Philippine Bible Society

PBS provides Scriptures for Winnie and Yoyong victims

PHILIPPINES – Typhoons are no stranger to Filipinos. Every year, the Philippines, an archipelago of 7,100 islands, is visited by an average of 19 typhoons. However, the recent weeks tested the Filipinos’ resilience as a series of typhoons battered the country killing hundreds of people and destroying properties and livelihood.

At such a time of great loss and discouragement, the Bible Society responded by providing Scriptures coursed through Christian relief agencies, World Vision and Far East Relief and Development Services (FERDS).

The typhoons

In a space of two weeks, the Luzon region, particularly in the eastern part, received the brunt of nature’s fury brought on by typhoons Unding (International code name, Muifa), Violeta (Merbok), Winnie, and super typhoon Yoyong (Nanmadol), killing almost a thousand, with hundreds more missing, destroying over 13,000 homes, and billions worth of livelihood and infrastructure.

Severely affected areas were the provinces of Camarines Sur, Aurora, and Quezon, with some towns virtually cut off from immediate help due to flooding and landslides. Heavy rains also inundated the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Pampanga, Isabela and Nueva Ecija, considered the country’s rice granary.

An estimated P3.12B worth of livestock, agriculture, and infrastructure were destroyed. Destruction that resulted from the two most recent weather disturbances alone was so severe President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared Luzon under the state of calamity.

Relief operation

Agencies from the government and non-government sectors immediately dispatched relief operations to aid over 200,000 families affected by the calamities. Two of these agencies were PBS’ partners, World Vision and FERDS. While these partner-agencies strive to meet the immediate physical necessities of the victims, the Bible Society provided Scriptures that would hopefully address their spiritual needs. Most of the victims have lost their homes, livelihood, and loved ones. Through the Scriptures in various formats, the victims would be assured of God’s comfort and care.

The Bible Society gave 70 copies of Filipino Children’s Bible, 3,000 “Why Me?” portion, 400 Comics, and 10,000 selections entitled, “Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God” and “In Times Like These.”

“Every single sack of relief goods (majority of which were distributed in Real and Infanta, Quezon) given by World Vision had a copy each of our (tracts),” PBS General Secretary Mrs. Nora Lucero reported. FERDS, the relief arm of the Christian broadcasting network, Far East Broadcasting Company, will be sending relief operations at a later date.

Scripture portion on calamities

Reports said that the deaths resulting from typhoons this year made it the worst season in 13 years. Although the government is stepping up measures to prevent disasters of this magnitude from happening again, the Bible Society saw the need to produce a Scripture portion specifically addressing issues faced by calamity victims. This portion is targeted to come out in January 2005.

Prayers are needed for provision to print more copies of Scriptures to be distributed free to the calamity victims. Presently, PBS is low on stock on Scripture selections and needs to reprint more copies. PBS has also allocated about 10,000 copies of Ilaw sa Tahanan Bibles for distribution to families who are to rebuild their homes when rehabilitation starts.