What’s happening to us?

A couple of weeks ago, flash floods wreck havoc in Metro Manila, killing 350 people, displacing more than a million individuals — most are still displaced and in evacuation centers.

In the middle of this tragedy, before the week ends, another super typhoon crossed the country. And while it changes its course and has spared Metro Manila, it did create damage in Northern Luzon.

It was on its way out, when another typhoon entered and pulled it back and landed to Northern Luzon 3 times, killing hundreds more on landslides and floods.

Today, I opened my television in the morning, I saw 65% of Pangasinan under water. My mother called from Nueva Ecija, and while she comforted me by saying they are just fine, she reported that most of our town Jaen is already under flood water.

Can you imagine that a mountain city like Baguio will experience flood?

Can’t help but ask, what’s going on? What’s happening to us?

It’s a rhetorical question, don’t need to answer that. I just feel that I need to get that off my chest.

PRAY like you never prayed before

We still have not recovered from Ondoy. Pepeng, a super typhoon is coming. Like, a 230 kph strong typhoon is coming.

Pray like you never prayed before.

Pray like you mean it. I mean, something that comes from your heart. An authentic cry for help.

Pray like you really expect God to answer. Because he does answer. He does care. He does know what’s happening.

Pray even if some spiritual police mocks you for praying only at times of need. Pray.

Then rest in his arms and say, “Yet not my will Lord, but yours.” At the end of the day, God knows exactly what we need. We may not understand what’s happening. But God is still God. He is sovereign.

In the midst of these storms, may we find peace in the one who is immovable, certain and strong – Jesus Christ.

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DSWD vs NGO : where to send donations?

For the longest time, Filipinos here and around the world are one again. Typhoon Ondoy brought us together through generosity. Churches, NGOs, Media outfits — they all received donations all throughout the country and even from around the world. ABS-CBN, for one reported:

@ANCALERTS: Update on Donations ABS CBN Sagip Kapamilya: P30.2 million cash and P72 million in goods & service

This is just one of the non-government institutions that received and distributed the cash and in-kind donations. I personally gave through Red Cross. Our church collected and gave to VCF Greenhills.

The president, however, delivered this message. Notice how she stresses the words “… sa DSWD”.

I have the impression that the government wants the funds to go through them and not through the NGO. So, when somebody asks you on how and where to give (as a client of mine from the US just asked me), what will you tell them? Are you going to ask them to send your funds to DSWD? Or will you direct them somewhere else?

Let me give my opinion as a citizen of this country under the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo: I will NEVER ask people to give to DSWD for these reasons:

1. Effectiveness – as shown in the past days after the tragedy, the non-government instritutions – Red Cross, media, the church – they are all way more effective in delivering the services and the good to the shelters than the government. They are more organized and have more volunteers. In fact, it even looked like these institutions are our government these past few days!

2. Corruption – no need to explain here. But I can’t help it, can I just say some more? Remember the “Calamity fund” that’s supposed to be used for — well, as the name implies — calamity? It’s been used up for GMA’s travel abroad. This is a verifiable fact. This issue was discussed over and over even before the Saturday flood. You used up the calamity fund now you want to horde the donations to the government? I just wouldn’t trust my money on corrupt hands. I’d rather give my donations to some place where I’m sure it will be directly given to where it is intended to be.

If you’ll ask me, here’s how you can give.

How about you, will you course your donation through DSWD as the president suggests?

My open challenge to Willie Revillame, et. al.

Someone at Facebook has been asking to repost this message:

URGENT REPOST from Monica Payumo: IF ANYONE HAS A MOTORIZED RUBBER BOAT it is needed for ongoing rescue operations led by Red Cross Rizal Chapter. They need to go to Cainta and Manggahan, Pasig, Asap! People are reportedly dying in some areas. The water has not gone down at all. Please contact Cielo @ 0918-8824356

I know it’s wrong to impose. But in times of desperation, you just need to.

Here’s my challenge to Willie Revillame and people like him who have means to be used for rescue mission like this. You see, I highly suspect that his advertised generosity towards the needy is just confined in the 4 corners of his TV show. Then a friend of mine commented:

baka pweding may tumawag kay willie r. i remember meron yung speed boats at yate at helicopters na bagong bili at nang mabinyagan.

I’d like to be proven wrong even humiliated for my wrong perception of him. Show us your advertised generosity and love to the needy. Lend your expensive boats to the rescue teams.

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Update: A friend of mine Gayle replied back.

nag-donate daw 1M si willie, sabi ni gina lopez sa wowowee kanina

That’s great! Sure, we need all the financial help. I guess I have to qualify, though. This challenge is for him to lend his motorized boat(s) as it is what is needed for the rescue and is very scarce. Not to discount financial donations — very important — but if you have millions, you’ve got to give something that will hurt you to really exercise generosity. I maybe asking too much, but hey, this is my way to help.