By Francis Allan L. Angelo

VARIOUS sectors in Iloilo have joined efforts to bring relief to victims of Typhoon Ondoy in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.

The Social Action Center of the Archdiocese of Jaro has begun accepting donations of used clothing, bed sheets, food and medicines for typhoon victims.

Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said it is time to help displaced residents of Luzon who also helped Ilonggos when Typhoon Frank hit the city and province of Iloilo in June 2008.

Lagdameo also issued an Oratio Imperata or obligatory prayer to all parishes under the Jaro Archdiocese to spare typhoon victims from other calamities.

The Iloilo Business Club, Inc. (IBC) is set to meet to discuss relief efforts for Ondoy’s victims.

“The board of directors and officers will meet on Friday to discuss whatever help we can extend to our fellows who were displaced by Typhoon Ondoy,” said Victoria Lea E. Lara, IBC executive director.

Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr. has requested the provincial board to allow the release of P1million from the province’s 5% calamity fund to be donated to typhoon victims.

“We cannot just watch on the sidelines and pray for the victims,” Tupas said.

Tupas also ordered the deployment of a team of doctors to Metro Manila and nearby provinces in the next few days to provide free medical services to victims of Typhoon Ondoy, especially children and elderly who are vulnerable to diseases in evacuation centers.

Initially, Governor Tupas is organizing a team of six doctors for this medical mission to lend a helping hand to overworked government and private doctors now attending to these flood victims.

“We are looking for fund sources to cover the plane tickets and food of these doctors, and if our resources will allow it, we will send a bigger team,” said Tupas.

Media outlets in Iloilo also launched their respective donation drives.

Troy J. Camarista, public relations officer of SM City mall in Iloilo, said SM Foundation, Inc. put up an Operation Tulong Express booth inside the mall.

“We accept donations whether financial or in kind such as clothing, food and medicines,” Camarista said.

Lawyer Daniel V. Cartagena, an organizer for Senator Benigno C. Aquino III, said they suspended their political activities to focus on relief efforts.

“We have asked our volunteers to gather donations which will be sent to the office of Sen. Aquino,” Cartagena said.