It was a modern day bayanihan online when netizens showed the power of posting messages on social media to help the people of Cagayan and Isabela provinces. Many of them were trapped in their houses when “massive flooding,” said to be the worst in the history of the province, submerged communities.
On Friday night, November 13, netizens bombarded social media sites Facebook and Twitter with posts about the predicament of the people of Cagayan. This made #CagayanNeedsHelp a trending topic on both platforms.
It was started by netizens from Cagayan who posted photos and appeals for help to the national government and private sector.
Hearing the appeals and seeing the photos and videos of fellow Filipinos swept in the human drama of surviving a massive flooding calamity, netizens shared the posts and soon made it viral, no one could say they didn’t notice a post showing the situation in Cagayan.
According to the posts, many people needed to be rescued as many parts of the province had been submerged in water. The posts described their situation on the roof of their houses as the floodwaters had submerged the structures around them.
There were also residents who posted in Facebook the recordings of their voices shouting from their roofs, begging to be rescued. Those chilling posts also became viral, turning many netizens emotional.
The viral posts also attracted the attention of Vice President Leni Robredo, who immediately coordinated with concerned government agencies to respond to the concerns aired by the people of Cagayan. On her verified Twitter account, she posted updates of the response of the concerned agencies in bringing rescue operations in the province.
Meanwhile, news media platforms gave blow-by-blow updates on the rescue operations in Cagayan.
The posts inspired many private individuals to offer help. Some offered lodging to those rescued by authorities.
Celebrities, one of them DJ Chacha, using their influence, disseminated rescue contact hotlines.
Meantime, other netizens started to conduct fund drives online to help rescue operations, like sending food to help rescuers and victims.
Because of the information spread by social media, the people in government and the private sector stepped up to help.
The collective efforts of people on social media displayed the modern way of conducting “bayanihan” — #ModernBayanihan.
In a related story, Ronald Villa, operations chief of the Office of Civil Defense in Cagayan Valley (OCD-2), said their teams have been working round the clock to respond to requests for rescue from individuals who were trapped from their homes due to the continuous rise of floodwater.
He described the situation as “massive flooding” brought about by Typhoon Ulysses which barreled across Luzon Wednesday night to Thursday morning and dumped heavy rains.
Reports said the flooding worsened when Magat Dam was forced to open its seven gates to release water after it reached its spilling level. (With a report from Martin Sadongdong)