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Paglaum 25 Batch “Oragon” Brings Hope to Irosin

THE Magnificent Thirteen of Paglaum Batch 25 with their mentor, Mr. Tomas Alejo S. Batalla, Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Director Arnel B. Garcia and the CESB Staff.

WHEN Typhoon Tisoy’s highly damaging eye wall hits Irosin, Sorsogon and unleashed its punishing winds at around 9 o’clock in the evening on 3 December 2019, some Irosanons were terribly frightened and thought that it could be the end of their lives. The storm left them distraught and hopeless.

Heeding to the call for service, the Paglaum Training Workshop Batch 25, also known as “Batch Oragon” (a Bicol term for competent person or “mahusay”),led by its Batch President, Jogar B. Tosoc, Acting Assistant Branch Head of Social Security System, Naga Branch, sought the support of the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) for the provision of psychosocial support services to those typhoon victims.

As part of the CESB’s Community Passion (ComPassion) Projects, the CESB established the convergence among the Paglaum Batch 25, the CESB, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office V(DSWD FO V), the Office of Sorsogon Governor Francis Joseph Escudero, the Land Transportation Office Regional Office V, the Bicol Medical Center (BMC), and the Office of Irosin Municipal Mayor Alfredo Cielo, Jr. for the conduct of psychosocial support services on 17 December 2019 at the Irosin Public Auditorium to more than 300 families whose houses were totally or partially damaged by the typhoon.

Bringing Hope and “Goodies” to Irosin

The whole‐day activity started with a Briefing Orientation of all the partner participants at the Office of Civil Defense Conference Room, Camp Gen. Simeon Ola, Legazpi City. Director ArnelB. Garcia, CESO II, Regional Director of DSWD FO V, together with his staff, gave a Disaster Response Update, the real‐time situationer for the Irosin, Sorsogon community survivors, and the ground preparations made by the DSWD Team. RD Garcia also shared the best practices of the DSWD FO V indistributing food packs for the calamity survivors in Bicol. He informed the group that as a proactivemove, several daysbefore a typhoon hits an area, the DSWD has already pre‐positioned the food packs and laminated sacks for the survivors in the affected areas and not the other way around.

Also present during the briefing were: the CESB Team led by Ms. Imelda Guanzon representing Executive Director Maria AntonetteC. Velasco‐Allones, CESO I; Mr. Tomas Alejo S.Batalla, a clinical psychologist, who served as guide and mentor of the hope bearers; General (Ret.) Claudio Yucot, Regional Director of the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol; Batch 25 members; and two nurses from the BMC.

The group made courtesy visits to the governor’s office (represented by the Provincial Administrator) and to the Office of Irosin Mayor Alfredo Cielo, Jr.

The typhoon survivors from Barangay San Pedro, Irosin, Sorsogon warmly welcomed the visiting hope bearers, the CESB, and DSWD staff.Twelve Bicolano hope bearers from Batch 25 provided Psychological First Aid (PFA) to some survivors through a “kumustahan” session based on their response to a predistributed questionnaire that identified their feelings, status of well being, and immediate needs.

PFA is a form of mental health and psychosocial support that helps individuals and communities to heal the psychological wounds and rebuild social structures after an emergency or critical event. The group learned PFA during the Paglaum Training Workshop conducted by CESB on 4‐6 November 2019 at Villa Caceres Hotel, Naga City. The graduates of the said 3‐day workshop are called “hope bearers” to depict their role of bringing back hope, as an important value in overcoming adversities.

Simultaneous with the “kumustahan” session, other Oragons together with the DSWD FO V and CESB staff facilitated the various games for the children. Two nurses from the BMC provided simple medical help. The hope bearers, CESB and DSWD Teams distributed Santa socks with chocolates and packs of school supplies to the children of the survivors. As a finale, the Bicolano hope bearers helped the DSWD in distributing the food packs and laminated sacks to the survivors.

After the activity, the survivors expressed positivity as they felt being loved and comforted and realized that they should introduce change or implement proactive steps or solutions in time of adversity. They were so thankful that there are hopebearers who have travelled from other places and took time to visit and give them hope even by simply being there to listen to them.

In closing, Mr. Tosoc thanked his batchmates for sharing their time and spirit of volunteerism, the CESB, DSWD, LTO, BMC, Office of the Sorsogon Governor, and the Office of the Mayor for their collaboration and partnership in making the activity a success.

“In our own little way, we have shared our time, effort, and ourselves in giving hope and joy to our beloved fellow Bicolanos. Our Batch’s first activity was a resounding success due to our cooperation and support. I am so thankful for your presence and most importantly the collaborative efforts of various agencies present. It was a call of duty. I hope that we will support all our Batch’s future activities.We made a good start. We shared our lives with others with a heart. It is a privilege to be a public servant, it is an honor to serve our beloved country. Indeed, the tag line ‘Isang karangalan and maglingkodsa bayan’ had been proven true as we showed our love and concern for our countrymen today,” he said.

CONVERGENCE in Action. (Photos from left to right) 1. Batch 25 Paglaum graduates having a heartfelt talk to Irosanos; 2. Kids receive their bags of goodies of joy; 3) Kids play in a mobile child‐friendly space; and 4) DSWD and PFA volunteers give food packs to survivors under its Food for Work Program.

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