National Alliance for Filipino Concerns
info@nafconusa.org

Causes

Bayanihan Response for 2020 Typhoons

NAFCON USA Appeals for Bayanihan Relief in Response to Recent Typhoons in the Philippines

November 12, 2020

The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) calls on community support and coordination of emergency relief efforts for those impacted by Super Typhoon Goni (Rolly), and Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco)

Super Typhoon Goni made landfall in the Philippines on Sunday, November 1st, 2020. Hitting the Philippines at 135 mph, it is one of the most severe storms on record since Typhoon Haiyan, a record breaking typhoon that devastated the Eastern Visayas region in November of 2013. Preliminary reports already indicate over 300 houses were buried in the onslaught and more than 22 people were killed. Masbate, Albay, Quezon, Batangas, Catanduanes, and Camarines Sur were a few of the named provinces most affected by the typhoon. Not long after, Typhoon Ulysses struck the Philippines on November 11, 2020 throughout Bicol, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Metro Manila. Initial reports count at least 13 fatalities along with hundreds of thousands forced to leave home to escape the danger.

The effects of climate change have seen ever more extreme and frequent natural disasters, affecting the Philippines and the most vulnerable populations in particular. The gravity of the current situation in the Philippines is further compounded by the pandemic threat. Reports from our Philippine partner organization on the ground, Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), mention 346,993 people have been displaced in the wake of Super Typhoon Goni. In addition, 352,509 people were evacuated from their homes in response to Typhoon Ulysses. This raises concerns about the spread of coronavirus in evacuation centers as most of the country remains under lockdown. 

Once again, NAFCON appeals to communities in the U.S and worldwide to support those affected by this recent devastation in the Philippines. Amidst the ongoing pandemic and effects of Super Typhoon Goni and Typhoon Ulysses, we must take action to support our fellow kababayans affected during this time. As in past disaster relief efforts, notably after Typhoon Haiyan, NAFCON will be coordinating with community-based, people-to-people grassroots responses to ensure that donations will reach survivors timely and efficiently. With the holidays also fast approaching, let us especially highlight this season of giving.

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Bayanihan Community Response to Covid-19

 

 

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in unprecedented hardships on communities around the world. As of March 21, 2020, there are 3017 confirmed cases and 19 deaths in the Philippines. 

In the USA, COVID-19 has spread to all 50 states and its 4 territories with 14,366 confirmed cases and 217 deaths, as of March 20, 2020. New York state has the highest total number of cases (5,712), surpassing Washington (1,377) and California (1,060) combined. 

Both in the US and in the Philippines, impacted communities not only suffer from health concerns, but also from loss of livelihood and income. The lockdown in the Philippines has increased unemployment and poverty among the poor. And in the US, hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs because of city or state lockdowns, “stay home” policy, and other travel restrictions. Unemployment, however temporary, means no income to pay for basic needs such as food, medicine, and threats of eviction for those paying rent or monthly amortization. 

The US Department of Labor, in a statement issued on March 19, 2020, noted the following:

“During the week ending March 14, the increase in initial claims are clearly attributable to impacts from the COVID-19 virus. A number of states specifically cited COVID-19 related layoffs, while many states reported increased layoffs in service related industries broadly and in the accommodation and food services industries specifically, as well as in the transportation and warehousing industry…

In the week ending March 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 281,000, an increase of 70,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 211,000…. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending February 29 was 2,087,182…”

Given this situation, there is an urgent need to provide essential resources and services to impacted communities in the US as well as their families and health workers in the Philippines .

It is in this light that the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns is launching a national health and wellness campaign Bayanihan Response to COVID-19 to respond to the urgent and long-term needs of impacted Filipino communities in the US and the Philippines, especially the most vulnerable.

 

Through this campaign, we aim to:

  1. Deliver resources and services urgently needed by impacted communities
  2. Disseminate accurate and reliable information to our community
  3. Engage the community in the campaign with the collective Bayanihan spirit
  4. Collaborate with grassroots organizations, service institutions, private entities, and government agencies

This campaign has four components: 

  1. Research and Education (R&E)
  2. Services 
  3. Action and Advocacy (AA)
  4. Resource Mobilization (RM)

Research and Education

We will assess and identify the needs of the people, as well as services and resources available to them. We will gather accurate and reliable information and make these accessible to the public. Some examples of information are locations of testing as well as hotlines and locations of agencies that provide services. We will hold regular webinars and meetings to disseminate relevant information to the public.

Services

We will work with various organizations, agencies, and local businesses to deliver material and educational needs of kababayans and others in need. For example, through webinars and video conferences, we will help workers file for unemployment. We will organize an emergency response team to deliver meals to families that need them.  We will compile data of Filipinos infected with the virus across the US, and ensure they receive the services they need. We are also assisting our communities in filling out the 2020 Census to make sure we are counted and receive appropriate funding for community resources and services.

When it is safe and appropriate, we will continue to provide free health services to communities in the Philippines by mobilizing health professionals and other volunteers from the US to medical missions.

