The coastal towns of Baganga and Cateel in Davao Oriental bore the brunt of Typhoon Pablo. Close to 100 percent of the infrastructure, entire agricultural crops and most of the communities’ livelihood were wiped out in the aftermath of the typhoon.

Recognizing the urgent need of the victims for food and potable water, the companies under the PLDT Group and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), spearheaded by the Tulong Kapatid Foundation, immediately sent a team to bring in relief goods to the affected communities.

To support the relief effort, Smart coordinated closely with the PLDT-Smart Foundation and One Meralco Foundation in consolidating the relief goods. This resulted in a truckload of food packs, bottled water, pails and basins that were given to the victims in the towns of Cateel and Baganga in Davao Oriental, Montevista and Compostela in Compostela Valley, and in Agusan del Sur.

Other MPIC member-companies also lent additional assistance for the devastated towns by providing generator sets, water purifiers and a water purifying machine.

In partnership with Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF), an NGO specializing in disaster response communications based out of Pao, France, Smart also made available free call and satellite Internet services in Davao Oriental’s Cateel and Baganga.

With the help of TSF and the Vodafone Foundation, which is part of one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies, Smart deployed the Instant Network, a portable mobile network that can handle up to 12,000 users sending SMS and up to 80 simultaneous voice calls.

This has been another example of people coming together, doing their own little smart acts to rebuild communities so that even the worst of disasters can be overcome.

*Tulong Kapatid is the joint disaster response initiative of PLDT, Smart Communications, Inc., Manila Electric Co., Maynilad Water Services Inc., TV5, Manila North Tollways Corp., Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Davao Doctors Hospital and Medical Doctors Inc.