This is taking time off from our work here in Palo, Leyte. I am sharing the experience, being a neophyte soldier who was one of those sent to Leyte. The sight of destruction is unbelievable, and as one media man described his own experience, “there is no waking up from the nightmare.” But what is good is that here in Leyte, amid all the work and responsibilities, we all feel like one family—victims—soldiers—police—volunteers—local officials—foreigners, because we share what we have and feel fulfilled.
Life is hard, with each day a challenge not only to the body and the spirit, but a challenge to every senses. But we can cope and work even beyond physical limitation, and as the government promised, we soldiers will work together and will continue to help not only in relief but in rebuilding the shattered provinces.
For my fellow soldiers here, and out there in different places in the country, carry on and keep up our good work!!
Pfc Jonel I Abuan PA
* * *
In Leyte and nearby provinces affected by storm Yolanda, everyone is considered a recipient, a victim, who is entitled to receive his/her share of food, drink water and other necessities. In the midst of the calamity no one is considered friend or enemy.
For sure, there are also New People’s Army members themselves and their families who were either killed, worst hit, and suffering the aftermath of the devastation. We may never really know if some of the victims lining up are cadre members seeking help and assistance. But, that is not the issue now, for everyone needs immediate help, care and comfort.
At this point, let’s all forget who we are, what color we prefer, what ideology we believe in. Let us be thankful to be alive, and helping one another as the horror ebbs, and as we all pray to see the light soon.
Sonny S. Montera, Jr.
* * *
I am a regular volunteer offering my services every time there is a need and call for helping victims of calamities and tragedies. Already me and my group call ourselves ‘veterans’ when it comes to volunteerism. Being a volunteer is also a challenging job as almost always, one forgets the time and hunger, even family and you will find yourself working without sleep. But the sacrifices are all worth it and pale in comparison to our soldiers and police out there in typhoon-stricken Leyte and other places, they who look for the dead, carry them, put them in body bags, endure the stench and horror of dead bodies and scenes of mass destruction.
Soldiers are the ones who give care, and leave nothing for themselves. Their jobs, with much bigger responsibilities, minutes our work as volunteers, for we are standing in safety, smell clean air, touch food, drink water. But we also consider ourselves like soldiers for we are doing something good for others, and we are happy in doing it.
And although some of us may be unable to go to the site physically and offer help, we likewise feel the urge to help and be counted. Everything is not easy at this point, but nobody complains, in fact, everyday the tribe of volunteers increases.
Lymlyn B. Gomez