Tuesday, 24th October 2017
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GK Bayani Challenge calls on volunteers nationwide

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Special for The Capiz Times
With reports from PIA Capiz

 

ROXAS CITY—On March 18, 2014, 170 persons, mostly college students, trooped to the Dinggoy Roxas Civic Center (DRCC) to witness the forum of the Gawad Kalinga (GK) 2014 Bayani Challenge here.


Anchored on its slogan “Walang Iwanan” (no one must be left behind), the Bayani Challenge seeks to register one million volunteers across 12 provinces in two months who will work together toward nation-building.


GK is inviting people from all political and religious affi liations to log in to bayanichallenge.com and chose where you want to go, when you want to go and what you want to do.”


For five days as volunteers, they can choose where to go among the areas affected by recent calamities to take part and help in housebuilding, school refurbishing, mangrove tree-planting and coastal cleanup. Or they can also help in the supplemental feeding activities and storytelling for the community children.

 

For the Capiz leg, the GK forum featured Jose Mari Oquiñena, directorgeneral of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and GK volunteer, who stressed to his audience that poverty and corruption are not the country’s big problems. Rather the bigger problem among the Filipinos is the lack of unity. But he claimed that “Unity is possible!”


Woven on the values of damayan, friendship and volunteerism-in-action, the Challenge serves as venue where people meet together on equal footing—because, as Oquiñena put it, participation is “not based on how lofty your position is but on how big is your heart.”


Claiming that “religion and politics have divided us as a nation for long”—the PIA head enjoined everyone that “the very challenge we are now called upon is how to cross existing boundaries in the interest of nation-building.


For him, the real questions that must be answered are: “How far will you go as, say, a Catholic? Or how will you politicians treat those who did not vote for you?”


Oquiñena said that in the past, well-meaning GK volunteers would ask: “Does GK have to wait for crisis or disaster to happen before it goes to work again?”


Such questions prompted the GK pioneers to expand the scope of its service or operation to include events or situation like building houses in war-stricken areas like Bukidnon. In fact, the GK did not give up but rather learned an important lesson: “The more we sweat in time of peace, the less we weep for war.”


Saying that “change will not take place kung tayo ay hindi tatayo” (if we will not stand up), Oquiñena also shared how Yolanda devastation was a shocking crisis that instead became an opportunity for people of goodwill to show resiliency and extend the bayanihan spirit at their best—in efforts to rise and rebuild people’s lives.


The GK representative summoned everyone: “We just have to be together, Christians and Muslims alike, brothers and sisters to one another, inspired by a shared vision to rebuild the Philippines into a great nation.”


“We do not need more legislation to bring hope and genuine service to the rural communities. We simply need to work together again.”


Oquiñena said that the Bayani Challenge is a venue for volunteers from various sectors and age groups to join together toward the goal of expressing love for country and caring for the poor.


It is a yearly campaign that has grown exponentially after eight years—“seeking to inspire every Filipino to make volunteerism a lifestyle.”


The assembly was led by GK Capiz Coordinator Jessica Ortiz-Yu and Mr. Mark Tulbo, both GK team leaders for Western Visayas. It was supported by the academic community in the city and the local media practitioners.


For more details, interested individuals are enjoined to log on to bayanichallenge.com and signify.

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