amidst the rise of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and nearing the end of the year, we must maintain a positive outlook and unrelenting hope as we end this year,” stated Plaza.
She added, “Let us do our best to help those in need and continue performing our sworn mandate to achieve our goal. We must make opportunities out of these crises and, hand-in-hand, continue to make it happen in the Philippines.”