Association of Medical Doctors of ASIA, founded in 1984, Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC since 1995








AMDA in the aftermath of ST Rolly in Catanduanes

Publication date:2021-03-03
By: Dr. Marilyn B. Panti
(Extension Services Director, Catanduanes State University,
Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines)

My island province of Catanduanes used to be visited by strong typhoons, well even in my younger days I experienced not a few of them and seen how destructive and life threatening they’d been. But not too long ago, we thought we had been spared by these calamities so that, from being tagged as the ‘land of the howling winds,’ we pride ourselves even as a ‘happy island.’ Indeed, it is.

However, we can’t be too far for too long enough as having been ‘spared’ from the howling winds that we’ve been known. As the cliche goes, ‘history repeats’ and so there was this very terrible howler that struck the province on November 1, 2020. That was as many of us could say, the worst in history of super typhoons in recent times. It ravaged and flattened, so to speak, whatever there is that stands vulnerable. Not even what seemed to be very fixated and appeared strong. Super Typhoon (ST) Rolly crushed the surface of certain parts of the province so heavily at most, 350 kph wind power and gustiness with considerable high tide and sea flooding in many coastal areas. Reports say that although Catanduanes was the center of typhoon Rolly’s ‘eye,’ the towns of Virac, San Miguel, Bato, Baras, San Andres and Gigmoto were accordingly hit the most.
Most of us admittedly gained shock to the heels of that rare strike after quite some time that we have not been with fierce typhoons. Worse, we were appalled by what it seemed a typhoon festival as the province were successively hit with more or less four prior and after ST Rolly’s devastation. There was immediately this typhoon Ulysses which followed Rolly and chiselled certain areas with massive flooding and landslides as well. These two howlers tested many Catandunganons’ resilient spirit as we’ve always known of. And of course, survived gallantly inspite of, we did. But it did not come so easily. We somehow felt the heavy setback it has brought on our daily living, especially so that we are yet battling with another life-menacing, and discomforting phenomenon we call Covid-19 pandemic.

For us in the province who are slowly recovering from these natural maladies, I mean, the destructive effects of ST Rolly and Yolly on our livelihood and infrastructure, we could only give high hopes that the same would not happen again, never again so we pray. I say, resilience is good but it seems limited in times of great economic difficulties, made even worse by the worldwide pandemic.

But, still we survived with high spirits and faith. Not just that it’s typical of Catandunganons to rise immediately from the rubbles and make provisions for everything out of nothing comes after every typhoon, but for the many generous hearts and friends out there who would always be willing to help and be on guard to go the miles with us in times like this.

Just after ST Rolly and later typhoon Ulysses hit Catanduanes, friends and benefactors from AMDA or the Association of Medical Doctors of ASIA came to our refuge. We can’t say more with our hearts full of gratitude for the typhoon aid given to affected families in our province. Once again, the partnership which traces back since 2016 between Catanduanes State University and AMDA have come to the fore. As Extension Services Office Director of our University, I took the frontline in behalf of the Institution in making arrangements with AMDA’s representative, Mr. Tomoko Iwao who used to partner with us in the University’s Extension Services since 2016. Mr. Iwao first visited the island province in 2016 in the aftermath of typhoon Nina in our relief operations then. Now it’s another round of relief assistance that the AMDA did in support of Usec. Gloria Jumamil- Mercado who bridged certain arrangements for the ST Rolly relief assistance with Extension Services.
Families who were touched by AMDA’s relief operations thanked profusely for the efforts extended. I saw their grateful faces as they met with AMDA representatives and the University’s relief assistance team from Extension Services of which I represent as Director. I personally thank AMDA for the generous assistance in those times of need. Its cash aid to the tune  of P150,000.00 went way ahead for those affected families in barangays Calatagan Tibang, Calatagan Proper, and Cavinitan in the town of Virac; and, the barangay of Kilikilihan in San Miguel town as well. So far, there were about 150 families that were benefitted by AMDA’s relief assistance. The University took the extra miles indeed in reaching out to the far-flung areas of affected individuals in its relief operation dubbed as “Haw-As Catandunganon,” in the aftermath of ST Rolly’s wrath. “Haw-As” is an old Bicol term which means “stand-up or rise.” It goes deeper in sense to mean, surviving or emerging victorious or resolved to move-up from the bottom of misfortunes. Oh, indeed. What a fitting term that brings hope above all these trying times.


    •  GPSP Multi-National Medical Mission (Peace Building)
    •  Philippines
    •  2020
    •  2021
    •  ER & Reconstruction