The Ultimate ‘Survivor’ Show: Let’s Reverse Climate Change Effects NOW!

My country, the Philippines, has just been hit by a one-two hard punch when Tropical Storm Ketsana (Ondoy) and Typhoon Parma (Pepeng) hit us one week apart.

Gen. de Jesus St.

The view from a street very near home

Tropical Storm Ketsana which was overly underrated by everyone since it was just like a typical storm passing over our lands, unexpectedly dumped one month’s worth of rains in just about 6 hours, flooding most of Metro Manila and catching everyone unprepared.

Typhoon Parma, which at its strongest was a Category 5, missed Metro Manila by a miracle but slammed into Northern Luzon, lingered, went out into the South China Sea, drawn back to Northern Luzon by another super typhoon east of the Philippines and devastated Northern Luzon a second and a third time. Several dams had to release water to ease the pressure on its walls but the amount of water released and the speed with which it ran down the surrounding areas, caught many people unprepared in the middle of the night. By morning, so many people had drowned, were caught in landslides, homeless and cut off from the rest of the island.

The damage is not only to agricultural farm lands and personal property. The trauma owing to loss of lives has hit both young and old. We are still in the midst of understanding exactly what has happened and WHY it happened.

The Philippines has always been in the path of typhoons. I remember as a young girl, typhoons were regular fare. Once in a while, a pretty strong one would hit but these were few and far between. Why is it that these days, the typhoons’ intensity has grown immensely that Category 3 or 4 storms are coming in more regularly?

I can only think of one thing: CLIMATE CHANGE.

Today is Blog Action Day 2009 and the theme, very aptly, is just that – climate change. It’s not a concern for just a community or country. This affects all of us on planet Earth, whether we live in a 1st world country or a 3rd world nation like the Philippines. The bottom line for us all is this – if we want to have a shot at surviving on this Earth much longer, we need to take better care of Mother Nature because all the abuse that we have reaped on it for decades is boomerang-ing and coming back to us with a vengeance.

In my own country, there are so many points of action that the government and the individual citizens can take to reduce the dire effects of climate change:

1. Urban planning that makes sense – My heart was heavy as I watched a show with a highly respected urban planner who said that Metro Manila had an urban plan from 32 years ago which was never implemented. Instead what happened was that people were allowed to set up house and purchase land in places designated as no man’s land (meaning, it was not safe to build on it) or to put up houses, malls and other buildings in areas designated as agricultural land or park areas. Had we heeded this plan and had our government had the willpower and tenacity to carry it out, there would be no people stranded in low-lying areas which were designated as unsafe for housing and yet were somehow allowed to build on it.

2. Strict recycling policies – Enough of the start-stop programs! We used to have recycling programs which stated which kind of trash should go in the color-coded trash bags. There was a time when I saw green, black, yellow, even red trash bags in the supermarkets and citizens were supposed to segregate properly or else trash would not be collected. So what happened to that program? I don’t see it being followed although here at home I still try to segregate those which are non-recyclable from those that are. I heard that even during the short life of that program, there were people who diligently segregated trash, only for some garbage collectors to dump them all together once these reached the waste dumps.

3. Cut out the plastics! – Truly, we are choking our planet slowly to death with plastics. In fact, while relief operations are a welcome sight these days, they pose another threat, which is the proliferation of plastic bags and pet bottles which may not be properly disposed by the flood victims. I hope we get to the day when all of us will use biodegradable materials in all our products and deliberately buy eco-friendly products instead of those which further harm our planet.

4. Support the Kyoto Protocol – This map, taken from Wikipedia, shows the countries that have ratified this agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.

Countries supporting Kyoto Protocol

I am happy to note that the Philippines has signed this treaty (although signing and doing are 2 different things!). What saddens me is that the United States is shown here as NOT having any intentions of ratifying the agreement. All I can think of now is — WHY?????

