Tag: Ondoy

“President Aquino, Stop Blaming the Poor For Their Plight!”—BAYAN-USA

Press Release
August 22, 2012

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN-USA, chair@bayanusa.org

“President Aquino, Stop Blaming the Poor For Their Plight!”—BAYAN-USA
Filipino-Americans Criticize Aquino Regime’s Insufficient Disaster Relief Effort and Anti-Poor Rhetoric

The aftermath of Typhoon Gener and a Southwest Monsoon (Habagat) that ravaged the Philippines in early August has left many Filipinos reminiscent of the disaster of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. Relief operations led by grassroots people’s organizations, including BAYAN-USA, have been activated and are underway around the world. Monetary donations have been sent directly to affiliated organizations in the Philippines that serve urban and rural poor communities, the most affected by the disaster, whose homes and crops have been damaged or lost in major floods. However, instead of also assisting these communities in rebuilding their lives, the Philippine government has targeted them in a blame game accusing them of being the root causes of the flooding disaster.

Aquino’s Anti-Poor Relief Strategy

The almost week-long rainfall from the typhoon and monsoon surpassed that of Typhoon Ondoy, leading to floods just as dangerous as in 2009. Kalikasan Green Partylist, a progressive environmental concerns partylist in the Philippines, explains that floods are solely caused by the amount of rainfall an area receives at any given time. Because rain fell steadily for several consecutive days, water basins were oversaturated, leading to major floods in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces in Luzon.

Despite this scientific explanation, President Benigno “NoyNoy” Aquino III made statements that mistakenly accused urban poor shanties built near waterways of being the major cause for floods. He reportedly ordered Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson to address the issue of informal settlers through any means, even if he must “blast” the urban poor out of such areas.

“The floods would have occurred just as they did whether or not informal settlers crowd near waterways,” said Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson of BAYAN-USA. “Aquino is pointing the finger at the victims of the flood, while he should be taking responsibility for their conditions. His administration has only neglected the basic needs of the majority of the people. It is joblessness, poverty, a lack of sustainable housing projects, and shoddy urban planning that makes people desperately build homes wherever possible, even in the path of dangerous floods.”

Aquino has ordered Singson to relocate 125,000 families along Metro Manila waterways and an additional 700,000 around Laguna Bay. However, the president has not expressed any intention to relocate wealthy private entities, such as large malls, that also surround Metro Manila waterways.

“It is clear that the Aquino regime is framing the issue this way in order to justify making way for the implementation of privatization projects,” says Ellorin. “Just as the flooding has swept away thousands of homes, Aquino plans to do the same to the poor majority.”

Filipino organizers in BAYAN-USA are skeptical of how much relief this relocation plan will actually provide as the housing budget set aside for 2013 is insufficient to fund decent housing for the 195,000 families Aquino is targeting. Instead, more funds are allocated to paying back foreign debt and promoting failed poverty alleviation programs, such as Public Private Partnership Programs (PPP) and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).

Prioritizing Sustainable Programs for the Poor

People’s organizations around the world, including BAYAN-USA, are exposing the Philippine government’s deceptive and destructive rhetoric, which ultimately blames the victims and wipes away any accountability from the government’s ineffectiveness. “At this point, the government should have learned their lesson,” exclaims Ellorin. “The only way to prevent disasters like this from repeating is by allocating sufficient funding into basic social services, such as housing, jobs, health, education, and disaster preparedness.”

BAYAN USA is calling upon anyone interested in donating directly  to the numerous victims of the massive flooding in the Philippines by making a donation to BALSA today: http://tinyurl.com/BALSAbayanihanreliefThe only way to achieve complete relief of the massive flooding is to activate our bayanihan-community effort- and giving spirit as the Philippines has been hit once again with the worst flooding since 2009.

