Will 1M volunteer?

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Saturday, February 22, 2014


ABOUT one million volunteers are needed for the 60-day Bayani Challenge organized by Gawad Kalinga to help build houses, among other projects, in 12 provinces affected by typhoon Yolanda and other calamities.

Volunteers for the Bayani Challenge 2014 will build houses, conduct health missions, plant trees, clean up recovering communities, fix schools or handle the “Paraisong Pambata” children’s activities.

It will start on April 9 until June 12.

In a press conference yesterday, Philippine Information Agency Director General Jose Mari Oquiñena said there will be no registration fee for those who want to join the event.

Based on the Jan. 29 report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, about P19.5 billion worth of infrastructure and P20.2 billion worth of crops and agricultural equipment were destroyed when super typhoon Yolanda hit the Visayas last Nov. 8.

At least 6,201 persons died and 28,626 were injured. Nearly 2,000 remain missing.

Gawad Kalinga, which holds the Bayani Challenge every year, is working to gather the biggest number of volunteers in the event, which will be nationwide.

Among the provinces where the challenge will take place are Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Capiz, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Leyte, Palawan, Negros Oriental, Samar and Zamboanga.

These were struck by Yolanda and, in the case of Bohol and Cebu, the powerful M7.2 earthquake that struck less than a month before the typhoon.

Zamboanga, for its part, is recovering from a crisis that began in September when more than 100 fighters identified with the Moro National Liberation Front marched into the city and clashed with soldiers.

In Cebu, there are initially 11 local government units (LGUs) that have pledged to join the Bayani Challenge.

These LGUs are those areas hit by the typhoon.

Out of the 16 LGUs affected, those that will join are Tabuelan, Sogod, Borbon, Daanbantayan, Medellin, San Remigio, Tabogon, Sta. Fe, Bantayan, Madridejos and Bogo City.
The Capitol has asked for P26.844 billion for the rehabilitation and reconstruction program for the towns badly hit by the typhoon.

The Regional Development Council 7 endorsed the proposed rehabilitation and reconstruction program to the National Government.

Toby Florendo, head of Gawad Kalinga in Cebu Province, said the Bayani Challenge will be a simultaneous activity in the different provinces.

Those who want to join will have to choose five out of the 60 days to volunteer.

Those who want to volunteer may download the PDF form from Gawad Kalinga’s website, gk1world.com/bc2014.

They are required to complete the information needed in the form and email it to bayanichallenge@gawadkalinga.com.

For nothern Cebu, Florendo said they will try to build 400 to 500 houses in Gawad Kalinga communities.

They will need 50,000 volunteers for northern towns in Cebu.

As to the materials needed, he said there are already donors who have shouldered the costs. Skilled workers will help the volunteers, especially in building houses.

For the tree planting, Patrick Jan Doromal, project head of Bayani Challenge 2014 in Cebu, said mangroves will be planted on the coastline.

Gawad Kalinga is still looking for sponsors for the additional materials needed for the Bayani Challenge 2014. Those who want to help are requested to visit www.gk1world.com/bc2014-sponsor.

Oquiñena, who also serves as executive director of Gawad Kalinga, encouraged parents to join and bring their children to volunteer, saying this will be a wonderful summer experience for the family.

“Bayani Challenge is just a venue to speed things sa mga areas na natamaan (for the areas hit by the typhoon),” Oquiñena said.

He said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) committed to send 15,000 people to different provinces to join the event.

Oquiñena said this will not just involve AFP personnel but also civilians.

He added that there will also be international volunteers.

Cebu Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino said the Province will support the Bayani Challenge and will invite others to join and help the typhoon survivors.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 23, 2014.

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