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Ondy drive in Washington DC

WASHINGTON D.C. – Responding to the call of Ambassador Willy C. Gaa for Filipino Americans to extend relief assistance to the victims of Typhoon “Ondoy,” several groups in the Washington metropolitan area led by Feed the Hungry immediately launched their respective fund drives.
In a statement issued Sept. 28, Gaa “encouraged the Filipino community in the United States to extend relief assistance to the victims of Typhoon Ondoy that brought havoc to Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces in central Luzon.” The Philippine consulates in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco similarly urged the community to help.
“Let this moment be a time of giving, solidarity and oneness for our people and a chance to manifest the Filipinos’ resiliency in the face of calamity,” Gaa said in a statement.

He said donations to the typhoon victims can be coursed through the National Disaster Coordinating Center (NDCC), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine National Red Cross. Additional information can be accessed through the Philippine Embassy website at www.philippineembassy-usa.org ttp://www.philippineembassy-usa.org/.

phpKBsRAIBut some organizations, including FtH did the collection of donations and distribution itself. The Manila Mail’s Bing Branigin flew to Manila Oct. 1 to help in the distribution of relief goods. Branigin and other FtH volunteers coordinated with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) in selecting the areas where the relief goods would be distributed.
Another group which says it’s coordinating with ABS-CBN for its fund drive is the Migrant Heritage Commission. It started is fund drive at Rene’s Super Club in Fairfax, Virginia Oct. 4. Other organizations have made their own fund raising drives for distribution to the regions where they come from.
The Manila Mail will distribute 1,000 free phone cards to deserving Filipinos in the Washington Metropolitan Area who have to call their relatives in the affected areas of the Philippines. (See story on page 2)
Earlier donations came from the IMF-World Bank Filipino Association followed by the Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC), other organizations and individuals. Several Filipino American organizations also launched their individual fund drives and forwarded their collection to their selected areas in the Philippines.
Tessie Alarcon of FtH said donations received will be immediately released “because there is so much need and urgency to reach the victims.
As of press time, actual donations received so far, including PayPal through our website stood at $24,143. Amount already spent is $18,300 for the immediate relief assistance in Pila, Laguna, Muntinlupa — both submerged from the Laguna de Bay – and Marikina, Next is to Ultra evacuation center in Pasig, Cainta, Tanay and hopefully reach out to the Northern part, like Pangasinan, Benguet, Tugegarao, Baguio, and others, Ms Alarcon said. (The total amount in pesos would be more four million Philippine pesos.
Besides Branigin, the other volunteers based in DC and Manila are Ed Quisumbing, Martin & Lily Gaw, the staff of the Commission of Filipinos Overseas which will represent FtH, WB, IMF and Washington-based donors.
Among the early contributors are AFCSME $10,000, PAFC (Ador Carreon, Vic Lorica) – $5,000.00; Zambalenos (Paul Aquino); Alma Lindo (check of Fil-Am Manassas); Mary Ann Reisenbert, Lily Liu, Jean Duval, Ruby Hassan, Joe and Ruby Barbosa, Inday Arriola and others.
MHC says proceeds from its benefit Night of Great Music and Dancing at Rene’s Super Club Oct 4 would go to the ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya or Wowowee.
In the greater Washington, D.C., area, a similar concert was scheduled for October 25 at 6 p.m. at the Harmony Hall Regional Center for the Arts in Fort Washington, Maryland.
The fundraiser will feature homegrown Filipino American talents from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., according to reports.
Branigin, a former media coordinator at the defunct National Media Production Center and currently national editor of the 19-year-old Manila Mail newspaper, said she was heartened by the spontaneous support of the Filipino community for their suffering compatriots back home.
She added that the Pinoys’ love for music “comes very handy in making that extra effort to lend a helping hand.”
NEW YORK -In New York, Tony and Olivier award winner Lea Salonga, the Philippines foremost singer-actress, performed at a special concert October 12 at the Philippine Center’s Kalayaan Hall for the benefit of the Typhoon Ondoy victims in the Philippines.
According to Consul General Cecilia Rebong, the concert by the highly popular Salonga is part of the Filipino community’s frenetic fund-raising activities to raise much needed resources for some 700,000 people forced into makeshift evacuation camps by the epic floods in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces spawned by the tropical storm over the weekend.
“The Filipinos have responded with overwhelming enthusiasm to the calls for humanitarian aid,” said Rebong during an interview, adding the performance of Salonga, a long-time New Yorker, was the most visible so far.
Victor Lirio, the co-producer of the special event, thanked the Redwood City, California-based Ayala Foundation USA and the Philippine Consulate General for making the concert possible.
“This was a very quick planning decision over a cell phone conversation,” Lirio said. According to Lirio, Salonga was extremely delighted to do the concert for the benefit of fellow Filipinos who are suffering and in dire need of relief and assistance.
SAN FRANCISCO -In South San Francisco, California, meanwhile, Bay Area Filipino-American artists performed last week at free concert at the Intramuros Restaurant to bring together donors whose contribution will go directly to the victims of Ondoy (international codename: Ketsana). Dubbed as “Band Aid Pilipinas,” the concert featured Rudy Gelli Jazz Quartet, Rendezvous, Fusion, Studio One, Young Once, Feelosphy, Beer House Gypsies, Jeffrey Chin and Mixterious, plus some of the best disc jockeys in the area.
In Atlanta, Georgia, the Filipino community also launched a fund raising drive, raising $3,465 in the first few days.
The President of Filipino-American Association of Greater Atlanta, Marites Pelicer, turned over their contributions for victims of Typhoon Ondoy to Philippine Honorary Consul General Raoul “Ray” Donato. The cash donations are a product of the consolidated efforts of Filipino-Americans in Atlanta as they join millions of Filipinos worldwide in the continued support for those displaced by the recent flooding in the Philippines.

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