Helping out: Disaster response and volunteerism
MANILA, Philippines - Heroes helping out.
By helping others, we can protect others and create something great. Being ready to help out using your own skills and taking action when disaster strikes is in itself a form of heroism.
At the 2013 Manila Social Good Summit, a series of talks and panels focused on how government agencies and volunteers gear up and help people in times of disaster, if not help avoid disasters altogether.
Volunteers as heroes
The summit brought together a panel of volunteers who have devoted a part of their lives to helping others, particularly in times of disaster.
Ros Juan of #RescuePH, Engr Megan Montuno of Xavier University Cagayan de Oro, Jane Uymatiao of Blogwatch, and Richard Gordon of the Philippine Red Cross called on people to lend their time, skills, and efforts to helping others in need.
They all agreed about the importance of volunteerism, and how it was something everyone could do in various capacities.
Juan explained how #RescuePH came about as an effort to allow government agencies and concerned citizens to find aggregated information on people who needed rescue.
Uymatiao, for her part, discussed how Blogwatch developed to inspire social good, and cited "EpalWatch," a campaign against officials who claim needless credit for work they do. They also disseminate and amplify important information, she added.
Montuno stressed the importance of technically-minded volunteers. Coding an app and helping to bring information to people by democratizing who can access it through apps is a great step towards supporting the cause of volunteerism.
To cap it off, former Sen Richard Gordon discussed how volunteerism was something everyone could do. If people couldn't give their time, they could at least give something of themselves, he said.
The Philippine Red Cross is a mass of volunteers, and making volunteerism sustainable is a great avenue to not only gain more skills but to also serve the cause of helping others. Gordon said some could act as coordinators for volunteers, others could volunteer and train to provide first aid and rescue efforts, while others could donate blood, a valuable resource in times of disaster.
In the end, it is working with communities, helping the people around you, and having the right information at hand that helps keep a disaster from becoming a tragedy.
Watch the panel discussion of volunteers: