“I scheduled a Family Development Session in Sitio Babangnan that day. We were on our way when all of a sudden a massive wave struck our boat that it almost sank. I wanted to scream because of fear, but I didn’t,” said Diane Abarico, municipal link of Tubajon in the Province of Dinagat Island, as she vividly recalled her unforgettable experience five years ago.
She was assigned in Imelda – a far-flung barangay composed of sitios with widely challenging paths to cross. Some of them are only reached through a sea trip, thus riding a pump boat is a necessity for most of the residents there, especially for her. If the sea is not passable, she walks 7 kilometers from the proper town passing through a difficult road. When the incident in late October 2013 comes to her mind, she still experiences trauma. “Ang ako lang gayud nasulti ato kay ‘Ginoo ko! Gusto pa nako mabuhi! Tabangi mi!’ labi na kay daghan na nangambak, ang uban nanghilak (All I silently uttered was ‘God! I still want to live! Help us!’ especially that many already jumped, some cried),” she shared through a writing.
The experience made her ponder on quitting the job, but it made her think of all the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Sitio Babangnan, deprived of their basic needs for a good and healthy life. Being a social worker awakened her enthusiasm to help the disadvantaged people experiencing hardships. “That experience did not stop me in giving true service. In fact, it gave me more courage and passion. That is my priceless sacrifice.” Diane is just one of the 602 field staff of DSWD-Caraga who compassionately serve the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged sectors in the society. ###(JOANA RICA P. MILLAMA/Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga)