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Asean youth summit delegates help in rehabilitation efforts

MANILA, Philippines - Delegates of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) youth summit have donated funds to support rehabilitation efforts in the areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

At least 10 delegates from Laos handed over to the Ayala Foundation Wednesday night some 9 million kip (around P50,000)  they collected for typhoon survivors.

Ketsada Soysouvanh said they sold cookies at a bazaar and set up collection boxes in schools to raise funds before coming to the country for the youth summit.

“There are many fundraisers in Laos for the Philippines, and since we know that we will come here, we thought that it is a good idea to (personally hand the donation),” she said.

“This isn’t that much, but we want to make you guys feel (that we are here for you, that we are the ASEAN region, we share and we care,” she said. “We really care about each other. We want to show that we can help.”

Choo Choon Sien, a delegate from Malaysia, said they also donated money for Yolanda survivors.

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Joseph Quesada, manager of the Youth Leadership Department of the Ayala Foundation, said the generosity of the summit delegates showed how the ASEAN region care for the country.

The Ayala Foundation and the US embassy organized the three-day Link, Engage, Activate, Develop (LEAD) ASEAN Youth Summit, which brought together US government international exchange programs or of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress.

There were 60 participants from the Philippines while there were around 10 delegates from the other ASEAN countries.

Charity sales

 Meanwhile, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office said it would donate 50 percent of its revenue from game sales from Dec. 16 to 24, which constitute the so-called Charity Fund of the PCSO, to Yolanda victims.

PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II said the donation, dubbed “Pamaskong Alay ng PCSO: Nine Days of Christmas,” would come from its sales from Lotto, Keno Lotto Express and Bingo Milyonaryo games.

Under the law, revenue from games sales are allocated as follows: 55 percent to the Prize Fund or the prizes for PCSO’s games, 30 percent to the Charity Fund (for PCSO’s assistance programs) and 15 percent to the Operating Fund (for agency operational expenses).

PCSO board chairman Margarita Juico has approved the cash donations, which based on average daily sales will amount to P6 million to P10 million per day.

The approved percentage from game sales on Dec. 16 will be allocated to Tacloban City; Dec. 17, Samar; Dec. 18, Leyte; Dec. 19, Cebu; Dec. 20, Iloilo; Dec. 21, Capiz; Dec. 22, Aklan; Dec. 23, Palawan, and Dec. 24, Bohol.

Job fair

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is mounting a series of job fairs for Yolanda-displaced workers and other jobseekers to mark its 80th founding anniversary.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said at least 30,000 jobs are up for grabs during the job fairs to be held in Western Visayas and in Ilocos region from today till Dec. 9.

She said 67 participating local and overseas employers and licensed recruitment agencies will offer jobs in key employment generator sectors, such as welders, engineers, autocad workers, accountants, sales assistants, cashiers, clerks, salespersons, program assistants, architect and call center agents.

The DOLE has called on employers’ groups to support government efforts to provide immediate employment for Yolanda victims.

Baldoz said DOLE-Ilocos is also mounting three job fairs to provide opportunities to Yolanda victims who may have relocated in the region and other workers in Region 1.

Meanwhile in sympathy with Yolanda victims, most private elementary and high schools cancelled their Christmas parties.

Eleazardo Kasilag, president of the Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators, said the money intended for the annual event would instead be donated to Yolanda survivors.

“A simple ‘salo-salo’ to celebrate the Yuletide season shall be held but there are no kris kringle, no parlor games, no exchange gifts for the teachers and administrators,” he said.

“The teachers and administrators are contented because that is better than those that have been ‘Yolandized’,” he said.

Deped earlier said it is up to the school administrators whether to cancel their Christmas parties.

Relief drive

As the Office of the Vice President (OVP) continues its relief drive for Yolanda survivors, Vice President Jejomar Binay said they have deployed three teams that will distribute 5,000 bags of relief goods in Iloilo, Aklan and Antique from Dec. 5 to 7.

The OVP has so far distributed 60,000 relief goods in Negros Occidental, Capiz, Iloilo, and Cebu.

Binay said the relief goods are donations coursed through his office by the private sector.

He also called on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to intensify its campaign against illegal recruitment, including Yolanda victims.

Housing for Yolanda victims

Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chairman Richard Gordon had asked the government to immediately identify which lands will be available for housing for Yolanda victims.

“Housing will be very difficult there because there are so many geo-hazards in the area. The President has also spoken about the need to move people away from the coastline. We have to be clarified on that because people might want to go back to their homes near the coastline and we need a clear policy on that,” he said.

He also asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to donate the coconut trunks felled by Yolanda to the PRC so it could be used for building houses for the victims.

As this developed, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies secretary-general Bekele Geleta has assured Filipinos that the Red Cross and Red Crescent system is ready to help Yolanda victims rebuild their lives.  – With Helen Flores, Perseus Echeminada, Jose Rodel Clapano, Sheila Crisostomo, Jennifer Rendon, Rainier Allan Ronda

 

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