Kidapawan City – Young and adult earthquake victims wore happy smiles after the Regional Development Council (RDC) of SOCCSKSARGEN, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the Organization of NEDA XII Employees (ONE) extended help to them in Cotabato Province on 23 November 2019.

NCCA hosted a variety show at the Boy Scouts of the Philippines Camp in Makilala, Cotabato where 600 internally displaced families (including those at the adjacent Girl Scouts of the Philippines Camp) were camped. Afterwards, they turned over rechargeable flashlights to the camp manager for distribution to the internally displaced families as part of the donations of the NCCA in response to the RDC XII call for assistance to the earthquake victims.

Meanwhile, the RDC XII Team was led by a number of staff from the Secretariat. Supervising Economic Development Specialist, Ms. Gwyneth Grace B. Collado, coordinated with the Emergency Operations Center of Cotabato Province located at the Cotabato Capitol Compound, Amas, Kidapawan City. Assisted by the 27th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, under the 1002nd Brigade led by B/Gen Adonis R Bajao, the Team turned over donations in kind, from RDC XII and the Organization of NEDA Employees. Mr. Abril Espadera of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, guided them as to which camp to visit.

In the afternoon, the two teams simultaneously staged a program that brought fun to the evacuees at the two camps. The NCCA Team went to Brgy. Balabag, Kidapawan City and presented a puppet show. Thereafter, three Ms. Earth beauties shared practical tips to show love for nature. The air was filled with music from the lovely voices of kids during the talent portion facilitated by TV actress, Ms. Janella of the TV series, “Ang Probinsyano.” The evacuees also enjoyed the community dance led by a group from Davao City. NCAA then turned over food and shelter packs to the camp manager of Balabag Camp for distribution. The other Team went to Greene Academy, San Vicente, Makilala, Cotabato where they facilitated the conduct of games participated by the community. Children and adults who joined and won in the games received prices such as food and mosquito nets. Thereafter, team distributed packs of relief goods to the victims, courtesy of RDC XII and ONE from the following NEDA Chapters: SOCCSKSARGEN, Ilocos, MIMAROPA, Northern Mindanao, Davao and Caraga..

Fun and laughter filled the three camps whose evacuees were once stricken with fear as their homes were ravaged by a series of high magnitude earthquakes on October 16, 29, and 31, 2019. The program/activities and the relief goods distribution were aimed at helping the victims rise from the traumatic and challenging experience. As Mr. One, the ventriloquist said in the NCCA show, “Walang imposible. Sama-sama tayong babangon.”

The Regional Development Council XII is the highest policy making body in the region, composed of the Provincial Governors, Mayors of cities and municipalities designated as provincial capitals, Presidents of Provincial League of Mayors, Regional Directors of agencies represented in the NEDA Board, Private Sector Representatives, and Special Non-Voting Members (SNVM) from both the public and private sectors. Some members of the RDC XII, by their own initiatives, already sent donations and provided technical assistance immediately, days after the earthquake, and so with the NEDA employees and NCCA. (Michael BJ S. Abellana, NEDA XII-DRD)