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Home Sections Ecology and the Environment How Overseas Filipinos Can Help their Kin Survive the Big One in Metro Manila or Anywhere in the Philippines
How Overseas Filipinos Can Help their Kin Survive the Big One in Metro Manila or Anywhere in the Philippines PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Ecology and the Environment
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Tuesday, 29 March 2011 11:04


Part VI of the Series, “Filipino Armageddon”

 

By Lolo Bobby Mercado-Reyes of Sorsogon City

 

Overseas Filipinos Must Send Quake-Survival Kits Instead of Designer Dresses or Signature Shoes to Loved Ones in the Homeland

 

If the PeDRO does not want to spearhead the earthquake-preparedness program and inspection/retrofitting of buildings in the Philippines, then perhaps we should use its resources and donations by Filipino-American communities in buying tens of thousands of body bags and shipping them to Metro Manila and other urban centers. At least, when the catastrophic foretold tragedy happens, the dead can be buried easily with the body bags on hand.—Bobby Reyes

 

On March 11, 2011, 3:08:39 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, I e-mailed the chairperson and officers of the Philippine Disaster Relief Organization (PeDRO), Inc., of Los Angeles, California. (The e-mails to-and-from the PeDRO chairman emeritus are reproduced at the User’s Comments at the end of this article.)

 

The main message that I sent was: “The PeDRO should concentrate its efforts and resources in initiating such earthquake-preparedness program and inspection of buildings by a combined task force of Filipino-American engineers and architects. This way, we can prevent more deaths and unnecessary injuries and/or destruction. Disaster relief – after the tragedy or disaster has happened – is merely the personification of the Tagalog adage, ‘Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo’?"

 

But I am not expecting many changes in the PeDRO or in the fundraising efforts of other Filipino-American organizations. Many Overseas Filipinos – just like the folks back in the homeland – are  actually in a state of denial, as they are hoping against hope, to use an oft-quoted cliché, that the Big One (with or without an accompanying tsunami) will never hit Metro Manila or any other big urban center in the homeland. Some of them will even curse me for telling bad things that could happen to their kin back in the Philippines. Some of our people, including Overseas Filipinos, will just trust the Almighty to spare them the harm with a “Bahala na” (Filipino colloquial term for “What will be, will be”) attitude.

 

In Part IV of this series, How Filipinos Can Mitigate the Unimaginable Damages that a “Mother of Natural Disasters” Will Cause, this writer suggested steps how the private sector in the Philippines can prepare their neighborhoods, schools, offices and homes survive the Big One – without waiting for the Philippine government to act at all.

 

How to Increase the Survival Rate of Kin in the Homeland

 

H ere are some basic steps that Overseas Filipinos may take to increase the odds of their kin surviving the Big One in Metro Manila or any place in the Philippines:

 

1.0           Send to them materials (printed, CDs or even mere URLs of sites) giving earthquake/tsunami-preparedness educational lessons. Encourage them, as a family, to undertake periodic drills and evacuation procedures with their neighbors, school officials and their student wards, church personnel and if possible, do them as a community-based initiative.

 

1.1           Ask them also to have authenticated copies of insurance policies and other personal documents stored in a different place (for instance, with a relative living in a different province or city), so as to facilitate claims in case of losses or damages happening on account of the natural disaster.

 

Editor’s Note: Please read Joseph G. Lariosa’s column about the need to be ‘disaster-insurance friendly’ – just like the much-disciplined Japanese people are doing – at this link, Filipinos Should Be Self-Reliant.

 

2.0           Instead of sending their kin or friends designer dresses or signature shoes or even expensive watches or pieces of jewelry, send to them in the ubiquitous “Balikbayan” shipping boxes hard hats (AKA crash helmets), life vests or preservers, goggles, safety shoes, first-aid kits, Walkie-Talkies (2-way battery-operated radios), durable flashlights and batteries, chlorine tablets and water filters that operate by gravity (without the need for electricity, for obvious reasons).

 

2.1           But keep on sending those tinned corned beef, Spam or Vienna sausages. Please check also on the availability of the MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) packets (originally developed for the U.S. military and relief personnel); these can now be bought in some big American food retailers or wholesale outlets. Communities may also coordinate with the Philippine National Red Cross about storing relief supplies in safe locations.

 

3.0           Ask them to consult a structural engineer on how to reinforce their detached dwellings or townhouses. If they live in a high-rise condominium, ask them to organize a condo-owners’ association (COA, if it does not yet exist) and engage the services of engineers and/or architects to look at the original designs and consider ways of retrofitting the building. If the condominium owners or building managers refuse to retrofit the edifice, then the COA can report them to the proper authorities or even sue them in court.

