by Robbie Pangilinan
Sandy Sanchez- Montano has come a long way from the traumatized teenager to where she is now.
When Sandy was 18, the big earthquake happened. She was in school and her professor, clearly not knowing what to do, just told the students to go home. Sandy, who did not have any family in Manila, went to her boarding house to get her things when the building above her collapsed. With three others, she was trapped under heavy debris for three days. Her story of survival was featured in Panahon TV .
Looking back, Sandy realized that proper disaster management is a must. She says if only her teacher was prepared for disasters like earthquakes, further damage could have been prevented.
So she became an active volunteer for Red Cross and other organizations. It was her way of getting over her trauma.
“I needed to release my anxiety so I continued studying nursing then had pre-hospital training and of course, myvolunteer service as a first aider and first responder. I was a very dedicated volunteer of Red Cross, I was sent to Japan in 1994, my first international trip,” recalls Sandy. She was faced with the dilemma of representing the country but missing her college graduation. But Sandy was determined to go, so she asked for permission from her school.
In her six month-stay in Japan, Sandy advocated for food security through the wonder plant moringa oleiferaor malunggay, which is plentiful in the Philippines.
“At that time, we were looked down upon as a country of beggars, always asking for donations. For me, if you only knew the treasures we have in the Philippine,s like malunggay, we can be self-supporting and there will be food security,” shares Sandy.
It was also her first time to hear about Malungai LifeOil, being a major sponsor of the Japan trip. LifeOil is the world’s first and only product developed from pure moringa oleifera seeds and leaves. The potent gel capsule is all-natural and is packed with vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and phytochemicals.
It was not until 2012 that Sandy started taking LifeOil herself. She was in Jakarta, Indonesia as the coach of the Philippine team for the Asean Skills Competition.
“Yung Philippine Delegation, lahat sila medyo tinatrangkaso na, nagkakasakit na eh syempre ako yungcoach ng caring so I had to bring first aid kits and medicines to the members of the team. A friend of mine told me, ‘LifeOil pinakamaganda dyan. And I have proven it,” says Sandy.
When she got back home, Sandy told her parents, who are 77 years old, to stop taking all their other food supplements and just take LifeOil. Her parents are able to sleep better and eat better. As for Sandy, she noticed that she did not feel a ny downtime even when she is multitasking .
Sandy, the first ASEAN Woman Leader, an Outstanding ASEAN Woman Entrepreneur, and the
ASEAN Skills Network Head Delegation, established the Community Health Education Emergency Rescue Services (CHEERS) Foundation in 2006.
Community Health Education Emergency Education (CHEERS) Corp. is a TESDA- and CHED-accredited training institution that provides top quality, innovative and updated Technical and Vocational Education and Training Programs.
“I and my husband saw that there’s a huge gap, 85%, between the pre-hospital training and the hospital practice so there’s a need to professionalize the training of the rescuers. We envision CHEERS to be the gateway for Filipinos who would like to be trained and internationally certified,” says Sandy. CHEERS has 42,000 graduates, with 90% of them now working abroad.
At the recent APEC Summit, CHEERS was featured as one of the chosen success stories. CHEERS is also the first international training center in the Philippines certified by the American Heart Association.
“I am so happy that the AHA wrote us a letter, they want us to cover Myanmar, Indonesia, and Cambodia,” beams Sandy, who plans to set up the first paramedics school in the country soon.