2014 Humanitarian Hero Haiko Magtrayo

LOCATION: Zamboanga, the Philippines 
POSITION: Communication with Communities Focal Point

Haiko Magtrayo wanted to work as a humanitarian, even before he knew what a humanitarian was. He pictured himself living in different rural communities, teaching children, and changing the lives of the people and their community. 

“I didn’t know the concept of humanitarianism. I didn’t even know any humanitarian agencies or that there was such a career,” he said. 

Haiko worked as a volunteer during high school, travelling to rural communities to teach children and do fundraising. But he witnessed his first crisis in December 2011, when the Philippines was struck by Tropical Storm Washi. It killed over 1,000 people, and displaced thousands more.   

“This was the test of my commitment to volunteerism,” said Haiko. “From that day on, I started volunteering. I joined Tabanga Sendong, an initiative of our university. I gathered information about people’s needs and available facilities and shelter. I didn’t realise that I was doing camp management.”

The Philippines was struck again November 2013, this time by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Haiko again joined a university volunteer initiative. He helped provide life-saving items, such as food and shelter, and assisted with psychosocial activities. 

It was during this time that Haiko was introduced to IOM’s Senior Operations Officer. He now works with IOM as the Communications with Communities Focal Point.

Haiko has been working in evacuation centres in Zamboanga, focusing on armed-conflict response. “I meet the information and communication needs of affected people, making sure they are informed and all their questions are answered.” 

“I can really say that this is my dream: to serve the people, a unique opportunity to change lives and community. For me, this is not a job but a passion rooted with commitment to serve people.”