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GK 1M volunteers aims to address disaster rehab efforts


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Some 1 million volunteers of Bayani Challenge 2014 have started in  helping rehabilitate parts of the country affected by super typhoon Yolanda, the Bohol earthquake, and the Zamboanga siege.

The Gawad Kalinga mobilized one million volunteers to help in rebuilding infrastructures, conducting clean-up drives, health missions, and educational activities – all to be done in nine (9) full weeks—starting from April 9 until June 12. The activity is seen as the largest, most massive volunteerism activity conducted in the country.

With this year’s theme “Walang Iwanan” (“Leave No One Behind”), the activity eyes to rehabilitate 12 provinces in the country, namely  Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Capiz, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Samar, and Zamboanga—the ones mainly affected by the aforementioned disasters.

President Benigno S. Aquino in his message thanked the Gawad Kalinga and its partner agencies for spearheading the Bayani Challenge 2014 that fosters camaraderie and volunteerism among countrymen.

He said the activity “is a vital opportunity to marshal our collective talent, knowledge, and skills to restore our cities and towns affected by the Zamboanga siege, Bohol earthquake, and Super Typhoon Yolanda.”

“We need heroes to rise to the occasion and become the embodiments of the Filipino that we collectively aspire to be: a person with integrity, accountability, and patriotism,” the President added.

He also urged the participants and organizers of the said activity to “remain a united force for transformative action, and create a truly peaceful, inclusive, and sustainable future.”

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.