Action and Advocacy

We will take action to protect the rights and well-being of undocumented folks, workers, elderly, and most vulnerable communties. We will advocate for free testing, access to health services, financial relief, and other services and resources that our community needs. We will study local and national legislation such as the Families First Act to understand its potential impact and advocate for our community.

Resource Mobilization

We will mobilize resources (i.e. donations) and gather other material resources for relief of impacted communities in the Philippines and kababayans in the US. We will write to sponsors and foundations and apply for grants to ensure funding for the provision of much needed services and resources.

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MAGKAISA

 

ANTI-TRAFFICKING ADVOCACY

Throughout the years, NAFCON has provided immediate and long-term assistance and resources to victims of labor trafficking. Our advocacy is made possible through partnership and collaboration with lawyers, government agencies, service institutions, and organizations of trafficking survivors. We will continue to support the empowerment and leadership of Filipino workers in the broader movement against human trafficking.

BAYANIHAN RELIEF AND REHABILITATION PROGRAM

Natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes are common in the Philippines. However, worsening climate situation as well as inadequate infrastructure and preparedness programs make the people even more vulnerable. NAFCON consistently responds to the needs of affected communities for relief, rehabilitation, and rebuilding. We partner with tried-and-tested local community-based organizations to provide timely and effective assistance to most impacted families and communities.

HEALTH & WELLNESS INITIATIVE

We gather culturally relevant resources and programs for the promotion of health and wellness of Filipino communities in the US and in the Philippines. We enjoin health workers and professionals to support and organize health clinics in areas where health services are lacking. This initiative includes a medical mission in an underserved community in the Philippines in the summer of 2020 with a goal to serve 1,000 patients and launching culturally sensitive health clinics across the United States.

COMMUNITY-BASED LEARNING PROGRAM

Our community-based education program ensures the well-rounded understanding of our culture & heritage as it relates to the evolving conditions of Filipinos globally. This program brings our participants outside of the classroom into communities to experience firsthand and develop a deeper understanding of the conditions of the Philippines. We also promote the connectedness of Filipinos in the Philippines and the United States.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

This annual conference is packed with skills building activities and leadership training for Filipino youth and leaders in the community. Our vision is to empower our participants, celebrate our culture, and broaden our community engagement for Filipino concerns.

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Bayanihan for Relief and Rehabilitation Program

January 14, 2019

NAFCON Appeals for Disaster Relief Donations, Calls for Participation for Medical and Rebuilding Mission

The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) appeals for donations for its Bayanihan Relief and Rehabilitation Program to provide immediate support for communities affected by the recent disasters in the Philippines. 

While the Visayas region is still reeling with the aftermath of Typhoon Ursula, another tragic natural disaster befell our fellow Filipinos in the Southern Tagalog Region — the eruption of Taal volcano on January 12. 

This event displaced thousands of our fellow countrymen, disrupting their economic livelihood and will continue to affect them emotionally and economically in the foreseeable future. This disaster will greatly affect the small farmers and fishermen — the most vulnerable sector of our society.

We seek the help of our fellow Filipinos, as well as organizations and individuals, to open their hearts and lend a helping hand in a national effort to provide relief and rehabilitation for the victims and survivors of these disasters.

As with previous disasters in the Philippines, NAFCON partners with tried-and-tested community organizations on the ground to deliver relief efficiently and timely to the most impacted communities. For assistance for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption, our partners include the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) and Southern Tagalog Serve the People Corps.

In addition to providing immediate relief, we invite doctors, nurses, healthworkers, and other community members to join our summer medical mission to visit communities in the Philippines impacted by these environmental disasters. This August 2020, we will be traveling to the Philippines to provide medical services and support rebuilding efforts. 

Below please find more information on ways to donate and join the medical mission. You may contact us at info@nafconusa.org for questions or concerns.

 

Donate:

  1. Credit card online donations can be found at nafconusa.org/campaigns/bayanihan/ (click on the “Donate” button)
  2. Check: Make checks payable to “NAFCON” and write “Bayanihan Relief” in the memo. Mail to 4681 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112.
  3. Cash: Email us at info@nafconusa.org to arrange in person delivery.

 

Participate in our 2020 Medical and Rebuilding Mission: Fill out our interest form!

 

 

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Mobile Clinics – Annual Medical Mission

Rationale

Tondo is a historic working-class district in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. But despite its proximity to the country’s seat of power, it remained a marginalized cluster of urban poor communities. It covers a big part of the city bordered by the port area in Manila Bay, the fishing port in Navotas, the Divisoria and Binondo commercial centers, and an old manufacturing hub in south Caloocan.

The Tondo communities near the port area are home to the poorest sections of the Manila population. Many residents are minimum wage earners in the harbor and nearby factories while the rest are part of the informal sector working as vendors, pedicab drivers, and even scavengers. Poverty and malnutrition rates among children are highest in this part of the city.

