Mobilizing Private Relief Effort for Roxas City


Because of the widespread destruction wrought by Typhoon Yolanda, we knew that there would not be sufficient and timely help coming.  As with any major catastrophe, the amount and timeliness of aid have always been a challenge.

So, starting with Victoria (Vicki) Altavas-Arcega, the family started a private drive for aid, focused on Roxas City and particularly the barangays of Baybay and Culasi.  So, a call for aid was sent by Vicki to friends and classmates:

 . . .  the greater concern are for those in the outlying barangays who not only lost their dwellings and everything they own but are HUNGRY. Capiz has been forgotten with all eyes on Bohol where the devastation is unparalled. There is no money for them to buy food and feed their babies and old folks, nothing at all. The great fundraisers have it all but nothing has trickled down here. My nephew has had a feeding program which is his advocacy for many years and recounted to me the children crying for food, the pregnant mothers who worry about their unborn child and the old and aged unable to work and and buy food.

. . .  I am . . . asking for help. There is a lot of bureaucracy in our city government that hand out a bag of relief goods and they to pila pila for hours. I want to be able at least to hand it to them directly thru my very civic nephews and nieces who have banded together to at least help our surrounding poorer people. It is truly admirable to see them take the cause and tell me “Tita Vicki, we cannot wait for help in 45 days for clothes or canned goods to arrive via Balikbayan Boxes. they are hungry now and it gets worst each day. They had very little to eat before but now there is really nothing. Your heart will break if you see a little boy crying because they are hungry. All I can give them is a hug.”

So dear friends I seem to be in the thick of this major disaster and physically present to see its effects. I . . . ask you to help kahit na one family at a time. Any small donation you can afford put together will go a long way. . . . we are not doing any big time fundraisers but just able to help somehow. . . .  so little time, so many in need. Thank you all.

I also forwarded the same request to my friends and classmates.

There was tremendous outpouring and response, in terms of financial contributions, as well as donation of goods from the following:

  • Vicki’s UP College of Medicine Class 1970
  • Vicki’s St. Scholastica’s HS Class of 1960
  • Galen’s Ateneo de Manila College Class of 1971
  • Pointwest Technologies Corporation

Galen S. Altavas

Galen Altavas has worked in both the private and public sectors both in the Philippines and the United States, as a rural banker, fishpond operator, marketing manager, financial analyst, IT manager and IT project manager. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Ateneo de Manila University and an MBA in Finance from the Seattle University in Seattle, WA. He resides in Baybay, Roxas City, Philippines and Seattle, WA.