- In the Beginning
In the summer of 1979 a small Group of Businessmen from Metro Manila and Central Luzon met to organize a Team from the Task force Maharlika, a civilian volunteer organization then under the Office of Civil Relations- Philippine Information and Civic Action Group (PHILCAG) of the AFP.
Civilian and Soldiers so often found themselves together in relief and rescue operations, that pooling their efforts under one team was a logical step.
On the recommendation of then Col. Honesto M. Isleta, then Deputy Chief of the newly organized AFP Civil Relations Service, then CRS Chief Brig. Gen. Alexander L. Felix gave the green light for the formation of an emergency communications team largely composed of civilian volunteers.
This gave birth to the formation of Regional Emergency Assistance Communications Team (REACT). On June 23, 1982, The REACT Articles of Incorporation was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
One of the Founding fathers, businessman Manuel “Woodpecker” G. Maglaque, became the first REACT Group Chief on March 21, 1980. REACT-NCR became the first REACT Region followed by Regions I, III, VI and VII.
- January 1982-December 1984: Manuel “WOODPECKER” Maglaque (Founding President, Three Terms)
The 1st National Convention drew 200 delegates to the Covelandia Resort in Cavite. There, Woodpecker was elected as the first REACT National President.
Elected with him were Tomas “Bluebird” Joson III, as National Executive Vice President, Oscar “Bartlett” Nieves, NVP for Operation; Froilan “Network” Villegas, NVP Administration; Rodrigo “Invictus” Flores, National Secretary; Amor “Bingo” Tanjuakio, National Treasurer; Jesus “Blockbuster” David, National Auditor; Ruperto “Rockwood” Sanpoleo, National Advocate; and Eduardo “EM” Montenejo, National Public Information Officer.
Mercy missions, traffic-motorist assistance and disaster relief actions were launched as the National Board fine tuned the Organization’s Constitution and By-Laws and polished the Rules and Regulations that would guide a REACTor to work.
- January 1985-December 1986: Tomas “BLUEBIRD” Joson III (2nd,Two Terms)
The second National Convention in 1984 was set in scenic Baguio, the famed City of Pines. And then the National Presidency changed hands for the first time. Bluebird captured the top post and would serve for two years starting in January 1985. His stewardship attracted the cream of civic-minded professionals into the fold; Groups began to sprout in Mindanao. On November 28, 1986 the membership stood at 600.
- January-December 1987: Roy “SKYHAWK” N. Tamparong (3rd)
Rapid expansion of Groups in Mindanao marked the Presidency of Atty. Roy “ Skyhawk” N. Tamparong, Jr. His term was marked by a strong accent on rationalization; the first ever REACT Regional Forum was held on September 16, 1987 in Mindanao. Dinagyang, one of the pioneer groups in the Visayas, brought the sixth National Convention to Iloilo City in November 1987. It was significant in that there were more delegates from the Visayas and Mindanao than from Luzon.
- January-December 1988: Johnny “COMMANDO” Ting (4th)
By 1988, REACT began to flex its corporate muscle. The campaign for membership took an intensified form and public and media recognition of REACT civic activities began to take shape. As Fourth 4th National President (1987-1988), (1988-89) Johnny ”Commando” K. Ting correctly read, “the need to create an administrative system that would cope with the needs of a growing organization is necessary” and proceeded to set up a national secretariat.
A tie between re-electionist Commando and Noel “Latigo” Tan triggered a crisis in November 1988. It was resolved later with the proclamation of National EVP-elect Jonathan “Blue Diamond” Rivera as fifth National President.
- January-December 1992: Anthony “HUNTER” P. Dequiña (6th)
Atty. Anthony “Hunter” P. Dequiña, who won as congressman in that election, assumed as the sixth National President in January 1992. The membership by then rose to nearly 4,000 in 104 Groups. Significant National Board decisions during the period centered on guidelines in the formation on new Groups, creation of a Mortuary Aid Fund and a Foundation, and the granting of broader powers to the Regional Boards.
Three years of patient planning and exhaustive negotiations for the legitimization of REACT’s radio network finally led to the promulgation in August 1993 by the National Telecommunications Commission of the Rules and Regulations governing the installation, operation and maintenance of radio equipment and facilities of civic radio groups such as REACT.
- January–December 1993: Jose “XEROX” V. Facultad (7th)
The campaign to legitimize REACT operations went into high gear in 1993 under Jose “Xerox” V. Facultad as the seventh National President. The National Board also adopted a policy of transparency under which every Region, Group and Member would know what the National Board was doing and why. Shifting energies toward national development was the pervasive Area Conference theme in 1993. The Organization forged working ties with the Commission on Elections for the ARMM election in Western Mindanao, and with the Department of Health for the Polio Plus campaign. A Memorandum of Agreement was also signed with the Philippine Air Force.
Re-districting some Regions in Mindanao dominated discussions in 1993, gathering momentum in Regional and Group Conferences and Fora and finally erupting into a heated debate at the National Convention in Cagayan de Oro City. When the shouting was all over, the general membership turned its back and thumbed down the proposal.
