TACLOBAN CITY- Their intention was only to help four of the members of their organization whose families back home also suffered Yolanda’s wrath but the Tahiti-based Filipino organization ended up helping others who are still suffering from the aftermath of the supertyphoon.
Seeing the devastation personally was the reason why they decided to help their non-members as they could not afford not to extend assistance to those who were affected by the storm, Miguel Pedron said.
Pedron is the president of the Filipino Association in Tahiti-French Polynesia, composed of over 100 Filipinos working in Tahiti whose population of over 180,000 is less than compare to Tacloban’s more than 220,000 people, considered the ground zero of the typhoon.
“All we want was just to extend help to our four members whose respective families were affected by Haiyan (the international name of Yolanda). But seeing ourselves the massive devastation it caused and those affected by it, we cannot afford not to extend help to other victims,” the 64 year old Pedron said.
Pedron said that he never saw such a massive devastation caused by a natural disaster wherein everything his eyes could laid on were nothing but destructions whose magnitude was unparallel.
The group will provide livelihood assistance to the victims in the hope that they would, in turn, help other victims.
The fund that the group used to help Yolanda victims was sourced from the solicitations they made among the 100 Filipino now living in Tahiti, the largest island of French Polynesia in the southern Pacific Ocean.
“We went to television and radio stations and newspapers in Tahiti City to solicit funds to maximize our campaign to raise funds which we intend to give to the victims of the typhoon,” Pedron said.
They also put up boxes in the shopping malls and churches where donors could place their donations. And the response was “moving and overwhelming” as they were able to collect about P1 million in less than a week.
Also, the country’s airline company, the Air Tahiti Nui, provided them free tickets when they informed the company that they would travel to the Philippines to provide assistance to the typhoon victims.
“The people of Tahiti are such a giving and generous people. They never think twice in giving us their monies when they learn that we are raising funds for the typhoon victims here,” Pedron said.
The amount that they raised was the amount that they brought to the country for the victims. With the massive scale of the typhoons resulting to millions of people affected, the amount raised by them was not just enough, Burca admitted.
“That is why, we will do another fund raising and return here once we have raised enough,” she said. They plan to return to this city any time next year.
Pedron was joined by Mary Clare Navarro, the group secretary and Joyce Burca, its information officer, during their visit in Tacloban City to carry out their mercy mission.
By: JOEY A. GABIETA