Since the beginning, Operation Sagip’s relief operations greatly relied on its volunteers.
Without the help of volunteers, Operation Sagip could have not handled big disasters like storm surge Yolanda in 2013. With only less than 10 employees, volunteers have made it easier for the program to accomplish their tasks.
Volunteers of Operation Sagip helped transfer sacks of relief goods to a boat that will transport it to the barangay where the affected beneficiaries reside. | File photo of Bataan Habagat Relief Operations, 2016
Through the years, Operation Sagip has a group of regular volunteers coming from different barangays of Quezon City. Some of the volunteers also signed up as they walked-in to the warehouse in West Triangle.
Usually, volunteers repack and distribute relief goods. Sometimes, they also help in cooking hot meals for mobile kitchen activities.
Operation Sagip's Mobile Kitchen aims to immediately respond to the needs of the internally displaced families or individuals by providing hot meals in evacuation centers during pre-emptive evacuation at the afermath of every disaster. It is also used during feeding activities in identified schools.
Marcel Riñon, Operation Sagip’s Department Head believes that despite not being deployed to warzones or dangerous areas, the time given by their volunteers is already a risk and an act of sacrifice.
“Siguro, meron kayong importanteng ginagawa sa bahay pero dahil tinawag kayong pumunta rito (sa warehouse para tulungan kami), mas inuuna niyo pa ito at nakikita ko iyan araw-araw (Maybe you have more important things to do at home but when you are called to be here in the warehouse to help us with our operations, you are here right away and I see that every day),” he told the volunteers.
To express their appreciation, Operation Sagip held a modest party for their volunteers where (number of) volunteers and their families attended. It was a day filled with laughter and gratitude. The volunteers enjoyed different games prepared for them by the staff of Operation Sagip and each took home prizes.
A volunteer receives a gift bag from an Operation Sagip Officer
The event was made extra special by donors from Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc., Liwayway Marketing, Sterling Paper Group of Companies, General Nutrifoods Philippines, Inc., Philippine Nutrifoods Corporation, Ping Ping's Lechon and Restaurant, and Fair Shipping Corporation who donated the meals and gift items of each volunteer.
Aida Romuga (right) assists in relief operations of Operation Sagip in Agham Road, Quezon City for the fire victims (Photo by Regina Ann Selibio)
For Aida Romuga, one of Operation Sagip’s volunteers, volunteering is their life’s mission.
“Hindi lang po ito simpleng trabaho kung hindi, isa po sigurong misyon na ginagawa namin nang buong puso (This is not just an easy and simple job but also a mission which we carry out with all of our hearts),” she said. “Ang mga volunteer (at pag bo-volunteer) ay hindi po worthless. Kami po ay walang bayad dahil kami ay priceless (Volunteers and volunteering are not worthless. No amount can pay our services. Our commitment to help is priceless).”