Natural disasters, like the recent typhoons Egay and Falcon, often bear the narrative of devastation and despair. Yet, amid these challenging times, another narrative emerges – one of resilience, unity, and the undying spirit of the Filipino community. The recent relief efforts led by Pampanga-based organizations shine a beacon on this narrative, illustrating the deep-seated Filipino value of ‘bayanihan’.
The aftermath was heart-wrenching. Thousands were displaced in provinces such as Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Abra, Kalinga and Zambales. The need for immediate and substantial relief was glaringly evident. Rising to the occasion were not one, not two, but a remarkable consortium of organizations that transcended boundaries to come together for a common cause.
Fore fronting this movement were the Food Sec Filipinas Foundation (FSFF) and the Pampanga Business Development Coordinating Council (PBDCC). But they weren’t alone. Local governments, NGOs, and private institutions joined the cause, echoing PBDCC President Prof. Ronald Malicdem’s sentiment that, “Natural disasters test the resilience of our people, but they also reveal our capacity for compassion and collaboration.”
In the arena of corporate involvement, Universal Robina Corporation (URC) exemplified corporate responsibility, contributing over 28 tons of products, consisting of 1,450 boxes of food items which benefitted a total of over 14,000 families. Their involvement goes on to show that businesses, too, can and should step beyond the confines of commerce in times of national adversity.
However, the essence of this united front was the plethora of organizations that played pivotal roles in the distribution process. Community Sustainability Ventures, Inc., Ateneo GSB Clark, TIPO, Happy Hearts Foundation, Bayaning Porac, JENRA Foundation, JCI Manilena, Tramo Central Ph, Balangay ng Diyos, Usbong Sibol Agri-Ventures, Inc., ELTI Groups, Inc., Angat Group, Usbong Katutubo Rotary Cultural Village, Ateneo Blue Eagles Pampanga, Rotary Club of Makati Business District, and Tibby’s Farm were not just names on a list. They were the backbone, ensuring relief reached those who needed it most, navigating logistical challenges and delivering hope and essentials to affected areas. Also, to be mentioned are the support and cooperation of the local government units, particularly their local Social Welfare and Development and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management offices. There were remote areas where no wheeled vehicles can proceed but through other means, the relief goods reached their intended beneficiaries.
This effort was not just about providing immediate relief. It was a testament to the values ingrained in the Filipino community. It showcased the belief that when adversity strikes, Filipinos come together, uniting in compassion and purpose.
As we reflect on these times, let’s celebrate this collaborative spirit, reminding ourselves and future generations of the bayanihan essence. Through unity and collaboration, even the most daunting challenges can be overcome. This is the Filipino way. This is the essence of bayanihan.
On a personal note, I would like to thank the community of the Assumpta Technical High School in Sta. Monica, San Simon, Pampanga for their support in the distribution of the relief goods to affected areas in San Simon. Likewise, Mr. Jomel Cruz, MDRRMO of Macabebe, Pampanga for bringing the supplies to the flooded barangays in his municipality. Also, thank you to Fil Rodriguez of JPPR Construction for lending me his truck to transport the boxes from Tibby’s Farm in Angeles through the submerged roads of McArthur Highway, going to San Simon.
Indeed, joining hands together can accomplish a lot.