Filipinos in Macau organize effort to help typhoon victims

Fr Leonard E Dollentas 

It has just been several days after typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) battered the southern islands in the Philippines. The typhoon brought widespread devastation to the country’s southern regions and has left the people spending their Christmas in the dark.  

Families, with mostly small children, languished in cold evacuation areas and in dire need and without access to food, electricity, water, and sanitary needs for infants. This was added to the pandemic restrictions and fear of the Omicron variant on top of it all. 

In the affected southern regions, the devastation resulted in the loss of many lives and widespread destruction of property, causing hardship and suffering to many communities. An updated report from CNN says that the typhoon “has now claimed at least 375 lives since it ripped through the archipelago late last week. At least 515 people are injured and 56 still missing, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.”

Many countries have given their support to help the rehabilitation efforts. International humanitarian aid, Church based charity groups and the Philippine government relief efforts focused on emergency healthcare, first aid assistance, and distribution of hygiene kits, shelter tool kits, tarpaulins, hot meals, drinking water, clothes, mats, blankets, and surgical masks to evacuation centers. But aid workers face the difficult task of reaching some regions that are cut off due to debris-filled and waterlogged roads, some with telephone and internet connections down.

Aware of the situation at home, some Filipino groups in Macau are also mobilizing solidarity and support efforts to help the victims, in some small ways they can. From work organizations to religious groups, they have organized themselves to collect support and financial aid and send them to the devastated areas. According to Rosemarie Cabalquinto, one of the leading organizers of the solidary efforts, she was overwhelmed with the support from the international communities, but there is also a need to organize Filipino solidarity in Macau: “We cannot just wait and feel comfortable with what the others are doing to send help, we ourselves should stand by our fellow Filipinos, during this difficult time by sending aid to the devastated areas.”  

The leading organizations were able to establish contact with Church-based charity groups in the Philippines to help in the distribution of relief items they send including water, rice, groceries to the households across six communities in need of support in Bohol and Cebu areas. Another relief effort organizer and Macau Head Servant of the Alliance of Christian Church of the Millennium, Romeo Bayog said that he somehow was moved by his fellow Filipinos in Macau: “Now is the time to unite all Filipino Christians in Macau. Like other migrant workers in Macau, many Filipinos lost their jobs, but they still give some small amount to the typhoon solidarity fund. More inspiring are those who decided to forego their Christmas party and New Year get-together. The money they were supposed to spend on the celebration, they decided to contribute to the relief and aid effort.” He added that they are also launching appeals among their fellow workers, where funds raised would go towards the relief and recovery of affected communities in the Philippines.

We call for the community’s support this new year, to share good tidings and to give comfort to the typhoon victims, whose lives have been upended due to the weather disasters. Below you’ll find a link to one severely devastated area where you can send your help: 

Relief Efforts for the Victims of Typhoon Odette (Philippines) 

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Tagbilaran

Peso Account

MetroBank – Cogon Branch: Account No. 712-7-71200383-5      Swift code: MBTCPHMM