Vegetable harvest from local farmers in Brgy. Tagabinet and Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa City, on May 12, 2020.

Para sa Bayani campaign is a consolidation of Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc.’ (PSFI) various efforts for today’s brave heroes—from our frontliners who continue to work hard in healing the sick, watching over everyone’s safety, and the Filipino citizenry who, by staying at home is helping flatten the curve.

PSFI Upstream Program Manager Ynna Lauron-Doblado said there are three (3) components under the “Para sa Bayani Campaign”– namely, Ani para sa Bayani, Proteksyon para sa Bayani, and Tulong para sa Bayani – all of which have already helped and supported many Palaweños during the community quarantine.

All components of the campaign have been supported by the Shell companies in the Philippines throughout its implementation, including certain activities that will continue in the province of Palawan until the end of May

Ani para sa Bayani

The Ani para sa Bayani buys agricultural crops from struggling farmers who have difficulty bringing their harvests to the market due to limited transportation opportunities during the community quarantine.

Farm produce are distributed to vulnerable communities and frontliners. “Ani para sa Bayani was also completed in various provinces such as Rizal, Cagayan De Oro, Batangas, Cebu and Davao,” she said.

In Puerto Princesa, PSFI has supported the farmers at the Underground River and nearby barangays.

The products PSFI bought are vegetables and livestock from farmers in Community-Based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) sites that they have supported over the years under their Turismo at Negosyo Dulot ng Ingat Kalikasan or TANDIKAN program.

The agricultural products are then delivered to partner community kitchens where meals are cooked for both medical and non-medical front liners.

Other meals are supplied to displaced workers and stranded tourists.

They were also able to provide meals to the Bagong Silang fire victims who were temporarily sheltered at Pilot Elementary School.

In Palawan, PSFI has worked with the Liga ng mga Barangay to assist in feeding the select sectors of the communities in select barangays such as persons with disabilities, senior citizens, malnourished children, and single parents.

The barangay did all of the cooking and provided for other cooking expenses while the Provincial Government of Palawan provided for the rice.

Lauron-Doblado said that both sub-components of the Ani project has ended last May 15.

PSFI and its partners were able to prepare and distribute 85,000 meals out of 36.5 tons of agricultural products (mix of vegetables and fish) bought from over 860 farmers in Puerto Princesa and Palawan.

“We thank all members of Palawan community kitchens in Puerto Princesa—Chef Aiza, Senordamla, Dang Maria’s, Ameng Balai, Kuyba Almoneca, Zsi Zsi, and Koi’s Meals and Kusina Palaweño and all the barangay volunteers who led the cooking in 140 barangays in 9 municipalities of Palawan. You all have tirelessly and unselfishly committed your time to prepare the meals and distribute it to those who need it. Our partnership with the UP Alumni Association Palawan Chapter was very instrumental in completing this project.

Proteksyon para sa Bayani

The project aims to provide medical frontliners with the necessary and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) through sourcing out materials and equipment from rightful suppliers, donors, or wage workers whose daily income has been affected by the community quarantine.

“We were blessed with several donors from various organizations and private individuals who provided their expertise in finalizing PPE designs and ensuring that it is acceptable to medical workers. We also had seven volunteer sewers who made the PPE suits for the doctors”.

Lauron-Doblado said that to date, PSFI has already donated over 6,300 PPEs to medical workers and health volunteers fighting in the frontlines against COVID-19.

“We prioritized medical front liners for Proteksyon and made sure that they are provided with the necessary PPEs such as sterile gloves, surgical masks, face shields, and overalls. It was not a lot but at least there is some on the stock that they can use when the need arises” she said.

PSFI has worked with the University of the Philippines Alumni Association-Palawan Chapter (UPAA-Palawan) for this initiative.

Partners from DOST, volunteers from Full Bright College and other private individuals provided some funds, lent 3D printers, and provided raw materials for the 3D printing of the face shields.

Proteksyon para sa Bayani is set to be completed by the end of May as they wait for the arrival of the remaining PPEs from Manila.

Tulong para sa Bayani

The Tulong para sa Bayani covers all other efforts of PSFI that are not related to the distribution of PPE supplies and meals.

Lauron-Doblado said it aims to provide food packs to vulnerable communities and transporting necessary goods and items from Manila to Puerto Princesa and vice versa through their chartered flights supporting the Malampaya operations.

Doblado said this project has already extended 500 packs of relief goods to Barangay Bagong Silang at the onset of the community quarantine and another 500 packs for the malaria service providers all over the province.

A total of 24 round trip flights to Manila and Puerto Princesa were optimized to transport various items such as PPEs, relief goods and other critical items to ensure that communities in Palawan are still able to access the products and services they need despite the quarantine.

“On its flight back to Manila, we assist in the transport of COVID-19 test samples, blood samples, and other laboratory tests from the Department of Health, Philippine Red Cross and Ospital ng Palawan respectively. We will have 3 more flights to go before the end of May. We will continue to support as long as it is needed by the Palaweños especially for PPEs and COVID-19 related support.

To date, PSFI was able to transport 1.9 tonnes of cargo from Manila primarily composed of PPEs for both public and private organizations, immediate medical needs such as that for cancer chemotherapy, lupus, and orthopedic operation, and some relief goods.

Resilient Palaweño and food security

Lauron-Doblado said PSFI will continue to assist Palawan and Puerto Princesa post COVID-19.

PSFI is currently refocusing its programs to cover food production to help Palaweños while still keeping its other programs on access to energy, HIV, and malaria control.

“We think that ensuring that there is food on the table matters at this point. We are looking into supporting agriculture initiatives, We are also trying to look for a way to support the livestock industry,” she said.

Lauron-Doblado said that despite the budget cut of the foundation due to the low demand for fuel and the shutting down of its Tabangao Refinery, Palaweños can be assured that PSFI will help in this time of crisis with the funding assistance from Shell Philippines Exploration B.V and the Malampaya Joint Venture Partners. Lauron-Doblado sees resilient Palawenos able to spring back and survive COVID-19.

“Let us help each other, pay forward any kindness we have received, move forward, and let’s survive this together” Lauron-Doblado ended.

As PSFI’s tag says sama-samang pagtulong, sabay sabay na pagsulong.