This September, the League of Filipino Students-San Francisco State University (LFS-SFSU), with the support of Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE), Alpha Kappa Omicron (AKO), Chi Rho Omicron (XPO), and Kappa Psi Epsilon (KΨE/Kappa), will conduct fundraising activities for Tulong Kabataan, a flood relief operation headed by progressive youth organizations in the Philippines, and BALSA (Bayanihan Alay Para sa Sambayanan), a similar program led by BAYAN, a national multi-sectoral alliance of Filipino progressive organizations.
In early August, a southwest monsoon brought torrential rains exceeding that of the notorious 2009 Typhoon Ondoy, causing massive flooding in Manila, Central Luzon, and the Southern Tagalog region. The rising floodwaters forced hundreds of thousands of Filipino families from their homes, destroyed crops and infrastructure, and claimed the lives of at least 61 people. Exposurists who were part of LFS-SFSU’s annual Baliksambayanan (Return to the Homeland) summer program personally witnessed the devastation caused by massive flooding. They also directly participated in the Tulong Kabataan relief efforts–conducting on-the-ground fundraising, distributing goods, and assisting with feeding programs and medical missions.
This disaster was not merely an act of nature. LFS-SFSU condemns the US-Aquino regime’s enabling of foreign mining and logging corporations to destroy the Philippines’ natural resources, which act as buffers against flooding. We condemn the land-grabbing elite who forced millions of landless Filipinos from the provinces to move to the city in search of livelihood, causing congestion. We condemn the Aquino administration’s anti-poor, anti-people measures of forcibly relocating hundreds of thousands of families from their homes in high-risk areas in the guise of “disaster risk reduction”, without offering viable housing alternatives for displaced citizens.
While Aquino and his senatorial bets made a great show out of a so-called relief operation for the suffering Filipino people by parading around the flooded city in an army vehicle, this publicity stunt belies the fact that the current administration Aquino actually blocked the addition of more money for disaster preparedness to the 2011 Calamity Fund. And of the Php 7.5B 2012 Calamity Fund, Php 5.9B was allocated to respond to the August monsoon, leaving only Php 1.3B for the rest of this year, further proof that the Aquino administration disaster relief measures are severely lacking.
Only through collective action can the needs of the people truly be met. While LFS-SFSU acknowledges that relief operations will not solve the root causes of devastation from natural disasters, we also recognize the immediate need for assistance. Filipino-American youth and students are heeding the call to rise up and unite to serve the Filipino people in the homeland.
Cash donations for Tulong Kabataan will be accepted at LFS-SFSU’s’ table at Malcolm X Plaza for the first few weeks of instruction at SFSU. Flip da Skript, LFS-SFSU’s free Open Mic event will be held on September 13, 7-10PM at Rigoberta Menchu Hall, San Francisco State University, where we will also be accepting donations and raising awareness for our larger fundraising event in late September. Additionally, as part of this campaign, LFS-SFSU will conduct educational work on the root causes of devastation from calamities in the Philippines, and long-term solutions for these problems.
The League of Filipino Students-SFSU invites interested individuals and organizations to participate in the fundraising activities. For additional information on how to get involved, please contact Eirish Sison, Vice Chairperson of LFS-SFSU, at (415)-349-0528 or firstname.lastname@example.org.