The Aboitiz Group immediately responded to calls for aid to areas in the Visayas region that were badly hit by Typhoon Odette, mobilizing food and water donations and re-energization efforts initially in Cebu. Aboitiz Foundation, the social development arm of the Group, also opened an online donation campaign through its crowdfunding platform Kinder (www.kinder.aboitiz.com).
Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer Sabin M. Aboitiz said AboitizPower is working round-the-clock to restore the power lines in the city. “Much damage was done and many lives were seriously affected. In light of this critical situation, I would like to assure you that the Aboitiz Group is responding in every way we can now and in the future when we rebuild,” he said.
Aboitiz said the company has released assistance — including calamity assistance, calamity leave, and emergency loans — to its affected team members. In addition, their end-of-year salaries have been credited in advance to provide timely financial support to their families, especially with Christmas being in a few days.
Last weekend, as soon as the typhoon passed, Cebu Private Power Corporation (CPPC), a power plant located in the heart of Cebu City, was operated by AboitizPower to supply much needed electricity and directed this to priority customers like hospitals, the Metro Cebu Water District pumping stations, and government facilities.
As of today, Visayan Electric, Aboitiz Power Corporation’s (AboitizPower) distribution utility company, has reported that power is back up in certains areas of Cebu City such as portions of Banilad Road and M.L. Quezon Avenue. Restoration is taking longer in areas where Visayan Electric’s distribution facilities sustained heavy damages such as toppled poles, downed wires, and damaged transformers.
The AboitizPower Distribution utility group also brought in teams from its subsidiaries Davao Light, Subic Enerzone, and Cotabato Light to accelerate debris clean-up and power restoration throughout the city. Close to 50 linemen arrived on Sunday; they will also aid in relief operations activities in affected areas.
Meanwhile, UnionBank assures continued provision of essential customer service amid the disruption. The bank confirmed that over 40 automated teller machines (ATM) remain functional across Visayas and Mindanao.
“Nothing can stop us from our desire to serve our customers. True to our commitment that ‘no one gets left behind’ and thanks to the heroic efforts of our people, our branches in Visayas and Mindanao are open to serve those who need them the most. We will exert all efforts to make sure that we have as many ATMs online as possible so that our affected Kababayans can access their accounts in time for Christmas,” said UnionBank President and CEO Edwin R. Bautista.
The Aboitiz Group, through its various business units, and the Aboitiz Foundation, has earmarked close to PHP9 million for disaster relief in Visayas and Mindanao. The relief operations cover various cities in Cebu province such as Cebu City, Naga, Toledo, Lapu-Lapu, and Balamban, as well as other typhoon-hit areas like Bohol, Bacolod, and Bukidnon.
The relief goods include food packs with noodles, canned goods, rice, water, and biscuits; essentials kit with power bank, flashlight, blanket; hygiene kit with bath soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, laundry soap, and towel; and sleeping kit with blanket and sleeping mat.
“Days before the expected landfall of Typhoon Odette in the Visayas and Mindanao, we already mobilized our team and we are thankful to the Aboitiz business units especially AboitizPower for sending crews from Davao Light, Cotabato Light, and Subic Enerzone to help restore power to Metro Cebu and other areas. Aboitiz will also provide food packs and water to affected communities of the Aboitiz units in Cebu, Bohol, Surigao, among others. I would also like to thank the Aboitiz business units for working together in making sure that the immediate help is extended to the communities affected.” said Maribeth L. Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation President, and COO.
As of December 20, Aboitiz Foundation has raised a total of PHP3.7 million through Kinder and online donations, which will be used to purchase food packs and cover costs of power restoration efforts of the Group.