Forgot your password?
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
  • default color
  • green color
  • red color


Oct 01st
Home Columns Unsolicited Advice Reinventing Overseas-Filipino Donations for Philippine-Disaster Victims
Reinventing Overseas-Filipino Donations for Philippine-Disaster Victims PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 7
Columns - Unsolicited Advice
Written by Hector Santos   
Sunday, 11 October 2009 12:39

By Hector Santos, guest columnist


Part One of a Series of Articles about Calamity Aid


It seems that after recurring Philippine natural disasters, many well-meaning Filipino-American organizations start a drive to collect clothes, blankets, and canned goods from their constituents. Many respond because of a genuine desire to help their unfortunate countrymen but also because it is an opportunity to empty their closets of unwanted items. Goods pour in, often ending up in a church basement, a borrowed social hall or someone's garage for temporary storage.

Inevitably, the time comes when they have enough and the relief goods have to be shipped to the
Philippines. This is when they find out that they don't have funds to pay for shipping. Air freight is so expensive and, almost always, the cost of shipping is more-than what the goods are worth. These organizations then pester their local consulates and local Filipino businesses to provide funds. Instead of accepting responsibility for their lack of planning, these groups accuse others of not wanting to help when they don't get what they ask for.


Editor’s Notes: Ka Hector Santos is the venerable founder of the Philippine History Group (PHGLA) of Los Angeles, California. To read the other articles of Ka Hector in this website, please just type in “Hector” in the Search Button. Or please go to the PHGLA website at

T hese goods either end up in the dump or in a Goodwill Center after a while. Some scrappy groups manage to raise enough money to send their relief good by ocean freight. These goods reach the
Philippines after a few months, too late for the emergency that spurred the drive in the first place. Eventually they end up in “ukay-ukay” (literally meaning, “monkey-monkey”) outlets, the traditional fence for charitable and relief goods diverted from their destination by officials.

Somehow, it never crosses the minds of Overseas Filipinos to simply donate money to an agency they trust. Like anywhere else in the world, the best way to help is to donate money to an agency like the International Red Cross designating that the funds be used for a specific mission. (If you are a cynic and think that the money will be pocketed by crooks, then don't donate at all.)


Editor’s Note: Please read this appeal from the Philippine National Red Cross: (hyperlink on the left) Philippine National Red Cross Appeals for Help from Overseas Filipinos

W hen the next Philippine natural disaster comes around, Filipino-American organizations will have new leaders who have no idea of what happened the last time they tried to help. Worse yet, they may still have the same leaders who never learned from their experience.

When will people learn that disaster relief is a job for professionals? The easy part is collecting goods. The hard part is shipping them, making sure someone is available at the other end to receive them, and having an infrastructure in the disaster area to deliver the goods to the right people. If a group does not have all of the above, they have no business doing relief work. # # #


E ditor’s Notes: Please read also the following related articles on the latest typhoons in the Philippines:


The Parable of the Ant and the Grasshopper, Filipino Version


Tropical Storm Ketsana Is a Wake-up Call for Filipino Political Leaders and Voters to Deal with Global Warming


The “Bahay Kubo” Mentality and Government Neglect, If Not Stupidity and Cluelessness, Are to Blame for Storm-caused Deaths and Destruction


KK! Talk Show Discusses “Coping with Disaster: Focus on Health Aspect” Tonight, Oct. 7 @ 6:30 PM (Manila Time) on


OFWs in the Middle East Launch Fundraising Drives for Disaster Victims


Senator Akaka Urges Everyone to Help RP Flood Victims


Sen. Akaka Appeals for Help for Typhoon Victims As Philippine Government Issues Guidelines for Foreign Donations


Rep. Speier Authors Resolution Supporting Philippine Disaster Relief and Urges President to Continue Aid


President Obama Expresses Condolences to RP Typhoon Victims # # #




Newer news items:
Older news items:

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 08:52
Comments (1)
1 Sunday, 11 October 2009 13:26
Dear Governor Joanne:

It may interest you to note that our guest columnist, Hector Santos, has mentioned the International Red Cross in his article,
Reinventing Overseas-Filipino Donations for Philippine-Disaster Victims


It may interest you further to know that we inserted in Mr. Santos' article a hyperlink to the article written by Bobby Manasan,
Philippine National Red Cross Appeals for Help from Overseas Filipinos

More power to you and the Philippine National Red Cross,


Bobby M. Reyes

In a message dated 9/27/2009 9:31:36 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, MEDIABCLA writes:
Dear Governor Joanne:

CC: Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo-Aragon
Deputy Consul General Daniel R. Espiritu
Chairman Bing de la Vega of the PeDRO, Inc.
Bobby Manasan

1.0 We published also the same article in our other website, the Here is the hyperlink:

Philippine National Red Cross Appeals for Overseas-Filipinos' Help (With Update from Governor Sanchez)


2.0 "Reinventing" Disaster-Relief Fundraising.

2.1 The "Philippine Disaster Relief Organization (PeDRO), Inc., a public-benefit corporation organized in Los Angeles, CA, works with various Filipino-American organizations and the Philippine Consulate General. The PeDRO was organized precisely to "reinvent" disaster-relief fundraising that should be done proactively on a year-round basis, instead of reacting to disasters after they happen. Bing de la Vega, a former president of the Pangasinan Brotherhood of America, is its founding chairman.

2.2 To my limited knowledge, the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) has not coordinated with the PeDRO, Inc., in planning for such year-round fundraising and executing the plans -- so that the task force so created could establish regional depots that can store (on a pre-need basis) relief goods and supplies and despatch them (even to the other regions) as the need arises.

2.2.1 The PNRC is the ideal Philippine partner for such coordinated year-round disaster-relief efforts as Filipino Americans view the Presidential Calamity Fund and even the National Disaster Relief Coordinating Council as highly politicized, if not riddled with bureaucratic red tape and political incompetence that fail to address the Overseas-Filipino requirements for accountability and transparency.

2.3 Perhaps it is time that we pool our minds and hearts together to "reinvent" disaster-relief fundraising and preparations. I wish to suggest most-respectfully that the PeDRO officials hold regular community meetings in coordination with the Philippine Consulate General and other Philippine-government agencies in Los Angeles, California, so as to energize Filipino-American community organizations in helping our homeland cope up with natural disasters.

2.3.1 If the PNRC does not have any representative in the United States, perhaps it can enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the PeDRO, in which details of the suggested cooperative efforts are stipulated.

For your perusal and consideration,


Bobby M. Reyes
and Prime Mover,

In a message dated 9/27/2009 4:25:11 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, bobmanasan@ writes:
dear joanne,

please note that your request has been circulated nationwide in the US (and hopefully in other countries) through the courtesy and kindness of a dear friend, bobby reyes, of LA, a journalist and social activist like yourself. let us hope that our fellow pinoys and concerned human beings everywhere respond generously to your appeal. thank you for your love and continuing concern for the health and welfare of our suffering fellow citizens. in hectic and frantic times like these please take care of yourself too.


ps: many thanks, tocayo. i know i can always count on your help, time and time again. more power to you!

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
Comment (you may use HTML tags here):

Who's Online

We have 93 guests online


Please consider supporting the "ReVOTElution of Hope" for Sorsogon as the Pilot Province. Please see "ReVOTElution" Banner on this page for details.


Quote of the Day

Benjamin Franklin said in 1817: In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. But never in his wildest dream did he realize that by 2010, death would be synonymous with taxes~Bobby M. Reyes