5. Actively support the move to renewable energy – My dear friend, Vince Perez, who used to be Energy Secretary, is now very actively involved in a company called Alternergy, which aims to be the leading renewable power company within emerging countries in Asia. Bravo, Vince! We need more proactive people like you who are trying to reduce our carbon footprint and seek alternative energy sources. He and his partners are looking at harnessing the power of wind, small hydro, biomass, geothermal and solar resources. I hope the next administration, come 2010, and all succeeding administrations, will put its executive power solidly behind companies and efforts such as this.

If we address these 5 items above as starters and we move both as responsible individual citizens, as a nation, and as a community of nations, I believe we can still mitigate the dire and fatal effects of climate change.

The time to act is NOW!

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How You Can Help Victims of Tropical Storm Ketsana/Ondoy

UPDATE AS OF SEPT. 30: Due to rapid developments, I will no longer update this blog as there is now a centralized Google document (OndoyManila: List of Places to Donate). Pls. refer to that as it is updated on a real-time basis. I would like to thank all my readers who responded with generous hearts and donated/volunteered in whatever way. May God bless you abundantly.

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As a public service for anyone who comes across my blog, I am posting below ways by which you can send money or goods in kind or volunteer to help in packing goods to assist the victims of the massive flooding that Tropical Storm Ketsana/Ondoy brought to residents of Metro Manila and surrounding provinces. This was my post on the flooding that took place yesterday, Sept. 26.

This post will be constantly updated on a day-to-day basis until the crisis passes. When some information needs verification, I will post this in RED while we look into it. While we will try to make the info as accurate as possible, pls bear with us if there are some logistics problems or wrong information as this is a list compiled from various sources. Feel free to post in the Comment Section any additional donation centers you may know of. Thanks!


MALLS AND COMMERCIAL OUTLETS

Aranaz Stores (Rockwell & Greenbelt) – accepting donations of any kind for Payatas communities

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (all branches) – canned goods, water, clothes, blankets, towels, medicine, and emergency supplies (no cash)

LUCA stores (Rockwell, Shangri-la, Eastwood, or GA Towers) – Send your old clothes & donations (no cash pls)

Mail & More, FedEx & Air21 outlets – now accepting donations. For locations, pls call +6328794789 or log to www.mailandmore.com.ph

McDonald’s (all branches in MM) – accepting donations as of Sept. 28, 12NN

MOONSHINE boutique (Rockwell) –  accepting relief goods to help Ondoy victims in Marikina and Cainta.

Papemelroti stores (91 Roces Ave. / Ali Mall Cubao / SM City North EDSA / SM Fairview / SM Megamall / Glorietta 3 in Makati / SM Centerpoint / SM Southmall) – accepting relief goods (canned goods / milk / bottled water / clothes – NO CASH pls.)

PowerPlant Mall – accepting donations for ABS-CBN Foundation. Drop-off at Admin Office, P1 level.

7-Eleven (all branches) – serve as drop-off points for relief supplies such as ready-to-eat goods, mats, mosquito nets and water jugs.

Starbucks – accepting blankets, rice, instant noodles and bottled water. These items will be delivered to Ateneo de Manila University.

Team Manila stores in Trinoma, Mall of Asia, Jupiter Bel-Air and Rockwell shall be accepting relief goods (Canned Goods, Ready-to-drink Milk,Bottled Water and Clothes) for distribution by Veritas.

GOVERNMENT/RELIEF AGENCIES/ OTHERS

AKBAYAN – taking donations, call 433-69-33/433-68-31 to donate or volunteer.

BAYAN MUNA – bring donations to 45 K-7th St.. Bgy. West Kamias, QC. Tel 921-3473

Move for Chiz – asking for volunteers at Bay Park Tent, along Roxas Blvd., beside Max Restaurant and Diamond Hotel in Manila, or at Gilas Minipark at Unang Hakbang St., Gilas Q.C.