Member contributions to the Special Project Fund reached the million-peso mark on June 23 of that year, even as final touches were made on the REACT National Mortuary Aid Fund (RENMAF).
New groups emerged. Negros Oriental and the island province of Romblon savored their first taste of REACT service with formation of Dumaguete (later changed to Sidlakan) Group and Marble Group. The national leadership also prodded the Regions to form new groups in large territories such as Pangasinan, Panay and Negros Occidental.
- January-December 1994: Edgar “BACCARAT” L. Valdez (8th)
Two National Board Officers from Mindanao vied for the presidency in the 1994 National Convention – Atty. Edgar “Baccarat” L. Valdez, (Region 12) National Senior Vice-President for Operations, and Perfecto “Firewalker” Yebes, the National Executive Vice President (Region 9), Baccarat won.
Baccarat’s thrust was to bring about a leadership most responsive to the needs, aspirations and problems of the Members. A vital step in this direction was the creation of programs that would directly benefit the community, the Organization and the General Membership. One plan was for the Groups to plant gmelina trees that could be harvested and sold for huge profits after three to five years. A service facility was also opened to interested and qualified Members for the processing of their firearms licenses and permits-to-carry. A licensing campaign was also launched for all radio equipments and bases nationwide in preparation for January 1996 when all civic radio organizations would only be allowed to use commercial radio equipments and facilities.
Mortuary aid checks were officially issued for the first time January 1, 1994. For the second straight year, REACT was the PolioPlus communication arm, but it was only in this year 1994 when the Organization earned its fair and much-deserved share of media and public recognition for the effort. It was the only local Civic Radio Group among seven worldwide organizations awarded at the Heroes’ Hall in Malacañang.
REACT was still the only Non-Governmental Organization sitting as a member of the national panel of judges in the annual Clean & Green Presidential Award.
A Memorandum of Agreement signed between the National President and DENR Secretary Angel C. Alcala once again tapped the communications network of the Organization in monitoring the nationwide tree planting project of DENR on June 10, 1994.
Two new groups were formed. The Golden Cowrie Group in far-off Guiuan, Guihulngan, Eastern Samar and the Mactan Group in Lapu-lapu City, bringing the total number of chartered groups to 130. The Sandugo Group based in San Jose Occidental Mindoro, was chartered on June 5, 1994. Bulusan, another group created in the fertile Bicol Region, was organized in Sorsogon as the seventh Group in the Region and the 132nd REACT Group nationwide.
- January-December 1995 – Angel ‘GYPSY” Veloso (9th)
Angel “Gypsy” E. Veloso Jr. of Alert Group ascended to the presidency in January 1995. Despite a deficit early on, the National Board saw to it that nationally mandated programs and projects were implemented. The three Area Conferences went on as scheduled in the cities of Angeles, Dumaguete and General Santos.
A reprise of Halalan 1992 was launched under a Memorandum of Agreement with ABS-CBN, which extended P700, 000.00 to REACT as mobilization support fund. As in 1992, the activity showcased the communications capability of REACT.
A truly independent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) was constituted for the first time with Atty. Vispero
“Sangkay” Mayor, Interlink Group Advocate representing the Visayas, as Chair; Past National President Jose “Xerox” V. Facultad as Senior Member representing Luzon; and Immediate Past National President Atty. Edgar “Baccarat” L. Valdez representing Mindanao. The commission presided over the new voting system of electing the National Board Officers at the 1995 National Convention.
In 1995 the number of chartered Groups reached 145 nationwide, with a combined strength of 4,812 members. Only ten Provinces were without REACT Group; Batanes, Kalinga-Apayao, Aurora, Palawan, Oriental Mindoro, Catanduanes, Guimaras, Biliran, Siquijor and Camiguin.
For the first time on January 1, 1994, Farm 77, the only sea borne civic radio group in the country composed of 77 members with a land base in Dawis Island in Bohol was organized in the same year.
Seven New Groups emerged in 1995: Noah based in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur; Centerpoint, based in Cauayan, Isabela, Kagueban in Puerto Princesa City; Mt. Palpalan in Pagadian City; Quinine in Lantapan, Bukidnon, Humayanon in Tago, Surigao Del Sur; and Agong in Polloc Port, Maguindanao.
- January-December 1996-Juanito “SHRINER” Chio (10th)
A record-breaking landslide victory in Olongapo City in 1995 catapulted Juanito “Shriner” T. Chio of Pineapple Group to the presidency.
It was also in that City where Caraga gained full recognition as a REACT Region. Fifteen Groups, including the newly organized Buyawanon Group based in Placer, Surigao Del Norte, comprised the new Region.
Greenleaves Group was organized in Ipil, Zamboanga Del Sur less than a year after REACTor Plaridel “Blueprint” Marcelo was waylaid and slain in cold blood by armed terrorists on his way home after courageously assisting firemen put out the fire that razed Ipil to the ground. Its birth symbolized the will of REACT to pursue its mission to serve even in the face of death.
