1 landscape photo of devasted builgings at Coron City

14:02 Nov 13 2013 Bgy. 3, Coron, Palawan

1 landscape photo of devasted builgings at Coron City
Coron Mayor's Office

(Mayor Reyes had already made the coordination. Maraming salamat po!)

From Derek Yerex FB

Madam Mayor,

Please note that my Wife, Iony Yerex (maiden name: Aguila of Bgy. Tagumpay) and I have recently circulated the following letter to our neighbours in Ottawa Canada. We desperately need your guidance as to how to best get the proceeds of our fundraising efforts to your people in Coron. Please, is there a phone number we can reach you at and we will call you from Canada? Here is the letter:

Dear Neighbours of Riverside South,

Please allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Derek and Iony Yerex of 246 Eye Bright Crescent. By now, most of you have heard the news of the catastrophic typhoon (internationally named Typhoon Haiyan and known in the archipelago nation of the Philippines as “Yolanda”) which just this past week tore through the central islands of the Philippines. As the nation reels from the devastation, the number of confirmed casualties grows each day. Reports remain sketchy and not entirely reliable, but the casualties are expected to be on the order of several thousands; 10,000 being the most commonly cited figure in the media.

The impact of this storm is especially near to our hearts, as Iony is from the town of Coron in the province of Palawan on the Western edge of the Philippines. While most of the international media coverage has focussed on Tacloban and other Eastern areas—those hardest hit before the storm weakened as it traversed the archipelago—Coron and many other towns on the six largest central islands in the storm’s path were also devastated.

We are writing this letter to invite the people of our neighbourhood to donate what they can to help relieve the misfortune and suffering visited upon the people of Coron by Typhoon Haiyan. While Iony’s family, still living in Coron, was fortunate that their house withstood the storm and we will personally ensure that they are taken care of, many of those in her hometown have been left homeless, with little hope other than the overstretched international relief efforts of a variety of UN agencies (UNICEF, OCHA, etc.), the Philippine National Red Cross, and various military bodies (Filipino Army, U.S. Navy, etc) which, at the time of writing, have yet to reach Coron.

As is always the case after a disaster like this, the relief effort began as a confusing mess while various participants tried to co-ordinate efforts and communication between the victims and the responders was almost non-existent, leaving the responders able only to guess at what and where needs were greatest. Transportation lines throughout the country were at a standstill. What hit us particularly hard was the hopelessness expressed by Coronians as they tried to communicate their needs to the federal agencies in Manila, only to be drowned out by requests coming from all over the country, especially the Eastern regions.

For more information on the Town of Coron, Palawan and its efforts to recover from the storm, we invite you to view the Facebook page of The Coron Mayor’s Office (publicly available, simply enter “Coron Mayor’s Office” into the search field of your FB account, assuming you have one).

According to the Mayor’s Office, Coronians have the greatest need for items like:

Food, water, clothes and beddings.

However, given the shipping times between Ottawa and Coron (or Manila, the capital) which run between 45 and 60 days, the instantaneous transfer of cash with which to purchase much needed relief supplies, particularly for those left without homes, and to begin building again is simply the most efficient way for us to help. As far as our personal quest is concerned, there are many reasons for us to want to bypass the federal government in Manila and international non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”), from governance and co-ordination problems to the prominence of Tacloban in receiving relief at the expense of smaller seemingly un-newsworthy locations like Coron, Palawan. With international attention (read: news cameras) almost exclusively focussed on Tacloban, there is every incentive for the relief community and governments to continue to target their efforts on Tacloban, at the expense of all other areas.

As far as accountability is concerned we hope to arrange for the Mayor of Coron to post the names and amounts of any donors who wish to have such information disclosed publicly. Similarly, we will provide all who donate with a copy of the final Western Union Transfer Receipt as well as an itemized breakdown of individual donations that sum to the total. Given that this fundraising is happening outside of ‘normal’ channels, we understand any scepticism. Please be assured our efforts are out of desperation to help the typhoon-ravaged and thus far neglected Coronians.

Please contact us by any means listed below if you would like more information or, hopefully, if you have any funds you are willing and able to donate.

Thank you so much, in advance and thank you for taking time to read this letter.

Very best wishes
Derek & Iony Yerex

246 Eye Bright Crescent (feel free to stop by)
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