8,000 heroes needed in towns hit by Yolanda

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014


ELEVEN communities in Cebu that are recovering from Yolanda need around 8,000 volunteers each to help with repairs and other challenges this summer.

These 10 towns and one city have joined the 60-day Bayani Challenge 2014 organized by Gawad Kalinga (GK).

“This is the best thing that is happening right now, not the Napolist,” said Philippine Information Agency Director General Jose Mari Oquiñena, who was in Daanbantayan. He also serves as executive director of GK, which has helped hundreds of families acquire homes of their own.

This year’s Bayani Challenge aims to help the areas ravaged by the typhoon, earthquake and other recent calamities. Volunteers will clean coastal areas, conduct medical missions, fix schools, build houses and handle a children’s workshop called “Paraisong Pambata”.

GK officials launched the Bayani Challenge in the town of Daanbantayan yesterday.

Nationwide, GK aims to get one million volunteers for the 12 provinces affected by the calamities. These provinces are Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Capiz, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Leyte, Palawan, Negros Oriental, Samar and Zamboanga.

In Cebu, the Bayani Challenge will take place in Tabuelan, Sogod, Borbon, Daanbantayan, Medellin, San Remigio, Tabogon, Sta. Fe, Bantayan, Madridejos and Bogo City.

5 days each

Jerome Awit, a member of the management team of GK Cebu, said they had 4,008 volunteers in Tabuelan and 1,200 participants in Medellin.

Awit, former GK Cebu head, said they aimed to have 8,000 volunteers in Daanbantayan.
The activity is free.

Those who want to join just need to fill up a form provided by GK. After that, they will choose five out of 60 days to perform any of the activities in the Bayani Challenge, which started last April 12 and will end on June 12.

In an earlier interview, GK Cebu head Toby Florendo said they will need 50,000 volunteers for the northern towns.

Oquiñena said there were 520,000 volunteers in Bohol and 49,000 in Iloilo. He said that Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto issued an executive order adopting the Bayani Challenge in their province.

Fixing schools

There will be 500 volunteers per school in Bohol, according to the executive order, said Oquiñena.

He hopes there will more volunteers who will join the challenge in Cebu.

In a separate interview, Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro said school repairs are their major challenges, aside from finding and developing relocation sites.

Corro said that the town already received a check for P7.5 million from the Department of Interior and Local Government for the repairs on the municipal hall, public market and cultural center.

Most of the activities of the five-day challenge in Daanbantayan have to do with school refurbishing. Others are coastal clean-up and livelihood training.

Mark Francis Torres, Daanbantayan and Medellin cluster head, said the Paraisong Pambata will be a two-day activity in the barangays of Pajo, Bitoon and Dalinding in Daanbantayan.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 22, 2014.

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