Pinoy MTB riders raise funds for flood victims
By Jonathan B. Canchela
Toronto–When Metro Manila and nearby provinces suffered flooding following the torrential monsoon rains early in August, Deks Macapagal had one thought in mind: helping those thousands of people affected in any possible way.
An avid bike and outdoor enthusiast, Macapagal posted a message in Facebook groups of Ontario Pinoy MTB Riders (OPM) and Pinoy Pedal Pushers of Brampton (PPP), and the idea of raising funds for the victims began rolling instantly.
Robert Pamplona and Edwin Pabitu, leaders of PPP and OPM respectively, supported the idea and encouraged their members to support it as well.
So the Pinoy bikers decided holding the Sagip Migrante Fund Ride on August 18 at Kelso Conservation Park in Milton, Ontario. Twenty five MTB riders joined the event. They raised more than $800 in donations.
Part of the funds was donated to Migrante Canada’s Sagip Migrante Fund Drive, which was eventually turned over to Migrante International in Manila. Another part was donated to the family of their fellow biker whose relatives were fatal victims of the recent flooding in Quezon City.
Few days after the devastating flood, Migrante members and friends conducted rescue missions, distribution and delivery of essential goods such as rice, canned goods and bottled water and other relief missions in affected areas in Metro Manila, Southern Luzon and Central Luzon.
The monsoon rains brought havoc to thousands of residents of Metro Manila and adjacent provinces like Bulacan and Pampanga. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated into higher grounds. More than 15 deaths were reported.
According to weather experts, the amount of monsoon rainfall last August exceeded the amount of rainfall brought about by typhoon Sendong in 2009.
“It’s totally heartbreaking seeing kababayans suffer from this man-made disaster,” said Macapagal. “It’s a fact that lack of government programs for disaster preparedness has contributed to the disastrous effects of flooding and typhoons in the Philippines.”
This was the second time this year these Pinoy MTB enthusiasts held a fundraising event for disaster victims in the Philippines. Back in January the group held another fund ride at The Forge Park in Caledon, Ontario. Twenty three riders braved the winter cold weather in raising funds for the survivors of typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City.
PPP and OPM members are quick to respond in fundraising calls to help disaster victims. “We need to be supportive of each other in times of need,” said PPP member Hernand Pollaruste.
“Filipinos come together in times of disaster and show their remarkable togetherness. That’s the beauty of our community.”