On a Sunday afternoon of January 12, 2020, the renowned Taal Volcano located in the Province of Batangas started spewing ash prompting the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology or Phivolcs to raise alert to nearby municipalities affected. Over the days, the condition of the Taal Volcano worsened when it erupted ash fall, lava mud and large particles of rock fragments in between occasional earthquakes. There came a point that Cities of Batangas, Laguna and Talisay went under “zero visibility” causing unfortunate road mishaps and affecting health conditions of the residents. Many of our kababayan have been affected in the parts of CALABARZON and other nearby Regions. Batangas City was declared under state of calamity on January 13, 2020 followed by its neighboring cities.
Just when Taal Volcano was making itself felt again after its last eruption 42 years ago, Popstar Royalty Ms. Sarah G Geronimo’s song from 2016 entitled Tala was also re-appearing itself on the surface of the music industry and online world incredibly creating a viral sensation. After 3 years from its release, only in 2019 that Tala became the people’s newest dance craze. You can just hear the song and see performances of it literally anywhere in the country! From dance intermissions, party presentations, Karaoke sessions, Tiktok Challenges to drag performances – Tala is always on!
While there were people immersed to perfectly familiarizing the dance craze and making buzz online with their sassy interpretation of the dance, there were others focused in finding means to be able to extend help to the victims of the Taal Volcanic Eruption. It is heartwarming to learn that many individuals and groups were taking an extra mile collecting donations and personally delivering aid to the victims. As both the Taal and Tala were equally dividing the attention of the people, the BJMP Regional Office VIII thru the initiative of the Regional Director of the Jail Bureau with the assistance of the Regional Community Relations Services, saw an opportunity to fuse both headlines into one purposeful program. Initially, the Region has already been in the works of finding a way to help our kababayans affected by Taal. With the employment of the Tala Dance Craze, a brilliant activity came into place – the Tala for Taal or Tanan Aton Lihok Alay for Taal Victims: A Dance for a Cause Project.
The vernacular phrase in the Tala for Taal Project encourages everybody to join the Jail Bureau to take action and help our brothers and sisters of CALABARZON and parts of Central Luzon who are affected by this unanticipated phenomenon. With this, both the Regional and Jail Personnel worked hand-in-hand in promoting this cause by humbly asking private and government agencies to open their gates and take a minute of their time to participate in a meaningful dance activity. Truly, we were blessed to have partners who shared our purpose and believed that we can be liaisons of their contribution.
In the Regional Office, a Tala Dance group was created which composed of ten (10) fabulous Jail Non Officer Ranks who circled around the Leyte area to have the Dance for a Cause Activity highlighting the Tala Dance Craze. Meanwhile, personnel from Tacloban City Jail Male and Female Dorm, Ormoc City Jail Male and Female Dorm, San Juan District Jail and Maasin City Jail likewise were accommodated by private and government agencies to conduct the same activity. A remarkable feat, as well, was the successful organization of personnel coming from jail units under the province of Eastern Samar, who gathered hundreds of people from agencies, government departments and universities into one big event held in Borongan Stadium – a Zumba Dance for a Cause highlighting of course the Tala Dance Craze. Indeed, the BJMP Tala Dancers and its cause paved its way to the online buzz encouraging more groups to help as well. Seeing this, other generous individuals and groups wanted to join our cause such as the Central Kanhuraw Eagles Club and Central Maharlika Eagles Club of Tacloban City.
It goes without saying that the activity was definitely a huge success! The BJMP Region VIII were able to gather a total of one hundred nineteen thousand and four hundred sixteen pesos and twenty-five centavos or Php119,416.25! In the start of the activity, the Region did not expect such massive support from the warays and bisaya. We can only give enormous gratitude and love towards all of you. We give special thanks to Schistosomiasis-Palo, DPWH-1st Leyte District, Tacloban City COMELEC, CSC Field Office, TOMECO, COA Regional Office 8, CSC Regional Office 8, LGU Palo, LGU Alangalang, LGU Burauen, LGU Basey, Central Kanhuraw Eagles Club, Central Maharlika Eagles Club, LGU Borongan, DepEd Borongan, Lonoy MGS, Lunas NHS and LGU Baybay. Maraming maraming salamat po!