Worldvision Foundation – accepting donations/volunteers to pack relief goods in QC. For $ donations, BPI: USD acct #4254-0050-08

Philippine National Red Cross – visit their site HERE for various ways to donate.

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan is accepting donations @ AGS Bldg Annex, 446 EDSA Guadalupe Viejo. Contact Vina Vargas at +632917-8081247

WITHIN METRO MANILA

Cavite

NCST (Dasmarinas Cavite) – Volunteers/donations welcome. Call (046)416-6278 Ms. Angie

Makati

Assumption College (San Lorenzo Village) – Please drop donations off at the AC guardhouse.

Binalot (Greenbelt 1) – call Tetchie Bundalian at +632922-8573277

Whitespace (2314 Chino Roces Ave Ext)Makati drop-off for relief goods

Mandaluyong/San Juan

CFC Center Ortigas (349 Ortigas Ave. Greenhills East, underneath EDSA-Ortigas flyover) – open for donations in cash or kind. Call +632-7270682 to 87 or text +632922-2542819

La Salle Greenhills – drop off your donations (clothes, food, etc) at Gate 2 on Monday, Sept. 28, or volunteer from 9am to receive, sort, repack the donations.

Xavier School – canned goods, bread, noodles. Please bring to Multipurpose Center (MPC). Accepted till Monday, Sept. 28.

Manila

Caritas Manila Office (Jesus St., Pandacan Manila near Nagtahan Bridge) – call +632-5639298, +632-5639308

CREST, 1235 Trece Agosto St., Paco, Manila -drop-off pt for donations

MINISTOP IBARRA (Espana cor. Blumentritt, Sampaloc Manila) – Food (non-perishable goods only) Clothing, Medicines, Beds, Pillows, Blankets, Emergency Supplies

Muntinlupa

Hillsborough Village Chapel – Water, blankets, shoes, and clothes. These will go to families whose houses were washed out in the nearby sitios.

Paranaque

Alabang Town Center Concierge – acts as drop-off point for donations

Operation Rainbow (Zac Faelnar Camara) at Ayala Alabang Village – needs Canned Goods, Ready-To-Eat Food, Bottled Water, Ready-To-Drink Milk/ Juice, Clothing, Blankets, contact (+632-4687991)

Playschool International (47 Ghana St., Better Living Subd., Paranaque) – open to receive donations (NO CASH, PLS) for relief goods. Please feel free to send your donations there. Teachers/staff will coordinate sending these to the centers.

Pasig

Miriam Quiambao – drop off point: One Orchard Road Building in Eastwood, or message http://www.twitter.com/miriamq for more details.

Relief Efforts for Pasig at Valle Verde 1 Village Park – contact +632916-4945000, +632917-5273616

RENAISSANCE FITNESS CENTER (2nd Floor, Bramante Building, Renaissance Towers Ortigas, Meralco Avenue) – Donations can be brought starting Monday, Sept. 28/9am – 7pm. Contact Person: Warren Habaluyas (+632929-8713488) or email at luzonrelief@gmail.com

RFM Gym (Pioneer) – donations are being requested by GAWAD KALINGA. Call/text +63917-8888109 /+63917-8888304

Quezon City

ABS-CBN through Banco de Oro account number 56300-20111; account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Incorporation (NOTE: This account # needs verification because on the ABS-CBN Foundation website, the account # is 5630060113)

Ateneo de Manila University – cooked or ready-to-eat food, clothes, medicine, blankets, water. Donations may be dropped off at the MVP, University Dorm, or Cervini lobbies.

Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health – accepting donations of medicines. A center in Pasig has more than 1,000 evacuees, mostly kids suffering from colds and fever. Call Louie Montalbo: (0918) 936-2095.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani, Quezon Ave. corner EDSA, QC – drop-off center for donations

Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC) – Relief goods for typhoon victims being accepted at 72-A Times St., West Triangle, QC. Tel (+632-9299820/22)

CONTEND-UP, UP Diliman Faculty Center -drop-off point for donations

Erica Paredes (Katipunan), +63917-4741930 – they need bread, packed juice, sandwich filling (tuna, chicken, anything) You can help her make them, deliver the sandwiches to her house, or help her distribute!  Call for more details.

