April 4, 2022-Seeing volunteers in times of disaster emergencies is not new to us. We often witness people from different walks of life who willingly devote their efforts to extend a helping hand. A-PAD Philippines greatly acknowledges this initiative from individuals who are willing to volunteer during emergencies. The organization decided to open its own Human Resource Network in six regions: Ilocos, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Davao, and SOCCKSARGEN.
The HRN will not only be active during disaster emergencies. Thus, it promotes preparedness and encourages volunteers to be well-capacitated as well during peacetime from disasters. Emergencies are not the only situations we should look into; giving emphasis on preparedness would also be an important investment in consideration of how often the Philippines is hit by many disasters. The first launching of the A-PAD Philippines HRN ran in Legazpi, Albay in Bicol last February 25, 2022, having 15 volunteers from youth and faith-based organizations. The second run of the HRN was held in Ormoc City, Leyte in Eastern Visayas (EV) last March 26, 2022, having 18 volunteers from the youth. Each volunteer was asked to sign a membership form and had to recite an oath of commitment to A-PAD Philippines as part of their anticipated active participation within the organization.
When Tropical Storm Agaton (Megi) hit Baybay City in Leyte, torrential rains brought landslides that submerged houses in thick mud. EV Volunteers did not hesitate to lead in conducting a rapid needs assessment — immediately in coordination with the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), they identified the need for supply of clean drinking water for Baybay City. Thus, the campaign of #BAYBAYanihan & #TinabangParaSaBaybay started. With the help of local partners, A-PAD Philippines and EV volunteers hastily scheduled for a visit in Baybay to donate 20 water filter buckets donated by ALBAYanihan.
We asked Debbie Vinculado, one of the volunteer leads during the distribution and demonstration of water filter buckets, why she was doing volunteer work and she responded, “I’ve always had a passion for doing philanthropic work since I was a youngster.” She often receives negative feedback on volunteerism that denotes a “waste of time and energy,” but despite the pessimistic comments, she continues to pour her heart into helping others. Debbie adds, “As we were introduced to A-PAD [Philippines], I learned about ways [on how] to extend help to our fellow citizens [during] disasters. It’s also self-rewarding because I’ve put my abilities to good use for the greater cause.” A-PAD Philippines plans to launch its HRN of volunteers in the remaining regions for the coming months of 2022.