Thursday, December 3, 2009

Relief initiatives for typhoon victims - Migrante Canada

The Philippine Reporter
December 1, 2009

TORONTO–As early as the day after the typhoon Ondoy unleashed death and destruction in the surrounding areas of Metro Manila, Migrante Canada in coordination with Bayan Canada and United Church of Canada already issued callouts to the Filipino community in all cities and provinces. On its part, Migrante-Ontario issued an appeal to everyone to help with the emergency situation.

We are very proud to say that we garnered substantial support - in cash and in kind, from our community from all over Canada - that we have sent through our partners in the Philippines to the intended beneficiaries, to the most affected. We have proven that the spirit of bayanihan or community/cooperation/collectivism, which we inherited from our ancestors, indeed lives on.

FMWM members sorting out relief goods for typhoon victims.

The Filipino Migrant Workers’ Movement (FMWM) donated $200 from its funds, and was able to collect another $270 mainly donations from the residents and staff of Valleyview Residence. Four Balikbayan boxes full of clothes and canned goods courtesy of the Highpark-Bloorwest Physiotherapy Clinic were already sent to the office of Migrante International in Manila.

“It’s always heartwarming to know that there are people who really care for others in dire needs,” said FMWM chair Jonathan Canchela, who is also the coordinator of Migrante Sectoral Partylist in Canada. “We are very grateful to everyone who supported our initiative to help fellow Filipinos affected by recent typhoons back home.”

Benefit concert in Barrie a success

A mini-concert held in Barrie October 24 by the Painswick United Church community together with the Pilipinong Migrante sa Barrie (PMB) raised some $1,262 in relief funds for the survivors of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in the Philippines.

Bon Accord, a quartet popular for their Scottish folk music in the community, wooed the crowd that filled the Oasis Church. Panyolito performed songs related to the environment, how it has been abused by landed and corporate entities, and the need to work together for its protection, preservation and sustenance.

Wilma Delo, president of Pilipinong Migrante sa Barrie (PMB), Pamela Pisco, finance officer, and Alma Bermoy, who took charge of donations for survivors of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, turn over relief funds to Josie Forcadilla of the Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit of the United Church of Canada (UCC). The UCC channels donations from Canada to National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP) flood relief effort and issues tax receipts for donations $20 and above. The NCCP has been consistent in ensuring that help gets to those who need it the most.

Sharon and Alex Constable from the community came up with the idea of the relief effort and got in touch with PMB leaders. This was given support by the church members and Pastor Glen Butler himself.

Wilma Delo, PMB president, in her opening remarks said, “We especially wish to express our profoundest gratitude to the community of the Painswick United Church for having taken on this very generous initiative.”

Delo further goes, “A song composed by our good friend Levy Abad, Jr. entitled Graveyard of the Future puts the message so well: “If we don’t care for Mother Nature now and let greed have its way, then tomorrow Mother Nature will surely sweep us all away.”

“For global warming, climate change is not simply natural phenomena but is the result of people’s abuse of Mother Nature - people in positions of power, local and foreign, engaging in destructive mining practices, denuding the forests, trampling upon land, aquatic resources, and other natural wealth for their own selfish ends. These have caused soil erosion, the destruction of valuable watersheds, bringing about flooding and landslides. These same elements - bureaucratic corruption, foreign domination and corporate greed - are at the root of our people’s sufferings from poverty, landlessness, unemployment and hunger; the very same reasons why we are here as migrants.”

“And so we come together, we build and strengthen bonds of cooperation, solidarity with sisters and brothers of other nationalities. What we have raised in terms of material and financial support provides immediate relief to our kababayans (compatriots) in need. But beyond immediate relief, we look further on to rehabilitation and eventually empowerment of our people towards collective self-reliance, and the rebuilding and building not only of individual homes and communities but of the larger society founded on social justice, prosperity for all and a truly lasting peace.”

Meanwhile, AWARE-Pilipino Family Services held a Halloween Fundraiser October 31 at the Holy Rosary Parish Hall, netting $600 in funds and boxes of relief goods being prepared to go to the Operation Sagip Migrante disaster relief effort.

The Operation Sagip Migrante relief initiative is administered by the Migrante Sectoral Partylist [MSP].


Migrante-Ontario member organizations:
Filipino Migrant Workers' Movement; AWARE; Philippine Advocacy Through Arts and Culture (PATAC); Damayan Migrant Education and Resource Center; Migrante Youth; Migrant Workers and Family Resource Center - Hamilton; Pilipinong Migrante sa Canada (PMSC) - Ottawa; Pilipinong Migrante sa Barrie (PMB) - Barrie