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Working Together Does Work

October 1, 2009


Times being difficult as they are, nerves are frayed and when they are people are instinctively on guard about strangers, and even toward men in uniform.

But Filipinos thrive in sadversity and easily find unity and ability to cooperate with one another.

This is one such story:

While assisting the victims of tropical depression Ondoy in Marikina,
businessman Joey de Venecia III had a brief moment of tension when a Philippine Army (PA) contingent arrived at the scene.

That tension quickly turned to relief, then joy, when it turned out that the soldiers had been sent by the PA’s General Headquarters to also provide assistance.

“I had no idea that they were sent to the same place I had gone to purely by chance,” de Venecia said yesterday.

Led by Col. Aurelio Badajos, the PA’s 240-man Task Force Echo crew turned to de Venecia to help prioritize the work that needed to be done.

De Venecia was at Barangay Sto Nino at the Riverside section of Marikina City just after daybreak. Col. Badajos and his contingent arrived just before noon. By then, de Venecia and his own clean up “army” had been loading mountains of trash to dump trucks, both manually and with the use of payloaders.

De Venecia initiated a campaign to help clean up the homes of victims the other day by providing 10 large payloaders, 20 dump trucks, 10 generator sets, 10 water tanks, and 100 pressure washers. He also gave away 100 shovels, 100 rakes and 200 brooms (walis tingting) to Marikina residents, who were among the worst hit by Ondoy.

After receiving a cry of help from a friend who lives in the area, De Venecia visited Barangay Sto Nino and helped collect the garbage and waste that threatened to cause the spread of disease.

He also gave away 2,500 food and bottled water packs to the residents.

“I must salute Col. Badajos and his men for their discipline and hard work, and most especially their willingness to cooperate,” de Venecia said, “We were able to achieve so much more because of their terrific attitude.”

he son and namesake of former Speaker Joe de Venecia Jr. said he had been wary of men in uniform because of past experience.
He has accused the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Phils. of tapping his phones and spying on him.

“I do know that the overwhelming majority of our officers and men and women of the AFP are true professionals who are committed to serve the people,” de Venecia said.
This belief was reinforced last Tuesday when the PA contingent even sought instructions from de Venecia on how to distribute the workload.

“I would work with these guys anytime,” a tired and muddied de Venecia told mediamen at the site.

His work started early morning and ended late afternoon.

About the only damper was when Col. Badajos was slightly injured during the operations.
The officer cut his head when he bumped into a broken glass window. De Venecia quickly came to the aid of the colonel.

The Makati-based businessman has prioritized cleaning up operations as his contribution to the national effort to address the problems caused by Ondoy, particularly in Metro Manila.

He raised fears that epidemics could erupt all over the teeming metropolis of some 14 million people if massive cleaning and clearing operations are not done immediately.

He called on all residents who were not affected by Ondoy to volunteer and clear their communities of accumulated trash.

When we are work as one, nothing is impossible.

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