The National Executive Committee began work in January1996, an innovation designed to trim down the rising cost of all National Board Members having to meet every month.
It was also in 1996 when the National Board stood on the threshold of an achieving two important goals: generating funds that could ease up member assessment and full legitimization of its radio operations.
The national mood in 1996 was one of no-nonsense work and personal sacrifice for the sake of the Organization.
The National Board Officers were asked to work harder, particularly for Regions not represented in the National Executive Committee and to seriously consult with their Groups on a regular basis.
Shriner was seen as an unforgiving taskmaster and this was understandable. Something drastic and decisive had to be done.
Very early in the year, REACT signed a working Agreement with the PNP Traffic Management Command as traffic enforcer on a national scale. REACT-NCR took that credit for the spadework in getting the pact signed Oplan: Alis Disease, a three-year Department of Health project for which REACT had been the official communications arm, was extended into 1996 under a new project code: “Knock Out Polio”, Richard “Shining Star” D. Valdes, NSVP for Operations, was at the forefront in the two major undertakings.
It was REACT-NCR’s year and Shining Star’s. Both worked well beyond expectations. In the same period several feathers were added to REACT cap: full support to the PAL International marathon at the PICC grounds, hourly traffic updates and immediate response to the Ozone Disco tragedy which claimed more than 150 lives in March. To the last man, the National Board commended REACT-NCR for these accomplishments during its third regular meeting in Ormoc City.
Discussions with the NTC on the legalization problem continued unabated and options were explored within the amateur and commercial spectra even as efforts at seeking new sources of revenue for the Organization and its Groups were intensified. It was only a matter of time.
Meanwhile, the date of the 1996 National Convention was moved back to October to coincide with the school semestral break and so Members can be with their families. Puerto Princesa was a fascinating tourist destination most of the delegates found too good to miss. Partnership with media paid off. For the first time, the REACT Convention was well announced through leading newspapers on the first day of the event. Shriner’s presidency was punctuated by another feather to its cap with the preference for REACT to provide communications back-up for the delegates during the APEC convention in November 1996. Again, REACT-NCR was at the helm of this achievement.
- January-December 1997: Richard “SHINING STAR” D. Valdes (11th)
It was also in that city that saw the fulfillment of Shining Star’s dream to lead.
Despite being a newcomer in the National Board, he ran and won the presidency unopposed. The victory meant work and more work even before the National Board sat down for its first regular meeting in January 1997.
For the new President, the party was over only days after he won. Faced with a steady decline in membership and a growing deficit, Shining Star stressed the need for the Members to go back to the basics and re-learn everything that has made REACT what it is today. He proceeded to explore possible ties with private individuals and institutions and media, seeking their support for REACT’s plans and programs. He called next on the National Board to correct misconceptions about the true role of REACT in the face of modern communications technology such as the cellular phones. Then he called for a massive re-orientation effort to teach the fundamentals of Member discipline, ethics and protocol.
Shining Star felt the urgency of restoring the sense of honor and pride among the Members and for them to draw strength from past achievements and experiences. It was time to look back and to turn inward.
Shining Star hinged his administration on the B.R.A.I.N.S. principles that is; Building membership, Re-orientation of Members, Awareness campaign, Integrating equipment and resources, Networking with various agencies and Sourcing of revenues other than Members’ contributions.
The leadership of Shining Star brought the Organization to new heights with relentless media exposure and vigorous membership campaign. More than a dozen new Groups were chartered and more government and private agencies took recognition of the invaluable services of the Organization Memoranda of Agreement were signed between these agencies and REACT Members found their hands full of tasks in extending the assistance required. The apex perhaps of such recognition is the appointment of the Organization to sit as regular Member of the Task Force on Traffic Improvement, Monitoring and Management (TRAFIMM) created by Pres. Fidel V. Ramos to find solution to the worsening traffic situation of Metro Manila and its environs.
He also introduced a bold and unprecedented policy of adopting a singular uniform for the whole membership. The vest in fire red with the word REACT emblazoned at the back dominated the scene of the National Convention in Baguio City in November 1997. Seeing sea of Members in one fiery color symbolized an Organization united in their dreams. Shining Star was justified in instituting the directive. At this Convention, Enedina “Enzyme” G. Cacabelos, the National Executive President, succeeded Shining Star.
- January 1998–June 2000: Enedina “ENZYME” G. Cacabelos (12th,Two Terms, 2-1/2 years)
Unprecedented in the history of REACT, Enzyme was the first woman Member to be elected as National President. Ripe for the presidency, Enzyme held various national positions prior to her ascendancy to national leadership. She was the rallying figure of Region XII and the heart and soul of Midland Group. For years, she steered her Group and Region XII to prominence as evidenced by the numerous awards conferred to them every year. Region XII is the first Region to covet the Hall of Fame award for having been declared outstanding for 6 consecutive years.
