BAGUIO CITY – The Filipino spirit of helping one another has brought in around PHP2 million in savings to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
DSWD has recorded the savings because volunteers extended a hand — donating supplies and the manpower to help pack food and non-food items that the agency gives away to people in need, especially during calamities.
“We accounted PHP2 million worth of volunteer work,” said Leo Quintilla, regional director of the DSWD-CAR, on Monday.
He said the savings came amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic when many lost jobs and livelihood and the government has to spend more to aid the people in need.
Quintilla said most of the volunteer manpower was provided by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), line agencies in the region from the low ranking employees up to their superiors, private individuals, organizations, and even artists and performers who gave their time while in the region to help re-pack food packs at the DSWD warehouse in La Trinidad, Benguet.
“We accept volunteers, we just need to schedule them so that we can observe social distancing at the warehouse,” he said.
Quintilla said that the region maintains at least 30,000 food packs ready for distribution anytime.
Last week, the DSWD-CAR transported some 10,000 family food packs to Kalinga province to augment the supplies needed to keep families in their homes while on granular lockdown.
Not just for show
Jennifer Manansala-Bautista, Chief Executive Officer of Waltrix Productions that brings local and international performers to Baguio and the chairperson of the socio-civic organization Kappa Rho Upsilon Sigma, said she personally engages herself in volunteer activities as a way of giving back the blessings she and her family receive.
She said that she tags along her children, friends, employees, and organization members to volunteer activities to make them feel the value of sharing their time and resources.
In December 2020, Manansala-Bautista tagged along video jockey Alex Diaz and Brazilian international model Bruno Olimpio at the warehouse in La Trinidad to help re-pack food items with her organization members.
“I just want them to have an awareness that they can also help even though they are not from Baguio. Because they are young, I want others of their ages to see them as models who help others so that the spirit of volunteerism will be propelled,” she said.
She and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael, who hails from the region, have been returning to the DSWD warehouse regularly to volunteer, not part of their work but as a way to relax and break the monotonous routine during the pandemic.
Both Bautista and Rafael are preparing several volunteer activities for Women’s Month which include a visit to the warehouse to flex arm and leg muscles for hours while packing and carrying food and relief items.
Quintilla said re-packing of relief goods is an art coupled with love.
“We do not just place the items in a bag. We maintain quality assurance in packing food packs because it will mean making them last longer than just three to six months and they start to accumulate molds,” he said.
He said that from the usual plastic bags they use in packaging rice, the DSWD has purchased materials for compact packing and vacuum sealing of food items for longer shelf life.
“Para maayos silang dadating sa mga kababayan natin na nangangailangan (We want the food packs in good condition to reach our fellowmen who are in need),” he said. (PNA)