On Easter Sunday, 04 April, 2010, in anticipation of the typhoon season in the Philippines, the Filipino Australian Movement for Empowerment, Inc. (FAME Inc.) loaded 10 units of Inflatable Boats for the City of Marikina, Philippines. Free shipment was donated by Austral Cargo Pty. Ltd., a door-to-door delivery company based in Glendenning, NSW.
“The funds used to buy these boats came from cash donations made by members of the Filipino Community who responded to my call for help during the height of Typhoon Ondoy’s wrath last September, 2009,” said Cesar Bartolome, the Administrator of FAME Inc.
“Being a native of the place, I appealed for help specifically for Marikina City whilst monitoring the situation there when floodwaters started to rise to unbelievable levels. Residents were in their rooftops and could not be rescued for lack of equipment or boats to do the job.” Cesar added.
Several Filipino community associations came out to do their own relief operations and so did FAME Inc. The backyard and garage of the Bartolome Residence in Oakhurst became the drop off point for relief goods. The central collection area was located at Granville at the workshop owned by the couple, Ric & Emma de Vera. Altogether, the Filipino community was able to ship out 4 units of 40 footer container van loads of relief goods.
Having seen the tremendous outpouring of help both in cash and in kind, the Directorate of FAME Inc. in one of its meetings decided to make better use of its cash collection which amounted to A$4,345.00. The total funds included the proceeds of the Sydney Unites – Help Concert which was organized by Rodney Dingle, FAME’s State Secretary.
Art Bacalla, incumbent director of FAME said: “We decided to donate boats to Marikina so that the benefits from the money we collected would be long-lasting,” “FAME is actually preparing for the next season of floods that may hit the country again this year,” Mr. Bacalla added.
“More than 300 people died in that calamity. Out of the 300, around 67 died in Marikina alone. People died not because they did not receive relief goods but because we failed to rescue them,” reported Cesar Bartolome.
The shipment was composed of 7 units of 5-seater boats and 3 units of 4-seater boats. Each boat was provided with manual air pumps, a set of oars, a life vest for the operator and a carrying bag for storage. With the funds available, 3 sets of electric outboard motors with rechargeable batteries were also included.
“We expect the cargo of boats to arrive in Manila around the first week of May,” said Leonie & Ella Martirez of Austral Cargo. “We are always ready to be of assistance to anyone or group doing work for charity and we are indeed happy to be part of this undertaking by FAME Inc.,” added the couple.
The boat donation will be turned over personally by Cesar Bartolome, FAME Administrator, Dennis Laxamana, FAME State Auditor and Mrs. Mayumi Fernando-Bartolome, FAME member to the City Government of Marikina in early May, 2010.
FAME Inc. reiterates its appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed to their typhoon help appeal. It will be a long list of names to enumerate and many would like to remain anonymous for which we admire them more.