Enzyme pursued the campaign on public awareness and improved the cooperation with various agencies. Other than Standing Committees, she appointed individual Chairman for each Partner Agency for a speedier disposition and coordination.
As a true doting mother, she looked for the welfare of her REACT family through TRUST: “Towards React Unity, Solidarity and Teamwork”. Immediately upon assumption, she worked to reactivate the dying Groups and visited all groups. REACT Handbook coined the “Blue Book,” by the color of its cover saw its second reprint. Enzyme took time to assign a Committee to review the Blue Book and saw to it that major refinements to suit the needs of the Organization were properly incorporated. Updates of the Organization’s history and achievements were tediously chronicled. In this edition, the REACT Corporate Statements were spelled out to reflect the Mission and Vision of the Organization.
Austerity was at the center of Enzyme’s presidency. She put emphasis on the function of National Executive Committee as a consultative group that gathered regularly every month to plan and recommend national policies to the National Board that met only every quarter. This enabled the Organization to save supposed monthly travel expenditures of the Members of the National Board. Enzyme’s help flagging groups hounded by various handicaps to come back on their toes. While Blue Diamond’s presidency of 3 years was brought by abnormal circumstance, Enzyme was the first National President who was re-elected. She ran for re-election during her National Convention in Zamboanga City unopposed and meant to continue to serve for another year. However, the REACT year was reverted to fiscal year instead of calendar year thus extending her term for another 6 months totaling her presidency to 2-1/2 years. It was in Enzyme’s term that the Bangkoro Group in Pangutaran, Jolo was chartered and in that year, perhaps one of REACT’s distinguished achievements was the timely alert of Manggis Group of the malaria outbreak in Laminusa Island in Sulu sometime in March of 1998.
Through its network, the incident was relayed immediately to the Disaster Management Unit of the DOH. With the expeditious information, the DOH was able to send relief and medicines immediately averting a more calamitous situation. The Organization was also cited for their assistance during tragic Cebu Pacific plane crash in Cagayan de Oro City in the early part of the year and to a wayward PAL plane that plowed to a residential area in Bacolod City.
Alarmed by the annually increasing rental rates of its Headquarters’ space at the V.V Soliven Building, Enzyme, envisioned a plan for REACT to have its own building. She created and headed the National Headquarters Committee tasked to find ways and means to accumulate enough fund to finance the purchase of lot and construction of the building. The Committee opened a special fund account and Enzyme put up the initial seed money and the amount snowballed slowly but with promising results.
Recognizing the valuable contribution of Junior REACTors, Enzyme encouraged the creation of more Junior REACT groups. Enzyme will be remembered also as Crossover President since she was the incumbent when the year 2000 (Y2K) took over the first millennium. Recognizing its nationwide radio networking capability, Pilipinas Shell commissioned REACT to serve as its back-up communication in the event of computer glitch as a result of the millennium crossover.
- July 2000 – June 2001: Gregorio “EXOR Pacifico (13th)
Gregorio “Exor” Pacifico of NCR-East took over after Enzyme. He was elected during the National Convention at Iloilo City in 2000 unopposed and served the Organization until June 2001. Exor maintained the simplicity program of Enzyme and continued the quarterly meeting of the National Board and visited groups at much frugal means to save funds for more important activities of REACT.
The Y2K partnership of Pilipinas Shell and REACT was carried on for the rest of the year when both firms tied up for motorists’ assistance during the Lenten season widely known as SUMVAC. Exor’s year was Halalan year. Again, ABS-CBN tapped the resources of REACT for the national election monitoring and speedy real time results. For this effort, the giant communication network pledged a donation of P1.5 million for REACT operations, however; only half of the promised had been fulfilled. On this year, REACT was also recipient of Presidential Award for its contributions to the Clean and Green and Health programs of the government.
REACT performance during the term of Exor was recapped during the Convention in Cebu City where Gen. Angelo T. Reyes, a staunch supporter of REACT was the Guest of Honor and Speaker. Reyes was then the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This time, Alexander “Apricot” Siladan was the unanimous choice to lead REACT.
- July 2001 –June 2002: Alexander “APRICOT” Siladan † (14th)
Like Enzyme, Apricot was also the nucleus of his group, Salinas based in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya. He held various Group, Regional and National positions and among the most active National Officers preceding his presidency. Mayon Volcano erupted on July 26, 2001 affecting a wide area surrounding the volcano. Apricot solicited donations for basic goods and sent relief assistance to evacuees the following month. Recognizing the capability of REACT in preparedness, the OCD-NRCC under MGen Melchor P. Rosales AFP (Ret) signed an Agreement of Cooperation with REACT.
The administration of Apricot saw continuing partnership of REACT with the DOH, Clean and Green Program of DILG and the annual Alay Lalad.
REACT was active in the Door-to-Door Anti-Polio campaign, national immunization, anti-rabies operations. During this period, the use of cellular phones made a dent on REACT membership growth.
