Some people’s countless works and selfless acts were tested in this COVID-19 pandemic, expecting nothing in return even if their means of livelihood were affected by the health crisis.

The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), in coordination with the Regional Development Council through the National Economic and Development Authority in the Cordillera region, accorded recognition to these volunteers who offered their services, skills and resources at this time of pandemic. They were chosen in the 2020 Search for Outstanding COVID-19 Volunteers (SOCV).

Farmer Volunteer with a Big Heart

Clemencia Basilio Lapas emerged as the region’s most outstanding COVID-19 volunteer for 2020. A cutflower and vegetable farmer, her selfless acts, leadership, and volunteer spirit surfaced at the height of the pandemic.

A “Farmer Volunteer with a Big Heart,” Chlemench, as she is fondly called, organized and coordinated donation drives by unifying her fellow farmers and vegetable suppliers to donate vegetables. Using her personal resources, she transported and distributed vegetables for free to countless households in four provinces covering 16 municipalities and two cities in the Cordillera region. The vegetables and cost of transport and distribution was estimated at more than P1 million.

The vegetables were initially distributed for free through the parish of Loakan Barangay in Baguio City, which soon expanded. But the philanthropic deed actually started in Pico, La Trinidad where she resides.

With the strict protocols imposed by the local government units (LGUs) sometime in July, Chlemench sought help from the La Trinidad Municipal Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan. Hence, a partnership between her farmer’s group and the LGU called Inter-LGU Cooperation and Assistance was formalized to facilitate the distribution of vegetables.

The coverage expanded to d other municipalities in the neighboring provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, and Ilocos Sur.

She was the heart of the operations of these donation drives, according to Awingan Without her they could not have pooled donations as she had direct contacts with farmers, disposers, and dealers, he added.

She did all these notwithstanding that as a dealer at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post, her source of livelihood was also affected with the lockdowns and travel restrictions.

“Helping others is really a must! And it’s everybody’s duty to help others especially during these times of pandemic. I believe that my simple way of displaying acts of goodness can make a big difference in the lives of others,” Chlemench said.

Growing up with the value of helping others without asking anything in return as instilled by her father, Lapas was motivated to initiate the donation drive of assorted vegetables with comments and feedback on the lack of food at the onset of the pandemic

“We have more than enough supply of vegetables,” she said citing the bulks of vegetables being stocked up and not delivered due to the travel restrictions in the earlier months of the community quarantine.

Volunteer Restaurateur

Another outstanding volunteer is the Health 100 restaurant owner Elmer Macalingay.

Macalingay volunteered his food services to help frontline workers at the height of the community quarantine. His restaurant which is serving healthy, nutritious and vegan cuisine became a mobile kitchen for medical frontliners in the different hospital in Baguio City and La Trinidad. The mobile kitchen operated for 51 days ending May 15, 2020.

He also served other frontliners like garbage collectors and government agencies through the mobile kitchen. He also consistently donated packed lunch to the Department of Social Welfare and Development during its COVID-19 emergency response. His contributions also resulted to La Trinidad LGU’s purchase of additional PPEs for front liners and market vendors.

Macalingay used a large portion of his resources at a time when businesses are struggling or even closing due to the pandemic. Aside from food, he also contributed for La Trinidad LGU’s purchase of additional PPEs for frontliners and market vendors.

Supporting his humanitarian act, the Environment Management Bureau extended financial assistance amounting to P30, 000.00 to sustain the project within the period.

Researcher

Math Professor Rizabel Addawe of the Universty of the Philippines Baguio is recognized because of her expertise in data analysis. She initiated the convening of a research team to monitor and analyze COVID-19 data in Baguio City.

She was instrumental in the identification of the quarantine status of the city by providing the doubling time and the Rt or time-varying reproduction number of COVID-19 cases in the city. This served as a basis of appropriate policies to stem the tide of COVD-19 transmission in the city.

The results were published in the University’s official FB page as well as on her personal facebook accounts to raise awareness on the status of COVDI-19 cases in the city. She is also a volunteer consultant of the UP Resilience Institute.

The research team she formed also served for mentorship and collaborative learning especially for individuals suffering from depression. She also assisted some individuals undergoing depression through her mentorships and counseling. (PIA-CAR)