TINA Monzon-Palma, head of the Bantay Bata 163 and Sagip Kapamilya programs of ABSCBN Foundation Inc. (AFI), has long been involved in making life perhaps, just a little bit easier for others. “Public service has always been a part of my life even as a student way back in high school and more so in college." “But when I went to become a reporter I have also been involved with various civic clubs and organizations like the Quezon City Red Cross, the Citizens Traffic Action where at some point one of the many activities that we have is public service, helping people who need our assistance in the field of expertise the organization would have. If this is Citizens Traffic Action, this is motoring, giving driving instructions to the public. Of course, you know what the Red Cross does. So that was where and how I started way back,”
recalls Monzon-Palma. Reporter’s instinct As a veteran broadcast journalist, Monzon-Palma meets many people who need some kind of assistance. “A natural instinct of reporters is to be able to look after the welfare of people one is writing a story about. This is not just about covering a tragedy. This is covering someone who’s got into a tragic situation and needs our assistance,”
she says. "Monzon-Palma joined AFI in 1998, after she and AFI managing helped put together a resource mobilization campaign to be able to get the money to start, and have one big Asian conference among the educators and other stakeholders in children’s educational TV programming in the Asia-Pacific region,”
narrates Monzon-Palma, who was chief operating officer of ABC TV 5 at the time.
Though the hours are long, and the work is demanding, Monzon-Palma finds public service work both fulfilling and complementary to her work in news and current affairs. Living for others. “As you grow older in this profession, when you’ve tried to get hold of what kind of life you want to live, as you grow older, you find out you’re beginning to reach out more towards others than yourself. You’ve been a fulfilled person now, maybe it’s about time to extend yourself to others, you live for others. You become a person who is always there because there are people that need your help.”
Today, she is among the busiest in AFI as Sagip Kapamilya is at the forefront of private sector rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of tropical storm Ondoy.
Monzon-Palma suggests Lopez Group employees who want to help “can actually become volunteers in our warehouse and in joining our caravans to the different release sites. They can become part of the distribution. They can also just be very active in soliciting and collecting donations from their neighbors and relatives. They can always, at the end of the day, thank God that they’re not in that situation.” (Story/photo by Carla Paras-Sison, with interview by Christelle Belmonte, ABS-CBN Corporate Communications)