To help the victims of the recent Mindanao earthquakes, the Ateneo de Davao University through the SAMAHAN central board and University Community Engagements and Advocacy Council (UCEAC) has launched their relief operation program known as #BangonMindanao.
As stated by SAMAHAN secretary-general and focal for #BangonMindanao’s external affairs Renz Lacorte, the said program has only formalized two official linkages, which are the UCEAC and the Buklod Atenista student government alliance of the Five Ateneo Schools of the Philippines.
Participating offices and organizations such as Arrupe Social Formation office, all levels from grade school to college units, and the General Assembly of Class Presidents (GACP) took part in groundworks by way of volunteering and small scale donations.
According to Lacorte, the direct beneficiaries of the university’s relief efforts are the municipalities of Makilala and Tulunan in North Cotabato.
He also stated that it would be difficult if the volunteer students and admin were to be deployed to ground zero.
“There is a directive that it would be difficult if members of the community, specifically AdDU student volunteers, and admin will deploy to ground zero, given the security conditions. With this, the UCEAC is closely working with the Local Government Units and military,” he shared.
Campaign and Advocacy Director Amiel Jay Lopez, who is also the committee’s focal for relief and deployment, stated that they would publish pub mats about the earthquakes through the SAMAHAN twitter page for information dissemination.
“May i-publish na din na pub mats about earthquake 101 series of indo dissemination pubmats sa SAMAHAN twitter to inform the public about what to do next,” he said.
Other initiatives to help the said victims include psychological efforts led by the Center for Psychology Extension & Research Services (COPERS).
Students, parents, teachers, non-teaching faculty members, and even communities outside Ateneo gathered on the grounds of the university’s Arrupe hall to help repack and organize goods bound for quake struck locations.
Having experienced the deadly earthquake first hand in North Cotabato, volunteer Lovely Mae Wayan, expressed her glee upon seeing the number of volunteers during the operation.
“Happy kaayo ko kay daghan ta nagtinabangay” Wayan stated.
On the other hand, Jade Halilio, a teaching faculty from the PEH department and a consistent volunteer, compliments his motivation to help from his own experiences of being a flood victim.
He claimed that it is better to be the one helping rather than the one who is being helped.
“I volunteer man gud every activity kasi naka experience na ako nito before. Sa aming area kasi, naflood kami so I feel na mas mabuti na yung ikaw yung maghelp, magbigay, mag share than ikaw yung tutulungan,” Halilio said.
Lopez also emphasized the importance of volunteerism as it refrains a person from being self-centered and goes beyond oneself to give importance to others’ pleas.
“Kaning mga volunteers diria, kani mga ateneans and non-ateneans nag volunteer sila kay they want to serve others beyond themselves,” he explained.
The relief operation program will last until November 5. The SAMAHAN and UCEAC, with the help of Davao City’s LGU, will transport and deploy the goods to its designated places on November 6-7.