 

3.1           The COA members can deposit with the court their monthly amortization, so as to force the condo owners to retrofit the building, if the tenants (or condo-unit buyers) win the case.

 

3.2           If the structural engineers will conclude that the condo building is a hazard in case a strong quake occurs, the condo-unit buyers must abandon their condominium and include rescission of contract in the civil case filed against the condo owner and the builders.

 

4.0           Ask your kin in the Philippines to lobby their local officials, congressmen, senators and other high-ranking officials to undertake the suggested steps in this series, so as to give the common folks a fighting chance to survive the Big One (with or without a tsunami following it). If the public officials do not react positively and/or favorably, boot them out when the next election comes.

 

4.1           Tell your relatives in the homeland to pester the public officials to act fast in organizing volunteer neighborhood fire brigades and disaster-mitigation teams that can be trained to lead evacuation and search-and-rescue efforts. After all is said and done, the City Hall and/or national-disaster officials will be actually unable to help in the first-few hours after the disaster occurs. Neighborhoods and neighbors must help themselves and be trained for any eventuality.

 

5.0           There are other steps and guidelines that neighborhoods or congregations can discuss, adopt and/or train for, so as to make them applicable and done with more efficiency depending on the local circumstances and conditions.

 

(To be continued . . .)

 

To view Part I, please click this link: A 9.0-Magnitude Quake Will Destroy Metro Manila and Kill At Least 5.53-million Inhabitants Even Without a Tsunami Following It

 

To read Part II, please go to: How and Why a 9.0-magnitude Quake May Wipe Out Metro Manila and Cause 5.530-million Deaths

 

Here is Part III: Mother Nature Has Spared Metro Manila of Big Quake As It Has Been the Epicenter Only in 1658 and 1771

 

Here’s Part IV of the “Filipino Armageddon” series: How Filipinos Can Mitigate the Unimaginable Damages that a “Mother of Natural Disasters” Will Cause

 

Part V: What If the Big One Hits Metro Manila and Its Dams Collapse as a Tsunami Rolls in from Manila Bay?

 

 



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Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 19:10
 
Comments (6)
1 Tuesday, 29 March 2011 11:15
Dear New PeDRO Chairman Gil Mislang and
PeDRO Cofounder/First Chairman Bing de la Vega:

1.0 Today's catastrophic quake in Japan should be another warning for the Philippine government to undertake a massive and rapid earthquake-preparedness program and retrofitting of tall buildings, especially in urban centers, among other measures that it could implement to mitigate the damages and destruction to life and limb should a similar quake happens in our homeland.

1.1 I have been telling since September 2005 the Philippine government of the need for such preparations but to no avail. Please read an article that I wrote in October 2010, which carried the hyperlinks to the earlier articles:

http://www.mabuhayradio.com/ecology-and-the-environment/rp-government-must-be-warned-again-of-impending-catastrophic-earthquakes-that-will-surely-hit-the-philippines

2.0 If I may suggest respectfully, perhaps the Philippine Emergency Disaster Relief Organization (PeDRO), Inc., should concentrate its efforts and resources in initiating such earthquake-preparedness program and inspection of buildings by a combined task force of Filipino-American engineers and architects. This way, we can prevent more deaths and unnecessary injuries and/or destruction. Disaster relief -- after the tragedy or disaster has happened -- is merely the personification of the Tagalog adage, "Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?"

2.1 If the PeDRO officers and members do not want to spearhead the said move to initiate the said earthquake-preparedness program and inspection/retrofitting of buildings in the Philippines, then perhaps we should use its resources and donations by Filipino-American community organizations in buying tens of thousands of body bags and shipping them to Metro Manila and other urban centers. At least, when the catastrophic foretold tragedy happens, the dead can be buried easily with the body bags on hand.

2.1.1 I quoted in one of my articles then-Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, who said in June 2010, that more-than 3,000 individuals would die should a 7.2 earthquake hit Metro Manila. The 8.9-magnitude quake in Tokyo today measured 8.9, which is 1,700-% stronger than a 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

3.0 If you accept the above-mentioned proposal, then I can discuss with you a more-systematic way of raising the funds to do the said suggestions and how to coordinate matters with the Filipino-American Engineers and Architects Association, among other possible participants in a Coalition of the Willing.

For your perusal and consideration,

Very respectfully yours,

Lolo Bobby M. Reyes
Charter Member, PeDRO
and Editor, www.mabuhayradio.com
Dear New PeDRO Chairman Gil and First Chairman Bing:

I forgot to attach this letter that I sent to His Excellency President Noynoy Aquino, through channel, about the Oct. 25, 2010, article that I wrote:

In a message dated 10/25/2010 2:17:18 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it writes:

October 25, 2010

His Excellency
President Benigno S. C. Aquino, III
Manila, Philippines

Through H. E. Amb. Willie C. Gaa
Philippine Embassy
Washington, DC

Routed Through the Honorable Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon
Consul General
Philippine Consulate General
Los Angeles, California

Your Excellency:

We take the initiative of letting the Office of President know of this new article, which was posted just this afternoon in our website:

RP Government Must Be Warned Again of Impending Catastrophic Earthquakes that Will Surely Hit the Philippines

URL: http://www.mabuhayradio.com/ecology-and-the-environment/rp-government-must-be-warned-again-of-impending-catastrophic-earthquakes-that-will-surely-hit-the-philippines

We send to Your Excellency and to your staff and diplomats assigned in the United States the assurances of our highest esteem and deepest appreciation of your favorable action to this reminder.

Very respectfully yours,


Bobby M. Reyes
Editor
www.mabuhayradio.com

The said letter is posted also in the aforementioned Oct. 25, 2010, article in the www.mabuhayradio.com.

Thank you for the attention,

Very sincerely,

Lolo Bobby M. Reyes
Editor
www.mabuhayradio.com

PS: To date, March 11, 2011, nobody from among the recipients has bothered to acknowledge receipt of the said letter.
3 Tuesday, 29 March 2011 11:20
In a message dated 3/11/2011 4:21:23 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it writes:


Good Afternoon Mr. Reyes,

Truly, the need to address such concern as the shoring up of infrastructure,
high rise building inspections that you have particularly touched on , coastal readiness and preparedness programs are foremost to the minds of all God fearing Filipinos worldwide. Forefront and foremost particularly to the Phils government first and all NGO's ever willingly participating. Such planning are strictly governmental responsibilities in one hand and on the other, NGO's such as PeDRO do provide critical supporting roles. Though humbly speaking that such projects may be way beyond the means and the reach of many NGO's capabilities but nevertheless, worth an effort.

Indeed many thanks for your insightful suggestions for fund raising and other schemes to also shore up PeDRO's funds for victims and their families first and related non emergency projects always under serious consideration.

Rest assured that all supporters and yourself will be part of that Filcom wide effort
when Chair Gil calls for the next meeting.

BTW, The coastal town of Sendai which I have visited couple of times some years back being a loading port of most japanese cars for the U.S. market is right along the so-called " Ring of Fire " experts have predicted would be such a place amongst hundreds others along the edges of the pacific ocean creating force and magnitude an earthquake that occurred yesterday and that may well likely recur within the ring. The coastal towns of the Philippines have such spots that are all too vulnerable for the poor country. The need to help is forever foremost and paramount always.

God Bless !

Bing De La Vega
4 Tuesday, 29 March 2011 11:22
March 12, 2011

Dear PeDRO Chairman Emeritus Bing de la Vega:

Thank you for your reply.

I think that we should start to call you as the "Chairman Emeritus," so as to distinguish your title from Chairman Gil Mislang.

1.0 RE: Reinventing Fund Raising for Fil-Am Communities. For so many years now, I had been writing and talking about the need to "reinvent" Filipino-American efforts to raise funds for the Filipino-American community and NGOs and their concerns/causes in the Philippines. Our approaches were always parochial in nature or style or approach.

1.1 Our task has been compounded by the bitter experience of entities like the Wells Fargo Bank Foundation that gave $300-K to the NaFFAA and the NaFFAA national executive officers have refused to account for the grant money. Or, as I related in this article,
CA AG’s Investigation of Dodger Dream Foundation Bolsters Case Against NaFFAA’s Exorbitant Consultants’ Fees

URL: http://www.mabuhayradio.com/naffaagate/ca-ag-s-investigation-of-dodger-dream-foundation-bolsters-case-against-naffaa-s-exorbitant-consultants-fees

1.1.1 As I wrote in the article, “This writer has exposed the financial abuses in the NaFFAA, like when it paid $132,878 in consultants’ fees in 2002. To read this charge of impropriety and other ‘sins’ of then NaFFAA national chairwoman, Loida Nicolas Lewis, please go to http://www.pinoyonboard.com/2004/0815_naffaa.html. The point of my contention was: How can a business that had gross revenue in 2002 of $445,783 spend $132,878 or 29.81% for consultants’ fees?”


2.0 Almost all of our community organizations keep on trying to ask money from Corporate America to fund almost-exclusively Filipino or Filipino-American events, principally consisting of dinners-and-balls, festivals and what not. More-often than not, some mainstream companies give but they give bigger amounts to Asian-American (and not merely Filipino or Chinese or Japanese) ethnic festivals or events.

