Former beneficiaries of Tzu Chi Foundation from Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City give back the kindness they have received by being volunteers. They take care of the community and respond immediately to calamity victims like the two separate fire incidents along San Labrador Street last December 31 and Pingkian 1 Compound last January 10.
Around 26 families received relief packages containing rice, blanket, and casserole from Tzu Chi Foundation. The fire relief activity was held at Pasong Tamo Elementary School led by 13 local volunteers last January 12.
After receiving aid from Tzu Chi Foundation during their time of need, former beneficiaries from Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City currently volunteer for the organization, helping the less fortunate and needy people.
“I may not be able to help financially because I am also less fortunate. I volunteer my time instead, because this is the only way I can help others,” Luz Cabang mentions.
Cabang is a devout Catholic but she joins the activities of the Buddhist organization. “I truly believe that there is no religion in helping. All religions send the same message: kindness and love,” she added.
While 64 year old Florentina Ponce divides her time to work and volunteer.
Everyday, Ponce wakes up early in the morning to sell in the market. On Saturdays, she tries hard to sell all vegetable products so she could join Tzu Chi Foundation’s recycling activity at Pasong Tamo Elementary School (PTES), one of the beneficiary institutions of the organization.
“Even if I have work on Saturdays, I never forget the activities and I give time to volunteer,” Ponce says. She and other volunteer residents from Barangay Pasong Tamo also set aside their recyclables from their homes and sort it out according to its classifications.
Ponce shares that she has learned a lot since joining the organization.
“Before knowing Tzu Chi, I just ignore the bottles and the centavo coins that I see along the road. But now, I pick them up and save them because these will be a big help to others,” she says.
Ponce has learned that Tzu Chi Foundation sells the collected recyclables and uses the fund to support its missions.
Meanwhile, PTES teacher, Gilminigildo Cancino does both his profession and his volunteer work at the same time.
He believes that having volunteers in each community is a big help. “When there is calamity, volunteers report to the office about the incident to give proper aid as soon as possible,” he mentions.
One of his unforgettable experiences with Tzu Chi Foundation was his volunteer work to construct the prefabricated shelters in Palo municipality, one of the affected areas of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last November 2013.
“My happiness as a volunteer cannot be paid and it gives an unexplained happiness,” he adds. “I am happy when I help others.”
Helping own community
Last January 12, 13 volunteers of Pasong Tamo including Cabang, Ponce and Cancino have initiated the launching of a fire relief activity at PTES for the family victims of separate fire incidents from San Labrador street last December 31 and Pingkian 1 Compound last January 10.
“The fire happened at around past 3:00 in the morning. I immediately saved my cousins inside the house. All people were in chaos while the houses were in flames,” resident, Joselito Rebelito, mentions, one of the nine families who lost their homes along San Labrador street.
According to the residents, one unattended candle was the cause of fire. Meanwhile, electrical overloading was the assumed cause of fire that consumed 17 houses in Pingkian 1 Compound.
From the two different incidents, around 15 houses turned into ashes while more than 130 individuals were affected.
“Currently, we put tarpaulin covers so we could sleep at night because it is hard not to have any shelter,” Rebito adds.
Responding to the initial needs of the victims, Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines, led by the local volunteers of Pasong Tamo, shared 10-kilo sacks of rice, six sachets of dishwashing liquid, and four spoon, four fork, four plates, four tumblers, a pair of slippers, a bar of detergent soap, a casserole, a sleeping mat, a blanket and a pack of newly-washed clothes.
“This is my second time to receive aid from Tzu Chi. We are so happy when we hear the news that they will provide relief aid because they give a lot of assistance everytime,” Deserie Pacardo says.
The Pacardo family first benefited from the organization during its rice relief distribution in 2013.After receiving the 20-kilo sack of rice, she and her children started saving plastic bottles and bringing it over to PTES every Saturday for the recycling activity.
Meanwhile, Vilma Atillo benefited from Tzu Chi Foundation’s generosity, thanking them for their timely aid. She belongs to one of the 26 families whose houses were reduced to ashes during the fire.
“All things we have received are our basic needs. I hope they will continue to help others especially calamity victims,” she ends.