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By the heart, defined

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THE INRUSH of relief and aid initiated by Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruptions has not slacked off among local officials of Pampanga as well as the local businessmen.

On Tuesday, Mabalacat Mayor Cris Garbo motored to Lemery, Batangas delivering P1.7-million in relief goods and P1 million cash for the victims.

The following day, Angeles City Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin led a convoy of three truckloads of relief goods, a truckful of hygiene kits, ambulance and assorted vehicles carrying medical staff, social workers, and rescue teams to Lipa City and the towns of Tuy and Balayan.

Thursday, it was Mexico Mayor Teddy Tumang that personally delivered P1-million assistance to the provincial government and relief goods to evacuees at the Batangas Provincial Sports Complex.

Earlier, mayors who made their compassionate and helping presence among the evacuees included Apalit’s Jun Tetangco, Arayat’s Bon Alejandrino, and Sto. Tomas’ Gloria “Ninang” Ronquillo. The LGUs of Candaba and Floridablanca were reported to have sent corresponding assistance too.

Pampanga ICT mogul Dennis Anthony Uy personally handed a P5-million check to Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas.

Earlier too, the Bridges of Benevolent Initiatives Foundation and the World Medical Relief Inc. Phil., at the initiative of Dr. Irineo “Bong” Alvaro, set an initial donation of P500,000 for the Taal victims.

All these, as private individuals, civic organizations, and professional groups – from wedding planners and events organizers to chefs and lawyers – continue to donate and solicit relief goods for distribution to the victims.

Aye, the heart of the Capampangan is not only in its right place, it is of solid gold. This, already manifest in the evacuation centers of Batangas, still finding that singular luster at the Banaba Center Elementary School – four-year-old evacuee Hendrix found afflicted with hydrocephalus and a heart condition, Governor Pineda immediately offering to shoulder the medical, as well as support expenses, for the boy’s treatment.

Payback time. So, the governor himself called the immediate response of Pampanga to the Taal Volcano eruptions: “Ito po ay ating pasasalamat dahil noon pong pumutok ang Mount Pinatubo, marami po ang tumulong sa atin para iligtas tayo at muling makabangon.”

Paying it forward, of course, is the more appropriate idiom – kindness returned by the recipient not to its originator but to another in need. The editor in me just could not help it there.

But then, in the greater, nobler scheme of things, what does semantics matter, when altruism, indeed, compassion becomes the very heart of the matter?

The Taal eruptions made one defining moment of the governorship of Dennis Garcia Pineda and, by extension, of the Capampangan race. Duly attested by thousands of expressions of gratitude from the people of Batangas and elsewhere, and as much articulation of pride of their governor by the cabalens. The all-too trite Capampangan cu, pagmaragul cu never resounded with as much dignified truth as here, as now.

Indelible – and spectacularly dramatic – as that definition is, it is but one more reaffirmation of the goodness of heart whence Delta was birthed and bred. That which has long been made a Capampangan truism: Alagang Nanay, Serbisyong Tunay…

Of course, finding completion with the silent whisper of: …Walang sawang tulong ni Tatay.

Luid ya ing Capampangan.

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