Written by: Gaby Capule, Pepper Elipse, and Julio Gatchalian, Edited by: Lae Canosa and Trisha Ching
Art by: Julio Gatchalian, Edited by: Elj Canapi
It would be an understatement to say that these are trying times we have today. The pandemic and consequent lockdowns have been tough on all of us physically, emotionally, socially, and economically. Thus, it is now more than ever when we need to turn our attention to the continued hardships experienced by our fellow Filipinos and to help out in any way we can. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Though some of us may be willing to help, we struggle because we are not aware of other forms of useful assistance besides monetary donations. While donating is certainly a great starting point, if you're worried that you can't keep lending a hand without breaking the bank, allow us to introduce other ways to support the community!
1.) Making a Mark: MissingMaps
Even though the world seems to have been navigated and explored to its fullest extent, there are always new things popping up around us. In the pandemic, getting to know what and where places of utmost importance are located is a must—these include hospitals, pharmacies, smaller-scale clinics, and safe spaces for all members of society, especially the vulnerable.
MissingMaps is a systematized organization that connects the mapping service "OpenStreetMap", regular local volunteers, and DRRM humanitarian organizations in helping enhance mapping technology to save lives and help the community. By volunteering to be a local contributor, you can map from the comfort of your home using free, open-sourced satellite technology to scout for new locations through the image and mark them accordingly. MissingMaps also has a page dedicated to teaching beginners how to map, which makes learning easier than ever before.
You can map from the comfort of your home using free, open-sourced satellite technology to scout for new locations through the image and mark them accordingly.
Mapping is often overlooked in thinking about community welfare, but in the time of a lockdown, where looking for places may not be as safe as before, the community benefits from having exact locations of their needs at their fingertips.
To know more, you can visit their official website: https://www.missingmaps.org.
2.) Sanduguan ng Samabayanan: Blood Donation Drives
Money is not the only thing we need to circulate to survive, but blood as well! Blood donation drives have been a long-held practice, but its importance has especially been highlighted by the health crisis we’re experiencing now.
There are regular drives being held in the Philippines overseen by either the Department of Health or the Philippine Red Cross. To make things more accessible to regular citizens like ourselves, you can access information about blood donation drives near you through Facebook. Such donation drives are also made to follow quarantine protocols, so as you do your part to save lives, the medical technicians also do their best to keep yours safe as well.
Blood donations are only open to healthy individuals with a weight of at least 50 kilograms and have a pulse between 60-100 bpm, among others. Blood donation may seem daunting, but it’s a fulfilling and important way to help the community in a time of need.
More information regarding donor qualifications, donation drives, and the like can be found by visiting the Philippine Red Cross’ Facebook page, or via this link: https://pia.gov.ph/features/articles/1037150.
3.) Let every voice be heard: Voter Registration
With the 2022 national elections only a year away, it’s only fitting and timely to include exercising the right to vote as one of the ways to help out not only in the local community, but also the country as a whole. In order to do this, it’s important to register to vote as soon as possible.
With the pandemic and quarantine in mind, the system for voter registration in the Philippines has been streamlined in order to make it possible for most of the processes to be done online. In general, the procedure involves two parts: filling out the application form, and then visiting the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) in your municipality for capturing of biometrics and submission of documents.
Eligible voters can opt to submit their application form online by making use of the iRehistro web application. Here, an applicant may accomplish the form purely online by inputting the necessary information, after which they can choose to schedule an appointment to finalize their registration at their assigned OEO. This method greatly shortens the time the applicants need to go out or line up to register, making voter registration more convenient and efficient.
To accommodate those without access to personal computers and/or stable internet connection, the COMELEC recently announced the launch of their Mobile Registration App, which works similarly to the iRehistro website, but is specially optimized for smartphone users, and works in offline mode as well. Essentially, accomplishing the form through the app will generate a unique QR code which the applicant may present along with their valid ID to their respective OEO. The app is currently available for download in about 500 cities and municipalities nationwide at bit.ly/MobileFormApp.
As of now, all Offices of the Election Officer nationwide are open on Mondays to Thursdays, 8 AM to 3 PM. Keep in mind that voter registration closes on September 30, 2021, so don't wait until it's too late before paying a visit to the COMELEC office nearest you!
For more information regarding voter registration, you can visit the COMELEC’s website: https://comelec.gov.ph/?r=VoterRegistration/HowtoRegister.
It is not only money that we can give in order to help out, but also our effort, resources, passion, and most importantly, time.
All the above are concrete ways that we can look after and give back to our community; however, we should always reorient and educate ourselves about the community we’re serving, as well as their needs.
Though it doesn’t seem like much, keeping yourself updated on the current needs and state of the people goes a long way in knowing how to serve your community best. Following trusted news outlets, boosting community help posts, and chipping in when you can goes a long way in helping others.
It is not only money that we can give in order to help out, but also our effort, resources, passion, and most importantly, time. In a time of great need, as we move forward amidst the new normal, we must uphold our individual responsibilities to ensure the progress of all individuals however and whenever we can.
Know of any other meaningful non-monetary ways we can contribute to our communities? Feel free to comment your suggestions below!