Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda:
Filipino American Youth Demand Urgent Relief and Resolute Action On Environmental Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOVEMBER 18, 2013
We express our deepest sympathies and condolences to our sisters and brothers who have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
As women, immigrants, US-born, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/ Transgendered/Queer, working class and Filipino/Filipino-American youth, we mourn the tragic loss of the thousands of lives and destruction of the environment, especially indigenous lands. We feel great sorrow for the survivors who are experiencing loss and for those who are looking for loved ones, still suffering from uncertainty.
We are especially concerned about the children, youth, LGBTQ and women — an already vulnerable minority — who bore witness to Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation, who struggle to survive in the chaos of a criminally ill-prepared government and who may be subjected to human trafficking, exploitation, rape and violence.
As US-based Filipino/Filipino American youth, we stand in solidarity with the Filipino people as the emergency response continues and rebuilding process begins. In light of such monumental tragedy that has directly impacted millions of our people, we reflect on the following:
Why has Typhoon Haiyan been so catastrophic for the Filipino people?
We have listened to first-hand accounts of our family members and friends in the Philippines. We have heard of gruesome stories of entire families and towns buried under the wreckage, acres upon acres of crops uprooted, livelihoods decimated, homes brought to the ground and survivors scavenging for basic needs such as food, water, shelter and medicine.
We draw on our history as a people to gain perspective on how this could happen. We understand that this catastrophic environmental disaster is a culmination of the oppression of our people and the abuse of our land. The extent of Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction is a culmination of the 450 year-history of Spanish colonization, US war, occupation and imperialism. Our people’s history is linked to the gravity of our current situation. We can no longer deny the impact of the impoverishment of our people and the pillaging of our natural resources.
Why are we outraged in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan?
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been donated by individuals, organizations and governments. But our families, friends and even international news media have reported that relief has been criminally slow. It is enraging to witness our sisters and brothers, especially children and mothers, in dire need and without assistance. Without access to clean water and food for eight days, time is of the essence. Thousands of lives hinge on direct, immediate action.
We demand answers as to how the Philippines has been so ill-prepared to respond to a national emergency. We ask: what are the contributing factors that have prevented urgent, efficient relief to affected areas? Does the prevalent government corruption as seen with the pork barrel scandal play a factor? What about bureaucratic maneuvering by clans who rule over a particular territory? Or how political opportunism in the form of plastering political party stickers, propping up affiliate organizations and promoting careers have hindered relief goods? What culpability do President Aquino and the Armed Forces of Philippines have in the delay? One thing for sure: any political roadblocks that have prevented the delivery of relief goods has and will result in more fatal casualties. Such negligence is disgusting and deplorable.
What should we do to support the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan?
We must stand in solidarity with the people of the Philippines. We must understand the difference between charity and solidarity. We must see charity for what it is: a patronizing act to absolve us from our the guilt of our privileges. We must think and act critically so that we do not repeat systemic patterns of neo-colonization, brute racism, political manipulation, and victim blaming. We must act in solidarity and extend support towards sustainability; and responsibly link and raise our consciousness to the necessary struggle to reclaim our collective humanity.
In these difficult times, we must find perspective. The Filipino people have had a long history of fighting for basic our rights to life, land and liberation, wherever we may be. We are a people who do not succumb to helplessness and desperation; we are a people whose proclivity to rebuild and get back on its feet runs in our people’s veins. We have confidence in the most marginalized members of Philippine society possessing the will and capacity to unite as one and rise up from the devastation. We recognize that this demonstrates more than passive resilience — but it is a continuation of an active struggle, a resolute defiance and an honorable resistance in the face of all forms of violence.
What is our role in the environmental disaster?
It is not enough for the world to just bear witness to these harrowing accounts within the comforts of our home. We need immediate and long-term action. While monetary, in-kind donations, and volunteer work are of utmost importance at the moment, they can only go so far. We need to take a stand that this vicious cycle of environmental calamities that are occurring more and more often are not just tragic coincidences. It is the very real, very raw manifestation of climate change that did not just happen overnight.