Tondo is the face of Philippine poverty. It was once the site of the infamous ‘Smokey Mountain’, a Manila dumpsite. The garbage has been removed from Tondo but not poverty and its notoriety as a slum area.

Basic services are sorely inadequate and even non-existent in many barangays (villages). Residents are threatened with eviction to pave way for so-called disaster preparation, environment protection, and business promotion. The government has recently embarked on a campaign to ‘rehabilitate’ Manila Bay. But many suspect the real intent is to enable the reclamation of Manila coastal areas  which would mean the displacement of Baseco, Parola, Hapilan, and other Tondo communities. Both the local and national governments have already signed contracts with real estate developers and big business ventures to transform a big part of Tondo into a casino and shopping destination.

Since 2016, Tondo has become the center of Tokhang drug-related extrajudicial killings in the country. Police operations have orphaned many children aside from inflicting trauma to many survivors. Tokhang has hampered the delivery of vital services such as health and education.  

It is in this light that the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) invite concerned members of the community in the US to a medical mission in Metro Manila from July 29-August 4, 2019

Goals of Mission

  • Provide medical and psychosocial services and health education to community members.
  • Learn about the needs and conditions of the communities.
  • Meet local groups working on immediate concerns and long-term well-being of the communities.
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Justice for Trafficked Garland ISD Teachers!

Justice for the Trafficked Garland ISD Teachers!

What is the injustice?

  • From 2005-2012, almost 300 foreign-hire teachers, 70 of whom Filipinos, were recruited by the Garland ISD. Many of them are victims of labor trafficking as exemplified by:
    • Forced to pay in excess of $15,000 in recruitment and legal processing fees
    • False promise of green cards
    • There were no jobs available upon arrival in North Texas as required by H1B visa policy resulting to teachers having to apply for jobs for several months
    • Teachers forced to work in part-time positions for over a year in violation of the job contract. Some were not employed at all, forcing them to look for employment outside GISD or go back to their home country
    • 8-12 teachers forced to live in Victor Leos’ stepson Paul Reudiger’s 3-bedroom house in Garland charged for $2,400/month, which was excessively higher than the market rate
  • Victor Leos, the GISD Human Resource Executive Director, was convicted of committing visa fraud, where he was sentenced for only 2 years in federal prison.
  • After 13 years of service, some of the teachers are now suffering from revocation of status, unemployment, financial hardship, family separation, and health problems.
  • In a letter from the US Assistant Attorney (Department of Justice), all visa filings done by or through Leos will be revoked.
  • Despite teachers meeting with Garland ISD in public and private, the School District has not acknowledged the crime committed against teachers and has not offered any concrete support.

 

What the teachers have done What Garland ISD has done
Complied with all the steps as required by GISD representatives and legal counsel during the recruitment process Failed to ensure that the recruitment and hiring of foreign teachers was compliant with federal law
Adhered to GISD rules, policies, and guidance during employment Neglected to provide proper guidance while withholding information on potential risks and impacts of the visa fraud on the teachers
Pled repeatedly to meet with Human Resources officers to discuss and ask for GISD’s assistance on immigration and employment issues Reluctantly met with the teachers individually, not collectively (divide and conquer tactics)

Instructed teachers to withhold information from other teachers regarding the revocation of immigration status

Misled a teacher to sign a resignation form not in the best interest of the employee

Did not provide options available to the affected teachers

Berated and blamed teachers stating that they brought the situation upon themselves

Neglected to inform the teachers of their rights as victims of visa fraud and trafficking and ways to protect themselves and their families

Stated “[GISD] is an entity, and we have to protect ourselves”

Stated “the law is the law, and the law is not sympathetic”

Spoke at Board of Trustees meetings to seek support and resolution Ignored the teachers by not reaching out to address their concerns
Sought and continue to seek accountability for the visa fraud and trafficking Continuously disassociates and distances itself from the visa fraud and trafficking by pointing to one person, Victor Leos.

Escaped responsibility for allowing Leos to commit the crime for several years

 

How are you impacted by this injustice?

  • As a GISD foreign-hire teacher, you were exploited and forced to leave GISD.
  • As a GISD foreign-hire teacher, you are potentially in danger of having your immigration status revoked.
  • As teacher, you could potentially lose a colleague.
  • As a student and parent, you have lost and could potentially lose good teachers.
  • As a taxpayer, your hard-earned money was used in the visa fraud involving GISD.

 

What does justice look like?

  • As victims, for the affected teachers and their families to obtain protection from deportation, immigration relief and legal status, and equal employment opportunity.
  • For all perpetrators in the US and the Philippines to be held accountable.
  • For GISD to:
    • Publicly acknowledge that the affected teachers are victims of crime and had no participation in the visa fraud.
    • Dialogue with the affected teachers collectively regarding concrete support and assistance.
    • Fully disclose their hiring policy of foreign teachers, including financial considerations and decisions.

 

How can you support?

Contact info:

 

Let us stand with our teachers and fight for justice.

#LetThemTeach #EndHumanTrafficking

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