Weeks after Typhoon Odette wreaked havoc in the Philippines, aid from PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) continue to pour in, to benefit residents in storm-hit areas of Palawan, Visayas and Mindanao.
One of the beneficiaries in the hardest hit province of Cebu was 47-year-old Luisa “Lucy” Obera, mother of seven. Lucy supports her family through a makeshift food kiosk by the beach, and a karaoke rental business made possible by a barangay project.
Lucy could still vividly recall the ordeal their family had to go through, when Supertyphoon Odette ravaged their hometown. Hours after relocating to higher ground, Lucy rushed back to the site of her microbusiness after the storm’s passing, and found everything washed away—her only source of livelihood, as well as her PHP15,000 worth of savings for her daughter’s wedding in January 2022.
As one of hundreds of PLDT and Smart beneficiaries in Brgy. Sto. Niño, Malabuyoc, Cebu, Lucy is comforted by the fact that they are not alone in their struggles. “I’m grateful for PLDT and Smart’s assistance to our barangay through the relief packs. These are already a big help for us, and we are thankful that you have remembered us in these trying times,” Lucy said.
Over the holidays, PLDT and Smart, together with the group’s social outreach arm, PLDT-Smart Foundation, have distributed over 2,000 relief packs to affected communities and coastal towns of Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Palawan and Surigao. To date, the group has distributed close to 14,000 relief packs to communities in most need of relief.
Communication as aid, in the form of Libreng Tawag and Libreng Charging stations, free public WiFi services, and free SIMS, are also continuously being provided by PLDT and Smart in Bohol, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Palawan, Southern Leyte and Surigao, to help reconnect Odette survivors with their loved ones.
Hours after Odette made landfall, PLDT and Smart had also sent calamity load assistance to customers in Visayas and Mindanao that were most impacted by the typhoon. The group had also sent load assistance to qualified airtime retailers to help jumpstart their business post-Odette.