$13,000 — Show me the money, baby

The fund-raising event happened two years ago but todate, no help has reached the intended beneficiaries. Where is the money?

Circa 2011 — It was indeed a noteworthy project when a small group of cause-oriented members of FILPRESS started a fund-raising campaign for the victims of a typhoon that ravaged a southern part of the Philippines.

According to a report from REUTERS, typhoon Sendong (international code name Washi) left more than 600 people dead and more than 800 people missing. A report from the Philippine National Red Cross indicated that more than 45,000 were left homeless because of flash floods and landslides.

Coordinated efforts from ALFA and ILISA successfully raised some $13,000 for the victims in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

Somehow, there was a news blackout and the money appears to have been  forgotten. That was 2 years ago and this writer was prompted by a fellow journalist to make inquiries how the funds were spent — or whether the money ever reached the typhoon victims.

That started the ball rolling. Reactions from all over FILPRESS, especially from those involved, dominated the loop. There was even a bitchy remark from one woman member to the effect that “A donation is a donation. Trust and forget about it.” Another member’s answer was more straight forward. He said: “No. It has not reached the survivors yet. Things cannot be rushed. What takes an hour here takes a day in Iligan. What takes a day [here] can take a week in Iligan.” He added that we must be patient.

Through the initiative of another lady member, it surfaced that the money has remained in the hands of Rotary Club in Kellyville. Further inquiries revealed that said Rotary Club didn’t know what to do with the funds.

Caramba! That was 2 years ago. There was an immediate need! If the survivors were to learn that there was hardly any follow up from the proponents of the fund raising project, they would think of us like the pork barrel senators, or worse, no better than Janet Lim Napoles who is now in hiding. Those who died must be turning in their graves.

I am glad I raised that question for that is the role of investigative journalism — to ask, verify and report what happened.

Dino Crescini