The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) answered the call for volunteers at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on 20 November 2013 to provide assistance to survivors of typhoon ‘Yolanda’ who flocked to Manila.
The volunteering spirit was apparent among ECC employees as they came to the office very early in the morning to wait for the office vehicles designated to bring them to the airbase, full of energy and enthusiasm. Excitement was felt for the activity as one employee quipped, “we are not only helping our countrymen devastated by the typhoon, but we are also helping ourselves in renewing our ‘bayanihan’ spirit”.
Upon arriving at the venue, they underwent briefing from the ‘Oplan Salubong’ coordinator on the house rules and guidelines on how to properly meet-and-greet and usher the incoming survivors. At around 7:30am, the employees were registered and assigned to different committees which include food, clean-up, marshall, counseling and medical committee. Most ECC employees were assigned as marshalls, while, two of them were assigned in the counseling and medical committee.
As marshalls, they were tasked to the actual meet-and-greet of the survivors alighting from the C130 planes and buses. As part of their briefing in welcoming the survivors, they were told to hide the feelings of pity and hopelessness and instead, show an aura of optimism, courage, and hope. An ECC employee, Ricky Alcober, narrated that he could not hold his tears during the encounter with the survivors, especially the children, upon hearing the horror that they have been through, and that he needed to put up a smile while tears were dripping down his face.
After welcoming the survivors, they were ushered in the vacant spaces of the Villamor Grandstand where they were provided food and clothes and counseled afterwhich most of them were brought to their families in the different areas of Metro Manila.
After a tiring but fulfilling day at the Villamor Airbase, Necy Monteros, our HR staff who coordinated the event said that, “volunteering work like this is such a positive experience as it brings out the best in people. It makes us appreciate life and count our blessings”, while waving her volunteer pin, which says: OBEDIENCE, GENEROSITY, PASSION, HUMILITY, FAITHFULNESS.