Volunteers give new meaning and purpose to driving relief efforts
As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps across the country, one group has brought Filipinos of all backgrounds together to sustain relief efforts in a unique way. Oplan Hatid laban sa Covid (OHLC), a consortium of volunteers and NGO leaders, has been training and deploying drivers to transport frontline workers and protective equipment to and from medical centers all across the National Capital Region. This collaborative effort ensures that healthcare workers can continue their operations as seamlessly as possible at a time where consistent and effective medical care is crucial.
Volunteers first apply either through the OHLC’s online form or through endorsement from one of the group’s organizing NGOs. From here, the group conducts a virtual orientation session, wherein volunteers are equipped with the information necessary to properly transport items and individuals between posts. OHLC then supplies volunteers with the essential paperwork and safety precautions to get to their destinations, and with all preparations complete, drivers are deployed across the region, moving items and individuals who use them safely within cities, between institutions, and across boundary lines.
“Each and every person who has agreed to take part in this movement is doing it out of the goodness of their heart and the desire to make a difference in a trying time,” noted Norie Garcia, one of the initiative’s founders. “The response has been overwhelming from the volunteers and from the people we’ve been able to help through all this, and even from the community at large. It’s a true testament to how we can transform society if we come together to use what we have for the greater good.”
With over one-hundred volunteers to date, OHLC has risen to the occasion even at a time when fear and uncertainty have left many feeling helpless at home. Since the group’s inception, drivers offered transport assistance for key institutions, including but not limited to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the Philippine Heart Center, Mentro North Hospital, Commonwealth Hospital and Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital in BGC, Diliman Doctor’s Hospital, the Chinese General Hospital, and Rizal Medical Center. The impact these individuals have managed to achieve in a short while has also inspired movements online, as stories of volunteer experiences continue to be shared and celebrated on Facebook. And in a shining case of shared leadership, these stories have inspired people across the nation to pay it forward in their own ways, with many Filipinos donating everything from money to protective gear to keep the effort running smoothly until the pandemic subsides.
“We are thrilled to see so much support for this endeavor,” said Gianna Montinola, a Co-Founder of Hands on Manila and one of OHLC’s organizers. “We will work relentlessly, like this is a marathon more than a sprint. We need to keep mobilizing what resources we have available. It is our responsibility to make a positive difference for our own future.”
If you would like to donate time and resources Oplan Hatid laban sa Covid, visit their Facebook page to learn more: http://facebook.com/OplanHatidLabanCOVID/