October 1, 2009
Toronto, Canada — The dinner-and-dance fundraiser to support the activities and programs of the Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center [CBBRC] here was a great success.
Over a hundred people attended the event on Saturday, September 26, at the Holy Rosary Parish Hall. “It’s amazing to see how people came in flocks despite bad weather conditions during the day,” said Filipino Migrant Workers’ Movement (FMWM) chair Jonathan Canchela. “I believe that it was the purpose or the reason behind the event that encouraged people to come out and support it.”
The event, dubbed as Say Mo Bayan Ko… You Think We Can’t Dance?, was aimed at raising funds to support the CBBRC programs which include labour rights education, legal defense, various forms of civic action and social services, livelihood projects and skills training, and international solidarity. It was also intended to raise money for future FMWM projects that include community outreach campaign, migrant rights education, and research activities.
Part of the short program was a presentation of CBBRC’s program of actions while a slide show of Ka Bel’s photos taken during his visit to Canada last year played in the background.
While most people were upbeat during the event, there was a feeling of grief in the air over the news of the death and destruction caused by tropical storm Ondoy [international name: Ketsana] due to massive flooding and landslides in many parts of the Philippines. “This truly is heartbreaking for all of us thinking that hundreds of people have died and thousands of families have been affected,” says Canchela, who led the blessing before dinner and invited the people for a moment of silence to remember the typhoon victims.
“What is more tragic is the inability on the part of the different Philippine government agencies to efficiently respond to this type of calamity, especially in doing the search and rescue operations. Many could have been easily saved from raging flood and rooftops if rescue teams have enough equipment like rubber boats.”
According to a National Disaster Coordinating Council report, the latest number of casualties is 240, mostly from the National Capital Region and Region IV-A or CALABARZON area, which is composed of five provinces namely, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon. The total number of people affected has reached 1.8 million.
“Our sympathies are with kababayans who lost family members and friends in this distressing typhoon,” says Cathy Carpio, chair of the Finance Committee and over-all head of the fundraiser. “In times like this we need to have the will to help our compatriots back home. While we need to provide them immediate relief, more important are the rehabilitation and empowerment efforts that should follow. These efforts should include all-round community participation and cooperation towards self reliance, and education regarding not only the natural but also the structural causes of such calamities and the destruction that they bring.” Sadly though,” she adds, “it is these elements that are the most neglected if not totally ignored by government and traditional institutions.”
The FMWM Executive Committee has decided to donate part of the proceeds from the fundraiser to Operation Sagip Migrante administered by the Migrante Sectoral Partylist [MSP] for families heavily affected by typhoon.
FMWM is now working with other Migrante-Ontario member organizations and Bayan Canada, Migrante Sectoral Partylist-Canada, and United Church in Canada in a relief effort campaign called Bayanihan Para sa Sambayanan or BALSA by collecting financial support for the typhoon victims. We are also soliciting donations of canned goods, medicines and clothes. For more information, please call Jonathan Canchela at 647-833-1023, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We would like to thank everyone who attended the dinner and dance event, the different organizations as well as our members and supporters and those who played a role in making the event such a success,” says Carpio.
“We are hoping that people will keep on supporting our activities as we continue our work in educating, organizing and mobilizing Filipino migrant workers and their families.” ##
Reference: Jonathan Canchela, Chairperson. Phone: 647.833.1023