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'Hope Stories of Haiyan'

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By Land, Air or Sea

by Sheila Abella

One year after Haiyan, we honor the silent heroes who continue to challenge the impossible with us, ensuring that real hope is immediately brought to where it is needed most.

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When Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck, Antique and the rest of Panay was so badly hit, we didn’t know where to begin. The team was very lean and the roads were impassable. But many families needed our help and there was so much to be done. We knew we had to challenge the impossible.

It was together with the Philippine Army that we first traversed the road to the towns in Northern Antique, where the badly hit areas were. As Tito Boy Montelibano recalls, “GK tried its level best to be in as many places as possible, to bring as much food as it received from donors to as many families it could reach. On the ground, in the island of Panay, the Army quietly made more help possible. Because its officers and personnel cared.”

The day after Yolanda, we went together with the Philippine Army Team for the initial road clearing from Laua-an to Culasi

The 301st Brigade, headed by BGen Arnold M Quiapo and LtCol Aldwine Almase together with their troops, was with Gawad Kalinga Antique from Day 1 of the relief operations until 2 days before Christmas, providing  their resources from manpower to air and land transportation in order to transport the relief goods from to Antique.

Thank you Philippine Air Force and Gen. Quiapo for providing Team GK with two choppers for us to bring our food packs and water bottles to the affected residents of Batbatan and Manigin Islands, Culasi, Antique. Salamat AFP for always working hand in hand with us. Salute! Para sa pagbangon ng bayan, WALANG IWANAN!

Walang Iwanan

During the relief operations, we went to places that would have been extremely difficult or even impossible to reach without the help of the Army. But we mean it when we say walang iwanan (no one left behind), and we will go to the farthest barangay whether by land, air or sea. One of the residents who received relief expressed his gratitude by saying, "I have experienced so many calamities and tragedies here in our barangay before but no one came... maybe because of the fact that we are indeed hard to reach because we are in the mountainous area. Today, is really a different story. I have witnessed people of good heart that deserve to be called true servants, people who are willing to sacrifice themselves to go up here and reach us just to offer help, people who gave back smiles and hopes on our children. Thank you so much Gawad Kalinga. May you continue to serve and help our countrymen who truly need your help. What you did is what truly the word help means."

The Army helps GK reach far-flung areas, including the farthest mountains of Laua-an with the IP Community called Iraynon-Bukidnon. For this, they again sent 2 huwaii choppers to bring the goods in Brgys Latason, San Ramon, Tigunhaw and Guiamon. To reach Aklan (New Washington, Batan, Libacao and Numancia) the 12th Infantry Brigade worked together with GK Volunteers from Pandan, Antique.

Brig. Gen. Quiapo remarked that by working together with Gawad Kalinga, they really felt the essence of Walang Iwanan. For LtCol Aldwine Almase, who was greatly involved during the relief operations, working with GK is almost instinctive, given our common ideals. “The Army will always be dependable public servants especially at times when people need a helping hand as in the case of Typhoon Yolanda. GK and the Army’s common aspiration of bayanihan and walang iwanan was concretized during the challenging disaster and relief operations in Antique. It strengthened our partnership to be of service to the people.”

Truly, soldiers on ground are the silent heroes who helped make sure that no one is left behind. Major Anthony Caro for example, is among the silent workers who orchestrated the relief operations and paved the way for GK Antique to reach difficult areas (like Capiz), making sure there's transportation. From high-ranking officials to those at the front line, some of who are victims of Yolanda themselves, the genuine desire to care is present.

Today, the Army continues to be a valuable partner of GK Antique, helping with disaster response, community building and other volunteer activities. Maraming salamat AFP for always working hand in hand with us. Salute! Para sa pagbangon ng bayan, WALANG IWANAN!

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'Hope Stories of Haiyan'


Gawad Kalinga works with the Armed Forces of the Philippines closely especially during disaster response and rehabilitation. Beyond disasters, GK and the AFP continue to build sustainable and peaceful communities all over the Philippines. In Antique, what started as one soldier's of fighting for peace and caring for the poor has now led to the birth of the GK Arch Angel Village, a peaceful community for 25 families. As we continue our Haiyan Reconstruction Efforts, you too can help us relocate thousands more into safe communities. Find out how you can help #endpoverty today.

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