‘Maring’ volunteers who heeded Twitter, Facebook calls for help hailed
MANILA, Philippines—Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman on Monday hailed as “modern-day heroes” the 5,179 volunteers who helped the department with relief operations for the victims of Tropical Storm “Maring.”
Soliman said that since Aug. 20, volunteers had trooped to the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Pasay City to assist in relief efforts.
As of Aug. 25, the last day of the operations, the volunteers repacked 116,202 family food packs and 2,884 nonfood items for distribution to the six regions affected by the calamity.
“I am ecstatic and humbled by the turnout of volunteers. They are a testament to the Filipino heroism that is very much alive,” said Soliman, who joined the volunteers at the NROC.
The call, which started with Soliman’s personal Twitter account (@dinkysunflower), quickly spread to other social networks.
Soliman said Erwin Cabasa, a 39-year-old Boy Scout leader of Fort Bonifacio High School Volunteers, learned about the relief mission online, via Facebook and Twitter, and heeded the appeal for volunteers.
“Our lay leader went house to house to invite volunteers and 11 responded to our invitation with the permission of their parents,” Cabasa said.
The volunteers came from all walks of life—students, professionals, military personnel, members of civil society organizations and of the clergy, who came with their families and friends.
Doctors and medical students of the Phi Kappa Mu of the UP Manila College of Medicine also volunteered their services.
Riczenlee Solamillo, 21, a leader of the youth ministry of the Tabernacle of Praise Church in Dasmariñas, Cavite, said he was online on Twitter when she saw the DSWD’s call for volunteers.
“I called the DSWD to inquire about the operation and by early morning, I texted friends who might want to join me. I came with nine friends to NROC,” Riczenlee said.
Two volunteers, Erika Joy Reyes and Janel Guitierez, decided to celebrate their birthdays at the relief center.
Soliman was amazed at how fast the volunteers repacked the goods.
On Aug. 20, with only 182 volunteers, some 7,400 family food packs were repacked. The next day, 1,175 volunteers repacked 20,014 family food packs. On Aug. 22, a total of 1,022 volunteers finished 31,328 pieces and the day after, 1,669 volunteers did 32,970 packs.
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