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MANILA, Philippines – One year after the launch of the Angat Buhay Foundation, its founder former vice president Leni Robredo recognized the efforts of the volunteers as she reflected on the achievements of the organization.
“Wala tayong malaking pondo. Pagdating sa trabaho ang ating lakas ay nagmumula sa ating mga volunteers na kaakibat natin sa pag-abot sa mga kababayan natin mga nasa laylayan,” Robredo said on Saturday, July 1.
(We don’t have a large budget. When it comes to the work, our strength comes from our volunteers who are with us in reaching out to our fellow citizens in marginalized situations.)
Robredo said that their budget is trust and their machineries are the charity of people.
“Pero gaya ng lagi kong sinasabi, ang budget natin tiwala. Ang makinarya natin mga taong nagkakawanggawa. Kaya nga bahagi ito ng ating vision as we continue to move forward, ang masiguro hindi lang ang pag-angat sa ating mga komunidad sa pamamagitan ng ating interventions, kung ‘di ang pagpapalakas at pagpapalawak ng ating volunteer network sa mga susunod na linggo, buwan at taon,” she continued.
(As I always say, our budget is trust. Our machinery is people who do charity. That’s why it is a part of our vision as we continue to move forward—to ensure not only the uplift our communities through our interventions but also the strengthening and expansion of our volunteer network in the coming weeks, months, and years.)
“Kung may isang buhay tayong mapapaginhawa, mailigtas, maiaangat, kung may isang kwento ng Pilipino na maitatawid natin mula sa dilim, tungo sa liwanag, yun lang sulit na sulit na ang lahat na pagod natin,” the former vice president said.
(If there’s one life we can comfort, save, uplift, if there’s one Filipino story we can transcend from darkness to light, then all our efforts will be truly worthwhile.)
During the anniversary celebration, Robredo, who serves as the chairperson of the foundation, reported what the Angat Buhay has achieved.
Through Bayanihan e-Konsulta, the foundation’s flagship telemedicine program, 7,706 patients were assisted from July 2022 to June 2023. This was done through the help of 285 medical volunteers and 1,045 non-medical volunteers.
The Bayanihan e-Konsulta was originally a COVID-19 response of the Office of the Vice President under Robredo’s leadership. This free teleconsultation platform on Facebook Messenger was Robredo’s brainchild, designed to help decongest hospitals when COVID-19 cases were surging.
Bayanihan E-Konsulta drew widespread praise for its efficient services despite it being run mostly by volunteers, who worked odd hours without salaries in order to help save lives. COVID-19 care kits were also given to patients, an initiative later copied by the Department of Health.
Aside from COVID-19 concerns, Robredo said the foundation’s telemedicine program also offers mental health and special health services.
Robredo said Angat Buhay allotted P5.7 million for food security, nutrition, and universal healthcare.
Angat Buhay managed to secure funding of P7.6 million from partners and volunteers, resulting in the establishment of two dormitories and the construction of six classrooms in different locations.
Robredo said that they are planning to transform 180 community learning hubs and tutoring centers across the country Angat Basa at Angat Bilang centers. These centers seek to improve the literacy and numeracy rate in the country.
“Improving literacy and numeracy of Filipino students needs community-based involvement,” said Angat Buhay Executive Director Raffy Magno.
“We enjoined the assistance of education experts and stakeholders in designing the modules, training, and evaluation system. In our monitoring, all hubs improved learners’ literacy while 95% of students improved in their numeracy from pre-test to post-test,” he added.
Disaster relief, rehabilitation
In terms of disaster relief and assistance and rehabilitation, Angat Buhay helped more than 20,000 families from 93 displaced and affected communities.
Robredo said the volunteers in different parts of the country are pivotal in these disaster relief and rehabilitation initiatives.
“Sa ilalim ng pillar na ito, napakalaki ng bahaging ginagampanan ng ating institutional partners to deliver essential services and programs during these times of crisis. Lahat ng ito naging posible dahil sa isa pang napakahalagang halige ng Angat Buhay NGO, yung community engagement and empowerment,” Robredo said.
(Under this pillar, our institutional partners play a significant role in delivering essential services and programs during times of crisis. All of this became possible because of another crucial foundation of Angat Buhay NGO, community engagement and empowerment.)
The Angat Bayanihan, the foundation’s volunteer network, has mobilized 188 grassroots organizations based in 47 provinces and 6 countries. These organizations has conducted community kitchens, medical mission, and relief distribution among others.
According to Magno, their organization is one of the largest volunteer-based organization in the country.
While Robredo recognized the huge support from the public, she said that Angat Buhay is just a bridge.
“Ang Angat Buhay ay tulay lamang at hindi natin layunin ang makontrol ang lahat ng galaw ng bawat kaugnay na grupo o tao“
(The Angat Buhay is merely a bridge, and it is not our intention to control every movement of each related group or individual.)
During the 2022 presidential elections, Robredo sparked a massive volunteer-led movement. Following her defeat against the son of the namesake and late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Robredo established Angat Buhay.
“Nagsisimula pa lang tayo. Nasasabik ako sa mga pangarap na kaya pa nating abutin,” Robredo concluded. (We’re just starting. I’m excited about the dreams we can still achieve) – Rappler.com