- July 2002–June 2003: Antonio “SANDPIPER” Campos (15th) Durian
Group played host to the Convention of Apricot where Antonio “Sandpiper” Campos (Dinagyang Group, Iloilo City, Region 6) was elected. Faced with the serious problem of dying Groups due to the advent of modern and convenient mobile phones, Sandpiper worked to re-activate the inactive Groups. Team Building seminars were conducted during Area Conferences. Every possible mean was considered including the encouragement of hard-up groups to act as middlemen for institutions that required generic medicines entitling them to rebates and generate funds with Apricot providing the supplies.
In September 2002, Sandpiper organized relief operations for Filipino refugees from Sabah at the affected areas of Sulu, Bongao and Tawi-Tawi. The Clean and Green, Alay-Lakad, Pasig River marathon and other regular partnerships were maintained and the firearm licensing assistance was vigorously pursued. Meanwhile, the increasing monthly rental at V.V. Soliven building continues to drain the Organization’s finances. The National Headquarters Committee kept on finding additional funds.
- July 2003 – June 2004: Joel Noel “JOC” Cabrega (16th)
A younger blood in the person of Joel Noel, “JOC” Cabrega of Pansol Group, Region IV, became the 16th president of REACT during the annual Convention at Waterfront Hotel, Lahug, Cebu City. JOC continued to revitalize dying Groups and the partnership with various Agencies.
He re-activated the regional bases in Region 1 & 3 with the cooperation of the CRS-AFP of the Northern Luzon Command. His presidency saw the partnership of REACT with other non-governmental agencies such as the CTI Engineering for the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement project and the PNRC-NHQ SID First Aide and Basic Life Support training. The Organization was also tapped by the DOWN Syndrome Association for its annual body walks in providing traffic control assistance.
Perhaps finding the headache of coping with monthly rental too much to handle, JOC made way for the approval of the decision to purchase a 20-footer container van converted to a field office using the National Headquarters fund. This generous move however, triggered another serious crisis in REACT leadership the following months that followed. The National Headquarters Committee, which Enzyme continued to chair, claimed that the relocation has no Committee approval. REACT family nonetheless, settled at their own home at the AFP-CRS compound.
The leadership crisis became apparent during the election of National Officers at the Annual Convention of REACT at Cagayan de Oro City in April 2004. JOC pushed for the election of Josue “El Bacawan” Lee of Chavacano Group of Zamboanga City to succeed him. However, Enzyme filed her candidacy to contest El Bacawan. This led to hotly contested elections aggravated by the fact that no original Members of the REACT COMELEC was present to preside in the process. Shriner, being a Past National President and leader of the Host group was appointed as the COMELEC chair and supervised the affair.
The election was so close in Enzyme’s favor. But the crisis lingered.
JOC did not endorse the result and instead questioned the conduct of elections. The leadership crisis however, earned positive side to the problem. To avert further polarization, REACT Past National Presidents gathered in historic Club Filipino, San Juan and met with all concerned parties. With the founding president Woodpecker presiding, the PNPs heard all parties to resolve the issue and Enzyme once again was back to lead the frontline.
- July 2004–June 2006: Enedina “ENZYME “ Cacabelos (17th, Two Terms)
Enzyme continued the activities that she started and served not only for one year but was prevailed upon to continue her term for another year until June 2006. Within this period, the realization to own a National Headquarters was her passionate objective.
With the generous assistance from Hon. Edgar “Baccarat” L. Valdez (PNP, 1994) who became the party-list Representative for Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC), REACT was able to construct the building right at the CRS compound in Camp Aguinaldo. The solicitation for the necessary fund proved easier than getting the approval of AFP leadership to grant the necessary permits for the construction. Thanks to the assistance of Hon. Angelo “Defender” T. Reyes, then secretary of National Defense and who was already a Lifetime Member of REACT, the go signal to proceed was eventually given. However, it was through the efforts of Shining Star that the intercession of Sec. Reyes was made possible. The National Headquarters was eventually constructed. It was inaugurated in November 12, 2005 with Sec. Reyes and Cong. Valdez as the Guests of Honor.
Enzyme’s dream was finally realized.
- July 2006 –June 2008 – Michael “SCOUT MIKE” Malacca (18th, Two Terms)
Scout Mike of Space Group became the 18th REACT National President during the elections held at Waterfront Hotel,
Mactan, Cebu. He was to serve for another term when he was re-elected during the National Convention held in Roxas City, the Area of Responsibility of the Halaran Group.
During his administration, REACT was a major supporter and participant to the Green Philippine Highway campaign at Salusalo at Ugnayan para sa Kalikasan conceptualized and initiated by the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources. Scout Mike tied up with the Private Sector Disaster Management Network (PSDMN) and the Red Cross 143 project, supported the Malacanang to Mayon Mission for volcano mudflow victims.
His administration revived to activate the groups of Tunnel, Magiting, Morion, Paliparan, Kagueban, Mayon and Hamorawon. A new group in Cebu City was also formed responding to the name of REACT Metro Cebu. In keeping with the fast communication and paperless technology, Scout Mike conceptualized the idea of providing Group Chiefs with kit in CD form. Due to financial difficulties of the Organization, Scout Mike instituted hard austerity measures including control on travelling expenses, availed and resorted to the most economical means of transport, but these sincere efforts were not of much help to boast the coffers of REACT.
- July 2008- June 2009-Avelina “BUNAPLY” C. Agra (19th)
Inheriting a financially handicapped Organization, Bunaply, the pride of Lamon Bay Group from Quezon province, did not feel dejected when she took what Scout Mike had turned over. She was elected unopposed during the National Convention at Raven Resort, Abucay, Bataan. Armed with strong determination and commitment to bring back the Organization to its glory, she formed a Management Group from veteran REACT Members that assisted her planned and implemented the programs to encourage new membership and revive old Groups.
She put great emphasis on timely collection of dues from Groups which was achieved during her group visitations. Her relentless group visits paid off and more inactive groups were stimulated to reinstate. Among these Groups were Taktak, Sandugo, Greenleaves, Pineapple, Industrial, Pantaron and Miners.
Since the country is visited with at least twenty typhoons a year, emergency assistance is already a part of REACT regular service. In fact, the Organization was formed primarily for this purpose. The national leadership of Bunaply waste no time and provided assistance to the victims of the Cagayan de Oro flash flood and “Frank” Typhoon in Panay Island through the Groups responsible in those areas.
Bunaply envisioned the improvement of REACT communications capability and linkage. Among the plans was a repeater system that would ultimately link all Groups. She started by installing a system at Taktak base situated in a high ground of Antipolo City intended to touch base with the system of Combat Group and neighboring Regions. The other communication enhancement she initiated, was the construction of a REACT website and a network where Members can easily interact. This is a plan long dreamed by the Organization.
- July 2009-June 2010 – Robert “DYNAMITE” C. Sua (20th)
The administration of Dynamite brought a promise of new dimension and the Members look forward to vigorous efforts to bring back the Organization to its new heights.
Conceptualized during the term of Bunaply, Dynamite who is from NCR- North, seriously continued and refined the construction of REACT Website.
However, the repeater system did not function well the way it was wanted. The system was shelved for future consideration and Dynamite concentrated on the improvements of the REACT website. REACT Forum was created and this new communication tool paved the way for a more participative interaction among Groups.
Dynamite also adopted the use of Management Group which religiously met every Tuesday. This move helped Dynamite improved his collaboration with various groups and attend to their concerns in due time. With the help of his Management Team which included his key National Officers, Dynamite brought again REACT a renewed notch of recognition among various Government Agencies were REACT had previous cooperation. During his term, the Memoranda of Agreement with NDCC, ABS-CBN were renewed. ABS-CBN once again utilized the capability of REACT network on information gathering during the national elections in May 2010.
Palit-Ilaw, a SWITCH to CFL energy saving project initiated by the Department of Energy was a dominant special project of REACT during this year. As a member of the SWITCH Movement, other civic organizations such as ROTARY tied up with REACT for the distribution of free CFL for equivalent numbers of incandescent bulbs.
2009 year was also a disaster year. The infamous “Ondoy” Typhoon brought havoc to Metro Manila with its volume of rains that inundated the metropolis. During this calamity situation, two-way radios proved again its importance when almost all cellular sites broke down and made inoperable.
REACT provided the necessary assistance especially in speedy communication.
Dynamite also entered into an agreement with the Soroptomist Group for communication assistance.
An important award, coined the Maharlika Award was included among the yearly recognition. This recognizes Members who served the Organization for thirty (30) continuous years of service.
The spirited move of Dynamite leadership resulted to reactivation of groups including Cañao, Logger, Batingaw, Bulusan, Mactan, Masareal, Hamorawon, Kaamulan, Echo, Capitol, Gibong and Sambulawan.
But perhaps, Dynamite administration is well remembered as the IT year for REACT since it was during this year that groups’ interaction through internet progressed dramatically.
- July 2010–June 2011: Eugene ‘HIGHWAYMAN” C. Firaza (21st)
Highwayman is the 21st National President and active Member of Palm Oil Group in Mindanao. He was elected without opposition during the National Convention in Cebu City. He served as the National Executive Vice President during the term of Dynamite.
Encouraged by the success of the Management Team employed by Bunaply and Dynamite, he continued this move and maintained most of the former Management Team. Regular Tuesday meetings were held by the “MANCOM” Team and Highwayman was apprised of its weekly activities if he is not present during the meeting. Through strategic plan proposed by the MANCOM Team, the conduct of Area Conferences were held successfully on schedule and with significant attendance.
His term reaped the fruits of labor initiated by Bunaply and refined by Dynamite specifically in the construction of REACT website that brought forth the realization of REACT Forum. Groups were maintained and collection of dues had improved.
Groups of Trebuns and SeaKing in Mindanao were revitalized. Highwayman designed a formula of one plus one as prescription to an effective Membership Development where every Member was encouraged to bring in one Member.
The dying antenna tower at REACT Headquarters was given a new lease of life and was restored to its new capability improving the communication system of the national office. He also introduced the ID Perks Discount system wherein Members with business establishments are enjoined to provide discounts to REACT ID bearing Members. A golf friendship tournament, a fund raising effort which had been planned by past leaderships saw realization during the term of Highwayman with the able assistance of Exor who chaired the event. This became the 1st REACT President’s Friendship Tournament and expected to be pursued on future administrations.
As a businessman, Highwayman recognized the importance of proper and up-to-date papers and records. Hence, when the suggestion to straighten the records at the Securities and Exchange Commission was brought up, Highwayman and his Management Team made representation with SEC officials to update of the Organization’s records at minimum cost. It was in the administration of Highwayman that the Amendments and printing of the 11th edition of REACT handbook was realized.
- July 2011 – June 2012: Paul Vincent “EYEBALL” S. Agana (22nd)
The Presidency was again reverted to NCR-North after “Highwayman”, when no one contested the candidacy of “Eyeball” who became the 22nd National President. Characteristic of large Organizations, REACT was not spared of the controversy and “Eyeball” was the unfortunate victim. Some Members of the “Sidlakan Group” in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental decided to form a new group in Negros Oriental and adopted the name “REACT Bell Tower”. The Area of Responsibility, however, presented dispute between the old Sidlakan and the emerging Group and this concern was carried over to the next administration.
Nonetheless, Eyeball was able to reinstate groups of Industrial of Region 10, Mallig, Allah Valley, Greenfileds and Sultan of Region 12. Other than the Bell Tower a new Group likewise emerged in Region 7, the REACT Aqua group based in Talisay City, Cebu.
Calamities that would rather be forgotten caused by Typhoon Sendong that affected mostly the areas in Region 10, Typhoon Pedring in Region 3, the earthquake in Negros Oriental were experienced during the term of Eyeball. REACT’s only non- PNP Lifetime Member, Sec. Angelo T. Reyes, shocked everyone of his unexpected demise and was conferred a “Posthumous Award”. Ripe for review, Eyeball entered into a renewed Memorandum of Understanding with the CRSAFP and gave go signal for the modernization and rehabilitation of REACT communications system.
However, the most remarkable perhaps is his introduction of the Amendment on the succession of Presidency. During his National Convention held in Davao City, it was proposed and approved that the sitting National Executive Vice President should be automatically becomes the National President – Elect. This bold move gives a breathing room and opportunity for the waiting President to learn the ropes or to be re-oriented on the developments of the Organization and be familiar with the in-depth facts about REACT.
This motivating change nevertheless did not entice qualified Members to file candidacy for the position of NEVP cum NP-Elect. Rolls Royce though was elected unopposed as the next National President.
- July 2012 – June 2013: Romeo “ROLLS ROYCE” V. Rosas (23rd)
It took twenty six (26) years after the Presidency was returned again to the care of a Member from Region 3. Former Governor Tomas “BLUEBIRD” Joson III of the REACT Palayan Group was the only PNP from Region 3 until ROLLS ROYCE of REACT Arayat was elected unopposed to serve for the RY 2012-2013.
Among his first moves when he assumed the Presidency, ROLLS ROYCE filled up the vacant positions of his National Board which included the position of NSVP-NP Elect. Among the Regional Representatives was Felimon “DON VITO” G. Tutica, Jr. representing Region IV who became the NP in waiting amidst hesitancy and controversy.
ROLLS ROYCE’ term is also remembered as “Halalan Year” when the ABS -CBN Broadcasting Network again commissioned REACT as Partner in the coverage of senatorial elections.
ROLLS ROYCE modernized the operations of the REACT Secretariat. He approved the purchase of LCD projector and digital camera for presentation and coverage purposes. He was also credited for uplifting the Membership by re-instating the groups of Kapatiran and Banahaw in Region IV and the Troso Group in Region 13. New Groups sprouted in Region 3 (Motocom based in Bataan) in Region IV (Lambayok in San Juan, Batangas) and in Region 9 (Kasanag Group and Tiger Lobster based in Tawi-Tawi).
Before his turn-over, he made sure that the REACT Time Deposit would be reverted back to P 1M. by depositing the lacking amount to BDO and BPI to complete the combined desired balance of P 1M.
- July 2013–June 2014: Felimon “DON VITO” G. Tutica, Jr. (24th)
The presidency of DON VITO is perhaps classic of the expression, “a dose of its own medicine”.
He was the only National President so far, that was not elected during the plenary, either as National President nor National President-Elect. He became the National President by virtue of the amendments which he himself introduced and approved during the NatCon in Davao City.
However, DON VITO is over -ripe for the position. He served in the National Board holding positions of Chief of Staff and as perennial Protocol Officer for several terms. He introduced challenges to the Groups and Regions. Made changes in the format of Area Conferences by tapping Resource Speakers from the ranks of Members in the Area.
This move not only save the Organization on travelling expenses but also discovered and developed potential leaders from the young breed of REACTors.
