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Council of Filipino Associations in Flanders (COFAF) of Belgium donation for the Victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda


By Minabelle Siason
Chairperson, COFAF

 
 


Dear Madam Ambassador Victoria S. Bataclan

Greetings.

In response to the call of assistance, please be informed that the Council of Filipiino Associations in Flanders has decided to divert its fund budgeted for the Philippine Independence 2013 (PIC2013) project (Donation of classroom in Busuanga, Aklan) to some calamity-devastated areas in the Philippines.


In a communication from former Labor Attache Rustico dela Fuentes dated September 12, I was informed that DOLE has  “instructed all Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) worldwide to  refrain from soliciting donations for the Classroom Project.  This is the first step in facilitating the deactivation of  DOLE role in the Classroom Project.  This instruction was directed to POLOs and is not designed to discourage overseas Filipino communities to directly provide funding for developmental projects for their chosen communities in the Philippines. Since I noticed from your recent  mail (6 September) that you would have another incoming donation for the Classroom Project, I feel the need  to inform you that our office may no longer be able to assist you regarding the handling of that next donation.” This refers to the PIC2013 classroom donation for Busuanga elementary school in Aklan.

For the past years, COFAF opted for the “Donation of Classroom” which was initiated by DOLE, to be the project for its annual celebration of Philippine Independence in Brugge.  With DOLE at the helm, the fruition of these donations was guaranteed and the results of which were not only presented to the Filipino community of Belgium and Luxembourg but also to sponsors and supporters of PIC-Brugge events.   I am so happy that Mr. De La Fuentes  further added “Regarding your previous donation,  since it came prior to the instructions given to POLOs as mentioned above,  our Office is obtaining approval to proceed with the construction of the classroom  at the locality you have specified,  subject to observance of government accounting and auditing requirements.”  This refers to COFAF’s classroom donation for Mabuhay elementary school in General Santos as PIC2012 project.  We are still waiting for new developments/updates in the construction of this set of classrooms.

I have presented this situation to the body during the recent Meeting of Leaders held at the Philippine Embassy.  However, as of this writing, there is no official directives from the Philippine government regarding the mechanism of donating classrooms in the Philippines.  And since DOLE can no longer assist COFAF with its PIC2013 project, the latter instead of releasing the fund to an unknown entity, decided to divert its PIC2013 generated fund to the following:

€ 2500.00   =   P145,000.00  Typhoon Yolanda victims of Tacloban
€ 2000.00   =   P116,000.00  Earthquake victims of Bohol
€ 1000.00   =   P  58,000.00  Earthquake & Yolanda Typhoon victims of Cebu
€   500.00   =   P  29,000.00  Typhoon victims of Busuanga, Aklan (although not hardly hit, it is a token for the lost project)
€ 1000.00   =   P  58,000.00  War-incident victims in Zamboanga City

These donations were channeled to the Philippine Red Cross as can be seen in the attached remittance documents for your perusal.  As per instruction, I have tried faxing these documents to PRC but to no avail.  Therefore, may we respectfully request your good office to endorse these copies of remittances to the appropriate authorities of PRC.

For our PIC2014 project which is a donation of classroom in Iligan, we hope that an official directive will come forth as soon as possible.

Thank you so much for always being there for the Fiipino community.

 Very truly yours,

Minabelle Siason
Chairperson, COFAF

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