29 years
Community Service
News Magazine
Operated by couple Eddie Flores and Orquidia Valenzuela
News and Views of the
Filipino Community Worldwide
Helping in One’s Own Way

Vicente Collado Jr.
October 25, 2009

Stories and images of the unprecedented misery and devastation caused by Ondoy left no one untouched. And, based on the equally unprecedented outpouring of generosity from Filipinos worldwide, it is clear no one remained indifferent.

A refrigerator hangs from the electric lines, indicating how high the flood rose. Photo by Karen Agabin
How could anyone? Video footages of a whole family floating in a river and suddenly disappearing under a bridge, tiny hands and feet protruding from the mud, people holding on to dear life on rooftops and window sills, women in tears having lost possessions and possibly loved ones, houses fully submerged, trucks and refrigerators hanging from electric lines in the aftermath … these and other more graphic pictures would melt even the most callous heart.

That is why, the instinctive and instantaneous reaction of Filipinos all over the world of pooling their resources together for the benefit of the victims seemed to come so natural. Some offered their support out of familial duty, families and friends having been among the victims; others, out of pure compassion and pity.

The Filipino expat community in Qatar could not remain passive and insensitive either. Almost immediately, concerned groups and individuals alike launched an intense campaign in order to solicit and gather whatever kind donors were willing to send to the poor victims.
Ambassador Relacion with some volunteers.
Other Volunteers from MBP
Help from Foreigners Photos from Manny Camato

About 120 Filipino employees of a certain company agreed to pitch in for the victims; a Filipina working for an oil corporation took the initiative of asking donations from her European and American officemates; in a fundraising event, a man gave QR500 but refused to have his name listed among the donors; and, Filipino students and office workers used their spare time to help pack relief goods. Untold stories abound on how our Filipino compatriots in Qatar tried in their own small ways to help make life less miserable for those affected back home.
Photo from Manny Camato
Packing Relief Goods Photo from Manny Camato

Of course, some charity drives were more well-known having been promoted in the media and in the social networking forums.

For instance, volunteer drivers of the Samahang Batanguenyo sa Qatar (SBQ) drove around Doha for several nights picking up cash donations and other goods pledged by other kabayans. All cash collections and goods were sent to charitable institutions in the Philippines directly involved in the relief operations.

The Doha Pinoy Shooters Club (DPSC) also launched their own charity drive called “4trait mo! Sagip Buhay Ko!” where members and their friends were invited to have their photos taken in a full studio set-up and in their favorite costumes in exchange for their contribution to the Ondoy cause.
Some Flyers for the Campaign

To raise relief funds, the United Pinoy Motor and Motocycle (UPMM) group organized “Drive for a Cause.” Motorists who joined the weekend caravan that drove all the way to Al Khor gave donations for the typhoon victims.

The United Filipino Bowlers Qatar (UFBQ) also held "Bowling for a Cause" among Filipinos and friends. The proceeds of the sports event went directly to the typhoon victims.

The Air Supply Concert, long in the drawing board before the typhoon came, was eventually reformatted to also benefit Ondoy’s victims. Originally, the concert scheduled for October 15 at Qatar Foundation was aimed at raising funds for the church in Doha, the Philippine School of Doha, Reach Out To Asia and Batang Matalino Scholarship in Bicol.
Air Supply

Another charity concert, Rakabayan Qatar 2009, featuring three Philippine rock artists -- Rico Blanco, Alamid and Brownman Revival -- was held at the Philippine International School-Qatar multi-purpose hall to raise funds for those displaced by the typhoon and for other charity projects. A special booth at the concert accepted donations for Ondoy’s victims and another booth called “Barya Para Kay Ondoy” sold coffee at QR3 a cup.

A Filipino restaurant, Cocina Filipina, celebrated its first year anniversary by donating 10% of each bill to the typhoon victims for the month of October.

Another Fundraising Campaign for the benefit of typhoon victims, "Gupit Para Sagip Buhay," was also held at the POLO OWWA Compound where professional Filipino hairdressers rendered there services in return for any amount the customers were willing to donate.

The Movement para sa Bagong Pilipinas (MBP) also received gifts of cash and assorted donations like food, clothing and equipment from Technip Middle East (TPME), FNAQ,APO-Filcoa and American School in Doha.

To show their support, some remittance companies offered free transfer service for donations intended for typhoon Ondoy & Pepeng victims. Cargo forwarding firms likewise showed they cared by shipping many relief boxes free of charge.
Donations from Qatar Living Volunteers Group
Relief Goods Photo from Manny Camato

As of the third week of October, the fundraising campaign had netted QR40,000 and had gathered about 5,000 kilos of relief goods including 800 kilos of canned goods and ready-to-eat foods and some 1,000 kilos of brand new clothes, according to the papers. The amount is still growing because the campaign has been prolonged in anticipation of more typhoons to come.

No doubt, similar stories would come out if one were to chronicle the efforts of Filipinos in other parts of the world to come up with aids for our displaced countrymen. For, aside from causing misery, tragic events also have ways of stirring up the basic goodness inherent in all men that prompts them to forget about themselves for a while for the sake of the others.

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