How have we in the Global North, and especially as people living in the belly of US Imperialism, contributed to calamities like Typhoon Haiyan? It is hypocritical to address the magnitude of super typhoon Haiyan’s destructive effects without isolating the root causes of climate change. We need to have a firm grasp of who produces massive carbon emissions. We need to identify the perpetrators, the enablers of multinational corporations and governments that are beholden to greed, operating at the expense of pillaging and abusing mother nature. It is our responsibility to question, investigate, expose, and challenge the very system that enables its existence at the expense of our sisters and brothers in the Global South, including the Philippines.
How can we contribute to genuine change?
We are the future ancestors of generations to come. As this generation of young people, we must do our part by lessening our carbon emission, finding alternatives to producing and consuming energy. We should invest in grassroots, transnational organizations like TIGRA-GABAYAN, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the US and local producers in the community. We can start changing our future today, by changing our ways of living and challenging our own governments to act on using sustainable energy. This is how we show genuine solidarity for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.
The Philippines will no doubt rise above the rubble of Haiyan’s devastation. The question is, will we as a global community unite and rise up in arms in waging war on the root causes of climate change? There is no quick fix to this devastation, and it will most certainly be a long and difficult road to recovery. It is our role to extend people-to-people support, especially to the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our society. We must commit to organize wherever we may be — to raise our consciousness and take critical action towards genuine transformation, in the interest of humankind and the world we coexist in with mother nature.
Turn our compassion, outrage and consciousness into progressive action. Donate generously and responsibly to one of Ugnayan’s endorsed organizations (below). Get organized to work for grassroots solutions towards environmental justice and an end to all forms of violence.
We invite you to volunteer and participate in Ugnayan’s upcoming 9th Anniversary:
Ugnayan requests organizations for endorsements. Endorsing organizations agree to support the event by: 1) publicizing the event, 2) having representatives attend, and if capacity permits, 3) donating towards the relief and rebuilding drive. Volunteers are also appreciated. Fundraising proceeds go to TIGRA-Philippines and Gota De Leche (see below for details on endorsed organizations). RSVP on our Facebook Event Page. Email us at email@example.com or call 347-298-7964 for more information.
BANYUHAY: Turning Charity Into Solidarity Endorsers (in formation): Alliance-Philippines, Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization and Marginalization, Desis Rising Up and Moving.
Donate Towards Building People-to-People Solidarity
We appeal to your conscience by donating and volunteering to the suggested organizations we are endorsing below. We have compiled and researched a select list of organizations that we trust to have a transparent, empowering and grassroots approach to extending genuine solidarity with the most affected areas of Typhoon Haiyan.
Our endorsed organizations below is based on Ugnayan’s evolving movement building principles and dynamic relationships that personify justice:
TIGRA is a transnational organization with offices in Oakland, CA and Manila, Philippines, and programs and initiatives based around the globe. TIGRA’s work aims to reshape the transnational migration ecosystem to one that empowers a network of individuals, families, communities and businesses. In the US, it is a 501(c)(3) organization that serves the immigrant community.
In partnership with grassroots organizations in Cebu City and Bantayan Island, TIGRA-Philippines’ relief work will address the immediate needs of communities. Cash donations will go towards the purchase of priority items like tents, food, water, medicine, etc. We are also committed to a longer-term vision of regeneration — planting new crops, rebuilding water systems, new ways to deal with waste management, etc. — all with an eye on local capacity-building and organizing for sustainable community development. To donate directly to the Philipines, visit https://www.causes.com/posts/857110 and read on-the-ground updates and photos.
TIGRA-GABAYAN New York / New Jersey To volunteer in organizing relief efforts, contact staff-organizer Cita Brodsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-280-2983.
TIGRA-GABAYAN Oakland, California To volunteer in organizing relief efforts, contact GABAYAN staff-organizer Leo Esclamada at email@example.com or 510-338-4915.
