September 28, 2009
For immediate release
BAYAN Canada and all its allied organizations appeals to Canadians, especially the Filipino-Canadian community to join “Bayanihan para sa Sambayanan” (Peoples Cooperation for People) relief efforts for tropical storm “Ondoy” victims, which battered Metro Manila and nearby provinces on September 26 and left over 140 people dead and thousands of submerged houses and damaged properties.
Member organizations of BAYAN Canada have begun with its BALSA or “Bayanihan para sa Sambayanan” efforts by collecting financial support for the relief efforts in the Philippines. BALSA is a BAYAN-initiated network put up more than 10 years ago to concentrate on relief for victims of natural and man-made disasters in the Philippines.
Filipino-Canadian elected officials from Winnipeg to Vancouver have already solicited the support of their provincial governments and are now preparing to mobilize broader Canadian support for the victims of Ondoy. Meanwhile, Filipino-Canadian church people have also called on their communities to donate what they can.
Migrante International on the other hand, calls for the “bayanihan” (cooperation and unity) spirit of all Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Administered by the Migrante Sectoral Partylist (MSP), operation “Sagip-Migrante” (migrant rescue) is helping to facilitate the smooth remittance of the relief funds and goods to the right people. OFWs are called modern-day heroes for the billions of dollars they remit to their homeland in support of their families. The ability of OFW’s to collect donations for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy will go a long way in combating the disease, hunger and displacement due to the aftermath of the floods.
Unlike the Philippine government’s slow response to the disaster, Filipinos in Canada are getting organized while material support for the flood victims have begun to flow as fast as the flood waters rose.
Receding flood waters expose more than the dead
Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) brought rains of 341 millimetres (mm) in the first six hours that it struck Metropolitan Manila on Saturday, breaking the highest 24-hour rainfall of 334 mm in Metropolitan Manila in June 1967, according to the Philippines’ weather forecasting bureau. In comparison, Hurricane Katrina dumped 250 mm of rain on New Orleans in 2005.
North American reports say that at least 140 persons were killed and nearly 450,000 families were displaced by massive flooding, but these numbers are rising while the storm flood itself begins to recede. The receding waters are also exposing the inadequacy of the Philippine government in its capacity to respond to these natural and man-made disasters.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has only thirteen rubber boats to respond to the thousands of cries for help from people who were stuck on rooftops for over twelve hours under the cold and rain, without food. The Philippine government doesn’t even have radar for the weather bureau to accurately indicate the amount of rainfall of the said typhoon.
The tens of thousands of US dollars spent on Arroyo’s dinner forays with her entourage in Washington DC and New York earlier this summer could have been more wisely spent on much needed rescue equipment.
Where to give help
You can connect your local church effort with the churches in the Philippines, particularly through the National Council of Churches of the Philippines (http://www.nccphilippines.org/) who have been consistent in ensuring that help gets to those who need it the most.
The Philippine Solidarity Network in Canada has been a long-time partner of the NCCP and other Philippine organizations, especially in its work around Human Rights in the Philippines. The PSNC national coordinator, Malcolm Guy, can be reached in Montreal at (514) 574-9906 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People can get in touch with the following BAYAN Canada and Migrante organizations through the following contacts:
BAYAN Canada at email@example.com
Migarante International Canadian chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Migrante Sectoral Party coordinator in Canada, Jonathan Canchela at (647) 833-1023 or email at email@example.com
BAYAN Canada contacts in major Canadian cities:
Montreal – Joey Calugay, cell (514) 947-3662
Ottawa – Yasmeen Maryam, cell (613) 558-1625
Toronto – Diwa Marcelino, cell (416) 809-3492
Winnipeg – Jomay Amora-Mercado, cell (204) 509-2491
Red Deer – Aubrey Makilan, cell (403) 392-7178
Vancouver – Beth Dollaga, (604) 320-0285