By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
November 10, 2014
STANFORD, Calif. – It’s a remembrance of the thousands who died in Typhoon Yolanda last year, and a thanksgiving for the efforts to help rebuild in the affected provinces.
The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and its supporters gathered at Stanford University for a benefit dinner.
NAFCON President Terry Valen told the audience how man-made factors and governments policies increased the death toll and destruction brought about by Typhoon Yolanda.
He cites how, since the 1960s, the United States and other foreign corporations in partnerships with Philippine landowners, exported natural resources from the country without considering the ecological balance and social costs.
“The degradation of our forests, the mining operations that are literally extracting our land, taking it out of the country and sending it to foreign corporations, taking away our natural minerals and resources that have been cultivated for thousands of years by the people of the Philippines, these are ways that our communities are being devastated,” said Valen.
“The Environmental Justice for the Philippines” is NAFCON’s current campaign that promotes sustainable development for communities across the Philippines and works to prevent more destruction by man-made calamities.
“We have been contributing over a million dollars through NAFCON’s relief efforts, grassroots relief efforts going directly to the Consortium for People’s Development, and other grassroots organizations in the Philippines,” said Valen. “Through these efforts, we want to make sure that all of the institutions that we’re building [like] communities, schools, health facilities are continuing in the future.”
Valen also applauded Stanford’s Pilipino American Student Union (PASU) and all student organizations in the Bay Area for their efforts.
“As a youth and student organization we have a duty to carry on this movement, to continue mobilizing our communities, and to continue educating our communities,” said Katherine Nasol of PASU.
These student-led groups will send members to the Philippines for an exposure trip and relief mission next year. They also hope to adopt a school or community to help in its rebuilding efforts.
You can contact Rommel Conclara at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.