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Published June 14, 2022, 9:09 PM
by Manila Bulletin Entertainment
The “bayanihan spirit” among Filipinos is very much alive.
As a matter of fact, it hasn’t taken a respite ever since the communal lifestyle in the Philippines in the ancient times.
The daily lives of the Filipinos have been epitomized by helping each other, however in small ways, like sharing and giving food to neighbors, lending money to a needy fellow, inviting friends and strangers on fiestas as in the folk song “Kung may pista sa aming bayan (Fiesta in our town)” etc.
Such is the body and soul of “bayanihan” which transcends the symbolic icon of men carrying a nipa hut to be transported to another location.
Now comes the Association of Women’s Right Advocate (AWRA), a non-profit organization established in 2018, which has added dimension to the vintage image of “bayanihan” where men are the only participants in the community charity and unity.
This time, AWRA, by its name alone, has indicated the inclusiveness of women in altruism as initiated PMGen Valeriano de Leon, Director for Operations, PNP National Headquarters.
It was in the time of fashioning out “community pantry” in the COVID-19 pandemic when the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was in the forefront with the people of Maginhawa Street in Quezon City that AWRA has started to go along with their socio-economic commitment to the deprived during the health crisis. In its mission and vision presentation, AWRA enumerated the conditions of a greater number of Filipinos during the wellness emergency and addressed them such as scarcity of food, unemployment, limited resources, hunger and demand for medicines and healthcare.
“Our goal is to serve women and other people by doing humanitarian efforts as we envision to create a better life for the people and provide a deep understanding of their holistic needs,” said Deniece Milenette V. Cornejo, celebrity, social entrepreneur, International Youth Ambassador and President of AWRA.
“We also identify the current needs of the Filipino people by providing support without barriers but with consistency and organization,” added Deniece.
To redefine its role, AWRA has reimagined and reworked its title project to “Bayanihan Na” which will be launched and turned over to the proper authorities together with an awarding ceremony on June 18 at the Maringal Hall of the Philippine National Police Headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City from 1 to 5 pm where the keynote speaker is Maria Fe Duterte.
“AWRA acting as Earth Saver Ambassadors are conduits to motivate and empower the people to achieve a harmonious nationalistic fervor from this socio-civic movement way back 2021 to search for the best community pantries that have maintained not only an organized act but have observed and followed as well safety protocols as prescribed by its partners PNP and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF),” explained Cornejo.
Aside from the “Bayanihan Na” concept, AWRA together with the Earth Saver Ambassadors have initiated the cleanup drive of election paraphernalia in many nooks and crannies of the country immediately after the May 2022 polls. They have also implemented and maintained various environmental friendly policies and activities such as nature preservation not only in the urban but in the countryside as well by tree planting, conservation of forests, hygiene, risk reduction on climate disturbances etc.  
The “Bayanihan Na” campaign is expected to intensify and foment Filipino values such as trustworthiness (pagtitiwala), honesty (katapatan), courtesy (pagkamagalang), obedience (pagkamasunurin), inquisitiveness (pagkamausisa), unity (pagkakaisa), understanding (pagkamaunawain), helpfulness (pagkamatulungin), care (mapagmahal) and godliness (makadiyos).
In recognition of the Best Community Pantry award, the recipient must have shown proper coordination with the assigned LGU; inspirational, strong yet humble story; following safety protocols among organizers and participants; distributed goods in good condition, not expired, and are legally purchased; pure and sincere intentions and no black propaganda.            
“I would like to thank those who supported this cause and those who believe that Bayanihan Na is much worth preserving,” quipped Cornejo who counted among them PMGen de Leon; Mencel G. Abela, AWRA Vice-President; Angel Chan, a rep from the Insular Life Insurance headed by Mark Philipp Neumann; Shadrach Crisostomo, President of Magandang Pilipinas; Estela Bulacan, President of Guardians Magistrate Advocators of Democracy Int’l, Inc. (GMADII); Victor Arevalo, Deputy Director of the Center Police Strategy Management; Senators Christopher “Bong” Go and Rolando “Bato” de la Rosa; Spmuda-UN-desa; DSWD; Anti-Red Tape;, DILG, DENR, NCCA and Golden Eagles Club.
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