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Filipino-American alliance conducts relief work in typhoon-ravaged communities: members deliver $15K, medicine and 2,000 bags of food to typhoon victims

Contact: Rhonda Ramiro
Secretary General, BAYAN-USA
secgen@bayanusa.org


Philippine Congresswoman Liza Maza distributing relief packages

DAGUPAN CITY, PHIILIPPINES–Filipino-Americans under the banner of BAYAN-USA, a US-wide alliance of 14 Filipino organizations, have been actively responding to the needs of the victims of typhoons Ketsana (Ondoy) and Parma (Pepeng) that slammed through the Philippines in the past few weeks killing hundreds and devastating thousands. In addition to conducting on-the-ground emergency relief operations in the Philippines, the alliance reached its projected goal of $15,000 for BALSA (Bayanihan Alay Para Sa Sambayanan), a broad, multi-sectoral disaster relief organization affiliated with its mother alliance, BAYAN Philippines, in addition to gathering dozens of boxes across the US filled with in-kind donations of clothes, food, and medicine.

This week, members of BAYAN-USA traveled to the Philippines to deliver their monetary donations and participate in relief operations. In Dagupan City, Pangasinan, BAYAN-USA joined Congresswoman and Senatorial Candidate Liza Maza of the Gabriela Women’s Party and MAKABAYAN Coalition for one day in handing out over 2,000 sacks of food to long lines of families who had been devastated by the typhoon’s destructive force, but met with the inadequate response of the Philippine government in providing relief. Pangansinan, one of the most impacted provinces in the nation, was 80% submerged due to the man-made disaster of the San Roque Dam opening that unleashed more than 8 million cubic meters of water.

“We have seen with our own eyes how the Philippine government has neglected the needs of the typhoon victims at a time of tremendous need for basic necessities like medicine, food, and shelter,” commented Bernadette Ellorin, chair of BAYAN-USA and one of the members of the relief team. “It has been the responsibility of people’s organizations, like BAYAN-USA, to provide the emergency response needed for our families and loved ones back home who are suffering and will continue to suffer from the Arroyo government’s greedy, disaster-creating policies.”


Relief Distribution Plans

In relaying its monetary and in-kind donations, BAYAN-USA expressed distrust over the Arroyo government’s recent directive for all donations from abroad to be coursed only through accredited organizations with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or face taxation and other types of penalties and fees.

Furthermore, Philippine Consular offices in the U.S. have imposed restrictions on courier services from shipping relief goods collected by organizations whose efforts are not affiliated with the Philippine government. Courier services face high penalty fees should they choose to ship goods from people’s organizations collecting donations such as BAYAN-USA.

“In this time of calamity, it is unconscionable that the Arroyo government sees this as an opportunity to make money off of suffering,” Ellorin added, “especially when its own corruption of the National Disaster Relief Funds to pay for Arroyo’s lavish lifestyle is at the root of this disaster.”

Like other donors from the U.S., BAYAN-USA is calling for the Arroyo government to lift restrictions on goodwill, including the DSWD accreditation requirement and the taxation on relief goods, as it is posing a concrete obstacle to donors to send relief to the Philippines.

“Donors from the U.S. are not responding to the directives because of clear distrust. How can they be assured that their donations will reach their loved ones and the neediest communities back home?” Ellorin questioned. “Donors are choosing to go through alternative routes to circumvent the Arroyo government’s greedy paws.”

With the approaching super-typhoon Lupit expected to hit the Philippines within the next few days, the need for long-term or permanent disaster relief efforts becomes more apparent. “In the face of government corruption and inutility, people’s organizations should develop long-term relief operations to meet the escalating needs of the people to fight off the looming threats of cholera, dengue and other health epidemics as well as widespread hunger and homelessness,” ended Ellorin.


Members of BAYAN-USA and GABRIELA-USA with Congresswoman Liza Maza

For more information on how to donate through BAYAN USA, visit www.bayanusa.org.

