Eventually, a forum on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response was conducted by our foundation in relation to these typhoons. Dr. Teofredo Esguerra of the Philippine Coast Guard and Secretary General Gwen Pang of The Philippine National Red Cross were our speakers. This forum sort of became the debfriefer to all Lopez employees.
My sister also left for Singapore this month to try working there. It was a painful scene seeing your sister leave and seeing the fear and hesitance in her eyes if she'll do it or not. But in the end, she chose to challenge herself and stick with the plan.
The first relief operation we had this month was for some evacuees relocated to Ultra, which was done last October 5. We only got to serve several people since we didn't have enough budget to get everyone covered. Actually, the goods we distributed were donations to Knowledge Channel.
On our part being members of the Lopez Group Foundation, we provided manpower. We assisted the evacuees, we carried our loads of goodies, and we facilitated the distribution.
Although it was tiring, it was also fulfilling. Seeing smiles on those people's faces while continuously uttering "thank you" made me think that I am really way too lucky than them.
We were able to give goods to about 700 people that day and some even went for another round. Haha!
It was also another good time to bond with my office mates and with other volunteers as well. In fact, even personalities like Alex Compton (the basketball player) and Jackie Forster (the actress) went there to shed some time helping us distribute the goods.
The next operation we had was done in a school in Pateros called Aguho Elementary School. Reports from the teachers we talked to that day said that the school was submerged in water (about waist-deep) during and weeks after Ondoy's onslaught. And so most school materials were also submerged and carried away by the flood.
Coming from the Lopez family's own pocket, they were able to gather up school supplies for Grades 1 to 6 and these were the goods we distributed to the students.
It was so funny seeing how those kids hugged their new bags and notebooks. Some event went out to say "thank you" to the Knowledge Channel camera.
Although we wanted to stay the entire day, we had to go back to the office in the afternoon to work on our upcoming forum. Still had a lot of pending tasks then and we promised our boss that we'll be back after lunch. We had to keep that promise. Haha!
As a side trip, an office mate invited us for lunch in her house, which was near the area. We had a nice lunch before we headed back to the office.
It was such a fruitful discussion. The first part talked on emergency preparedness and how important self-help is in situations or emergencies where professional help is not available. I've learned that in any emergency, there's no one we can count on but ourselves. The first week of a disaster is the most critical period and so an emergency kit was presented during the forum.
The second part on disaster response discussed the right attitude towards facing a disaster. We should not always depend on the government's immediate help because in case of country-wide disasters, the government will definitely cater to those who are most affected.
As an effect of the forum, our President recently, in a half-day general staff meeting, created our own CRISIS MANAGEMENT TEAM. The team that will be responsible in all matters concerning the office (people and properties) during a disaster. I was placed under the communications committee.
Me and my siblings have been planning all of this for so long and now our plans are getting more and more concrete. October 3 marked my sister's last day in the Philippines. Haha! She went to Singapore to stay with my brother and to try working there.
Actually, it's our plan to all go there in the future and permanently reside there. And it was me who should have gone there first instead of her. But since I can't leave my job just like that, we've decided to let my sister go first. She resigned from her work. She took the risk.
To date, she's been there for a month now. She's now on for another month and I really hope that by the end of this month, she'll finally get a job.
Okay. So I guess that's it for this entry. Til next post.
A Run for the Pasig River Marathon
November 8, 2009 at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila