Kahapong Nagvolunteer ako sa Red Cross

Nakakalungkot pa rin ang mga Realidad pagkatapos ni Ondoy

Kahapon nag-volunteer ako kasama ng 4 pang kaibigan sa Philippine National Red Cross. Kahit na 7:30AM yung call time, syempre mas late ng kaunti, understandable naman yun dahil iniisip mong maraming tao ang mina-manage. Natuwa naman ako kasi halos lahat ng mga kasama naming volunteer eh kasing edad ko, pinakamatanda na siguro yung fresh graduate, yung iba mas bata pa. Sinakay kami sa truck, medyo hindi komportable pero syempre kaunting sakripisyo lang (at kaunti lang talaga yun kung tutuusin) at perspective. Yung iba ngang Pilipino ilang araw nang hindi kumakain, at ilang buwan pa sigurong magugutom.

Naghanap kasi ng volunteer and Red Cross para sa clean-up at relief operations nila sa Quezon City at Marikina, so dito namin naisipang tumulong. Pero bakit ganun, parang 11:30 na eh namamawis pa rin kami along Quezon Avenue sa loob ng truck? At bakit parang hindi alam nung mga taong dapat in-charge kung paano ba i-handle yung mga volunteers na hawak nila?

Lampas-lampasan ng alas-dose nang tanghali, siguro mga 1:00 PM na yun, nung una kaming makarating sa isang Elementary School sa Sta. Lucia, Novaliches. Ang dami namin doon, mga isang dosenang firetruck yata ang kasama namin. Nakita ko yung isang basketball court, mayroong lamay sa gitna, tapos nasa gilid-gilid yung mga taong nag-evacuate dahil wala na silang bahay. Isa lang yung functional na CR ng elementary school noong nakigamit kami. Akala ko dito na kami tutulong, pero narinig ko galing sa isang taga-Red Cross na wala naman daw kaming gagawin doong pag-lilinis. Nagdala kasi kami ng mga pala at balde. May pamamahagi ng Relief Goods ang Red Cross doon, pero kami at yung isang dosenang firetrucks na kasama namin, may ibang lugar kung saan kami talaga kailangan, at alam ng mga taga-Red Cross yun. Bakit, bakit kaya kami andoon?

Ganito kasi yun, yung convoy namin na pagkahababa, na sabay-sabay nagwawang-wang sa kalsada at nagdudulot ng trapik tuwing gagalaw at hihinto kami, eh para i-hatid lamang yung Chairman ng Red Cross na si Sen. Dick Gordon, si Angel Locsin at si Dimples Romana sa elementary school na yun sa Sta. Lucia. Mga around 8:00 AM kami umalis sa HQ ng Red Cross sa may Port Area sa Maynila pero lampas tanghali na kami dumating dun, so yung kalahati ng araw wala na. May trapik, oo, pero parang bakit ganun katagal diba? Hinintay pa kasi namin yung mga “importanteng” tao para lang mag-grand entrance kami dun sa area na yun. Hinintay namin sila ng pagkatagal-tagal para pumunta sa isang lugar kung saan hindi naman kami talaga kailangan, para lang magsilbing convoy nila at magpa-impress sa mga taong dadatnan namin. Eto yung mga taong namatayan ng kamag-anak at walang matirahan, pero siyempre botante pa rin naman pagdating ng eleksyon. Ayus nga yun eh, kailangan pa nilang mag-practice ng “Fight On Philippines” na cheer at isigaw ito habang pumapasok si Senator Dick Gordon, bago sila bigyan ng tanghalian.

Later, habang niyayabang ni Senator Dick Gordon na wala siyang picture sa tarpauling banner (kung saan nasalampak din naman ang pangalan niya) sa relief operations ng Red Cross, umalis na kami para pumunta naman sa Marikina. Kami at yung isang dosenang firetruck. So natrapik kami ulit at nagdulot ng trapik, dumaan pa nga kaming San Mateo bago makarating sa Nangka, Marikina. Sa Nangka nakapila yung mga tao sa labas ng covered courts, pila malamang-lamang para sa pagkain. Nakita ko may mga sundalo dun, tumutulong din siguro sa mga relief o rescue operations.

2 Firetrucks lang ang kailangan sa Nangka, pero lahat yata ng firetrucks ng Chinatown na malilikom ng Red Cross, andon. Two-laner lang ang kalsada, at muli kailangang huminto ng convoy. At walang tubig sa Nangka, pero wala namang lamang tubig yung dala naming firetrucks.

Hindi pa kami nananghalian, wala pa daw kasi yung pagkain para sa volunteers, pero kung kakain daw kami, “hingi na lang daw kami ng resibo” at ipapa-reimburse na lang. Talaga lang. Hindi naman malaking issue sa’min at halatang-halata na namin by now kung gaano ka “oganized” ang Philippine Red Cross. Handa na sana kaming mag-linis, actually, pero ang sabi sa amin stand-by daw muna kasi walang pang instructions. Walang instructions kasi walang coordination ang mga nagcoconduct ng tulong. Parang hindi marunong mag-usap at mag-plano ang taong ito para mabilis ang aksyon. O baka naman mayroon na namang hinihintay. Maya-maya makikita naming dadating si Senator Dick Gordon.  Hindi lang siguro ito sakit ng Red Cross at hindi rin naman sa lahat ng pagkakataon (gusto kong isipin), pero sa pagitan ng pagdating ng mga “importanteng” tao tulad nila Gob o ni Mayor, standstill muna lahat o kaunting galaw lang, wala pa munang instructions.

Dapat iipunin na namin lahat ng volunteers para maghatian sa mga cleaning activities dito sa Nangka. Mapanghi na yung evacuation center at mayroong nakakita ng gabundok na laki ng basura. Pero napasakay kami sa firetruck kasi pupunta na daw kami sa Provident Village. Pupunta na kami express sa Provident kahit mayroong nagsabi mga ilang segundo pa lang yung nakalipas na dito daw sa Nangka maglilinis yung volunteers. Great. Yung mga ilang volunteers naiwan na lang sa Nangka. Tapos yung ilang volunteers malalaman namin later on na naiwan pala namin sa Elementary School na pinuntahan namin kanina sa Sta. Lucia, Novaliches.

Pero hindi ito calculated na pag-manage ng volunteers, tandaan, nagkataon lang aalis na yung mga firetrucks, nakasakay yung ibang volunteers at yung iba hindi. At yung mga taong dapat sana in-charge hindi mo alam kung marunong ba silang mag-communicate o mag-sign language man lang. Minsan pa nga, magdududa ka kung alam ba nila ang pangalan ng isa’t isa at baka mga Tunay na Lalake lang talaga sila.

Kung sino man yung mga hindi naiwan na grupo ng volunteers, pumunta kami sa Provident Village na binibida ng Media kahit mas marami pa namang lugar na kalunos-lunos din. Syempre, nakita namin kung gaano naging kalupit si Ondoy dito: yung mga kotseng nakabaligtad, yung mga ari-ariang nabaon sa putikan.  Sabi ng isang taga-army sa isang lugar daw doon eh hanggang dibdib ang putik. Putik, hindi tubig. Pero hindi namin nakita yung bahay ni Christine Reyes. Nakasalubong naman namin si Jay Taruc na gumagawa siguro ng dokumentaryo para sa GMA.

Ang daming sundalo sa Provident at mga pulis na nililinis yung kalsada ng putik para may madaanan man lang. Tinutulungan din nila yung mga mayamang residente ng Provident Village. Pero walang silbi yung dala naming firetrucks dito sa Provident Village, wala kasi silang lamang tubig at kailangan pa nito ng fire hydrant. May hydrant, pero wala sa kanila yung susi. Maya-maya nung nilakad ulit namin papasok dahil pumarada na lang sa labas ang mga firetruck, napansin kong bukas yung hydrant, pero walang tubig. Mga anak ng magaling talaga.

So, gamit yung pala at balde namin, nag-clear din kami ng putik sa kalsada. Pero mga isang oras lang siguro yung nilagi namin sa Provident. Mga alas-tres nang hapon na yata kasi dumating doon, kahit na umalis kami sa HQ ng Red Cross ng mga alas-otso nang umaga. Siguro mas marami pa kaming nagawa kung hindi kami nagsayang ng oras bago kami makarating dito.

Alam ko walang discrimination dapat sa pagtulong pero hindi lang talaga mawala sa isip ko kung bakit dito sa Provident napadpad karamihan ng firetrucks na pinadala ng Red Cross, at kaming mga volunteers. Kahit na nasalanta ng malupit yung mga tao dito, naiisip ko pa rin na karamihan ng nakatira dito eh yung mga nakaka-angat sa buhay. Nakatayo pa yung mga bahay nila, inabot yung mga 2nd floor ng baha at, oo, nawalan din sila ng mini-Cooper at iba pang ari-arian. Eh paano pa kaya yung mga mahihirap na yung kakaunting tinatatawag na nilang LAHAT eh nawala pa, paano kaya sila tinutulungan?

Andito na yung mga pulis at mga sundalo, tumutulong sa mga taga-Provident. Andito rin kaming mga volunteer ng Red Cross. Pero napakaliit lang na bahagi ng mga nangangailangan ng agarang tulong ang mga residente ng Provident, bakit parang sa nakikita ko ay mas prioritized sila kaysa sa iba? Anong nangyari sa assessment at pag-mamanage ng resources na critical talaga sa mga panahong ito ng sakuna?

May nagtanong sa aming isang ale, lumalaboy siya sa kalsada. Hinahanap niya yung kapatid (o kamag-anak) niyang babae na mayroon pa daw kasamang sanggol. Hindi pa sila nagkikita ilang araw na ang nakalipas.

Nababasa mo lang ito ngayon, gaya ng naririnig ko yung mga ganitong kwento sa TV nitong mga huling araw. Pero kapag sila mismo yung kaharap mo, kapag nararamdaman mo yung powerlessness niyo parehas dahil sa mga shit/tae (sa inipon at foulest na kahulugan ng lahat ng nakakaintindi ng ingles at pilipino) tulad ng gobyerno, sa mga salitang kayang bitawan ni Willie Revillame sa National TV, sa pag-approve ng House of Rep ng budget para sa Con-con nito lang, sa pag-inaugurate ni President GMA sa panahong ito ng isang bahay/museum, sa mga ganitong pangbubusabos alam mo parang gusto ko na lang magbreakdown para sa kanila, kasama sila. Kasi hindi ko sila kayang kausapin.

Tuwing naiisip ko kung gaano ka-inefficient ang Philippine Red Cross sa pagconduct ng operations, sa kung paano nila kailangang i-compromise ang mga plano nila  para sa mga utos ng mga “higher-ups” (galing mismo sa isang tao ng Red Cross), at yung isipin mong isang institusyon na katulad ng Red Cross ang pinag-uusapan dito, naalala ko yung ale na yun na nangingilid yung luha hindi pa siya nakapagsisimulang magsalita, at yung pag-imagine pa kung makailang ulit na niya sigurong sinabi ito kung kani-kanino. Saka yung mga sign-boards sa kalsada ng Marikina na nagsasabing: Huwag niyo lang kaming daanan. Hindi pa kami kumakain.


Advertisements
»

19 Responses

  1. hi sir, what chapter did you and your group volunteered?

  2. :[ My condolences man.

  3. dapat ito sinabi mo “hui mga taong paIMPORTANTE!!! di ka kelangan mag paimportante ngaun… di lang oras namin nasasayang, pati maitutulong namin” har

  4. nakakalungkot at nakakasama ng loob na mabasa ang mga pangyayaring ganito. nakakainis. ibang level of insensitivity na meron ang gobyerno natin. salamat sa pagbahagi ng kuwento mo.

  5. I just read an account of certain martin cervantes. whether that is true or not, may problema talaga tayo.

    tapos eto pa… naawawa ako sa mga tao. kainis!

  6. for a disaster like ondoy, you think anyone can prepare for it completely?

    let not our sheer exasperation deprive us of reason…we all want to save everybody but we can’t.

    first, you do not just distribute goods, because some evacuation centers were already given by a previous samaritan…so we had to ensure we are giving food to the sample people twice, thus, there are stubs distributed…so we can give to other areas.

    regarding the cheer of “Fight On Philippines”…we had to lift up the spirits of those waiting for the water and portalets we provided…Dick Gordon knows how to cheer people up, he did it “Aim High Olongapo”, in Subic and WOw Philippines…

    Dick Gordon’s mother is Red Crosser and Dick has been a humanitarian worker for more than 40 years! He knows what he was doing, and he knows there was degree of disorganization not just in Red Cross in our whole system…

    But he did it in the end…go to his facebook/dickgordon and find out what the bottomline was…if you think you can do a better job, be a volunteer! and show me you can do better than complaining online…

    have you donated? have you volunteered??? stand and be counted…do sit in your rooms there and think you know better.

    • IWASTHERE, your opposition is highly appreciated. Are you someone from red cross, if you don’t mind letting us know?

      First, to think that all the people who’re “complaining online” are just that is such a simplistic way to see all of it. Although our accounts which we share online are highly influenced by our personal motives , be it the need to rant or to sentimentalize, we’re also accomplishing a dialogue and exchange of perspectives. That is why I posted my account of the events to share my experience with Red Cross. They may be limited to my perspective (and perhaps to all of the 40 something volunteers I was with) but they are undeniably true, and they happened to us.

      See here, if you’re from Red Cross, let’s assume you are, then that would really please me because my complaints have been propagated and it affected you enough to merit a reply. That is just one aspect of why we’re not merely “complaining online”. The fact that you’re here disagreeing with me and sharing your POV is even more a cause for joy. We generate multiplicity of opinions, which is better than our usual lack of it (or the misinformed ones). We should not downplay the kind of discussion we’re having here just as we should not neglect say, volunteering. They do not mutually exclude each other. Yes, we are complaining, but more importantly, at the same time we’re having a dialogue of our evaluations on how the situation after Ondoy is being remedied. As citizens, we are reporting how our institutions perform! Somehow, that’s one step closer for a national consciousness that actually demands accountability from and for themselves (including, of course, our government). We ought to help all the victims, I couldn’t agree more. BUT we can’t just shut up and just submit ourselves to our institutions when clearly we can see the dire need to improve them. Although we’re seated across our monitors, we ARE standing up, we ARE letting our voice be counted.

      I say, Let the readers evaluate what they read, they can think for themselves. And thank god for once we have readers at least for now.

      Of course, Ondoy like any natural disaster cannot be prepared for completely. But to use it to justify poor response of say, Red Cross, is just preposterous. By a extension of your argument (and hardly an extension at that!), are you likewise telling me to CUT ndcc and pagasa SOME SLACK because Ondoy was it was? I don’t think any Filipino would be inclined to say yes to that.

      I’m not saying let’s scrap Red Cross, let’s cross out cooperation and organization, we’re better off ourselves, what I’m saying is Hey, RC is out of shape blah blah. What happened to the people responsible there yadah yadah? Is someone responsible for this or that?

      yes all the good intentions of Red Cross are not hard to miss, that’s basic. But what matters really is the execution. Execution is what gets things done the way they shoud be and saves peoples’ lives. I’m not saying no good has ever come out from Dick Gordon’s actions, let alone from Red Cross. I’m saying that SENATOR Dick Gordon’s prerogatives and motivations led to some VERY POOR PROTOCOL for RC’s operations. I do not pretend to know everything about how Red Cross performs its job BUT what I and all the volunteers with me SAW was a Red Cross that COULD HAVE performed A LOT BETTER if not for things I enumerated in my blog. That’s what I wanted anyone (hopefully someone from Red Cross too) who read my account to know and ponder about BESIDES my personal reason of also airing out my exasperation.

  7. could have-would have-should have-….gets nowhere…and most are like that.

    in the end…the Red Cross was there when no one else was…people were saved, given relief…of course, nothing can completely go the way as planned…

    if ur unhappy, volunteer somewhere else then…

    this dicussion ends here….

    • Wow, the short-sightedness of your entire logic scares me. Just as the dismissiveness of your attitude is just a perfect example of one of the reasons why our institutions remain in their lamentable state to the point that they are already SMUG about it. What a level of audacity!!

      Hopefully, unlike you, IWASTHERE, other people will be OPEN to dicussions like these, where it is IMPORTANT to point fingers and EVALUATE, without just simply moving on clueless for another impending disaster.

      And yes, I’ll volunteer somewhere else, but let’s be clear: I do not in any way PREACH that people shouldn’t support Red Cross. Because it needs help, BIG help.

