Donations roll in for storm-ravaged Philippine Islands


POSTED: Monday, October 05, 2009

Photos of the storm-ravaged Philippines bring back grim memories for Beatrice Ramos-Razon.

“;When I saw the pictures in the paper, I remember what happened to us in 1967,”; she said. “;Our house in Pampanga was flooded, the entire first floor.”;

Ramos-Razon was one of the many donors who dropped by the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu yesterday to give what they could to help flood victims in the Philippines.

“;These people need a lot of help right now. Their houses were washed away. They have no place to stay,”; she said.

The organization collected $5,000 at various sites on Oahu by noon yesterday and has averaged $4,000 in donations daily since Tropical Storm Ketsana killed 288 people Sept. 26, said Toy Arre, president of the FilCom Center.





        The fund drive continues until Oct. 24:

» Drop off donations at Central Pacific Bank locations and Golden Coin restaurants, which will match donations up to $50,000.


» Make checks payable to the Filipino Community Center and mail them to 94-428 Mokuola St., Suite 302, Waipahu, HI 96797. Cash donations should be hand-delivered.




Meanwhile yesterday, Tropical Storm Parma hovered over the South China Sea after crossing Luzon in the Philippines, leaving at least 16 people dead and bringing more rain to areas still recovering from Ketsana. Two people are missing in northern Luzon after Parma hit as a typhoon Saturday, according to the National Disaster Coordinating Council's latest report.

“;I think, compared to other efforts in the past, the response is great, if not greater, than our effort two years ago with the landslide,”; said Arre, who hopes to reach $100,000 by Oct. 24. “;I don't think you'll find a Filipino in Hawaii that does not have a family or friend that was not impacted by the two typhoons.”;

He added, “;What's encouraging if you look at the name on the checks, it's not just Filipinos donating; it's all ethnicities.”;

The money will be donated to a nongovernmental organization, such as the Catholic diocese, that works directly with flood victims, said Jun Colmenares, a FilCom Center board member.

Angel Lewis, a member of the Filipino Jaycees, took a shift at the donation booth at the community center but was busy thinking about her 21-year-old brother, Jamboy Macadaeg, who flew to Manila on Thursday to meet his wife.

“;I haven't got a hold of him yet,”; said Lewis. “;I don't know if they're still alive or not. I was calling him at every single chance during my lunch break, before I go to sleep, all the time.”;

Bobby Agpaoa, a concert producer and president of the Hawaii Jaycees, managed to contact his parents and some of his celebrity clients in various regions in the Philippines to get a sense of the damage.

“;You can actually see the watermark on the second story of houses,”; he said, adding that Parma was not as bad as the storm that hit Manila, but the wind factor was worse. “;The pigs were flying all over the place,”; he said. “;That's how strong the wind was.”;

Hawaiian Airlines also volunteered at the FilCom Center and announced that it will donate $5 for every ticket sold between Honolulu and Manila throughout October.

The airline company has already donated $10,000 to the relief fund, and will match every monetary donation made by Hawaiian Airlines employees up to $10,000.

“;Everybody is doing their share now, stepping up with donating, especially in the Filipino community,”; said Agpaoa. “;A dollar goes a long way in the Philippines. One dollar equals 47 pesos. It's a big deal for families.”;

Bloomberg News Service contributed to this report.