Northern CA police officers help Philippine typhoon victims

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 27, 2013

COLMA, Calif. – Filipino-American police officer Sonny Mercado, a native of Jaro, Leyte, is worried sick for his loved-ones in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

Mercado’s elderly parents and other relatives still live there. He said it’s been tough getting a hold of them.

Jaro, located about 30 miles away from Tacloban City, ground zero of the super storm in the Philippines.

About 90% of the municipality was devastated.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I was really concerned,” he expressed.

Mercado is the only Filipino in the Colma Police Department. But it was among fellow officers where he found much-needed support.

Recently, they organized a relief drive at a local Target, not just for Mercado’s parents and relatives, but for all victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

“We want to be able to do what we can to help the community in whatever way we can, so the Colma Police Officers Association decided to put this together and we just hope to make a difference,” Sherwin Lum of the Colma Police Department said.

Joanne del Rosario, the Filipino Mayor of Colma, said she could not be prouder of the city’s police force.

“They decided to help everyone. It’s not just caring for one of their own. They saw the news just like everyone else. They saw the devastation. And they reached out beyond our borders,” she said.

Help is certainly needed across the world. Media reports cited that days after the government claimed aid has reached devastated areas, people in Jaro are still in need of food, water, medicine, as well as shelter.

“Something like this where everyone comes together to help support people that really need it…I don’t have enough words to be able to say how grateful I am,” Mercado said.

For these Colma Police officers, their service goes beyond law enforcement. They’re also willing to lend a helping hand for those who need help most.

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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