By Johnny L. Denden
HAPI-Northern Mindanao Lead Convener
More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, the virus is not showing any signs of halting its deadly effects on society. This generational health crisis has greatly complicated everyone’s life. Because of it, a lot of initiatives from various organizations around the Philippines were forced to mobilize their resources to lessen the impact of this pandemic in our country. One of those generous initiatives – a genuine act of bayanihan – was initiated by a woman named Ana Patricia Non, who set up a Community Pantry in Maginhawa Street, Quezon City last April 14, 2021 as her way to help Filipinos in need. The said Community Pantry fully embodied Filipinos’ bayanihan culture, an act of charity and hospitality that was done so that less fortunate people in the community could fill their empty tables. The Community Pantry idea does not discriminate nor is it required to be huge; it intends to show the people that they are not alone in this fight.
Not long after Non put up the first Pantry, others quickly sprouted in every corner of the Philippines, including Northern Mindanao, where Humanist Alliance Philippines International – Northern Mindanao (HAPI-NorthMin) was happy to carry the torch. To us, the main point of putting up the Brgy. Indahag Community Pantry is to help people in our community: in our own simple way, we can provide their essential goods amidst this pandemic.
The Indahag Community Pantry received a lot of support from various partners; we were not alone in ensuring that our very own “Bayanihan Initiatives” were successful. Our friends and different groups – including JE Hydro and Bio-Energy Corp., World First Water Venture Inc., Empowered Volunteers and Opportunities, Youth Volunteers for Peace and Development and Brgy. Indahag Sangguniang Kabataan, Akbayan Youth, as well as Humanists International – took big steps in assisting HAPI-NorthMin. None of them thought twice to help us. Now, we can confidently say that our partners are dedicated to a sustainable partnership that will not end with the Indahag Community Pantry. HAPI-NorthMin is entrusted and determined to continue the activity beyond the community pantry.
Mr. Joffrey Hapitan, Chairman and CEO of JE Hydro & Bio-Energy Corporation, believed that supporting initiatives like the community pantry and the Youth initiatives (which could empower the sector to further participate in nation-building) is very important. What he likes about youth participation are the “genuine acts” by the young ones who are not easily corrupted by the system. Pivoting to water sanitation, Mr. Hapitan himself added that “access to safe drinking water is a fundamental human right”.
During the first day of the HAPI-NorthMin Community Pantry, Mr. Hapitan approached the Lead Convener Johnny L. Denden to express his willingness to support them in their endeavors, which the HAPI-NorthMin Chapter was truly delighted about. Thanks to the help of Mr. Hapitan, we managed to broaden our projects from Community Pantry to a new flagship project, the Community Delivery, wherein we aim to identify beneficiaries in far-flung areas of Cagayan de Oro and nearby municipalities. As of the moment, we have successfully delivered to an estimated 13 families who were identified as Deprived, Depressed, and Underprivileged (DDU). Most members of the DDU community are incapacitated to walk which hampers their ability to continue their work on the fields to provide their daily needs.
From April 2021 to the time of this writing, the HAPI-NorthMin team, together with our partners, has conducted five (5) Feeding Activities; four (4) Community Pantries in different locations across Brgy. Indahag; four (4) Community Deliveries in different hinterland barangays in the city and nearby municipalities; one (1) outreach program in Binuangan, Misamis Oriental; two (2) First-Time Voters Education Orientation in two different locations in Brgy. Indahag; and lastly, four (4) sets of bloodletting which saw seven HAPI members successfully donate blood for the benefit of four patients.
These may just be small acts, but for those who received our genuine contribution to make our society a better place, they are hugely impactful. All of the above events would have been impossible without the support of our HAPI Founder Marissa Langseth, our HAPI Executive Council headed by Executive Director Javan Lev Poblador, Chairman and CEO of JE Hydro & Bio-Energy Corporation Mr. Joffrey E. Hapitan, and EVO Chairman Alain Roy M. Romero.
Our special thanks also go out to HAPI-NorthMin Chapter Lead Convener Johnny L. Denden, Assistant Lead Convener Lowen E. Pantaleon (also the Indahag SK Chairman), Secretary Maria Louizza Fugoso, Treasurer Nemeilleah Llacuna, and also our two Field Officers Yolebert P. Dungog and Lowen A. Galdo. Last but not least, thank you to all volunteers who were passionate and determined to help others and made the preparations of each event possible. To all HAPI-Northern Mindanao members, thank you very much for your unending support to humanity! Let us continue our journey of serving humanity through HAPI.