      • go ahead volunteer somewhere else…the real ones help…and you seem not to fit the spirit of a volunteer.

        do it now…

      • There is no use to really repeat myself, IWASTHERE, you can read back anyway. Volunteering one’s services is really commendable but one should also do it WITH exercising one’s ability to THINK, including the ability to criticize and step back to SEE the BIGGER picture (KEYWORDS PLEASE). I will never be sorry for my criticisms regarding Red Cross’ protocols (and the people RESPONSIBLE for it) just because its good intentions and activities are towards helping out people. EVEN IF I am not a regular member of Red Cross with the supposed values you wish to imply.

        If regardless of what have I said, you could only see all of this words as mere attention grabbing and/or mud-slinging, that’s your call as a reader. I have taken time already to explain why IT IS OTHERWISE, for me and other bloggers out there.

        Maybe, just as you have said it, RC doesn’t care to manage walk-in volunteers because we’re only there for one unfortunate happening (the next “Ondoy” I bet will come in no less than a year, but oh wait! THERE’S PEPENG), walk-in volunteers to whom they have no desire WHATSOEVER to illustrate the values, core principles and true volunteer spirit they supposedly cultivate in their organization. But then again, they might just see us there for a day, why bother diba?. That is the position they would happily ASSUME BEFOREHAND, rather than taking time to ENCOURAGE these unknown and new volunteers to join their ranks by showing them what RC does BETTER (and not the WORSE). They would rather keep to their own “tight strong” groups (how i wish I’ve seen this a hint, but then again, I am being told that walk-ins are no priority, one-time volunteers are mainly there to blog after and complain about issues of NO importance), downplay opinions of people outside their organization, satisfied to preserve and defend their own idealized notions of noble selflessness and self-righteousness. They perceive their volunteering as actions that are above those of others, or worst, the ONLY means to REALLY help. Hmm.. Suddenly I remember those rich people (some even alumni from my “elite” university) who seem to participate in Gawad Kalinga as means for masturbation (that’s figurative, if you need elaboration).

  8. many would rather have a tight strong group of volunteers who value the core principles of red cross and help it grow stronger…than have a big group with values that lasts only in supposedly one unfortunate happening…who’s main business in blogging and getting attention for the wrong reasons.

    there are fair-weathered friends…i guess there are fair-weathered volunteers as well.

  9. […] Dick Gordon. Dick Gordon Under Fire on Facebook Re: Ondoy Relief Distribution […]

  10. […] The first concerns PNRC Chairman Richard Gordon and incidents such as the one chronicled in Urban Hermitage and in the blog of Faith Salazar, the response of the PNRC Chairman was to vow that no such things […]

  11. […] The first concerns PNRC Chairman Richard Gordon and incidents such as the one chronicled in Urban Hermitage and in the blog of Faith Salazar, the response of the PNRC Chairman was to vow that no such things […]

  12. Now that the campaign ads are out and Dick Gordon’s TV commercial is flaunting photos of him doing “good things” via Red Cross, it’s just hard not to look back at posts like this during the time of post-Ondoy and not wonder how much of the relief operations were politically-motivated.

    I like what you wrote: “I say, Let the readers evaluate what they read, they can think for themselves.”

    True, people are thinking and assimilating things in their minds. It is unfair and foolhardy to assume that they just accept what they have heard or read or seen — or force one’s beliefs down their throats because one thinks he/she is the only one who knows the truth or what is right for the country.

  13. You know what… he is right… No operations will work as Planned… Syempre, magagalit kayo dahil ganun… Pero, ganun talaga. Hindi Kasalanan ni Gordon yun… Syempre, he has to speak… telling people what to do…. alam naman natin na pagnagsalita si Gordon… napakatagal diba? Pero, hindi ka mabobored… dahil, lahat ay totoo… oo, lets say… hindi talaga maayos yung operations…. pero, sa tingin nyo… sa nangyari, maaayos pa ba yun? Syemre… maraming natataranta.

    • what is with this type of comments that wants to excuse any ruse with the “inevitable.” The only thing that’s clearer to me now seeing Gordon’s campaign was the way Gordon manipulated Red Cross to set himself better once all this election business starts. The ads, god, I will not be surprised if most of his “pogi” shots are during Red Cross events. Ondoy was a big opportunity and not only Gordon took advantage of it. That’s it, people. Read before your eyes and deal with it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: