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Oct 01st
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako Typhoon Haiyan Victims Remain: "Hayan, Mga Victims Pa"
Typhoon Haiyan Victims Remain: "Hayan, Mga Victims Pa" PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Written by Jesse Jose   
Thursday, 22 May 2014 12:11

By Jesse Jose
A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Q uestion: What happened to all the millions and millions of dollars donated by the whole world to the victims of typhoon Haiyan?
I wrote a letter to the editor of our town paper, the Auburn Reporter, in response to a story about a Fil-Am couple, who are still seeking donations for the victims of typhoon Haiyan.  It was reported in this story that when they recently went to visit Tacloban City, the destruction was still everywhere and so many people are still homeless, living in tents and shacks, foraging for food and handouts.
The couple, Jude and Therese, are residents of my town and fellow parishioners and of Holy Family Catholic Church of Auburn. 
Here's the letter, Dear Readers.  It was published in the opinion section of the paper, dated May 16, 2014, titled: "More Help, Concerns for my Native Country."  It's a short piece, but it took a prominent spot in that page of the paper.  Check it out.
Dear Editor,
In reference to the story, "Couple trying to make a difference in typhoon-tattered Philippines," on 5/2/14, I think that's commendable of the Verzosa couple,Therese and Jude. 
This typhoon, named Haiyan, was indeed a terrifying storm that left mayhem and destruction and death to thousands of people.  It left on its wake millions of people helpless and homeless and thousands of children, disease-ridden.
And it has put the Philippines on the map because of this never-before-seen destruction in any country, much worse than that Hurricane Katrina when it slammed New Orleans, Louisiana, in August of 2005, or perhaps even worse than the tsunami that slammed Japan in March 2011.
Mother Nature can be so mean and spiteful.
And it's a pity that the Philippine government did not make any preparations for the coming storm despite repeated warnings several days before it landed on that part of the country.
According to CNN's Anderson Cooper, when he arrived in Tacloban Cirty (the city that took the brunt of the typhoon), five days after the typhoon had left, he reported that he didn't see "any signs of presence" at all of the President Aquino government rendering help to the victims.
Trumping the pathetic response of the Aquino government, nations across the region moved in quickly to help.
The United States for International Development gave $20 million in immediate aid.  U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel immediately dispatched the aircraft carrier, USS George Washington, with 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircrafts, and a battalion of U.S. Marines, to help in the rescue and to bring in relief goods, medicines, food and clean water.
Support and aid also flowed in from more than 20 countries.  The United Nations released $25 million in immediate aid.  Donations from charity organizations, churches and private individuals also flowed in ... and continue to flow in.  Even the NBA team Miami Heat generously donated millions of dollars in aid.
But where is that money now?
Did the money go to the victims?  Or, did it go into the pockets of crooks and thieves of the President Aquino government?  It seems like it.  Because nothing much had been achieved in helping the victims.  Many are still homeless and the destruction are still prevalent.
And from what I heard and understand, the canned foods and relief goods meant for the victims have ended up being sold in flea markets, known as "ukay-ukay" stores in the Philippines.
These kind of things usually happen whenever calamities befell this native country of mine.  The rich politicians become richer and the calamity victims remain victims, homeless and hungry.  So sad.
Jesse Jose
Auburn, WA.
That's the entire content of my letter, Dear Readers.  It needed to be said and my question -- where's the money? -- had to be asked, and I want to share it with you all.  JJ.    

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