Written By: Linda B. Bolido
For many Filipinos, significantly within the Visayas and Mindanao, there was little or no motive to rejoice the Yuletide season in 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which made it virtually unattainable to rejoice Christmas and New Yr in 2020 anyplace within the Philippines, continued to rage in several variants. Then, simply as Filipinos had been beginning to suppose they might no less than have modest household reunions and get-togethers, Hurricane “Odette” (worldwide title Rai) actually poured chilly water on festivities in lots of components of the Visayas and Mindanao.
The fifteenth and strongest storm to hit the nation final 12 months, it first made landfall on Siargao Island within the province of Surigao in Mindanao, with winds at 160 kph. It might make 9 landfalls, its energy solely dropping barely to 150 kph, earlier than lastly exiting by the West Philippine Sea from Roxas, Palawan.
Between December 16, the beginning of the nine-day Simbang Gabi or midnight Mass and the start of the Christmas season, and December 17, Hurricane “Odette’s” devastating impact resulted in 90 confirmed deaths, in response to the Nationwide Catastrophe Threat Discount and Administration Council (NDRRMC). Losses to property and agriculture had been conservatively positioned at P2.69 billion.
1000’s had been rendered homeless and suffered bodily, psychological, and emotional misery.
Intervention and help from each the federal government and personal sectors had been clearly desperately wanted.
With many Filipinos in dire circumstances as soon as once more, the Filipino Chinese language Neighborhood Calamity Fund (FCCCF) – comprised of 11 main Filipino Chinese language enterprise, civic and cultural organizations – instantly and voluntarily stepped as much as the plate, partnering with different teams equally dedicated to easing the ache and struggling of Hurricane “Odette” victims.
Hurricane “Odette” aid efforts
Early this 12 months, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, convenor of FCCCF and in addition president of Federation of Filipino Chinese language Chambers of Commerce & Trade Inc. (FFCCCII), offered P1 million every to the GMA Kapuso Basis and the Philippine Star Operation Damayan “Odette” Fund Drive and introduced updates on ongoing donations and storm aid distributions.
The donations had been the newest in FCCCF’s efforts to assist the victims of Hurricane “Odette”. Lim stated, “Since [December], the Filipino Chinese language Neighborhood Calamity Fund has raised greater than P80 million, a part of which was allotted for tens of hundreds of aid packs to assist the storm victims in [the] Visayas and Mindanao. Whereas elevating funds, we had been already constantly distributing aid items and meals by our affiliate and accomplice organizations.”
By means of FCCCF, the federation and different companions had been in a position to lengthen much-needed and pressing help when and the place wanted.
In his speech within the easy turnover ceremonies at Kamuning Bakery Café in Quezon Metropolis, Lim stated the federation commiserated with Hurricane “Odette’s” victims, who had been hit by a pure calamity throughout what ought to have been a festive season. On the identical time, he reminded them that Filipinos all the time believed habang could buhay, could pag-asa (so long as we’re alive, there may be all the time hope.)
Lim defined the FCCCF’s choice to hitch the GMA Kapuso Basis’s fund drive for Hurricane “Odette” victims.
“The [GMA Kapuso Foundation] has been our accomplice in earlier tasks, equivalent to in our FFCCCII college buildings donation to Marawi public colleges as a part of our ‘Operation Barrio Colleges,’ and in addition final 12 months’s aid efforts for Hurricane ‘Rolly’ victims in Catanduanes province.”
The varsity constructing donations had been meant to switch buildings destroyed in the course of the protracted siege of what’s often known as the Islamic Metropolis of Marawi, the most important Muslim metropolis within the predominantly Catholic Philippines. Preventing between authorities forces and fighters of Abu Sayyaf and Maute, each affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), additionally resulted within the burning of a Catholic church and left greater than 1,000 useless whereas hundreds needed to flee town.
The preventing left the historic metropolis in ruins and the federal government estimates it’ll price round $1.1 billion and take years to rebuild Marawi.
Hurricane “Rolly” (worldwide title Goni), with winds of 220 kph, first made landfall within the island province of Catanduanes in 2020, which bore the brunt of its fury. The storm additionally affected different Bicol provinces and people within the nation’s japanese seaboard.
He acknowledged the P8 million FCCCF acquired from the Chinese language Embassy, by Ambassador Huang Xilian, “a real good friend of the Philippines,” that paid for 20,000 aid packs for Hurricane “Odette” victims.
“So far, we’ve distributed 11,000 aid packs for Cebu, 10,000 aid packs for Bohol, 10,000 aid packs for Negros Occidental, 5,000 aid packs for Southern Leyte and Western Samar, 4,500 aid packs for Negros Oriental, 2,500 aid packs for Surigao province, 2,000 aid packs for Palawan, 300 aid packs for Surigao Metropolis, and 200 aid packs for Cagayan de Oro Metropolis. Extra are being despatched as I converse,” Lim stated.
Every aid pack, he added, price P400 and contained rice, canned sardines, and prompt noodles.
Even because the federation aid efforts had been ongoing, Lim stated their member chambers in typhoon-affected areas had been constantly assessing the state of affairs on the bottom and coordinating with native governments so they might lengthen assist to these most in want.
He identified that even in the course of the holidays, FCCCF officers and volunteers within the provinces labored to be among the many first to increase aid help to the storm victims. The Bayanihan spirit was very a lot alive and nicely, he stated. Everybody confirmed compassion for fellow Filipinos and labored collectively to assist their fellow residents.
As FFCCCII’s aid efforts continued, he referred to as on everybody to assist Hurricane “Odette’s” victims in any manner they might. Though he requested everybody to assist fellow Filipinos get well and overcome the challenges from the storm, the pandemic, and all different crises, Lim, an industrialist and philanthropist who bought his Engineering diploma from the College of the Philippines Diliman, and graduate enterprise research from Harvard College in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, additionally expressed confidence within the Philippines’ resilience.
“If we unite and work laborious, we will overcome. Our Philippine financial system is resilient. And we think about a nonetheless higher Philippine financial system this 2022 regardless of the latest (COVID-19) surge because of Omicron and even with the Alert Stage 3. Our Philippine financial restoration will proceed this ‘Yr of the Tiger’ with the beginning of the Chinese language Lunar New Yr on February 1, as a result of the Philippines has constructive macroeconomic and demographic fundamentals, because of good fiscal and financial insurance policies, the varied socio-economic reforms, the nonstop infrastructure modernizations, the added stimulus of election spending, the beginning of the Regional Complete Financial Partnership (RCEP) this 12 months; and …our nationwide unity and social concord. We imagine the Philippines shall change into a Tiger Financial system on this ‘Yr of the Tiger,’” Lim stated.
He urged everybody to work collectively and maintain the positive factors made within the Philippines’ drive in direction of public well being and financial restoration. “Nothing is endlessly, no pandemic or disaster lasts endlessly.”
On the identical time, he reminded everybody that COVID-19 remains to be on the market so well being protocols ought to nonetheless be noticed – carrying masks, sustaining bodily distancing and good hygiene, and getting vaccinated.
He stated unity and cooperation are wanted to assist the Philippines get well from COVID-19 and Hurricane “Odette”. He additionally requested everybody to not give in to the so-called donor fatigue and to proceed serving to victims of disasters, the federal government, well being front-liners, and everybody in want.
Go to https://www.ffcccii.org and https://www.fb.com/ffcccii.official for extra info.
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