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Putting others first

If community service for some youth is only for exposure, then this young lady thinks otherwise.

For Jhemarie P. Tamanu, a juris doctor student at the University of Cagayan Valley, community service is not just about the rewards one receives after rendering it but the genuine commitment that goes with the cause.

At 23, her understanding of the value of volunteerism is unfathomable. She always thinks less about herself, and more about others. For her, the more she gives, the happier she feels.
Jem, as she is fondly called, believes that if there is one positive note the COVID-19 pandemic has brought since its onset, it was the opportunity for young people like her to engage in platforms and mechanisms that elevate and amplify their voices.

During the first few months of the pandemic, she did not act as mere spectator nor disempowered citizen but she aided as one of the frontline responders to help mitigate the many consequences of the pandemic.

As the then Sangguaniang Kabataan chairperson of Barangay Sapping in Camalaniugan, Cagayan, the pandemic pushed her to the limit. With a resourcefulness mindset, she was driven to find ways and means to help her constituents.

Unmindful of the risk of COVID-19 infection, Jem bravely initiated the implementation of various community-based and outreach programs in her community. Among these include the distribution of ears avers for medical frontliners, SK Contra COVID-19 where they augment in quarantine checkpoints 24/7, Draw for Hope where schoolchildren were encouraged to show their support to frontliners through arts, and Sagip Kabarangay where they provided relief packs to severely affected residents in the locality.
Jem pushed for the installation of drumvatories to all strategic areas to instill the importance of hand washing as one of the best defenses against COVID-19. These drumvatories, made of steel drums and simple faucet system, are personally designed by his father. She also provided her alma mater, the Camalaniugan National High School a number of contactless hand sanitizers.

With the implementation of the blended learning, Jem introduced the Mobile eSKwela and eSKwela-at-home where she and her fellow SK officials and volunteers visited schoolchildren in their houses to teach and guide them in answering their modules.

She is also known for her Mobile Library where learners can borrow books and other references during their free time. These initiatives captured the attention of both local and national media entities which paved the way for other SKs in the country to adopt.

Seeing the need of a more accessible mobile markets, Jem launched the SK Talipapa and Mobile Market within their barangay so that basic needs and other essentials are within reach for all.

Knowing that food is the basic need at the height of the pandemic, Jem’s team distributed poultry meats and various vegetables to a number of low-income families they coined as ‘Super Nanay’ and ‘Super Tatay’.

Jem’s community projects are truly admirable as it benefitted several, if not all, sectors in the society. This is manifested by the success of the FeedLove project and Pantawid ng Pag-ibig program where hot meals and ready to eat foods were provided for the children and senior citizens, respectively.

Jem, who won the Miss Camalaniugan title in 2013, is consistent in her advocacy in reaching out those in the marginalized sector. Without a second thought, she immediately launched a relief operation, together with other NGOs she’s connected with, to help the hundreds of families affected by typhoon Ulysses in November 2020.

Far from the society’s view of a beauty queen who aces the runway, she did the other way around as she braved the rain, slippery pavements and floodwater just to bring relief packs to those severely affected by the mass flooding in the municipalities of Alcala, Amulung, Lal-lo, Camalaniugan and in Tuguegarao City.

Jem and her team did not stop there. Seeing the need to provide more help especially in the rehabilitation of the typhoon-victims’ houses, her team provided a number of housing materials to identified beneficiaries assessed as severely affected through the assistance of Tuguegarao City councilor Atty. Marjorie Martin-Chan.

Jem’s soft spot for the children shone brightly during relief operations. She made sure that the little ones received medicines, vitamins and other essential needs both during the aftermath of Ulysses and the height of COVID-19 pandemic.

She selflessly shares her time providing stress debriefing activities such as parlor games and mentoring kids in their barangay. She never failed to encourage the children to live productively and never to be discouraged because of their present situations.

In 2020, her contributions to uplift her fellow youth, empower her community folks and reach out to the needy took center stage after she was awarded as one of the pioneer awardees of the Top 20 Most Outstanding Youth Leaders organized by the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation in Cagayan.

Jem became and still one of the most sought-after youth leaders for interview both by the local and national media entities because of her many initiated projects.

In May 2020, no less than Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar personally interviewed Jem during the former’s Network Briefing program aired over PTV and PCOO’s attached agencies. She was also personally interviewed by PIA Director General Ramon Cualoping in his program Mediaman’s Mancave Podcast.

Jem proudly dedicated all these achievements and accolades to her former colleagues in barangay Sapping who diligently supported her in all her endeavors. These awards and milestones continue to inspire her to do better and think of more ways to help the marginalized, underprivileged and vulnerable sectors of society.

She believes that one must have an intense commitment and dedication to keep community service moving and fulfilling. Needless to say, she is one of the living manifestations that true community service knows no age, no gender, and no specific clientele to serve. (ALM/MDCT/PIA Region 2)

Jhemarie Tamanu is one of the recipients of the 2021 IDDU Honor Roles Award for Women in Cagayan Valley, an annual recognition institutionalized by PIA Region 2 which aims to recognize woman-honorees whose exemplary performances and outstanding achievements continue to serve as inspiration and model to the rest of the women sector.
Jhemarie Tamanu and her family during the awarding of the 2021 IDDU Honor Roles Award for Women.

About the Author

Mark Djeron Tumabao

Regional Editor and Social Media Manager

Region 2

An ordinary writer from Cagayan Province. 

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