Typhoon relief drop-off sites and contact information

OFFICIAL DROP OFF SITES and CONTACT INFORMATION:

[To be updated regularly]


New York

BAYANIHAN Filipino Community Center
40-21 69th St.
Woodside, NY 11377

Open Hours: Monday – Friday, 11 AM – 8 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 12-6 PM.
Contact:
Yancy Mark: (347) 867-0330
Jonna: (646) 578-7390
filipinocenter@gmail.com

Stony Brook University
Contact:
Jun Rose: (646) 750-3489.

FIND District III college organizations
Contact:
Patricia Dayleg: patricia.dayleg@gmail.com
Isabel Marie Gomez: isabelmariegomez@gmail.com

BKPNewYork
(specifically collecting children’s books to the Philippines)

Contact:
Frederick (646) 641-7183
frederick@bkpny.org


New Jersey

New Jersey
Contact:
Yves Nibungco: (201) 621-3156
Nick Cordero: (917) 476-7855

Sinugba Cafe
561 Westside Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07304

Casa Victoria
691 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306-2803

Kalusugan Coalition
591 Summit Avenue Suite 412 (Corner Summit and Newark Ave)
Jersey City, NJ 07306

Contact/Office Hours:
(201) 653-4600


Midwest

Fellowship for Filipino Migrants-FFM
PO Box 901
Glenview, IL 60025-9998

Contact:
Nerissa: (224) 381-6888
ffm4outreach@gmail.com


Los Angeles

Money, clothes, blankets, non-perishable food, medicines, toiletries and other basic necessities can be dropped off at designated BALSA locations in Southern California.

Downtown L.A
519 S. Spring (between 5th and 6th)
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Contact:
Fernando Fernando: (323) 854-4478

More drop-off locations will be volunteered in the coming days.

Los Angeles BALSA Relief Coordinators:
Fernando Fernando: (323) 854-4478 (Central LA)
Kuusela Hilo: (818) 395-9207 (LA)
Daya Mortel: (206) 355-0256 (West LA)
Victor Romero: (424) 225-0322 (South Bay)

E-mail: sc@bayanusa.org

Checks can be made out to Tulong Sa Bayan. (Tax-deductible) Online donations via paypal can be made at http://www.bayanusa.org.


San Diego

Cristy’s Bakery
9178 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126-4804

Contact:
(858) 271-6135

Mira Mesa Senior Center
8460 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126-2311

Contact:
(858) 578-7325

Fava Hall
2926 Market St.
San Diego, CA 92102

Contact:
(619) 234-1360

Kalasugan Community Services
1419 E 8th St
National City, CA 91950-2602

Contact:
(619) 477-3392

BALSA efforts in SD
Contact:
Anakbayan San Diego: anakbayansd@gmail.com
Eugene Gambol: (916) 296-4848 egambol@gmail.com
Ivan (619) 370-1296

Additional relief information
Patricia Guevarra: (858) 692-0785 patricia.guevarra@gmail.com


San Francisco/Bay Area

Donations in San Francisco/Bay Area
Contact:
Ryan Leano (626) 534-4971

Monetary donations can also be dropped off at these sites. Checks can be made out to “Lakasdiwa,” a non-profit organization that will send the funds directly to MIGRANTE International in the Philippines, a workers’ organization directly helping the victims in the disaster relief efforts. Please put “Typhoon Ondoy Relief” on the check’s note.

Filipino Community Center
4681 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94112

Liwanag Kultural Center
Hillside Park Clubhouse
222 Lausanne Ave.
Daly City‎, CA‎ 94014

Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30 – 6 PM; Wednesdays, 3:30 – 8 PM

Asian Pacific Islander Youth Promoting Advocacy & Leadership
310 8th Street, Suite 215
Oakland, CA 94710

Monday-Friday, 10 AM – 6 PM
Contact:
Armael Malinis, AnakBayan-East Bay


San Jose/South Bay

Donations in San Jose/South Bay
Contact:
Melissa Nievera, Filipino Community Support (FOCUS): focus.balita@gmail.com.

