CASJ raising funds for typhoon victims

Community News & Features Dec 16, 2004 at 3:04 pm

TORONTO–The Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) has issued an urgent appeal for immediate assistance to the victims of the recent typhoon and three tropical storms that hit the Philippines in recent weeks.

Calling it an ecological crisis caused by nature and aggravated by the wanton destruction of the few remaining tropical forests in the Philippines, CASJ Fundraising Chairman Edwin Mercurio and its Executive Committee members endorsed Thursday, December 9 a two-pronged action to mobilize its members and affiliate organizations to conduct an extensive fundraising campaign for the typhoon and flood victims and at the same time engage in an educational campaign to explain the effects of deforestation, soil erosion, the cause of floods and the importance of caring for the environment and safeguarding the health of the last few remaining forests in the archipelago.

Latest global reports indicate that nearly 1,800 people are dead or missing in the provinces of Quezon and Rizal after a typhoon and three successive storms hit these provinces east and north of Manila in a span of two weeks unleashing mudslides and flash floods. The hardest hit were the municipalities of Real, Infanta, Gen. Nakar in Quezon; Dingalan and San Luis in Aurora.

An estimated 650,000 survivors are in dire need of food, clean water and tents. Health authorities fear disease outbreak due to lack of adequate facilities and sanitation in temporary shelters.

CASJ is mobilizing its entire membership, affiliate organizations and community leaders for this urgent campaign to help the victims and communities affected by the recent calamity. The Alliance will be forwarding gifts for emergency relief to the United Church of Canada. The United Church of Canada is responding to this emergency, working with two Philippine partners – the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP). Donations sent to the United Church of Canada by CASJ members will be forwarded to the relief efforts of the NCCP. The United Church of Canada will issue tax receipts for these gifts.

CASJ will publish the names of all the donors in the Toronto-based Philippine Reporter and other publications.

Working with Mercurio are Connie Sorio, co-vice chair of CASJ; Carol Banez, CASJ Board member and president of Philippine Heritage Band; Bert de Lara of First Filipino Canadian Association of Vaughan; and other members of CASJ Executive Committee: Mel Catre and Pura Velasco, co-chairs; Hermie Garcia, co-vice chair; Ricky Esguerra, Secretary; Jose Pempe Saavedra, Jr. auditor; Flor Dandal, coordinator of Kababayan Community Centre; Mila Astorga-Garcia; and Virgie Tigas.

For information, call Edwin Mercurio, (416) 493-7884, 416-709-7884; Connie Sorio, (416) 463-5312 Ext. 240; Carol Banez, (416) 790-5413 Pager; Bert de Lara, (416) 875-3735; Mel Catre, (416) 829-4930. Or email a message to casj_canada@yahoo.ca.