The administration of DON VITO operated with austerity measures but functional. He distributed the monthly National Board meetings among the areas of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. This arrangement yielded good attendance of National Board members.
The term of DON VITO was the disaster year. Not because other years were devoid of calamities, but because it was in 2013 when Zamboanga City was under sieged of rebellious Muslim followed by a devastating earthquake that hit Bohol. But perhaps one of the most disastrous in the world, was the havoc brought by Typhoon Yolanda. The hands of DON VITO’s administration was full in administering the numerous assistance which were spearheaded by the Groups in Cebu, Samar and Mindanao. REACT provided several radio sets powered by solar to the remotest towns in Leyte and Samar that enabled these towns to communicate with authorities. If there was any consolation from the disasters of 2013, perhaps these tragedies brought to some individuals and REACT Members the reality that two-way radio is an indispensable equipment during emergency especially typhoons when power supply is disabled and cellular phones are rendered inoperative. Realizing this necessity, no less than the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) recognized REACT as an important partner in providing ready communication support aligned with the direction of the Council. After series of discussions, the two agencies entered to a Memorandum of Agreement which included the permission to use the NDRRMC Logo on the REACT official vest.
True to words that once a REACTor is always a REACTor, the Groups of Logger in Santiago City and Mallig in Roxas, Isabela reinstated to the folds of REACT. New groups were born. In Davao City which adopted the name REACT Madayaw Durian; NCR has additional group based in San Juan City and took the historic name REACT NCR Pinaglabanan; Region 9 built another in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay answering to the call REACT Tagok Group.
In need badly of operating funds, DON VITO solicited the help of the Philippine Racing Commission for sponsorship of Horse Racing Charity event. The race was held in the racing tracks of Sta. Ana Park in Naic, Cavite. The first ever REACT Horse Racing Charity Event generated for REACT a modest sum of P100,000.00.
DON VITO was fortunate to have PNP Gregorio “EXOR” Pacifico as his NEVP-President Elect. Being a Past National President, EXOR proved to be a big help in filling up the tasks during emergencies and also in group visitations. This help was further demonstrated when DON VITO was elected as Barangay Chairman in Malate, Manila which made him occupied in his new level of community service.
The turn- over from DON VITO to EXOR was celebrated in The Heritage Hotel Manila where the National Convention was held. Hon. Eduardo D. del Rosario, NDRRMC Executive Director, Sen. Alan Peter “Companero” S. Cayetano and MGen Rolando G. Jungco, CRS Chief, were the Guests of Honor and Speaker.
- July 2014-June 2016: GREGORIO“EXOR” Y. PACIFICO (25th)
GREGORIO “EXOR” Y. PACIFICO was the National Executive Vice President cum National President-Elect in 2013-2014. He was the first Biennial National President assuming office from RY 2014 to RY 2016. The biennial term was approved during the National Convention held at the Heritage Hotel, Pasay City, in April, 2015. This is his second time and 25th as REACT National President, the first was in RY 2000-2001 as the 13th National President.
His incumbency this time brought REACT to a renewed height of growth. Perhaps as a result of his experience as 13th NP coupled with a two-year period term, EXOR known to observe prudent spending, was able to schedule his Groups visitation efficiently with less travelling expenses but more coverage. He strengthened the relationship with Government instrumentalities that deal with emergency and disaster response. Thus, his efforts proved to gain cognizant from old and new REACT advocates and resulted to unprecedented Membership Growth in a single term.
Among his significant Achievements were the following:
Formally affirmed the Contract with Camp Emilio Aguinaldo for five (5) year tenancy.
Increase of the number of Groups to 80 Groups.
Almost 100% increase in Regular Membership.
Improved attendance in Area Conferences.
Conducted three (3) Membership General Assemblies to tackle and approve urgent important issues and concerns.
Re-organized, Chartered and visited almost all the Groups nationwide.
Successful conduct of Luzon, Visayas / Mindanao NDRRMC-REACT Disaster Summit.
Provision of Disaster and Emergency Response Equipage.
Strengthened the CRS-AFP and NDRRMC partnership.
REACT served as the only civic communication support Group officially recognized during the APEC Summit week.
Renovated the REACT Headquarters, improved the facilities, radio equipments, installed CCTV monitors and Disaster Response Equipments.
Supported important events of national significance such as the annual Black Nazarene procession, earthquake drills and disaster response activities.
Re-assigned Groups to Regions based on proximity and convenience.
Generated substantial amount for the National Headquarters Fund.
Purchased a Rescue Mobile Service Unit for REACT National Office use.
Rejuvenated and strengthened the bond of friendship and solidarity, Members and Groups and put the REACT once again into the limelight, displaying his unequalled dedication, charisma and commitment, setting aside personal commitments and put REACT First in his daily life.
In grateful recognition for these exemplary, invaluable and meritorious services rendered for the Organization, he has been granted a second LIFETIME Membership with REACT Philippines, Inc., entitled to all the rights and privileges and may participate in all REACT official activities for Life.