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MALASAKIT PARA SA BATANGAS

The Batangueño spirit is indomitable. They have a proven capacity to get up and bounce back after Taal Volcano wreaked havoc. Despite the catastrophe, Batangueños opt to take everything in stride and see the brighter side of life. Many have volunteered in various ways. A number of families in areas outside the permanent danger zone have adopted other families and let them stay in their homes. Truly, the spirit of bayanihan is alive and well.

 

Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote says, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Indeed, service is a fulfilling mission that can help to see that “you” are not defined by an identity, but by ability, sympathy, connection, and solidarity that altogether reflect the most essential purpose of human beings – pagmamalasakit.

It is Malasakit Para Sa Batangas, a venue of compassion and service to the others that bring you close to find yourself, and that’s what the Emergency Response Integration Center (ERIC) has experienced. It was truly fascinating to embark on a journey of “pagmamalasakit” for a period of two months with the Lipa Archdiocesan Social Action Commission, Inc. (LASAC) by doing something that the organization is passionate about, information management.

One of the most important and oftentimes overlooked, for efficient disaster response is effective information and communication. LASAC has recognized such immense need and made ERIC its partner.

Information management is the soul of any humanitarian response operation. Information in itself is nothing if not utilized appropriately. It is in this light that ERIC has provided an Information Management System (IMS) that serves as a communication and coordination platform between and among affected population, responding organizations and other stakeholders. In a crisis or disaster situation like Taal Volcano eruption, information management ensures the accuracy of the information that managers rely on to make critical decisions. The IMS has been proven effective in determining the quality and effectiveness of the over-all response.

For efficient inventory and warehouse management, ERIC has provided an inventory and warehouse system to support and optimize warehouse functionality and distribution management from receiving of donations to releasing of goods.

ERIC has also facilitated orientation on IMS to parishes, LASAC staff and partners. To be familiar with the functionality of the system and ensure maximum effectiveness, hands-on trainings were also conducted.

ERIC was also tasked to gather and consolidate experience-based information from LASAC staff on Taal Volcano Eruption Humanitarian Response to create an Operations Manual. The Malasakit para sa Batangas Operations Manual will not only provide guidance for LASAC to perform their functions correctly and effectively but the collaborative experiences shared will also be a source of inspiration and motivation for all.

Certainly, it is not only the technical expertise and user experience that matter, it takes a heart and a soul to move hearts and souls.

The ERIC’s journey with LASAC has taught the organization to be more crucial in setting goals, the training, data and information ERIC has provided will either make or break the situation of those affected by the eruption, the mission has unfolded new opportunities, learning from failures, and has taught to clearly define strengths and capabilities to achieve a long desired success. This benevolent mission will create a ripple-like effect.

Working with highly motivated people in LASAC that share the same vision for others is truly humbling and fulfilling. The partnership between ERIC and LASAC will surely flourish. The passion to serve God and His people will be ablaze of hope and compassion not only for Batangas but for the whole nation.

The past two months have reinforced the ERIC’s will and heart that there is nothing stronger than the heart of a person of service to others. Doing such compassionate things will lead them further…together.


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