2.1 The Chinese Americans got wiser and have renamed the annual "Chinese-American Expo" (three-day show time) at the Pomona Fairgrounds every 3rd week of January to "Asian-American Expo." The event now draws more-than 200,000 visitors, as against the less-than 7,000 that went to the last Filipino-American Expo (also held at the same Pomona venue in a 2-day period). It is elementary, Mr. Watson, to conclude that Mainstream Advertisers would like to promote in the bigger event than in a Filipino parochial event that draws a very-small crowd. Now, even if a Filipino-American dinner-and-ball function succeeds in selling 2,000 dinner tickers, how would 2,000 compare to 200,000?

2.2 The Chinese-American organizers issue Event Guides and their equivalent of the Filipino-American "Souvenir Program" but in a quantity of tens of thousands of copies (versus the 300 to 500 copies for Fil-Am events).

3.0 Even for the events held in the Philippine Independence Month of June, each activity or function tries to solicit on its own, instead of presenting to Mainstream Corporate America a coordinated series of events that also highlight the U.S.-Philippines Relations and the contributions of many countries (such as Spain, China, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.) in the making of the Filipino heritage.

4.0 Suggested Ways of Raising Funds for the Proposed "PeDRO-led Earthquake-Preparedness Program and Building Inspection/Retrofitting Initiative in the Philippines"

4.1 It is respectfully suggested that we enlist the aid of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the British Club (Association?) of the Philippines, the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and other entities participated in by multinational companies.

4.2 It will be easy to justify the expatriates' or multinational firms' participation, as they will also be enhancing the quake-preparedness programs that some of them are already doing for their thousands of employees and dependents.

4.3 We have to involve social clubs like the Lions, the Jaycees, the Rotarians, the Kiwanis, etc., because they can match the PeDRO-raised funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis. So, if we raise $10-K, the fund automatically becomes $20-K.

4.4 Doing the proposed project with the American Red Cross will enable the initiative to get support funds from the International Red Cross or for Muslim-Mindanao operations, from the International Red Crescent organization.

4.5 We have to appeal to Overseas-Filipino associations and federations, even if they are not situated in Southern CA. Because the disastrous effects of a catastrophic earthquake or calamity that we are trying to minimize will affect ALL people, whether the victims are kin of Overseas Filipinos in the U.S.A. or not. It will only a question of the judicious use of time, strategy, accountability and transparency, among other basic factors.

4.6 There are other imaginative ideas on fundraising that I can present to you but since I do not have a monopoly of bright ideas, I will end now this presentation.

For your perusal and consideration,

Mabuhay,

Lolo Bobby M. Reyes
5 Tuesday, 29 March 2011 11:27
March 13, 2011

Good Day To You Mr. Reyes:

Appreciate your candid approach to fundraising inasmuch to soliciting the will and the pocketbooks of not only the FilCom but truly needed, even beyond.

If I may suggest first with all due respect to your effort in bringing to account unaccounted responsibilities and of course monies, in the name of transparency to which I salute your dedication given no one else that I know is brave enough. And I completely agree, though at times, the emailing of these unaccounted funds such as those by NaFFA that you mentioned, just is not doing it nor resolving it. There are proper venue for such matters. Rather, It just keeps potential donors most of whom happen to be our kabayans reminded negatively and therefore might be counter productive.

Let's instead focus on the ones you have mentioned; the reinvention of fundraising, the role of NGO's, the role of governments both the U.S. the Philippines, the critical role of our very own PCGLA, other Asian Pacific NGO's in the greater LA and of course, the time-tested supporters and members whom are true believers of the tenets and successes of PeDRO.

Sincerely,

Bing De La Vega
Re: Fourth Letter to the PeDRO About the "Filipino Armageddon" Series

March 29, 2011

Dear Chairman Gil and Chairman Emeritus Bing:

I took the initiative of informing the reading public of our dialogue about the need to prepare our folks back home for the coming Big One.

Here is the advisory of the said article, as posted in the Facebook:

How Overseas Filipinos Can Help their Kin Survive the Big One in Metro Manila or Anywhere in the Philippines

QUOTE.
Here is Part 6 of the “Filipino Armageddon” series being published in the hope that it may save countless lives once the Big Quake hits Metro Manila: http://www.mabuhayradio.com/ecology-and-the-environment/how-overseas-filipinos-can-help-their-kin-survive-the-big-one-in-metro-manila-or-anywhere-in-the-philippines

UNQUOTE.

I have done my part and still doing my advocacy of telling people to prepare for the "Mother of Natural Disasters" that may hit Metro Manila. It is beyond my control if nobody listens.

FYI.

Happy reading,

Mabuhay,

Lolo Bobby M. Reyes
Editor
www.mabuhayradio.com
(626) 825-0628

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