AIR21 guard Bonbon Custodio can now heave a sigh of relief after finally getting to talk to his relatives in Burauen, Leyte, one of the provinces hardest hit by super-typhoon Yolanda last week.
“Nakausap na namin `yung ibang mga taga sa amin, Okay daw lagay nila roon,” said Custodio who was able to make a phone call to his family on Sunday night.
“Syempre, sa mga nakita nating video at pictures hindi maiiwasang kabahan kasi lolo at lola ko from both sides, andun sa Leyte,” he added.
Power and communication lines were severely destroyed by the Category 5 typhoon that hit the Visayas region, making it difficult for people to get in touch with their loved ones and relatives in the battered provinces, including Talk `N Text superstar guard Jimmy Alapag.
[For full story, see Jimmy Alapag, PBA stars worried for close kin in typhoon-hit provinces]
But Smart vice-president for sports Patrick Gregorio told Spin.ph that since Sunday evening, signals and other form of communications in the area were slowly being restored for Smart, Talk `N Text, and Sun subscribers.
“Boss MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) sent a team of engineers to Tacloban Sunday to assess and troubleshoot situations there,” said Gregorio.
Signals around downtown Tacloban have already been in place, and Gregorio said they are now working double time to also re-establish cellphone sites in other areas of Leyte to fast-track contacts with affected families and identify what areas are to be prioritized in the relief efforts.
“We hope to bring back the signal asap. Kasi alam namin how worried most of our kababayans are. Mismong ini-utos ni boss MVP na ayusin agad `yun, it will also be used sa rescue efforts,” he said.
The brother of Meralco coach Ryan and UPIS mentor Allan Gregorio also bared how Pangilinan looked after the plight of their employees and their families in Leyte, which is the reason why the company also sent an HRD team there.
“Gamit `yung chopper ni boss, talagang we assessed the situation, and now help is on the way,” said Gregorio.
Smart official Epok Quimpo, meanwhile, said players under the Smart Communications company including basketball teams Talk `N Text, Meralco, and Smart Gilas have been doing their share in the relief efforts.
“We sent all of our players to join TV5’s telethon Sunday night, and we have now collected a total of P30 million,” said Quimpo. “The amount is expected to rise kasi tuloy-tuloy `yung aming programa.”