Even as a new recruit and the youngest member of the Municipality of Pilar’s disaster response team, Genevie Sumaylo was dauntless as she prepared for the onslaught of Super Typhoon Odette on Siargao Island.
Having experienced the Marawi Siege first-hand in 2017 as a student of Mindanao State University-Marawi, Genevie was not new to facing crises. With Super Typhoon Odette, however, she gained a different perspective when it became her responsibility to save lives.
“Before, I thought it was all fun and action for the responders I saw on television. Now I know what it truly feels, and it’s not an easy job,” said the young public servant.
For Genevie, discipline, mental and emotional preparedness are essential for responders, especially when they are away from their families during these stressful scenarios.
“Even when we are exhausted, we have to stay strong, as the people look to us for strength and hope,” said Genevie. The strength shown by their leaders and the gratitude of the people kept her going. “When we are appreciated for what we do, it makes our sacrifice worthwhile.”
Various emergency response groups from the province of Surigao del Norte including Genevie's team monitored the typhoon track, prepared the residents for evacuation, and ensured adequate supply of food and water for the community.
Communication played a vital role for the members, and with load support Smart Communications, Inc., the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office was able to closely coordinate with the various units down to the municipal and barangay levels.