PRESS RELEASES: Filipino American Youth in NY Lead Candlelight Vigil for Typhoon Victims in the Philippines

PRESS RELEASE
19 October 2009

Reference: Anne Beryl Corotan, Chairperson; SanDiwa, The National Alliance of Filipino American Youth; Email: sandiwa.national@gmail.com

Filipino American Youth in NY Lead Candlelight Vigil for Typhoon Victims in the Philippines

WOODSIDE, NEW YORK — A hundred boxes and counting — sorted and fully packed with clothing, food, medical supplies and other relief goods — pile up against the walls of the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in Woodside, New York. As more and more relief goods are left unshipped, a community meeting was called last October 14 to address the situation and to discuss the direct effects of the directives issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regarding donations from abroad.

At the community meeting, updates from all over the United States on the Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief campaign by the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) was given by Anne Beryl Corotan, President of SanDiwa, the youth arm of NAFCON. Updates on relief efforts in the Philippines by Migrante International, partner alliance of NAFCON/SanDiwa was given by Jonna Baldres, community action coordinator of Philippine Forum, a member organization of both NAFCON and Migrante International in the US East Coast. Later in the discussion, guest speaker Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson of BAYAN USA, another partner alliance of NAFCON, talked about Arroyo’s directives and how these directly affect the goodwill of the Filipino migrant community in the US.

As a result of the community meeting, plans of action on how the Filipino community can respond to these directives were united upon. One of which was the successful candlelight vigil held last Friday, October 16, at the corner of 69th Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

“In a state of calamity, the needs of the people are greater than any directives, especially from a government with rampant history of corruption and deceit. The kindness of the people must not be taken advantage of, therefore, these donations should not be taxed. At this time, community’s goodwill must be encouraged, not restricted,” said Corotan.

In a single file, over 30 young Filipino Americans marched quietly and lit the streets of Woodside with flickering lights of candles to pay respect to the typhoon victims and to oppose Arroyo’s directives.

“If the Philippine government is not as corrupt and if it only gives priority to the much-needed facilities needed to detect these disasters, my cousin’s death could have been prevented,” stated Leo Bronola, member of Kapatirang Pilipino or Kappa Pi, a community-based fraternity and member organization of SanDiwa, whose cousin was swept away by the typhoon and was found dead in a nearby town in Manila.

Bernard Perez, President of the Philippine American Organization (PAO) at City University of New York (CUNY) and one of the relief volunteers said, “We, as Filipino-Americans, vow to help in whichever way we can to help the typhoon victims and to have these donations reach the rightful communities in the Philippines and not just be taken away by the corrupt officials.”

NAFCON and SanDiwa resolved to step up its campaign not just by gathering relief goods but to also educate and make the migrant community aware of these hindrances to the goodwill of Filipinos abroad brought about by the Philippine government. More actions are expected to ensue if these concerns of the Filipino community are not addressed.

“We will resist if we must, as long as we can ensure that these donations that the Filipino community here in the US have entrusted to us get to those who need them the most. Definitely, no less,” Corotan ended.

For more information, visit http://bayanihan4ondoy.wordpress.com or contact Anne Beryl (516) 9011832 for East Coast, and Ryan Leano (626) 5344971 for West Coast, or email at sandiwa.national@gmail.com. ###

Community Meeting to discuss relief efforts by NAFCON/SanDiwa held at the
Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in Woodside, NY (
14 October 2009)

Community Meeting to discuss relief efforts by NAFCON/SanDiwa
held at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in Woodside, NY
(14 October 2009
)

Anne Beryl Corotan, President of SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth
on NAFCON/SanDiwa’s Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief campaign
(16 October 2009)

Filipino-American Youth in NY gather for a candlelight vigil for typhoon victims in the Philippines and in protest of Arroyo’s directives on relief efforts abroad (16 October 2009)


Filipino-American Youth in NY gather for a candlelight vigil for typhoon victims in the Philippines and in protest of Arroyo’s directives on relief efforts abroad (16 October 2009)

Filipino-American Youth in NY march silently along Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, NY to protest against Arroyo’s directives on relief efforts abroad (16 October 2009)


Filipino-American Youth in NY march silently along Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, NY to protest against Arroyo’s directives on relief efforts abroad (16 October 2009)

Filipino-American Youth volunteers pack donations into balikbayan boxes
at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in Woodside, NY

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