Kabataan Partylist, 118-B Scout Rallos, QC) – drop-off point for donations

KADAMAY (Urban Poor Group) – accepts donations of relief goods at 12-A Kasiyahan St, Bgy Holy Spirit, Commonwealth, QC Tel 427-4315

Manor Superclub (Eastwood City) – will accept goods and other emergency items starting Sunday, Sept. 27, at 10 am.

National City United Church, Times St., Q.C. -drop-off pt for donations

NoyMar Relief Operations – contact Clare Amador (+63928 520 5508) or Jana Vicente (+63928 520 5499). Drop-off for relief donations is at Balay Expo Center across Farmers Market Cubao. 8am – 9pm throughout the week until further notice. Donate drinking water, old medicines, clothing, blankets, canned goods, noodles. Volunteer to man stations and repack food.

Our Lady of Pentecost Parish (12 F. Dela Rosa corner C. Salvador Sts., Loyola Heights, Quezon City) – call +632-4342397, +632-9290665

Philippine Army Gym (inside Fort Bonifacio) or GHQ Gym (Camp Aguinaldo) – now distributing donations for Ondoy Victims.

Radio Veritas (Veritas Tower West Ave. cor EDSA) – call +632-9257931 to 40

Tulong Bayan, Cubao – needs clothes, salt and cooking oil in sachets: 0908-6579998, 0939-3633436, 9137122

UP College of Arts and Letters (Diliman) – Hotline: 09296454102 (Prof. Roselle Pineda). Look for: Guard on Duty (in UP CAL). Operations: 24 hours until Wednesday, Sept. 30, tentatively. Donate medicines, clothes, blankets, food to be distributed by Citizens’ Disaster Response Center.

UP College of Law – Kindly drop off goods at Student Lounge or contact Dean’s Office

UPD- University Student Council, Vinzons Hall, UP Diliman, Q.C. -drop-off pt for donations

Taguig

Enderun Colleges (The Fort) – needs volunteers to chop, cook and pack food. They are on 24-hour duty.

PROVINCIAL

Bacolod

CAFE BREIZH – drop off center for donations. Text 09193651101 for details.

ONLINE DONATIONS OR VIA MOBILE

Ayala Foundation USA – click on their DONATION PAGE. Look for the link “partners’ profile and projects“, look for “Browse Organizations” dropdown menu and choose PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RED CROSS.

MyAyala.com site for Jesuits (from Fr. Johnny Go) – You can use your CREDIT CARD and donate ONLINE. Go to www.myayala.com/sjph/. On the line “I would like to donate to:”, write “xs4ondoy“.

Red Cross Load Donations – Right now the easiest way to make donations from the seat of your chair is via mobile phone load. The Red Cross Rescue and Relief Operations. To donate, text RED<space><amount> and send to 2899 (Globe) or 4483 (Smart). You can donate 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 300 pesos. (Update as of 9/28/09: Globe has waived transaction fee for donations to Red Cross)

TxtPower – now accepts donations via SmartMoney 5577514418667103, GCash 09179751092 and Paypal.

Via www.philippineaid.com – some of the people behind this site are blogger friends. Donations are via Paypal or credit card. The ChipIn widget visible on the site tracks all donations.

Worldvision Foundation – For $ donations, BPI: USD acct #4254-0050-08

IN THE USA

New York

Ondoy New York Disaster Relief drop off center – @ Pandayan Center, 406 W 40th St. Between 9th and 10th Aves.

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Sources of information above taken from:

1. Sour Politics

2. Ondoy Places to Donate Relief Goods

3. Plurk, Twitter and Facebook messages from contacts

4. adayinthelifeofrj.com

5. Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC)

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