TWO weeks passing, the Philippine Army 1901st Ready Reserve Infantry Brigade, Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike Rama, shoulder to shoulder with BPO companies e.g. Qualfon, launched the ‘Tabang Cotabato’ (Help Cotabato) project. Although the City government had extended P10M pesos of financial help to stricken areas in Mindanao, said group proceeded with the outreach work in order to provide a bridging mechanism for ordinary Cebuanos to personally participate in giving the beneficence of their hearts, or pockets, as the case may be, by any and all forms of donation.
Tabang Cotabato’ became the catch phrase for the philanthropic effort, mindful of the possible backlash from other provinces, recklessly painting the entire Mindanao as a disaster area, when the damage from earthquakes, and after-shocks, were confined to identified areas. Aware of the sensibilities of our brothers from the Southern-most island of the country, tourist spots like Siargao, or big cities like Cagayan de Oro would not take too kindly spreading fear, anxiety and the wrong notion about existing dangers, resulting in an adverse travel advisory covering the entire Mindanao.
Donations in cash and kind would be turned-over to the newly installed Major-General Roberto Angcan, of the Central Command for the entire Visayas. The entire project began with members of the 1901st Ready Reserve Infantry Brigade being allowed by Vice Mayor Rama a collecting station directly fronting the Legislative Building. This was later replicated at the Central Business District of Ayala for participation by other private initiatives. A “Free Concert’ was the culminating activity with 14 locally known music bands (Missing Filemon, Powerspoonz, Intertwined, Cuarenta, PG 18, Johnnie & The Walkers, Ukemia, Brownskin, Riddin, Keraro, Jerico, Miracle Facts, Bunny Rock, Kobe) volunteering their services at the very heart of downtown Cebu, at Plaza Independencia. The crowd was urged to donate any amount or goods, bottled water, canned goods, blankets, clothing etc.