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Volunteers saved the day during ‘Ondoy’ crisis –- DSWD

MANILA, Jan. 30 — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has lauded the selfless efforts of the countless volunteers who assisted the government agency in its relief and rescue efforts during typhoon Ondoy and called them the “shining examples of the Filipinos’ bayanihan spirit.”

DSWD Acting Secretary Cecilia Capadocia-Yangco issued this tribute to the volunteers during the agency’s 59th founding anniversary on Friday.

”Tragedies usually bring out the best and worst in people. In the Philippines, we are fortunate because we are open to helping others in times of calamities as demonstrated by the outpouring of volunteers and donations during disasters,” Yangco said of the volunteers.

She added that at the height of Ondoy, people from all walks of life flocked to the National Resource Operations Center (NROC), the DSWD’s central warehouse in Pasay City and regional warehouses, and the Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) to volunteer their services.

One such individual is Lani Cruz, team leader of Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company based in the Philippines, who related that 554 employees of Accenture helped in repacking relief goods at NROC for three consecutive Saturdays of November.

“I am glad that I was part of this volunteer work. It was actually more fun than I expected and it developed greater synergy among employees. It was some kind of a teambuilding session,” Cruz said.

Students also took advantage of the week-long unexpected school break to assist in the repacking of relief goods.

“We came on our own. It feels good to help,” Francis Rosan Gonzales said.

Francis is one of the many student-volunteers from San Sebastian College Recolectos. The school also offered its shuttle bus to transport the repacked goods to the affected barangays.

Yangco also said that volunteers contributed towards addressing the psycho-social concerns of the typhoon victims by conducting psycho-social debriefing sessions in collaboration with the team on mental health psycho-social support (MHPSS) headed by the health emergencies management staff of the Department of Health (DOH) as chair, and the DSWD as co-chair.

“Nearly 600 volunteers composed of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychology students generously contributed their time and resources to alleviate the anguish suffered by the victims and survivors,” Yangco emphasized.

With the magnitude of the devastation wrought by twin typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, serving the victims would have been very difficult for the government, the DSWD chair stressed.

Yangco said volunteers saved the day by assisting in distributing relief goods, providing psychosocial counseling, and repacking of relief goods.

“It is this resiliency, the determination to bounce back after a tragedy that sustains the spirit of Filipinos. On the occasion of our 59th anniversary, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all those who joined us in addressing the needs of the victims of typhoons,” Yangco added. (PNA)


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