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UPD community helps flood victims
By HAIDEE C. PINEDA


Photo taken by Bong Arboleda of UPSIO

(August 22)—Academic units, offices and student organizations in UP Diliman revived the spirit of volunteerism through relief operations to help families affected by flood caused by heavy southwest monsoon (habagat) rains that caused heavy flooding in Metro Manila and other areas in the National Capital Region (NCR) weeks ago.

From August 7 to 10, units involved in these efforts were the NSTP-UP Diliman Disaster Response Center (UPDDRC) which is under the Office of the Chancellor (OC), Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA), Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA), University Student Council (USC), League of College Councils (LCC) and various academic units.

The USC and the All-UP Workers Alliance (AUPWA) led relief operations and provided life-saving support to more than 23,000 families living in in Navotas, Payatas, Rizal, Brgy. UP Campus, Marikina and other affected areas.


Photo taken by Bong Arboleda of UPSIO

Approximately 500 volunteers consisting of faculty, staff, students and members of student organizations gathered on August 7 at the College of Human Kinetics (CHK) Gym which served as the main relief center, and helped with the sorting and repacking of relief goods.  Other volunteers helped with resource generation, relief distribution, communications and reporting, among others.

 

Tulong Isko: UPDDRC

The UPD administration’s relief efforts, called Tulong Isko: UPDDRC program, tapped the AUPWA to set up a soup kitchen which provided freshly cooked food to more than a thousand flood victims from August 7 to 10.
 
According to Perlita Raña, a university research associate from the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, AUPWA, together with Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Dr. Melania Flores, set up the soup kitchen on August 7 inside Brgy. UP Campus and fed more than a hundred flood victims.


Photo taken by UP Manila Professor Carl Marc Ramota
(from http://arkibongbayan.org)

From August 8 to 10, AUPWA volunteers used the two office vehicles and brought the soup kitchen to Plastikan, Payatas, Toro Hills and Batasan Hills, Quezon City; Camarin, Caloocan; Malanday and Marikina.

On the last day of the relief operations, they were joined by volunteers from the OVCSA and University Food Service.

To determine the affected areas where they could set up the soup kitchen, Raña said AUPWA coordinated with peoples’ organizations such as partylists Gabriela and Anakpawis.

After four days, AUPWA, USC and other academic units involved temporarily stopped the relief operations. However, Raña said there are still relief goods donations coming in but since the CHK Gym is currently unavailable due to the resumption of classes, these donations were now transferred to the Multi-Purpose Hall of Kalayaan Residence Hall.


Photo taken by Bong Arboleda of UPSIO

 

IskoOperation

The USC, according to its chairperson Gabriel “Heart” F. Diño, tied-up their efforts to their existing humanitarian assistance program called IskoOperation.

Diño said IskoOperation was inspired by the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod which is “a prime venue for service through volunteerism in the university.”

IskoOperation was launched in May 2012 in collaboration with the LCC. This program includes “volunteerism projects, disaster-preparedness program and relief operations.” Among its projects were the relief operations for the fire victims of UP Bliss and San Vicente, school supplies drive for the less-fortunate students, and the ongoing Tsinelas drive for the earthquake victims of Negros Oriental.

In the recent relief operations for the flood victims, USC mobilized the student sector by coordinating with various student organizations, fraternities and sororities. Diño said they were able to gather enough volunteers through text brigade, use of social media networking sites and by promoting the activity on the national media and DZUP 1602, UPD’s official radio station.

In using the CHK Gym as the relief center, Diño said “We coordinated with the CHK Student Council and I texted Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma if he can advise CHK Dean Ronualdo U. Dizer to allow us to use the Gym. CHK dean was very accommodating and even promised that the UP CHK Gym will now be the relief operations center whenever there is a need for another relief operation.”

She also said USC was able to source out goods and cash from the private sectors of which, 6,400 packed goods came from the Aboitiz Foundation. These were distributed to several affected areas where the USC have contact persons/groups and through transportations provided by some of the volunteers.

Among the affected areas that the USC was able to reach were: Caloocan; Baseco, Manila; Taguig, Marikina, Navotas, Malabon, Muntinlupa, Bataan, Bulacan, Laguna, Brgy. UP Campus, Payatas, Project 6 and 8 in Quezon City; UERM Hospital and Rizal (Angono and San Mateo).

 


Photo taken by Bong Arboleda of UPSIO

A more structured relief and rehabilitation programs

Although the relief operations were successfully conducted, Raña said there is still a need to make the program more structured in terms of implementation.

In thevernacular she said that they saw the importance of creating a more organized structure on how to provide and implement this kind of relief and rehabilitation effort. What they have proposed recently, and it is actually ongoing, is to make the relief and rehab a part of the National Service Training Program (NSTP) because they have the capability to tap volunteers among the students and these kinds of community service are already a part of NSTP’s curriculum.

Moreover, Raña stated that aside from the NSTP, OVCSA, OVCCA, AUPWA and USC will be in-charge of the relief and rehab programs. Part of the proposal is to also create three committees for resource generation, information and machinery.

For the resource generation, she said the UP administration will collaborate with the deans, directors, vice chancellors, the USC and hopefully, the current and previous members of the Board of Regents and will look into the possibility of channelling cash donations to the UP Foundation.

Lastly, Raña said that the community still needs a lot of support and now is the best time for UPD to help and continue with their endeavors.