Six months into the reign of COVID-19, the Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) continues to go from strength to strength, finding ways to empower Filipinos through secular humanism despite the still(!) increasing threat of the pandemic. You don’t see us giving up though, as this quarterly highlight reel will demonstrate in a bit. But before we get into that, here are messages from our Executive Director and Chairman that will keep the positivity going! — Shane, HAPI Membership Officer
For this third quarter I wanted to convey three messages:
First, I wanted to start by saying that as of May, I have formally transitioned into my role as ED of HAPI. It is truly a privilege for me to lead this purpose-driven organization and I appreciate the support of so many of you leading to this opportunity. I am also blessed to be surrounded by an outstanding, world-class team of deeply committed volunteers of HAPI. In my work alongside them, I know we are all unified around the goal of putting the best interests of our programs above all else during these difficult times of pandemic, but as importantly, in the years to come.
Second, when I said my first piece and we were just beginning to navigate very uncertain times with the rapid acceleration of this global pandemic. We know that this has resulted in an extremely challenging time for so many of our volunteer members directly and I can assure you that this is not lost on us. However, our global family of Humanists has found new ways operationally to adapt and support each other – and to do whatever we can to come through this period with strength. Like everyone, our Humanism outreach will suffer in 2020, but please know that our work continues on time and as usual in a safe manner.
Third, like you, we have been following the recent events in the world stage and the ripple effects that have followed around the world. We are an organization who puts people first and we will continue to come together to listen, learn and act in support of our Humanistic endeavors and our communities against the dictate of religion. Inclusion and Diversity is a key element of our culture at HAPI and we are accelerating our efforts to support and educate ourselves to ensure a safe and inclusive work outreach of Humanism for everyone.
And finally, through this economic crisis, what we have been seeing from our governments, and our established institutions, is a collective effort to ensure the fabric of our Humanism stays intact. By working together as strong and global Humanists, we are encouraged by our Mission and Vision goals of HAPI.
As Edward Everett Hale once said, “Together – one of the most inspiring words in the English language. Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
KA-HAPI, be safe!
Alain Presillas, HAPI Executive Director
It’s time again for the HAPI quarterly newsletter. And that means that it’s time to reach out and provide a message to our members. Each quarter, I try and write something that will speak directly to our members and maybe if I am lucky, will uplift those who read it.
So as I was pondering about my message, a few days ago, the thought of “what can I say; what can I offer that will resonate with our members” kept running around through my brain. I can always discuss humanism and human or civil rights. I could write about how the corona virus is impacting our lives, our families, the economy and even politics. I could write about hunger and poverty and how humanism can work to improve the human condition. I could write about the political discourse in both the United States and the Philippines. Or I could write about one of my favorite topics, “tactical humanism”.
But those are the typical things that I think about… those are the normal things. But we live in less than normal times. Just last week, 13 white men were arrested for a plot to kidnap the governor of the state of Michigan and try her in a kangaroo court in Wisconsin. Even crazier, the home-grown American terrorists were inspired by the American President Donald Trump when he encouraged his supporters to “liberate Michigan”. The year 2020 is anything but normal. And with Covid-19, I doubt life will ever return to a semblance of normal as we knew it is 2019. So then again, the question arises, “what will resonate with our members”? That is a hard question to answer. So, for me, what I tell myself is “hang on; have hope”. I tell myself “One day things will get better”. And I believe that.
So let’s do our part to get us there. Wear a mask and cover both your nose and mouth. Wash your hands. Social distance. Keep yourself healthy. We can do this. We have much to do as humanists. We have much to do as an organization. Stay healthy and I will see y’all soon.
Wishing all good health and good life.
Michael Sherman, AICP, HAPI Chair
Last September 27, Humanist Alliance Philippines International and EVO Riders Club-Muntinlupa joined forces to hand over some face shields and face masks to the said drivers to help them protect themselves from getting infected.
From Mutya Valenzuela, HAPI BOT Member:
“Tricycle drivers, pedicab drivers and trolley operators are also frontliners. Everyday, they have to bring their passengers to destinations and now that we are fighting a battle no one can see, they too need some protection.”
“Del Valle was bestowed with the Outstanding Leader Award by the Foundation Beyond Belief during its 2020 Heart of Humanism Awards for her work empowering minorities and disaster-stricken Filipinos over the past year.
As a girl, she initially dreamed of becoming a surgeon, but her priorities quickly changed the more her family members and mentors exposed her to the injustices of the ‘grown-up world’, including systemic discrimination against IPs and farmers.”
La Union youth including HAPI Scholar Steven Angelo participated in the pawikan conservation and protection in the province of La Union through the Coastal Underwater Resource Management Actions (CURMA). These youth-led environmental organizations in the Philippines focus on safeguarding the habitats that provide turtles’ food supply.
The sea turtles or “pawikan” as they are known in the native language often leave the local and international tourists in awe.
From Steven Cross:
“Someone asked me why I help people that I totally don’t know. This was my response — ‘As a humanist and member of Hapi Humanist this is what I do and my advocacy. I help because I know how it feels to be helpless but most importantly, I would like to bring back the humanity in all of us. I’m not expecting anything in return. I just want to help in the best way I can.’”
25 total families lost their houses and everything they owned because of a fire in Zapote, Las Piñas. Cross and his companions were going to Cavitex when they saw this big smoke. After posting it on Facebook, a friend of his commented, saying that her friend’s family were one of the many people who lost their house from the ravaging fire. Cross and HAPI answered their call for any kind of help.
On June 18, 2020, Head of HAPI Youth, Angie Driskell handed over 20 gift packs for the women at Bahay Pangarap Women’s Center with help from Filipinas del Valle, HAPI Executive Secretary. Each gift pack contained two face masks (skin care), a hygiene kit (shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap), and one face mask (for safety against COVID-19) to help keep the women in high spirits.
Silong Tanglaw Foundation is a home for boys that have been referred by their local government agencies to be placed in a safe and healthy environment. The facility, originally donated by a religious organization, is located in Quezon City. The boys are provided shelter, food and education. They depend greatly on the donations of their sponsors and outreach programs for food and other necessities.
On June 3, 2020, Driskell donated grocery relief to them. These items were delivered by courier. “It was through the kindness and cooperation of friends, and HAPI, that this was possible,” Driskell said.
A month later, it was possible to deliver another batch of groceries personally. This delivery included toiletries and shirts which were generously given by Driskell’s friends. The boys, and staff, received masks and hygiene kits as well.
“We checked on the 14 boys that are currently wards of the program. We also checked on their enrollment and how they plan to continue their schooling under the new guidelines. The next goal is to provide them with at least one computer for them to do schoolwork on.”
The mission continues.
Foreword / Compiled by
Sherwin Dane Zauro C. Haro
HAPI Membership Officer