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Carmelites to conduct relief efforts for Taal Volcano eruption victims

Taal Volcano eruption

In response to the needs of residents affected by the recent eruption of Taal Volcano, the Disaster Preparedness and Response Ministry of the Order of Carmelites in the Philippines today conducted a Damages, Needs, and Capacity Assessment in some of the affected areas in the province.

Fr. Gilbert Billena, O.Carm. revealed that this is in preparation for the planned January 30 medical mission in one of the affected places. The Order will be bringing volunteer doctors and allied health professionals from St. Anastacia Parish of New Jersey, USA, and volunteers from Sagrada Familia Parish and San Isidro Labrador Parish in Brgy. Bagong Silangan, Quezon City.

“Many places in Batangas are still closed and even those places that are far from the identified danger zones are deeply affected with economic activities on a stand still,” said Fr. Billena.

This environmental crisis has inspired the generosity from many groups and individuals, however, he adds that although relief efforts to address the immediate needs of the victims are commendable and the response overwhelming, the bulk of the work would be on the rehabilitation of the affected areas, which needs the support of all.

“We will make an effort to be with the Batangueños in their rehabilitation efforts, but we also need the support of everyone,” he said.

The Order will also be participating in several other church-based relief efforts like the Damayang Simbahan sa Panahon ng Disaster (DAMBANA) and the Southern Tagalog Regional Ecumenical Movement (STREAM).

“As of the moment, we are still appealing for more donations from kind hearted individuals who could share their extras for our affected brothers and sisters in Batangas,” he said, adding that the needs continue to be very basic like rice, sardines, dried fish, cooking oil, water, bath soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, sleeping mats, blankets, and others.

Donations can be sent to the Provincial Office of the Order of Carmelites at 26 Acacia St., Barangay Mariana, New Manila, 1109 Quezon City.

For donation inquiries, Fr. Billena can be contacted through his mobile at 09363249618.

The project is a concerted effort of St. Anastacia Parish (NJ, USA), Sagrada Familia Parish (Bagong Silangan, Q.C.), San Isidro Labrador Parish (Bagong Silangan, Q.C.), Sacred Heart Parish (San Francisco, Agusan del Sur), Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan in Barangay Bagong Silangan, Q.C., the Carmelite Development Office, and the Third Order Carmelites in the Philippines.

(The front photo courtesy of PHIVOLCS
The article and the last 3 photos by Br. Ritche Salgado, O.Carm.)

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As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."