Filipino Youth Coalition (FYC) & Filipino Community Support (FOCUS) drop-off sites:

Welch Park Community Building
Located at corner of Kenesta Way and Clarice Dr
San Jose, CA 95122

(open everyday from 2 – 5 PM to receive donations)

Valley Faith United Methodist Church
1251 Sandia Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Stanford’s Pilipino American Student Union (PASU)
Contact:
AV David (650) 491-4561
avhdavid@stanford.edu


Portland, Oregon

Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
Contact:
Claire Oliveros
portlandchrp@gmail.com
You can send CASH through Metro Bank acct. 3 189 14540 1 For BAYAN’s “BALSA” (Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan)

Contact:
Consuelo Rivera (503) 729-9449
welorivera@yahoo.com

Gov’t policies worsen “natural” disaster: BAYAN USA statement on Typhoon Ondoy/Ketsana and Arroyo’s response

Contact: Rhonda Ramiro
Secretary-General, BAYAN USA
secgen@bayanusa.org

The worldwide outpouring of aid and support for the over 1.8 million victims of Typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) in the Philippines this week leaves Filipinos in the United States reeling with anger in response to the Arroyo government’s utter ineptitude in providing adequate disaster relief.

This anger towards the Arroyo administration is justifiable for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which are the Philippine government’s evident corruption of billions in national disaster funds in order to fatten up the Presidential international travel budget and subsequent insistence that donations coming from abroad be channeled through government agencies.

But in the case of Ondoy, the Arroyo government’s hands have extended past the budget purse-strings and into crafting disaster-prone policies as well.

Not Just a Natural Disaster

The vast, heavy floods that swept through Metro-Manila devastating over 319,811 families and killing at least 240 people slammed tons of pressure that left properties in ruins. But contrary to claims of Malacanang, these killer floods did not come solely from unpredictable heavy rainfall and winds, but from deadly landslides originating from the neighboring provinces.

For years, the Philippine government has denied links between mining and logging activity and landslides in order to protect the investments of multi-national corporations (MNC) in the Philippines. But other mining authorities, such as the British Columbia Geological Survey Branch, admit to a direct link between heavy mechanical activity launched by foreign corporations in resource-rich countries like the Philippines and the weakening of bedrock along slopes that can result to slope failure and eventually a fatal landslide.

In addition to ensuring nothing less than maximum devastation when disasters like Ondoy strike, irregular warming of the Earth’s surface caused by greenhouse gas concentrations resulting from dense MNC activity also contribute to the altering of regional climate patterns, such as the generation of typhoons.

Charter Change

While illegal mining and logging continue throughout the Philippines under the Arroyo administration, the Arroyo clique relentlessly campaigns for changes to the 1987 Philippine Constitution that would allow 100% foreign ownership of Philippine territory. Intensified foreign mining, logging, deforestation, land conversion and marine fishing throughout the Philippines coupled with poor infrastructure will only leave Filipinos vulnerable to more calamities such as Ondoy.

Support People’s Needs, Not Corruption

In this time of urgent need for the vast majority of Filipinos impacted by Ondoy, BAYAN USA appeals to supporters around the world to think twice before donating financial support to Philippine government-led initiatives such as those spearheaded by consular offices around the world.

The reason why overseas Filipinos are choosing NOT to remit through government channels is because of the Philippine government’s proven and historical track record of taking advantage of monetary donation drives in response to calamities as ample opportunities for graft. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo is one glaring example of this. In fact, to this day, more than Pph 7 billion (USD $280 million) in public funds allocated for post-eruption disaster relief remains unaccounted for.

The Philippine government makes billions in US dollars every year from the remittances of overseas Filipinos. Let’s not give them a chance to make more money off the victims of Ondoy. There are more reliable and credible people organizations both in the United States and in the Philippines, who not only organize communities for social reforms, but are now working tirelessly to divert donations from the government’s corrupt hands and bring direct relief to the most impacted areas without any discrimination or bias. Visit www.bayanusa.org or www.bayanihan4ondoy.wordpress.com to learn more about them. ###