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/

IMG_1971.jpg picture by jonnabaldres

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!

IMG_1970.jpg picture by jonnabaldres

Packing list ready as early as December 2009

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