Employees from a Philippines recruitment company who normally source candidates for important executive jobs have been thrust into an entirely different role – sourcing aid relief for the many thousands of people evacuated from the immediate vicinity of the Taal Volcano in Batangas.
Tensions among the displaced, estimated to be as high as 150,000 people, are rising nine days after the volcano near Manila first erupted with some residents wanting to return home even though the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology is warning of a possible “hazardous explosive eruption” in "hours or days."
Kathleen Gumayan, a consultant with executive recruitment company Monroe Consulting Group Philippines, said the displaced were living in poor conditions and lacked utilities and basic supplies.
Speaking from the main evacuation center in the San Luis municipality, Ms Gumayan said the search agency and headhunters had launched an appeal for basic essentials, which had been met with an overwhelmingly positive response.
“Yes, the response has been tremendous and we thank everybody who was able to contribute,” she said.
“I can assure you that the displaced, the people in this evacuation center, are grateful for any contribution in their time of need.”
Ms Gumayan said the entire Monroe Philippines team including about 25 consultants had worked together to coordinate relief efforts, with five consultants rising at 3am to deliver the relief supplies to the displaced, including children, the elderly and disabled.
Supplies included sanitary items and toiletries, drinking water, staple foods, masks and medicine, she said.
San Luis is one of the least accessible areas surrounding the volcano and, at the same time, one of the most populated.
There are an estimated 11,000 evacuees in the immediate area.
“Every relief package has been handed directly to head family members to ensure that basic supplies and the emergency kits are distributed evenly,” Ms Gumayan said.
“At the same time, the medicine and sanitation products have been handed to specialists, such as medical professionals and engineers.”
She said the Monroe team has been personally welcomed by Mayor Danilo Medina, who was playing a leading role in ensuring the internally displaced were able to access shelter, food and water.
“The mayor is doing a great job in what is an extreme situation and he was very welcoming of our aid and thankful for the efforts of our recruitment consultants and those who donated, it really makes an important difference,” she said.
“Empresaria through CEO Rhona Driggs and Andrew Hairs, Group Managing Director have been very supportive by extending a donation to support the relief operations.”
“Not only the mayor, all the families expressed their deepest and sincerest appreciation for the assistance … it’s the least we could do and we hope to be able to continue to do so.”
If you are able to help Monroe Consulting Group Philippines with its Taal Volcano disaster relief efforts for displaced families please call +63 917 593 7105 or +63 2 7585 72 84, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.