UPRI, Pahinungód UP System aid Mindanao earthquake survivors with psychosocial and medical support

February 10, 2020

The UP Resilience Institute partnered with the Ugnayan ng Pahinungód UP System to conduct psychosocial (PsySoc) activities and medical assistance in Santos Land Evacuation Centre (EC) in Makilala, North Cotabato, from 20 to 21 November 2019.

Called “The UP Pahinungód Mindanao Humanitarian Effort (MHE),” the team did rapid psychosocial assessment and intervention for the survivors of the Mindanao earthquakes.

Director of Pahinungód UP Mindanao Michael Gatela served as the overall coordinator of the team; with Professor Emeritus Elizabeth Ventura of the UP Diliman Department of Psychology as the head of the Psychosocial team; Dr. April Llaneta of UP College of Medicine as the head of the Medical team, and Dr. Johnrev Guilaran of the UP Visayas College of Arts and Sciences as the Field Focal Person. Other members of the team are as follows: The PsySoc Team: Mr. Remegio Domingo and Ms. Ma. Concetta Mascardo of UP Mindanao, Mr. Cipriano Olita and Mr. Jeffrey Pelonio of UP Cebu, and Mr. Pete Michael Pan of UP Visayas Tacloban College; and The Medical Team: Mr. Diness Cortez and Dr Lunalinda Luz of Pahinungód UP Manila, and Dr. Aireen Patricia Madrid, Dr. Emelia Santamaria, and Dr. Marianne Somera of UP Philippine General Hospital.

The team was able to conduct psychosocial support to eight barangays, with more than 300 families.

On 16 January 2020, the Psychosocial Team conducted a debriefing session. In addition to the results of the assessment and the recommendations of the team members, they also shared their other learnings from the experience. The team shared that “there are naturally kind-hearted people who are very willing to extend a helping hand (e.g. solider who helped the volunteers; lady who agreed to let the volunteers stay in their house);” and that it was a learning experience for the volunteers as well.

“[I] think that experience made me appreciate what I have more--shelter, a stable job, etc. the situation of those in the evacuation centre was heartbreaking, but still people were thankful. It made me see my personal worries from a bigger perspective,” said Dr. Guilaran, when asked on how the experience affected him as a person.

As much as the team was able to help, the need for a follow up activity was recommended since the evacuees are semi-permanent in the evacuation centers. A training of trainers (ToT) is also being considered next time to make sure that the initiative will be sustained by the community.

NOTE: From the Reports of Dr. Johnrev Guilaran, Asst. Prof., UP Visayas and Field Focal Person, UP MHE PsySoc Team; Dr. Lunalinda Luz, UES I, Pahinungód UP Manila, and Ms. Diana Arcega, Sr. PO, Pahinungód UP System