STP (Sagip Tuluy-tuloy Tulong Pilipinas)
People’s CORE, Justice for Filipino American Veterans and Kabataang makaBayan to help Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan victims in the Visayas. Organizations are based in California.
People’s CORE is a 501(c) community organization in Los Angeles. In order to respond to the changing social needs in the communities of Los Angeles and the South Bay, People’s CORE, was formed in 1996 by an ethnically diverse group of progressive academics, community organizers, and lawyers. Since then, People’s CORE has implemented programs and projects emphasizing alliance building, base building, capacity building, and organizing.
You can donate cash, by check or in kind to:
1610 Beverly Blvd, Suite No. 2
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Visit the People’s CORE website for ongoing updates.
AF3IRM Endorsed Organizations
The Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization (AF3IRM), is a national organization of women engaged in transnational feminist, anti-imperialist activism. AF3IRM is committed to militant movement-building from the United States and effects change through grassroots organizing, trans-ethnic alliance building education, advocacy and direct action. AF3IRM, formerly known as GabNet, has more than 20 years of work in the community.Visit AF3IRM’s website for the latest news, analysis and call to action.
Gota de Leche Manila: Established in 1907 by the Asociacion Feminista Filipina, GDL focuses on aiding women and children. Check them out at www.facebook.com/gotadelechemanila
Send cash donation to their their bank account:
La Proteccion de la Infancia, Inc.
BPI Morayta (Manila)
Please inform them about the details of your contribution through Gotadeleche.Manila@gmail.com — amount, date of deposit — and if you would like a receipt scanned and emailed or mailed to you, please include your mailing address.
FACLA/USAP TAWID BAHA Relief Drive
Monetary donations can be sent to:
Filipino-American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA)
1740 W. Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Medicin Sans Frontieres (MSF)
100 Staff, 8 Planes On the Way
MSF is rapidly scaling up its response and will have more than 100 staff in the area in the coming days, including doctors, nurses, surgeons, logisticians, psychologists, and water and sanitation experts. Eight planeloads of aid materials—including medical supplies, shelter materials, hygiene kits, and water and sanitation equipment—are also on their way to the Philippines from MSF warehouses around the world.
See more about MSF and donate towards MSF relief work in the Philippines.
Advancement for Rural Kids
ARK Relief Plan
Situation: Capiz is in a state of emergency
– Haiyan lingered and ravaged the province for 5+ hours – the longest time it was on land
– villages and towns have been leveled, some were underwater/flooded for 72 hours.
– 90% of buildings and ALL of the schools are damaged
– families lost their homes, while those who have it, no longer have roofs
– there is no electricity – all the villages are in the dark
– 80-90% of trees are uprooted, with not a leaf left in the school gardens or all around
– rice paddies – source of food and income – are decimated.
– The next time the communities can get income from rice farming is next September.
Despite all of the above, relief organizations have not reached Capiz and government aid has been very little. Learn more about the Advancement for Rural Kids.
Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians
The Magkaisa Centre in Toronto, Canada is a member organization of the Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians. Since 2000, the groups in the Magkaisa Centre have operated to serve the needs of and empower the growing but marginalized Filipino migrant and immigrant community in Toronto.Monetary and non-monetary support, particularly non-perishable food items, and medication. Cheque donations can be written to the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario (please write “Disaster relief fund” on the memo part of your cheque).Visit the Magkaisa Centre for updates.
The Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians is in close coordination with the relief efforts with the Philippine-based Centre for Emergency Aid and Rehabilitation (CONCERN), an organization that has more than twenty-five years of experience operating in the field of disaster-risk and rehabilitation in the Philippines. All collected donations will go towards the Oplan Sagip Bayan operations (Oplan People’s Rescue) in the eastern and central Visayas region. Material donations may be sent directly to: Metro Manila: # 22 Domingo Guevarra St. Barangay Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City 1550