Tuesday, December 1, 2009

[November, 2009] The Outburst

We are only people. We have feelings. We get hurt. We reach our maximum level of tolerance. And this could have been the reason for my emotional outburst this month. But a more specific contributory could be the volume of workload that was put into my hands this month and pressure that was attached to it.

Alongside this personal issues were national events that ultimately involved every Filipino. And I would like to give emphasis on the Maguindanao Massacre.

First Week: “A Run for the Pasig River

First week of the month started off with an activity called “A Run for the Pasig River,” a marathon, which aimed to generate funds for the rehabilitation of the dying Pasig river.

The event was initiated by ABS-CBN Foundation. But to make things easier on the part of the Lopez Group, the Group’s registration was assigned to our office since we are handling employee wellness programs. Things went really fast and suddenly, I just realized that the task was already given to me. It was such a huge and complicated task – registering all Lopez employees to the marathon and that everyone gets his or her race kits on time. The worst part of it was that it included money (which I’m really not good at handling). Haha!

Fast forward, the deadline of registration came and I was able to register them all. Problem was the releasing of kits. Well, the main problem was with ABS’ supplier who was not able to comply with the requirements. But then we had to assure our participants that everything was under control, which was not easy. We had to take all the complaints and all the bad comments they were giving. It was bearable. But what I didn’t take was the “implicit” blaming I got from an office mate. I don’t want to elaborate on that much but I really felt underappreciated that time. I felt like my efforts didn’t, at all, help. Aside from that, I felt like I was all alone. I confronted her and told her my issues and we managed to resolve the problem.

The event went more than okay. I just hope the people around me would have been more sensitive and supportive. After all, we are a family – as they label it.

Second Week: Disaster Risk Reduction Forum

Second week was another busy week. This time, we had to prepare for a forum on Disaster Risk Reduction. It was pretty manageable than the previous week’s activity.

The forum was held on November 13, 2009 at the Meralco Mini Theater. The foundation was lucky to have The Manila Observatory Team led by Executive Director, Ms. Maria Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga as speakers for this event. Along with her are experts Dr. Celine Vicente, Dr. Gemma Narisma, Dr. Mahar Lagmay and Dr. Jessica Dator.

The need to prepare is real! This was how Lopez Lifelong Wellness and Lopez Group Foundation Head, Rafael M. Alunan III opened the forum. He stressed that with the current state of the world today, “climate change and global warming alone will affect everything from national security to health and water supply,” thus, discussing Disaster Risk Reduction is essential because it will help save lives and will also improve the nation’s capacity to survive in the future. Furthermore, he also mentioned that the better informed we are the less damage to lives and property.

Meanwhile, Fr. Carmelo “Tito” Caluag who gave an inspirational message shared the trademarks of The Manila Observatory that makes it an authority in the fields of seismology and weather forecasting. He even added that the forum could be the start of an alliance between the Lopez Group and The Manila Observatory in preparing for future disasters.

Ms. Toni Yulo-Loyzaga started off the Team’s presentation by introducing the first speaker, Dr. Gemma Narisma who gave the audience a closer view of Ondoy. She identified its magnitude, tracks, and the problems that might have contributed to its strength including insufficient drainage systems, decreased channel capacities due to housing and encroachment, disappearance of rivers, and land subsidence or the lowering of lands due to some factors.

Dr. Celine Vicente, on the other hand, talked about vulnerability and the principal rules of Disaster Risk Response, which are: mitigating the hazard, minimizing exposure, and reducing vulnerability.

Flood hazard modeling was the center of Dr. Mahar Lagmay’s presentation. He presented various maps and satellite images showing the tracks and damages that Ondoy brought specifically in Marikina. He also encouraged the audience to help the Observatory get a more complete account of Ondoy by providing information in a website (map.ondoy.googlepages.com) that provides data about the typhoon when visitors log on and fill up.

Dr. Jessica Dator focused on the Hyogo Framework of Action, which is a global blueprint for disaster risk reduction efforts. The framework includes the following actions: risk management, enabling resilience, preparedness, vulnerability reduction, being open to learning, exercising social responsibility, and psycho-spiritual empowerment.

Ms. Toni Yulo-Loyzaga ended the Team’s presentation with a final note to “never confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable” – that because something looks impossible to happen doesn’t mean it will not happen. Highlights of the controversial Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) were also briefly discussed before a short Q-and-A session started.

Third Week: Asian CSR Forum and Race to 120 Contest Awarding

Third week was not an exception – again, another busy one with two activities that had to be attended to properly.

First up was the Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility held last November 19 and 20 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. A week before this actually, I'm already busy crafting my boss' Powerpoint Presentation as he was a speaker to one of the sessions in the forum. It was really educational. I've learned a lot about CSR and how the Lopezes do it. It's also nice to receive words of appreciation from your superiors. It's like more than any amount you can receive as a bonus. LOL.

Second activity was our weight-reduction contest's (Race to 120 Contest) awarding ceremony, held on a Satur day, November 21 at the Rockwell Center.

The first part of the awarding proper was the recognition and giving of certificates of appreciation to all participating companies.

The second part was the awarding of individual honors. Major awards were given afterwards. Rockwell Team 1 won third place received P 80, 000 worth of sports gear. STSI won second place and received P 100, 000 worth of sports gear. Finally, Rockwell Team 2 emerged as the champion of the competition. The team received P 120, 000 worth of sports gear plus the pride of being this year’s BIGGEST LOSER.

A Bloody Massacre

On a more serious issue, I would like to express my anger with the killers and sympathy to the victims of the Maguindanao massacre.

To the killers, may you still find peace in your hearts after what you've done. I hope you can still sleep at night. You know no God and thus, you don't value life. We pray for your souls.

To the victims and their families, may you find the justice you all deserve.