Sunday, November 17, 2013

US-based company vowed to match Fil-AMs donations

MALOLOS CITY—As the number of victims of super typhoon Yolanda climbed to 4,460 in the Visayas, a US-based power company vowed to match donations of its Filipino-America employees.

But donations are not limited to Filipinos living in California, but to other nationalities as Southern California Edison (SCE) joined the relief campaign by its Filipino staffs.

The campaign was even posted on SEC’s website and facebook account along with a story encouraging people to donate.

“To assist the people in the Philippines, SCE’s parent company Edison International will be kicking off a Typhoon Haiyan Disaster Relief Campaign on Nov. 15 in which the company will match each employee-donated dollar up to $25,000. The campaign will go through Feb. 28, 2014. There will also be a Facebook campaign through Nov. 21 for the community where Edison International will match “likes” up to $5,000,” the story said.

The story which was posted on the SCE website added, “contributions from employees and customers will be donated to Doctors Without Borders,  Gawad Kalinga USA and American National Red Cross, nonprofits equipped to help with the immediate needs of those devastated by the typhoon including providing food, water, shelter and medical care.”

It also quoted Janet Clayton, the senior vice president of Corporate Communications for Edison International and SCE saying  “we have a strong Filipino presence in our employee base who may have family and friends impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. It is in times like these that we are reminded that natural disasters can occur anytime and so we need to be prepared.”
Dela Cruz (R) with Vice Gov. Fernando (L) and ex-Vice Governor Plamenco
For Filipino employees of SCE like engineer Roderick Dela Cruz, the images of the devastation Typhoon Haiyan has brought to his home country of the Philippines is heart-wrenching.

However, Dela Cruz is thankful his family resides in Bulacan in the northern part of the country, and was spared any major loss.

A senior engineer with SCE who for the past four years has been working with the Philippines government on dam safety, Dela Cruz was quoted saying  “the magnitude of [the typhoon], it’s really surprising “I was not expecting it — it’s mind-blowing.”

Another employee identified as Antonio Manimbo, a telecommunications engineer was also mentioned in the story.

It said that Manimbo was watching a Filipino news channel, when reports started coming in about “the biggest storm ever” to hit his homeland. When the video footage started pouring in, he immediately made calls to his family back home.

Fortunately, his family lives in northern Philippines and were not affected.

But sadly, some of his fellow members in FilBarkada, an SCE Filipino American employee resource group, have still been unable to reach family members back home.

“They still can’t get in touch with them,” said Manimbo, who also serves as president of FilBarkada.

As this developed, the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that as one of the largest catastrophes to ever hit the Philippines, super typhoon Yolanda has displaced over 900,000 people and affected more than 11.8 million people.

Citing reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the OCHA said there were a reported 4,460 deaths as of November 14.

However, Malacanang said the next day that casualties are below than what OCHA reported. Dino Balabo