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Saturday, May 2, 2020

Shell augments relief efforts in CamSur coastal town

What happens to poorest of the poor when hit with a crisis? Everything and everyone slowed down in terms of living when corona virus diseas (Covid-19) started to spread all over the world. Camarines Sur also known for its edge in tourism is not spared from this uncertainties.

Pasacao, a third-class town in Camarines Sur in the Bicol region and around 40 minutes away from Naga city, is home to some 50,000 residents whose main source of income is farming and fishery, and employment at the port and some private firms. Life in a coastal town has become even more difficult for daily wage earners forced to stay home under the enhanced community quarantine imposed to prevent the transmission of #Covid19.

Pasacao is supposed to be full to the brim of excursionists as it is also pegged as the "Summer Capital of Camarines Sur" but the tourism industry is likewise halted to keep everyone safe and secure. There is not much activity at the national port in Pasacao, which is the main point of entry by sea in Camarines Sur and where cargo ships unload their goods. Travel is at a standstill so there are no tourists or even locals to ferry from the Pasacao municipal port to Daruanak island or to the town of San Pascual in Masbate, which hosts numerous white sand island beaches.

“Even if not everyone fully understands COVID-19, all of them have to comply with the lockdown so of course, they are worried about where they are going to get their next meal,” says Pasacao CamSur Mayor Nino A. Tayco.

Movement of farm and fishery products is also difficult to reach markets outside the town, so they are forced to sell these products at a lower cost, Tayco says. Supplies and resources are limited and help takes a long time coming because of their distance from the national and provincial governments.

“Relief assistance is not enough,” says Christopher Imperial, one of 3,800 residents of Barangay Sta. Rosa del Sur in Pasacao. His family has received only five kilos of rice since the declaration of the lockdown.

Thus, he is thankful for companies like Shell that are augmenting the town’s relief assistance by providing enough rice, canned goods, noodles, coffee, and other goods for at least 1,000 indigent families in their barangay.
Christopher Imperial with his family after receiving some goods from Pilipinas Shell.
Pilipinas Shell is one of three oil companies that maintains a depot in Barangay Sta. Rosa del Sur. The Shell Pasacao Terminal remains operational despite the lockdown to continue serving the fuel needs of basic goods and service providers in the Bicol region.

“Even before the lockdown, our community receives support from Shell through their various programs,” said Barangay Sta. Rosa del Sur Chairman Boncodin. These include farm and fishery training, livelihood assistance, educational support for elementary schools, health and nutrition program, road safety training and disaster response.

Pasacao may not have lived its title of being "The Summer Capital of CamSur", but surely the locals and nature itself is healing altogether in this fight against #Covid19

View from the top of Daruanak Island


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