The Malasakit Movement and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) joined forces on Black Saturday, April 3 to support a low-key but very selfless non-government organization (NGO) whose mission is to provide blood–free of cost and hassle–to needy individuals.
Chances are, you’ve never heard before of Dugong Alay Dugtong Buhay, Inc., but its bloodletting Saturday was organized by its founder Nap Marilag to mark its 27th anniversary.
A close partner of Dugong Alay Dugtong Buhay in recent years has been Celine Pialago, founder of the Malasakit Movement and also the spokesperson of MMDA. She was among the first to donate blood at the event, which took place Kalinangan Covered Court, Barangay Caniogan, Pasig City.
“Sa gitna ng pandemya, isa sa hindi natin nabibigyang pansin ay yung kakulangan ng dugo sa mga blood bank (One issue that doesn’t get much attention amid the pandemic is the lack of blood in blood banks),” Pialago said on Easter Sunday, April 4.
Also contributing to the blood drive were around 100 MMDA enforcers, most of whom were newly-hired. Pialago said Department of Health (DOH) guidelines were strictly enforced during the event, which ran from 7 a.m. to noon.
The Malasakit Movement also brought at least 100 food packs meant for the volunteer medical team and the other donors. For Marilag, the food donations are quite special and hold a deeper significance.
“Yung advocacy geared toward tulungan. Yung hospital team tinutulungan tayo na makapagbigay sila ng dugo, in return naman, binibigyan naman natin sila ng maayos na pagkain (The advocacy is geared toward cooperation. The hospital team helps us in collecting the blood, and in return we give them a good meal),” said Marilag, who also celebrated his 59th birthday on Saturday.
“Naniniwala kami na the moment na isang tao nag-donate ng dugo, napakain mo yan nang maayos at umalis, babalik at babalik yan kasi naisip niya na concern naman pala sa amin itong organization. Sure ako babalik yan (We believe that the moment a person donates blood, and he or she was fed before leaving, the person will return for the next bloodletting since the organization showed concern for him or her. I’m sure the person will return),” he explained.
Suffice it to say that during such events, the notion of volunteerism is just as strong as the desire to help individuals who are in dire need of blood, either for themselves or for their loved ones. It is through this belief system and determination that Dugong Alay Dugtong Buhay proves that providing blood for patients need not be as complicated, difficult, or stressful as it usually is.
By organizing blood drives with its partner hospitals, the NGO gets its own blood supply via 30-70 share with the hospital.
This means that for every 100 bags of donated blood, Dugong Alay Dugtong Buhay gets 30 bags of blood, which it will give away to those who need it. They would even go as far as to deliver the bags themselves through its own delivery service.
“Kakatapos lang namin mag-bloodletting sa Camp Ramon Magsaysay sa Nueva Ecija. Naka-200 bags ako doon. So ibig sabihin mayroon akong 60 bags na pwede kong itulong sa kapwa (We just finished a bloodletting at Camp Ramon Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. We collected 200 bags there. So that means I have 60 bags that I can use to help my countrymen),” Marilag said.
He further said: “Happiness without measure itong nararamdaman ko each time na nakakapagbigay tayo ng dugo, each time nakakatulong tayo sa kapwa na nararamdaman nila na wala silang binayaran doon sa dugo (I feel happiness without measure each time we provide blood to a person, and that person knows he or she received it for free).”
“Yun ang gusto ko talagang iparating: These days, hindi lahat ng bagay, pera. Kasi kahit napakarami mong pera, kung wala nang available na dugo, wala talaga mamamatay ang pasyente (That’s what I want to impart: These days, not everything is about money. The patient will die despite having a lot of money, if there’s no blood available),” he noted.
For her part, Pialago said the Malasakit Movement’s partnership with Dugong Alay Dugtong Buhay doesn’t end with the food contribution for donors.
“Para din ito sa awareness na may ganitong mga organization ang willing tumulong magdugtong ng buhay sa pamamagitan ng dugo na libre. Hindi mo kailangan maging member, hindi mo kailangan ng referral, at mas lalong hindi mo kailangan bayaran (We also spread awareness regarding the existence of an organization that is willing to help extend the lives of people by providing free blood. No don’t need to be a member, you don’t need to have referrals, and most of all you don’t need to pay for it),” she said.
Dugong Alay Dugtong Buhay has partnerships with the heads of the blood bank of more than 15 reputable hospitals in the country.