Calamity Assistance

(Cooperative is based on the value of selflessness.)

Natural calamities are unpredictable events and constantly threaten the daily lives of every individual. They come swiftly and surprise you. Due to their unpredictability, SAKO opened a new window of service to its members called, "The Calamity Assistance Program" specifically directed towards members who will become victims of calamities. Since our country is constantly bombarded by typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other fortuitous events, the probability of having a member being affected by any occurrence of a calamity is high. In order to help them in their time of need, this program gives cash benefits to the members for them to recuperate.

The first benefactor was Ms. Janice Felices of North Reclamation Office-A.L.L. She was a victim of a fire incident at Barangay Banawa, Cebu City last January 2008. All her possessions were consumed by the fire leaving her nothing. With no other options left, she turn towards SAKO and fortunately for her. SAKO's Calamity Assistance Program has already taken effect. She received a cash benefit worth P5,000.00. This may seem little to other people, but in times of grave need, this little help from SAKO is huge. Besides her, there were also many members who benefited from this program. During wrath of typhoon "Frank" last June 21, 2008, our fellow members from Iloilo and Panay also received cash benefits. Their homes were lost, their properties damaged and other personal belongings were gone. Houses were drenched but their spirits were firm and stand against the tempest.

Last September 26, 2009, the whole country was shocked to see and experience the devastation caused by Typhoon "Ondoy". PAGASA gave the usual warnings on the possibility of flood and other negative effects of the typhoon. However, few people could have actually predicted the resulting flash flood, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, the death of almost 100 Filipinos in the various areas affected and the resulting damage to infrastructure and crops. This unexpectedness caught a lot of people unprepared, including government officials and agencies that were criticized for their slowness in responding to the Filipinos who are in need.

Typhoon "Ondoy" affected various parts of Luzon and Metro Manila was the hardest hit with approximately 80% submerged in deep flood. Rich, poor, celebrity, and politicians were not exempted to the harsh of typhoon Ondoy. Sad to say, 200 of our members were also affected by the typhoon, most of their houses/properties/businesses were destroyed. Being a member of the cooperative, we gave assistance to those members who truly affected. The amount is quite minimal, but I'm certain that could really helped them to start anew.

Experiencing this situation is surely devastating to one's life. But with SAKO's help, they were able to recover from their loss and are now in the process of returning back into their normal lives. Some of them gave letters of gratitude and some through personal talks with the officers of SAKO.

Social Service as defined is an organized activity to improve the condition of disadvantaged people in the society. SAKO, in all its dedication to help its members, redefined the meaning of Social Service by always one step ahead in giving its members all it can even on unexpected times. Indeterminable may calamities be, but SAKO is always there to help and look after its members.

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"It was September 20, 2008 around 7:30 in the evening when fire hit our place. There were 15 houses totally burnt including my mama and sister’s houses. Unfortunately, we were not able to secure some

--- Mr. Ernesto C. Torregosa, Jr.
Area Manager, Cebu North, Area B

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