Bay Area Filipinos Celebrate Success of Bayanihan Disaster Relief

For Immediate Release

December 24, 2009

Contact: Aurora Victoria Herrera David, Officer, Stanford-PASU–member of NAFCON, Northern California, Bay Area Bayanihan for Philippine Disaster Relief, 650-491-4561

Bay Area Filipinos Celebrate Success of Bayanihan Disaster Relief

Collective Action Proves to be the Answer

On December 7th, the Bay Area Bayanihan for Philippine Disaster Relief successfully shipped approximately 250 boxes of people’s relief to kababayans in the Philippines. Together with boxes previously shipped, the relief team was able to collect 300 boxes of clothing, food, medical, and school supplies from concerned individuals throughout the Bay Area. In three months time, the team also raised more than $30,000 in monetary donations, sent directly to affected communities.

Mara Ibarra and Bernadette Herrera, representatives of the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), a member alliance of the relief team, are in the Philippines to ensure smooth reception of the boxes by Migrante International. Migrante International is a the grassroots organization selected and trusted to distribute the Bay Area donations. The relief team will closely monitor the transfer of boxes from Philippine Customs to DSWD’s One-Stop Facility, then to Migrante, and finally to some of the most-affected communities and victims of the typhoons.

The Filipino Community Center (FCC) in San Francisco, a member organization of NAFCON, played a key role in facilitating the funding of a relief and rehabilitation project in Quezon City. As of December 23rd, the City of San Francisco is processing the direct transfer of a $50,000 donation to the Coordinating Council for People’s Development and Governance (CCPDG) in the Philippines to launch a project that will help communities recover from the adverse health effects of the typhoons and prepare them for responding to future disasters.

At the Annual Parol Festival and Parade on December 12th, organizers and supporters of the relief drive came together and celebrated the community’s success in sending relief to kababayans in the Philippines. The efforts of everyday Filipinos surpassed any government initiative or effort to respond to the recent typhoons, and the community has proven once again that bayanihan (Tagalog for communal effort & unity) is the answer when those who have power and authority fail to fulfill their responsibilities to the people.

The disaster relief team is also in contact with organizations in the Philippines regarding recent reports of the imminent eruption of Mt. Mayon in Albay, Philippines, including ways to help evacuees. As we continue to raise monetary donations for Philippine disaster victims, we remain vigilant in following actions of the Philippine government and SF Consulate who had claimed that they do not have the money to ship the relief boxes to the Philippines for our kababayans.

We call on our fellow Filipinos in the Bay Area and around the world to maintain efforts in helping our kababayans in the Philippines and to hold the Philippine government accountable to their duties to serve the people. As we celebrate the holidays and the success of the Bay Area Bayanihan for Philippine Disaster Relief Project in 2009, we commit to continuing our grassroots efforts to truly serve the people in 2010 and beyond.

Like so many Filipino migrants forced abroad and sending remittances to loved ones in the Philippines, we hope that our donations contribute in a small way to a happier holiday season, and we also send warm holiday greetings to our generous Filipino migrants in the Bay Area and around the world!