Monthly Archives: November 2013

More Fundraising work to be done

by jun asuncion

A cruel twist of fate would have it that the Ketsana Foundation’s library project be deferred to another propitious time. The unimaginable scale of destruction to lives and properties, the unfathomable depth of sorrows and pains, existential angst and social displacement of the victims which typhoon Haiyan had left required from us a reflexive change of plan and priorities. Even Switzerland had to defer some planned activities last November 18 by declaring this day  a national fundraising day for the typhoon victims in our country. So every sensible individual and nation saw the urgency of the situation, hence, a shift in priorities.

In keeping with Ketsana Foundation’s rule of thumb of helping the affected directly, two of its members will be going to these typhoon-ravished areas to give some families things they needed for their livelihood, such as fishing boats, garden tools, etc. Simply said, tools they need to start rebuilding their lives and immediate environment.

We have decided, however, that only half of the total proceeds of the benefit concert last week would go to the south and the remaining amount for our library project in Bulan.

This means, we have to organise another fundraising activity next year to reach the amount needed for this project. For those who may be reading this message and who feel the need to help Ketsana Foundation to finally  realize this project, please contact us. Soon Ketsana Foundation will have its own website where we can publish in detail all our activities and report the financial status. This is in keeping with transparency and credibility for we know that those who want to help also want to know what happens with what they give.

The benefit concert itself was a total success. Many people came that evening of November 21 in spite of the sudden snowfall which caused a little turbulence in the otherwise always orderly streets of Zürich. The pianist Dr. med. Robert Siebenmann did his best to make the cold evening a pleasant one for all with his warm and very personal rendition of Brahms and Chopin. The apero held at the lobby was opulent as  many friends came with their home-made specialties like Christmas cookies, Glühwine, cake, sandwiches and wines. It was a crowd of medical people, of artists and musicians.

I thank Mila, Elizabeth and Franklin Patricio and Madeleine Borel for their priceless help in making the event a success. Our biggest appreciation naturally goes to our pianist Robert Siebenmann for inspiring others to help and to all of our sponsors, friends and guests. Last but not least, our best appreciation and acknowledgement goes to our consul Miss Tess Lazaro (who delivered a nice  spontaneous inspirational speech) and cultural attaché Irene Sadang for gracing this memorable evening with their presence. Photos of the concert to follow.

For the meantime, we ask the children of Bulan to be more patient as we work more to realize our plan. Thank you and carpe diem.

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Filed under Education, Fundraising

A minute of silence, long hours of work

by junasun

Two weeks after the super typhoon Haiyan, we are faced with the herculean task of recovery and rebuilding. How do we build homes to the hundreds of thousands of homeless people and how do we give medical care to the wounded and sick among them without water and electricity and existing hospitals – and even medical staff for they, like all others, were victims themselves. This is such  an unimaginable logistical problem. Though help and support of all kinds are coming from the international community and the national government, still it takes time to build the most needed infrastructures like roads, hospitals, water and electric plants, bridges and the hundreds of thousands of homes needed. Many have died the day the typhoon hit these areas, but many more will die in such conditions of hunger, shock, trauma, homelessness and zero infrastructures, services and facilities. The government is doing everything but it needs time, – and time is running out to save the weakest and vulnerable among the survivors.

Most of the dead were buried by now. And while we still have hundreds of hours of work before us, to take a minute of silence that will bring us to that quiet place in us where no typhoon can ever penetrate, a place where we all feel at home together as a people, will do us good.

In the face of all these  destructive calamities that have recently befallen the country, we shall all agree that life shall go on and that the life and dignity  of every human shall be respected and protected. And also, as we now pick up our tools to start rebuilding, we should not neglect to treat nature with respect  and consider her in our planning so that she will treat us the same way. We are inseparable from nature, therefore, it’s just wise to live by her rules.

The Philippine archipelago is endowed with natural beauty, but beauty has its price. The Philippines is on the front line of natural calamities and danger may come from above and below. Danger from above are the typhoons. The Philippines is the only large country that is geographically very exposed to tropical cyclones. There are about 20 to 24 typhoons that hit the Philippines, and a few of them are devastating. The most recent one, super typhoon Haiyan, has occurred just two weeks ago and which has practically obliterated Tacloban city and many more places in this region. Around 44,000 of 55,000 houses were wiped out, the rest may still be standing but heavily defaced. Those buildings near the shore just disappeared with the storm surge and over 5,000 people disappeared in a wink of the eye of the storm.

Typhoons are just normal  for Filipino people that a child by the time he is ten years old will have already experienced around 240 typhoons. But this month’s typhoon has surpassed them all. And this typhoon Haiyan has given us a glimpse of the probable nature of typhoons yet to come, – that some of them could be as strong or even stronger than Haiyan. That’s a grim reality to come we have to brace ourselves for.

The danger from below our feet and houses are the earthquakes. The Philippine islands lie in the so called Pacific Ring Of Fire, hence, many earthquakes occur in the islands. The last one just last October 2013 which damaged among others Bohol and Cebu. If this happened that a strong earthquake and a super typhoon occurred in  just a few weeks of interval, the worst that one could imagine is if they would happen at the same time sometime in the future. Better not.

If beauty has its price, then it’s a high price. A single typhoon costs millions or billions of pesos. This typhoon Haiyan alone has cost around P25 billions. But that’s the loss and how about the cost of rebuilding? Aside from thousands of human lives, the country losses therefore tens of billions of pesos from typhoons and earthquakes alone every year.  And we  don’t even add to that the cost of the damages of the typhoons of political corruption that befall our senate and house of representatives and the provincial and municipal buildings. A total shame.

One thing is clear: We cannot move the Philippines away from these typhoons and earthquakes.The people have to  live with it, have to stay in their homeland and rebuild their cities and homes. For the responsible and sensible world citizens (or Netizens) who live in fortunate locations, their only option is to help. The Philippine islands have a life-saving role to play, – as a typhoon shock absorber or shield because after a typhoon has hit the Philippines with its full impact,  it normally continues its course to Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia but already weakened to a certain degree, hence, saving countless lives in these neighboring countries. Haiyan was already over 100 km/h slower when it approached Vietnam. Tha’s a big deal.

Typhoons here, earthquakes there, still life must go on like that of one father in Tacloban who lost his wife and five of his children instantly as the killer waves surged into their village that he is now left with only one child who survived with him. He said that the pain of loss was  hard to bear but he still has a child who needs him that’s why he chose life.

For us then who are not regularly affected by such devastating natural calamities, let’s choose to help them recover from their severe nightmare.

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Filed under Reflections, Uncategorized, Views and Concern