TAAL Relief Operations : The HAPI Way
Written by Claris Quezon
February 24, 2020
Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines
Filipinos around the world are renowned for being resilient and happy people. We are known to make jokes about everything. We are, after all, gifted with a sunny disposition. We are a country known also for BAYANIHAN, a culture of helping a member of a community adjust to any life changing experience. BAYANIHAN is not unique to one community, it is practically imbibed in all communities, and HAPI as an organization is a corporate practitioner. Why did we, as a country have such a culture?
Geographically, The Philippines lies at the western rim of the Pacific Ocean, north of the equator.
We are bounded on the west by the West Philippine Sea, Pacific Ocean on the East, the Bashi channel on the North and on the south by the Sulu and Celebes Sea.
Our country, therefore is very lucky to be located where the ‘Ring of Fire” and Typhoon Belt traverse.
We do have seismic earthquakes that most Filipinos would shrug as normal, it goes without saying that when the TAAL Volcano shows seismic activity, the locals especially those who made their life at the island, shrug it off as natural.
Since March of 2019 our volcanologist have heightened the alert level of Taal Volcano and its surrounding area, as they say it may erupt anytime, but having no specific date given by our dear volcanologist, ordinary people including the tourism industry did not heed the call to practice due diligence.
Everyone was caught flat footed when it finally showed its wrath. Families were evacuated as far as 14km radius. For days, families have been evacuated and call for donations from those affected have circulated online. Having personal friends located in Talisay made it a lot easier for me to coordinate with our HQ and report what I personally saw so that the LEADERSHIP COUNCIL can decide and how best to act in behalf of HAPI.
HAPI’s priority has always been education and awareness through progressive humanism, hence a call to action for those affected was immediately commenced, but unlike other organization where the collected donations was placed in a designated evacuation site by the government, it was agreed by the LEADERSHIP COUNCIL to prioritize the HAPI members who are affected. We have to take care of our own. Hence, after assured number of gift packs, the HAPI Leadership Council together with volunteers coordinated and decided to visit spouses Mike and Anne Julian at West Iruhin, Kabangan, Tagaytay on February 2, 2020 to extend help with their neighbors and their family. With proper coordination and planning HAPI was able to extend help to 163 families.
We made sure that our visit will have a short program and activity for the children that will meet our criteria on education and awareness. We did that through discussion of Children’s Rights and everyone else walk on foot to visit the houses of those affected to give the collected donation packs.
The spirit of bayanihan and volunteerism was very strong as our donation packs that consist of mosquito nets, blankets, personal hygiene kits and pre-loved clothes were arranged and prepared by HAPI members, with active leadership council participation, and our transport were also provided by our dear volunteer member.
As Humanist we were able to deliver a HAPI service. We will continue to be as HAPI as we can. We ONLY HAVE ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Make it count, the HAPI way.