Isle Filipinos fear for loved ones in Manila


POSTED: Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When Kalihi resident Sunny Coma, 40, learned of the flooding in the Philippines—the worst in 40 years—he tried to call his 27-year-old sister, who lives and works in Metro Manila.

Coma finally got word that Janet was OK from another sister in Ilocos Norte, who shared the news with family in Hawaii.

But his sister's possessions, including her cell phone, were destroyed when the boardinghouse where she lived was inundated with waist-high floodwaters.

Coma, who works two janitorial jobs, said: “;I'm worried. There are so many people. I would like to send my money.”;

The Filipino Community Center has set up a fund for the victims of Tropical Storm Ketsana over the weekend.

The Metro Manila area is made up of 17 cities and municipalities with a population of 12 million, said Geminiano “;Toy”; Arre Jr., president of the FilCom Center.

“;I think any Filipino you ask in Honolulu has a friend or relative who is living within the Metro Manila area,”; he said.

Arre said the water was chest high in his wife's parents' home in the Sanpaloc area of Manila, where “;cars were being washed off the road.”;

The center is accepting checks for the victims made out to the FilCom Center, Suite 302, 94-428 Mokuola St., Waipahu 96797. FilCom Center officials ask donors not to mail cash; any donations in cash may be made in person at the center.

A spokesman for the Philippine Consulate in Nuuanu said there are plans for concerts and other relief efforts. Information on sending donations directly to the Philippines can be found on its Web site at http://www.philippineconsulatehonolulu.com.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka planned to make a speech on the Senate floor today in support of the recovery effort.

In a written statement yesterday, Akaka said: “;By now, most of us have seen the images of destruction and human suffering caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana in the Philippines. Survivors are now struggling to find clean drinking water, food, medicine and shelter. In Hawaii, we know all too well the damage tropical cyclones can cause. As we have in the past, we stand ready to help our friends in the Philippines. I encourage everyone in our community to do what they can to help those suffering from this terrible disaster.”;