450 Relief Boxes from U.S. East Coast: SENT! (NAFCON/SanDiwa’s Bayanihan for Disaster Relief Campaign Continues)

PRESS RELEASE
27 January 2010

REFERENCE: Jonna Baldres, Migrante International Coordinator for US East Coast, filipinocenter@gmail.com, (718)5658862

450 Relief Boxes from U.S. East Coast: SENT!
NAFCON/SanDiwa’s Bayanihan for Disaster Relief Campaign Continues

NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY – On January 19, just as news were received that the relief boxes from the US West Coast arrived on the doorstep of Migrante International in the Philippines, US East Coast — New York and New Jersey chapters of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and its youth arm, Sandiwa National Alliance of Filipino-American Youth — sent off some 450 relief boxes to be shipped to the Philippines on the same day!

“After nearly four months of struggling, and eventually, claiming victories, against the restrictions and repressive policies of the Philippine government on relief donations, NAFCON has once again proven that with collective action, the Filipino community will triumph,” said Nicholas Cordero of Philippine Forum-New Jersey, a member organization of NAFCON in the East Coast.

In September 2009, upon learning that typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines, NAFCON and SanDiwa immediately gathered to launch its Bayanihan for Typhoon Ondoy Disaster Relief Campaign nationwide. Migrante International was identified to become the recipient of NAFCON and SanDiwa’s continued relief efforts, as it has proven to genuinely address the issues of Filipino migrants and, more importantly, their families in the Philippines. With the banding together of the whole Filipino community and friends from all over the United States, fundraising activities and collection of donations began right away, gathering about $15,000 in monetary relief, and more than 500 relief boxes in the East Coast — including food, clothes, medicines, blankets and other material donations.

“Three more typhoons hit the Philippines since Ondoy and the Mayon volcano just erupted in December. In light of all these calamities, the Bayanihan for Disaster Relief Campaign continues as long as the relief has not reached disaster victims, and we, the youth from SanDiwa, together with our mother alliance, NAFCON, will keep close watch and make sure that these donations will not go to corrupted hands,” said Anne Beryl Corotan, SanDiwa chairperson based in New York.

In the course of the relief campaign, NAFCON, SanDiwa and their member organizations all over the US have also led in fighting for the lifting of the ban on used clothing and dropping of taxes on relief by the Philippine government, and lastly, for Migrante International to receive and distribute the donations to affected communities. The campaign did not only focus on collection of donations and creatively fundraising for shipping but also took up the responsibility of challenging the policies of the Philippine government and exposing its inefficiency that caused the loss and displacement of thousands of its people in these tragedies. Community meetings and actions were also held to educate, gather and express the sentiments of the members of the community.

“As long as natural and man-made disasters keep coming to our beloved country and the Philippine government does not take steps to address these, and instead, imposes unreasonable policies preventing our overseas kababayans from sending help to our loved ones back home, we will continue to fight,” said Yves Nibungco, chairperson of the youth group Anakbayan New York/New Jersey and member organization of SanDiwa.

Out of the 530+ relief boxes, ninety-five more were left (New York and New Jersey combined) as the container could not fit any more boxes. NAFCON East Coast will be calling for a community forum within the next few days for the community to decide on what to do with the rest of the boxes. The boxes sent are expected to arrive in Manila by mid to end of February.

On March 7, a victory celebration for the relief campaign will be held as the Filipino community in New York also celebrates the second anniversary of the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in Queens. Member organizations, volunteers and everyone who helped in the relief efforts are all invited to join in the celebration of the Filipino’s insurmountable strength, resilience and collective action amidst great battle and tragedy, leading to successes of the whole community.

For more information and for continuous coverage of the Bayanihan for Disaster Relief Campaign, please visit www.bayanihan4ondoy.wordpress.com.

MABUHAY ANG MGA PILIPINO SA U.S.!
MABUHAY ANG SAMBAYANANG LUMALABAN AT NAGKAKAISA!

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More photos from this link: http://s382.photobucket.com/albums/oo261/jonnabaldres/NAFCON_Bayanihan_relief_sendoff_19Jan2010/

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Storage in New York being emptied of ‘Bayanihan for Disaster Relief’ boxes

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Loading ‘Bayanihan for Disaster Relief’ boxes into the container truck from New York storage

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Volunteers done loading 230+ New York
‘Bayanihan for Disaster Relief’ boxes!

