Friday, August 06, 2021

Weygan-Allan: ‘Siak met ah’—volunteers

Sangal di Kultura

IT IS undeniable that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ) have brought the bad and the good in most people. “Siak met ah” means “How about my relief pack?” “Where is my SAP?” and it can equally say “Me too I want to donate,” “I want to render volunteer service,” “I want to be counted as a frontliner.” It is best for us.

During these times the market has drawn a lot of attention because of the scheduled market day, the social distancing that resulted in long queue lines, the rat-catching challenge, the periodical sanitation, the Sunday lockdown, the market to home deliveries, the satellite markets, the unsolicited proposals to rehabilitate the market and more. The attention brought about by the executive led by Mayor Benjie Magalong and our commitment as a representative of the City Council.

The market to home that started as an experiment a week after we were placed in ECQ with the first delivery on the 25th after two days or making arrangements with the Hanger vendors and the homeowners and setting up a group chat for them. What started as an experiment has become a new normal even after the rolling stores were started in the first week of April 2020. It has continued into GCQ after the city planning body included it as activities included in the guidelines. And hopefully, it will pass in the city council as an ordinance. It is now on its second reading scheduled for publication.

In the market to home, we also saw “Siak met ah” volunteers who made came out to make the group char actively informing others of prices, delivery schedules and other market concerns of the barangay. We started with group chat coordinators Faye Manzon and Joy Dalmacio Labosnog. I did the first week but trained them to join me by the second week and after the third week, we already included the trusted vendors in the group chat so they can freely communicate with the homeowners.

As we go to the GCQ we already have Kagawad Precy Esteban, coordinating Dontogan Market day after giving guidance on the first Saturday. Also, Kagawad Thelma Balwayan who now coordinates the St Joseph Village market day. Ben Andaya coordinates the market day of Salud Mitra in the MOE facility of Edmund Bautista. Carmela Gavino, a BSBT instructor coordinates the San Carlos purok 23 to 27 mobile market. Siak met ah Sheila Pundo Piayas finally took over the Camdas, Happy Homes, East Quirino hill route, Joy now manages the Camp 7, Camp 8, Puliwes and San Vicente route. Faith Balbawang Sabala of Gabriella Silang, Dr. Benilda Narcelles of Purok 3 Irisan and many more who have kept the market home going during the quarantine days.

Soledad Benwaren has become the coordinator of the Brookside Market that sells items every day. The Brookside group is an example of a self-help group borne out of the market to the home initiative. After a week of waiting for the market, the homeowners took it upon themselves to seek their needs, calling “Siak met ah” market vendors, kabarangay sellers and family members who are farmers to deliver to Brookside the needs of the homeowners. This continues to grow in terms of items as well as homeowners in the area.

“Siak met ah,” was also seen in the market vendor volunteers trying to make a new normal, trusting that we can make it happen. Trusting that the homeowner customers will get their orders and that the goods they bring will be taken. Trusting that they will be not losing business by going to the market to home.

It is indeed a “Siak met ah” and not be complacent and just sit back and wait. It is the initiative and leadership that we need in these abnormal times. It is participatory and results-oriented participation of people in responding to their needs and at the same time thinking of how they can help others. Siak met ah!


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