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Inspired by the true spirit of public service and volunteerism, select DOLE Bureau of Labor Relations personnel responded to the call of Gawad Kalinga’s(GK) Bayani Challenge 2014. Commencing on Araw ng Kagitingan (April 9) and culminating on Independence Day (June 12), the Bayani Challenge is a 5-day activity of building communities through a culture of caring, sharing and bayanihan.

Brought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the Bohol earthquake and the Zamboanga siege, this year’s Bayani Challenge seeks to generate one million volunteers across 12 provinces (Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Capiz, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Samar and Zamboanga) over the span of nine (9) weeks for the rebuilding of homes and schools, planting of trees, conducting of clean-up drives and health missions and investing time with the children.  These activities showcase Gawad Kalinga’s vow of ‘Walang Iwanan’ (Leave No One Behind) to all affected victims of the natural calamities and armed struggle.

Luz Rosas participated in the challenge on May 14-18, 2014 in Medellin, Cebu, while Suzanne Rodriguez, Glorializa delos Santos and Joycelyn Amazona joined other volunteers on May 28-June 1, 2014 in Sagay, Negros Occidental.  They took part in the school refurbishing, assisting in the health mission, coastal clean-up and spending time with the children in various locations across the two municipalities.

From elementary students to senior citizens coming from nearby and distant provinces, from Manila and as far as South Korea, Singapore, USA, Germany and France, from national government agencies and local government units, Armed Forces of the Philippines, academe, and private citizenry, several volunteers came in droves to the various GK sites to share their time and services to help out the poor and affected victims.

Working together for a common cause, the Bayani Challenge has brought out the best in everybody.  “The Bayani Challenge opens a door to individuals in all walks of life to step out of their comfort zones, overcome walls of diversity and indifference, unite and get their hands dirty in doing something, which no matter how small, collectively contribute to the general improvement of others’ well-being, ” said the GK Chairperson for Negros Occidental.

“The challenge provided an opportunity to nurture friendship and camaraderie among volunteers while being of service to others, and this is why I keep coming back year after year to GK”, a regular volunteer added.

Started in 2006, the Bayani Challenge was conceptualized by GK and its partners with the main objectives of building relationships, bringing out the hero in everyone and raising resources and results for the poor.