Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Power Of The Ask

Thursday/Friday, December 22/23, 2011 - Day 4/5

Emily Dell Pascua chairs the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc, of Iligan and Michael Lagcao is with the Iligan Bloggers Society.* We met at 8 o’clock in the evening and took-off from the discussions with Roy Pamitalan the night before. Michael and the Chamber team were just at the San Lorenzo Parish evacuation center to scan the evacuee forms.  They were  going to the Iligan Institute of Technology evacuation center that same evening.

With the city badly needing the digital data, the challenge was how to speed up the encoding process.  Lornito Mahinay, Jr. and his team were leaving for the Christmas break the following day. While I was told that there will be a new set of volunteers to take over from them, neither the group leadership nor the hand-off was clear to me.  I, too, could not remain in Iligan because my mother had called and asked that I spend Christmas with them in Cebu.

During our discussion with Emily and Michael, it was apparent that we needed outside help.  I SMSed a good friend, Clare Amador, now assistant secretary of the Department of Budget Management, for the name and contact information of the president of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP). In no time, she sent back the number of Gillian “Gigi” Virata.  Immediately after that, Gigi SMSed to say that she was expecting my call.

With haste Gigi responded to my request for BPAP to shout out to its members for pro bono help in encoding the scanned records.  She passed the number of Myla Reyes of Total Transcriptions Solutions, Inc. (TTSI)/Cybersoft, a medical transcription company, and asked that I call her.  Without hesitation Myla offered to help and pretty soon they had set up a file transfer facility for the records that the Iligan team had scanned.  Myla’s team kicked-off encoding with a throughput of 1,000 records in a single day.

The power of the ask — if you don’t ask no one will give — that’s what I’ve been taught from three decades of volunteer work with the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel).  Good-hearted individuals such as Clare, Gigi and Myla were not a hard ask — they welcomed the opportunity to help and they did so with their core competence and the resources they already had.

* The following phrase "which put up the relief support website OneforIligan support" is deleted after a correction made by Lisa Marie Mirasol of the Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc.


  1. Hello Mr. Telibert,

    IBS, Inc. is a channel for donations for the victims and information we could gather and share to the people but only through the www.iliganbloggers.com and Iligan Bloggers Facebook Fanapage.. The relief support website One For Iligan is not the works of the IBS but a collaborative and initiative of concerned MSU-IITans and Iliganons, for the ONE FOR ILIGAN cause.. They put up the site and gathered information that would be a one stop info hub for Sendong related information and channels of which generous hearts can send their donations through -- IBS included in such, through joint efforts in info sharing.. BUT the OneForIligan website is credited to these genius and not IBS..^^ Credit is due to them..^^

    Lisa Marie Mirasol
    Web Content Manager
    Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc

  2. Thanks very much for the clarification, Lisa.