Fresh out of June, which is World Humanist Month, the Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) caps off a successful second quarter of 2020 in which we saw not just the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic but the resilient response of Filipinos to it. In truth, the efforts of independent, non-government organizations like HAPI are just as essential in this troubling new era as the government’s own response. But before we get into the highlights of HAPI’s second quarter, here are messages from our Executive Director and Chairman that keep the positivity going.
Greetings to our KA-HAPI!
As our experience indicates, no single type of change initiative is sufficient to bring about acceptable levels of performance improvement in any organization, such as HAPI. Though non-profit organizations such as HAPI spend a lot of time, donor funds, and energy on a broad-scale quality humanism programs and outreach activities, or any endeavors, or a program to refocus our organization’s culture, to measurable downstream benefits — in humanism goals or on-time and valuable assistance, to those that needed it most — sometimes we may fall well short of expectations. The inevitable result: frustrations, exhausted and increasingly cynical organization volunteers, and a deteriorating competitive vibe.
Together, as one HAPI family, all of us make up what we think of as a “transformational humanism”— we do not limit ourselves to the online presence. A balanced, integrated framework for combining separate initiatives of humanism in different chapters into a coherent overall program. Thus the need for us to go back to our ideals, our mission and vision, why we are in HAPI and why we do what we do. The first quarter is a challenge, this pandemic is a challenge and we will face these challenges head on, for the next quarter.
Be always safe, my KA-HAPI.
Alain Presillas, HAPI Executive Director
HAPI in a Pandemic World
The past few months have been a great challenge for many of us as we navigate through the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. The human response to the pandemic has been a mixed bag. One interesting (but not surprising) note is that that countries where the chief elected official is a woman has had better responses, and have flattened the curve of infections much quicker than countries run by men.
For many, however, the government response to the global pandemic has been anything but adequate, leaving vast numbers of the population to fend for themselves, their families and loved ones. Businesses, schools, playgrounds and social gathering places have all be shuttered. Food has become scarce and in short supply. Jobs and sources of income have gone away along with the businesses that provide the jobs. Friends and family have been separated. The impacts of the pandemic have been long and deep.
And where has HAPI been during this time? Well I am proud to say that as usual, HAPI raised the bar in response to the pandemic. Almost as soon as the quarantine went into effect, our Officers and membership were out hitting the streets, bringing food, PPEs and water to the first responders, essential workers and the heroes that work in the hospitals saving people’s lives.
At the same time, we were out providing food, PPE and other necessities to our members and people in our local communities that need assistance.
Our membership and Officers were out providing help so much that I was very worried for their health and also the health of the families. And with all my encouraging to stay home and quarantine, no one really listed to my admonitions and that is so HAPI! So please know that I am eternally grateful to our membership who often puts humanity and those in need above their individual needs. HAPI has been an integral part of the response.
So, now many of us are stuck at home in quarantine or with limited travel for work or to get food and other necessities. Staying at home can be boring. It too can take a toll on us. What can we do at home? For all of the craziness and bad that COVID-19 has brought upon the world, it is an opportune time for family bonding. It is a time for us to realize that the important things in life are friends, family and loved ones. Here are my suggestions for things to do while being stuck at home:
While COVID-19 has created a lot of problems in this world, it has also exposed a lot of problems. Let’s not let it get the best of us. So I would suggest that we take advantage of this time at home to not only become better humanists, and but let’s try to be better humans as well.
Michael Sherman, AICP, HAPI Chairman
HAPI Covid19 Relief for Scholars
HAPI supports all humanitarian aid in all chapters. HAPI Central Luzon, headed by Claris Quezon, shows an undying support for marginalized sectors, especially women (single mothers and females who are victims of violence) and Indigenous People of the Philippines (Aetas, Kankane-ey, Ibaloi).
As a Disaster Management Professional, Quezon and the HAPI Central Luzon Chapter collaborated with a local community coordinator to create a Continuity Plan with regards to food stocks and communication for the Haduan Humanist Day Care Center/Reading Room.
As Quezon puts it, COVID-19 should not hamper our advocacy to extend support to our project and programs; only “creativity” is needed.
HAPI Reaches Out to Help Our HAPI Kids in Alabang During COVID-19 Crisis
From Jamie del Rosario, HAPI Kids Ambassador:
“It was April 4 when Ms. M sent me a chat message to ask me how my wards in Purok 7C, Alabang are faring during the enhanced community quarantine and I immediately gave her an update on how the children and their families are coping during this global pandemic crisis. I told her that since a lot of the breadwinners in the families are no work–no pay, they have no means of supporting their families in purchasing food and essential items. The relief help from the local government unit of Barangay Alabang and the City Government of Muntinlupa only came once since March 15 when the lockdown was announced.
I was immediately surprised when Ms. M suddenly told me that she already sent me money as HAPI’s help to the HAPI Kids and their families! Because of this, I instantly sought to purchase 100 kilograms of rice, 200 cans of sardines, and sacks of squash for distribution to at least fifty families adopted by the HAPI Kids Program in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
With the help of Jhing Dedicatoria, another HAPI volunteer and coordinator, and her husband, over seventy five (75) relief packages were repacked and distributed to our community members to ease their worries where they would get the next food to place on their dining tables during this global pandemic crisis. Each family was able to receive two (2) kilos of rice, four (4) cans of sardines, and a part of a large squash. Some families with babies also received some milk.”
HAPI CDO Answers the Call to Fight COVID-19
Headed by Lead Convenor Johnny Denden, the HAPI North Mindanao Chapter responded to the call of society. Along with members of the local Barangay Health and Emergency Response Team and other youth organizations, Denden acted in the front line to protect and attain the needs of the community in Barangay Indahag, Cagayan de Oro City.
The frontliners didn’t just stop in helping the community: at the courtesy of the HAPI National Headquarters, HAPI North Mindanao also extended its helping hand to Tabang Tri-Sikad by giving fifty (50) pieces of washable face masks good for 50 sikad drivers and 6 pieces of face shields for our front liners.
HAPI North Mindanao, together with the Youth Volunteers for Peace and Development (YVPD), continued its efforts in the form of donating blood to the Regional Office 10 of the Philippine Red Cross. The activity was a success as three (3) of its partner members, including Denden, successfully donated blood for those in need of it during the health crisis.
Veggies and Rice for the Community: A Collaboration Between HAPI and LGBT Pilipinas
This endeavor was a collaborative partnership of the Humanist Alliance Philippines, International and LGBT Pilipinas through the generous donation of HAPI Founder and Chairperson Emeritus Marissa Torres Langseth (aka Ms. M) and the mobilization efforts of volunteers both from HAPI and LGBT Pilipinas.
The two organizations struck a deal to purchase vegetables and rice to help poor farmers in local communities most affected economically by the home lockdowns.
On the April 24, 2020, the deal was set in stone and fresh produce was purchased both in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija. In Nueva Vizcaya, sacks of carrots, broccoli, cabbages, squash, and tomatoes were bought directly from the local farmers selling their goods to passers by. While in Nueva Ecija, individually-packed rice was bought directly from a local rice mill with packaging made for the intention of relief distribution.
Puto Mula sa Puso Para HAPI Tayong Lahat
Last May 1, HAPI Kids Project Coordinators Jamie del Rosario-Martinez and Liberty Dedicatoria provided five hundred (500) rice cakes, locally called puto, to be distributed to the local community in Alabang, Muntinlupa. These rice cakes were labelled with a very colorful and jovial tagline “Don’t worry, be HAPI” so those we would receive this simple gift would have a reason to smile.
About one hundred (100) pieces of rice cakes were handed over to the children of Purok 7C as with their guardians while four hundred (400) pieces were distributed all over the Alabang highway to all Muntinlupa frontliners and checkpoint personnel from Barangay Alabang to Tunasan area. The rice cakes were made by a Purok 7C mother whose child is a leukemia patient.
HAPI Founder and kind-hearted sponsor Marissa Torres Langseth donated the funds to help the mother have an additional income.
Bahay Pangarap… Haven for Shattered Trust
Bahay Pangarap for Women is a safe haven for children and women who are sexually abused and need protection from their aggressors. It survives and operates through donations and their social enterprises.
With HAPI Central Luzon Lead Convenor Claris Quezon and Asst. Lead Convenor Maria Juana Valenzuela at the helm, several HAPI heads provided assistance for Bahay Pangarap. Bikes were acquired for HAPI Central Luzon care recipients through the help of donors.
The HAPI Central Luzon Transport Project for Mount Haduan and Bahay Pangarap will not be possible without the generosity of spouses Marissa “Ms. M” Torres Langseth and Jerry Langseth, Brian Kerswill, B.K., R.H, B.Z,R.G., SWIMBIKERUN.ph and Angie Mead King.
COVID-19 relief was also provided to the Chapter’s “adoptees”, including much-needed new blankets, some hygiene products, canned goods, 2 helmets and 2 bikes.
Annually, HAPI Central Luzon provides dental hygiene procedure for the adoptees like tooth extraction, cleaning and dental implants. Quezon and Valenzuela consider it their new project as COVID-19 “derailed” their social enterprise.
The Pandemic 2020 during Humanist Celebration Month
HAPI Central Luzon Lead Convenor Claris Quezon and Asst. Lead Convenor Maria Juana Valenzuela managed to launch their annual Brigada Eskwela despite the pandemic. They operated in accordance with DepEd annual moratorium for public school to seek donations from private individuals, alumni and other NGOs to raise funds for cleaning materials and educational materials that the school may need.
Recipient communities are in need of thermal scanners, hygiene kits, cleaning aids, face masks, coloring materials and bond papers. Quezon and Valenzuela continue to collect donations for the benefit of the sponsored schools, hoping to finish by August 24, 2020 when the Academic Year starts.
Foreword / Compiled by
Sherwin Dane Zauro C. Haro
HAPI Membership Officer