After Devastating Storm, Filipinos in U.S. Scramble to Provide Help

Here is a list of aid agencies that are accepting donations.

ABS-CBN Foundation

Nafcon

Philippine Jesuit Foundation

Philippine Red Cross

This list was compiled by The FilAm.  They also published an article that highlights some of the issues Filipinos in the U.S. are facing as they try to determine the best way to help the storm-ravaged Philippines.

If you’re confused about the best place to donate, here is a link to the Charity Navigator guide to intelligent giving.

Amid mind-numbing devastation, FilAms relearn to trust, turn to laughter

By Cristina DC Pastor

 

If there is one thing Typhoon Haiyan has taught Filipino Americans, it is relearning the meaning and essence of trust. Trusting where to send help and who to send it to.

Filipino Americans normally rush to help their compatriots when disaster strikes, and it seems to happen a lot of times. Last month, it was the earthquake in Bohol which flattened centuries-old churches and killed at least 200 people. In 2009 there was Typhoon Ondoy which claimed about 750 lives. There were many others, and in all those dreadful times, FilAms were generous with their pockets, if not their time organizing fundraisers across the Tri-State and collecting old blankets and clothes.

But traumatic and often bitter experience from past disasters taught them that there are some Filipinos who would grab money and clothes from donations and run off with them.

Recently, allegations of corruption that approach wholesale plunder involving leaders of Congress are now being investigated. The amount of money fueling this gangster-like network of senators and congressmen is believed to be at least 10 billion pesos. The alleged ringleader, the well-connected Janet Napoles, is currently in jail and fearing for her life. She made a personal appearance in Congress wearing a bullet-proof vest and spoke nothing during her testimony.

Angry FilAms in New York, denounced the wide-scale corruption with a march outside the Philippine Consulate building. They called on the politicians to resign and Filipinos not to vote them back.

This anger hangs heavy in the minds of some FilAms debating the best way to assist the Philippines which was hammered by Haiyan’s powerful winds and rains. They want to help but should they send cash or clothes? Who can they trust to receive their cash donations?

A Facebook exchange captured a stream of conflicted thoughts.

“What is the best way to help? Money through Red Cross,” asked a FilAm newspaper editor from Westchester.

“Send money to trusted organizations,” replied an architect from Manhattan.

“I hope they trust their family members to distribute the goods or money. I also agree about the relief foundation free from government official involvement. So far there is no news of religious organizations involved in corruption. How about them?” wondered a Manhattan resident who works for a large entertainment venue.

“Many disasters happened and the warehouse is loaded with donations from all over the world. Where did it go but in ‘ukay-ukay’ stores. Even then some people take advantage of the calamity and even get rich from it. The best is to send them directly to someone you know who will distribute those to the ones in need,” suggested a FilAm who works for a foreign consulate.

“I just want to warn everyone to be careful on fake organizations that pretend to help, but the donations actually don’t go to the supposedly recipients or typhoon victims. This is common that some evil people callously exploit the exploited for their personal gain. Though not all organizations are the same but we should be aware,” warned an artist.

The skepticism may be palpable but has not stopped others from moving into a direction where they can be of help. Comedians Air Tabigue and Rich Kiamco and the Broadway Barkada will headline a fundraiser at the Philippine Consulate on November 22nd. Kevin Nadal of the Filipino American National Historical Society emcees.

“I just felt I needed to do something,” said Air. “I would have made myself available on any day.”

Rich said he is “thrilled to be able to contribute my talents and help in whatever way I can.”

Both funny men said comedy helps in the healing process, a way to connect with the community and “boost people’s spirit during the hard times.”

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation.