The bayanihan spirit of Union Christian College community has been instantly ignited as it opened her doors to brethren who evacuated to safety ahead the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.
On the afternoon of September 14 (Friday), families from San Agustin started coming in and they were accommodated by the UCC Campus Disaster Risk Reduction Management Unit head and school nurse, Mr. Ryan P. Santos, with the assistance of the general services unit as well as the security unit.
In the evening of the same day, Mr. Santos, called for a back up because the lack of the manpower of the the City of San Fernando social services unit with the volunteers and staff of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council due to heightened needs for the various evacuation centers in the city.
Through the Senior High Teachers’ chat group, Dr. Grace Hope P. Bautista (BES Princpal), Dr. Manelyn I. Cacho (Asst. Director of the Center for Research Development, Extension, Productivity, and Service-learning), Mr. Teofilo B. Damoco (Research Coordinator), and Ms. Emely B. Caasi (BES Staff) responded to aid the UCC volunteers.
The members of the general services unit-Ms. Leonor Dagang, Mr. John (Manong Jun) Taladro, Mr. Raymund Espinueva, Mr. Allan Casilla, Mr. Alvin Hidalgo were busy assisting the evacuees when the additional UCC volunteers arrived.
The UCC CRDRRMU staff and volunteers monitored the ongoing arrival of evacuees from different barangays in the city which included San Agustin, San Francisco, Brgy. I and Santiago Norte.
A number of 72 families composed of 318 individuals were accounted for at 3 in the morning of September 15.
At 6 in the morning, Mr. Santos solicited the consensus of the UCC volunteers if we can open more rooms for evacuation as the CDRRMC informed UCC that there are more expected evacuees to arrived. The group decided that the College President has to be informed before giving the go signal to the CDRRMC that additional evacuees be accommodated.
Dr. Geoffrey S. Tilan, the College President gave the go-signal to accommodate more evacuees so long as the school is still able to accommodate them. Later in the morning of September 15, the College President himself visited the school to assess the situation. Dr. Jose P. Mainggang, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Ms. Thelma Valdez, came to monitor the situation.
Dr. Cherrel G. Ignacio, Dean of the Schools of Education, Arts & Sciences, and Technology joined the UCC volunteers. By this time, the Oikuomene Chapel has to be assessed on its capacity as evacuation center.
UCC partners and supporters which included our graduates, Kimberly Reyes, Jennifer Baltazar, and Jem Kaye Patil-ao, who are now part of the National Service Reserved Corps (NSRC), and the Gawad Kalinga also responded and joined the UCC community in assisting the CDRRMC. Rey Javarez, the school driver, reported on the evening of September 15 to assist the guard who had been reporting due to the absence of the latter’s reliever.
The College Chaplain and UCCP Capitol Church Administrative Pastor , Rev. Cesar Cadam-us and his wife, Dr. Marites Cadam-us, Dean of the School of Health Sciences also visited the evacuees and offered prayers for them on September 15. There were 52 families recorded who stayed at UCC on September 15 until September 16 in the morning. Jingle Paz Gallarado joined the group on the 16th for the up-keeping.
The joy of being an instrument to Christ’s mission has been in the system of Union Christian College as she responds to Paul’s letter to the Church in Galatia which says Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ (Galatians 67:2) By: Teofilo B. Damoco, Research Coordinator and Adviser, The Union Scholar