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New Jersey ‘Bayanihan for Disaster Relief’ boxes lined up for loading

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Volunteers load New Jersey ‘Bayanihan for Disaster Relief’
boxes into container truck

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Volunteers practice true “Bayanihan” spirit
as they load relief boxes into container truck

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Around 450 ‘Bayanihan for Disaster Relief’ boxes sent off to the Philippines!

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Container truck on the way to ship ‘Bayanihan for Disaster Relief’ boxes to the Philippines!

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Packing list ready as early as December 2009

BAY AREA BAYANIHAN FOR PHILIPPINE DISASTER RELIEF CELEBRATES THE RECEIVING OF DONATIONS BY MIGRANTE INTERNATIONAL AND A SUCCESSFUL RELIEF EFFORT

For Immediate Release

January 19, 2010

Reference: Ryan Leano, Secretary General, SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth

Email: sandiwa.national@gmail.com

BAY AREA BAYANIHAN FOR PHILIPPINE DISASTER RELIEF CELEBRATES THE RECEIVING OF DONATIONS BY MIGRANTE INTERNATIONAL AND A SUCCESSFUL RELIEF EFFORT

In September of 2009, Typhoon Ondoy was followed a week later by Typhoon Pepeng, hitting the Philippines with torrential rain and massive flooding. These typhoons caused unprecedented damage, destroying homes and property, affecting hundreds of thousands people. The extensive disaster, coupled with the disaster of the Philippine government’s ineptitude in dealing with the massive damage, brought about the need for Filipinos in the United States to come together and help their kababayan (countrymen/women) back in the Philippines. The result was a nationally coordinated relief effort spearheaded by the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and its youth arm, SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth, with the most prominent centers of the relief effort happening in New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, various Filipino grassroots community organizations participated in this national relief effort by forming the Bay Area Bayanihan for Philippine Disaster Relief project. The group decided that Migrante International would be the recipient of collected donations. Migrante International is a grassroots alliance in the Philippines that addresses the needs of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s) and their families in the Philippines. This coordinated effort ensured that the relief effort would be the most responsible, reliable, and accountable in getting the donations to the communities in the Philippines most affected by the disasters, without interference by government agencies. Distinct from other relief organizations, this effort was purely grassroots, accomplished without a significant role played by government agencies or large scale charitable foundations.

Since the immediate aftermath of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, the Bay Area Bayanihan for Philippine Disaster Relief project volunteers worked tirelessly in coordinating donation drop off sites throughout the Bay Area. The response was overwhelming, with mountains of in-kind donations piling up at the drop off sites. By the time of shipping in December 2009, 300 boxes of clothes, food, and medical supplies were sent to the Philippines, as well as more than $30,000 in monetary donations from generous people in the community in addition to a $50,000 relief project donation from the City of San Francisco.

This relief effort, however, did not come without hard struggles. Among the roadblocks that slowed the aid in reaching the victims were the directives placed on donations by the Arroyo administration, stating that all donations had to be approved by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through DSWD accredited organizations. The directives further stated that the donations going to organizations not accredited with the DSWD would be taxed. However, the community remained aggressive and vigilant, and after meetings with the local Philippine Consulate and their counterparts in New York, the Bay Area Bayanihan for Philippine Disaster Relief was able to get the donation taxes lifted and assurance that Migrante, International would still receive the donations.

As of January 2010, all 300 boxes of donations were successfully received in the Philippines by Migrante International, and they are in the process of sorting and giving the donations to families most affected by the disasters. The next shipment of donations from New York/New Jersey will follow very soon. The $50,000 donated by the City of San Francisco will be used in constructing water filtration systems as well as disaster and health capacity building projects in communities most affected by the disaster. Although this was one disaster, this grassroots international relief effort will continue on as long as the need persists.

The Bay Area Bayanihan for Philippine Disaster Relief, along with their kababayan in the Philippines, celebrate the community coming together in this successful relief effort in the midst of the disasters, both natural and man-made. It extends its deepest thanks to all those who donated their time, work, and money in sorting out the clothes, food, and medical supplies and packing them in all 300 boxes. Deepest thanks as well go to the community organizations who volunteered their spaces to be donation drop off sites, despite the disruption in their programming. This effort truly exemplifies the Filipino spirit of bayanihan, which translates into communal and collective support.

Please, see pictures below from Migrante, International receiving and unloading our cargo container of almost 250 balikbayan boxes at DSWD for further delivery to affected families and communities earlier this month – a good start to the new year for so many families!  To learn more about this nationally coordinated relief effort, please visit www.bayanihan4ondoy.wordpress.com.

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