19 October 2009
Reference: Anne Beryl Corotan, Chairperson; SanDiwa, The National Alliance
of Filipino American Youth; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Filipino American Youth in NY Lead Candlelight Vigil for Typhoon
Victims in the Philippines
WOODSIDE, NEW YORK -- A hundred boxes and counting -- sorted and fully
packed with clothing, food, medical supplies and other relief goods --
pile up against the walls of the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in
Woodside, New York. As more and more relief goods are left unshipped, a
community meeting was called last October 14 to address the situation and
to discuss the direct effects of the directives issued by President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo regarding donations from abroad.
At the community meeting, updates from all over the United States on the
Bayanihan for Typhoon Disaster Relief campaign by the National Alliance
for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) was given by Anne Beryl Corotan, President
of SanDiwa, the youth arm of NAFCON. Updates on relief efforts in the
Philippines by Migrante International, partner alliance of NAFCON/SanDiwa
was given by Jonna Baldres, community action coordinator of Philippine
Forum, a member organization of both NAFCON and Migrante International in
the US East Coast. Later in the discussion, guest speaker Bernadette
Ellorin, Chairperson of BAYAN USA, another partner alliance of NAFCON,
talked about Arroyo's directives and how these directly affect the
goodwill of the Filipino migrant community in the US.
As a result of the community meeting, plans of action on how the Filipino
community can respond to these directives were united upon. One of which
was the successful candlelight vigil held last Friday, October 16, at the
corner of 69th Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
"In a state of calamity, the needs of the people are greater than any
directives, especially from a government with rampant history of
corruption and deceit. The kindness of the people must not be taken
advantage of, therefore, these donations should not be taxed. At this
time, community's goodwill must be encouraged, not restricted," said
In a single file, over 30 young Filipino Americans marched quietly and lit
the streets of Woodside with flickering lights of candles to pay respect
to the typhoon victims and to oppose Arroyo's directives.
“If the Philippine government is not as corrupt and if it only gives
priority to the much-needed facilities needed to detect these disasters,
my cousin's death could have been prevented,” stated Leo Bronola, member
of Kapatirang Pilipino or Kappa Pi, a community-based fraternity and
member organization of SanDiwa, whose cousin was swept away by the typhoon
and was found dead in a nearby town in Manila.
Bernard Perez, President of the Philippine American Organization (PAO) at
City University of New York (CUNY) and one of the relief volunteers said,
“We, as Filipino-Americans, vow to help in whichever way we can to help
the typhoon victims and to have these donations reach the rightful
communities in the Philippines and not just be taken away by the corrupt
NAFCON and SanDiwa resolved to step up its campaign not just by gathering
relief goods but to also educate and make the migrant community aware of
these hindrances to the goodwill of Filipinos abroad brought about by the
Philippine government. More actions are expected to ensue if these
concerns of the Filipino community are not addressed.
"We will resist if we must, as long as we can ensure that these donations
that the Filipino community here in the US have entrusted to us get to
those who need them the most. Definitely, no less," Corotan ended.
For more information, visit http://bayanihan4ondoy.wordpress.com or
contact Anne Beryl (516) 9011832 for East Coast, and Ryan Leano (626)
5344971 for West Coast, or email at email@example.com. ###