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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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
auroravictoriahd@gmail.com, 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!

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Filipinos Vow to Continue Bayanihan for Typhoon Victims and Expose Philippine Government’s Inadequate Response to Disasters

For Immediate Release

November 24, 2009

Contact: Terrence Valen, Organizational Director, Filipino Community Center–member of NAFCON, Northern California, Bay Area Bayanihan for Philippine Disaster Relief

terry@filipinocc.org, 415-203-0696

Bay Area Filipinos Come Together for Philippine Typhoon Victims

In just 2 months time, Bay Area grassroots organizations raised almost $20,000 and collected more than 300 boxes of clothing, food, medical, and school supplies for victims of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in the Philippines.

This large community-led collection of donations marks a triumph for the church and human rights groups, community centers, women and student organizations, teachers and health care workers, bank and government employees that, despite economic problems in the United States and the Philippine government’s tax directives, came together in the name of community-to-community “bayanihan” (tagalog for “communal effort & unity) to support Philippine flood victims.

The Bay Area Bayanihan for Philippine Typhoon Relief, as the relief team is called, gave a grassroots alternative to donors who did not want their donations to be channeled through agencies of the Philippine government due to its history of corruption and lack of transparency.

The thousands of dollars and hundreds of relief boxes collected were a product of numerous fundraising events such as benefit shows and public tabling organized by 15 grassroots organizations and collection sites throughout the Bay Area.

Philippine Government Proves Inept in Responding to Calamities

However, the majority of the relief boxes are still stored in the Filipino Community Center (FCC) in San Francisco because of expensive shipping costs, a responsibility that should be shouldered by the Philippine government.

After weeks of communicating and negotiating, the group met Vice-Consuls Fred Santos and Doy Ver of the SF Philippine Consulate to set agreements last Friday, November 20, and the Consuls claimed that the Philippine government doesn’t have the funds to ship the relief boxes.

“The Philippine government should have supported this effort and helped to ship everything to our kababayan in the Philippines,” said Terrence Valen, Executive Director of the FCC. Given the disasters that hit the Philippines every year, the government should already have a protocol for responding to these calamities.

However, according to the Consuls themselves, the government has instructed them to be “creative” in coming up with ways to ship donations that they collected, proving that they don’t have planned procedures in getting donations to the Philippines.

And now that the community gave them this opportunity to restore even a little confidence of everyday Filipinos in their government representatives, they merely reiterated their incapacity, ultimately proving that Filipinos around the world can’t rely on the Philippine government even in times of calamities. “Their claims that they don’t have the money to ship our relief donations ring empty in most people’s ears — to us these sounded more like excuses given Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s track record of corruption and extravagant spending,” added Valen.

In fact, the Consulate in San Francisco was not aware that Filipino grassroots organizations in New York who have been doing relief work have already reached an agreement with the Philippine Consulate in their area that all goods will be “further delivered” to Migrante International after they reach the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

As of Monday, November 23rd, they are still awaiting response from the New York Consulate to assure the Bay Area groups that their collected goods will ultimately be sent to Migrante International, a community-based organization that work with families of overseas Filipino workers and is rooted in poor communities that have been deeply impacted by floods throughout the Philippines.

Filipinos Vow to Continue Bayanihan, Expose Philippine Government’s Inadequate Response to Disasters

The Bay Area community has proven that in this time of natural disaster and global economic crisis, the collective effort of regular people — youth and students, church people, teachers, healthcare workers and caregivers, community organizers — is the most effective means and most reliable force in sending help to those in need.

Given the claims of the Consuls that no funds are allocated for shipping costs, the Philippine government has again failed to help its people and has proven that the everyday Filipinos were right in distrusting the government.

The Bay Area Bayanihan for Philippine Typhoon Relief vows to continue to expose the limitations of our local consulate representing the Philippine government’s overall ineptness in handling the disaster, ship the relief donations through fundraising and community support, ensure donations go directly to grassroots recipients, monitor closely government spending that should have been spent for the benefit of people, and continue to empower communities through grassroots support.

On December 6th, Stanford’s Pilipino American Student Union (PASU), a member organization of the relief team, will hold a benefit concert on their campus to raise donations for typhoon victims and help compensate for shipment costs of relief boxes.

Relief boxes at the Filipino Community Center

 

Students Sorting and Packing Relief Goods

EVENTS: Sounds, Sights, Move for the victims of the Philipines Typhoon

Flyer Nov. 12th

Please join San Francisco Committee for Human Rights (SF-CHRP) in the Philippines for a benefit event with live performances/ art auction / dancing for the victims of the typhoons in the Philippines.

Sliding scale donations at the door: $7 – $1000

Your donations will be going through the Filipino Community Center and San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SFCHRP), under “Bayanihan for the Victims of Ondoy,” a larger community-based effort which comprises numerous grassroots organizations, church groups, non-profit organizations and concerned individuals, is coordinating actions to facilitate the distribution of aid to the victims of the calamity. We are undertaking a relief drive to raise money and collect supplies to send to the Philippines. We humbly ask for your participation with our efforts to help these affected communities to rebuild their lives. Any form of assistance would be much appreciated.

All Donations will go to:
MIGRANTE INTERNATIONAL
Migrante International is an alliance of progressive organizations composed of overseas Filipinos and their families. We uphold and advance the rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos within the framework of the Filipino people’s national democratic struggle.

BAYAN MUNA
c/o BAYAN USA (oversea chapter)
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) was formed in May 1985, bringing together more than a thousand mass organizations composed of more than a million members. Represented were different classes and sectors committed to the people’s struggle for national freedom and democracy.

GABRIELA WOMEN’S PARTY
c/o GABRIELA USA (oversea chapter)
GABRIELA -Philippines which has a membership of 200 women’s organizations throughout the country, work with mothers and families in many urban poor communities.

GABRIELA will make sure that those who need it most, especially women and children get the relief (unfortunately, some disbursement efforts are not that organized leaving only the strong to get the goods and the most needy, still without relief. GABRIELA has the social networks and the knowing who has lost loved ones and homes and the commitment and working relationships to reach those most in need.

They are not only doing relief work, but more importantly, rehabilitation of homes and communities.

If you are not able to attend the event but would like to make an online donation, please logon to BAYAN-USA’s PayPal account at http://bayanusa.org. If you make an online donation, please let us know how much you donated at info@gabusa.org, so that we are able to track our fundraising efforts. Thank you.

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