Wednesday, November 20, 2013

QUID PRO QUO




Photos courtesy of World Vision Australia
 In the past month, we’ve seen tragedies, conflicts and natural disasters around the country. From the Zamboanga City uprising of the MNLF faction of Nur Misuari to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit hard in Bohol and Cebu and now the Super Typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) which affected the almost the entire Visayas region. The internal conflict on Zamboanga crisis can be controlled but natural catastrophes that happened is beyond control of man alone and it seems Mother Nature had brought its wrath upon humanity.

 A few days after Typhoon Yolanda made its landfall, I was totally shocked and awed to see on TV what the extent of damage and devastation had brought in Tacloban City, Guian, East Samar and other nearby towns and cities in Leyte and Samar which are in the direct path of Super Typhoon Yolanda. The damage to property and infrastructures is insurmountably high with estimated cost at around P 10 Billion or more.  Loss of human life as of this writing is almost at 4000 with missing people at 1500. Around 10.3 million people in the Visayas region are displaced and affected with Yolanda’s onslaught according to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC) estimates. As we can see on media, the survivors are pleading for basic necessities from food, water, hygiene kits including temporary shelters to sleep with and body bags to bury the decomposing bodies of their dead relatives and loved ones.

For many of us fortunate and with the Christmas season coming in a few weeks time, it is better to give and help to them in many ways.



 Some Tips on How we can start to help the Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda survivors:
  1. Look for a charitable institution of your choice – You need to make a research on the institutions where your funds and goods will be donated. There are a number of charitable institutions from private non-government organizations, government offices to international aid and relief agencies working on the ground to help the affected and displace survivors. You can select from the list of the agencies or institution that are unconditionally providing humanitarian aid.
  2. Volunteering – Time is well spent if working totally for such worthy cause. If you have free time you can visit their headquarters or offices these agencies and be involved with them like repacking the goods, endorsing a campaign or effort and others. This is a win-win situation for all.
  3. How much can you give on donations? – Some people ask these a lot and some personal finance articles say about 10 percent of your monthly income but it depends on how much you can really give. It doesn’t matter how small or big it is as long it is coming from the heart.
  4. Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR has now become common norm for large companies or big businesses with their intent of lending a helping hand to those in need through community involvement and example of which is raising money for local charities / worthy causes, encouraging employees to do community service, supporting local events or sustainable livelihood / skills for the survivors, rebuilding efforts of the areas affected etc.
  5. On TaxesIn a recent statement by BIR Chief Kim Henares on news report that relief goods will be spared from tax as long as it is coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or accredited private foundations. For businesses owners or corporation that have the intentions of helping are given the privilege that Gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent allowable under the law.
  6. Beware of Scammers – there are opportunist out there looking to profit on the dire situation right now. So be alert and vigilant of these types scam sprouting around. Report them to law enforcement  authorities to dissuade them from taking advantage of this situation. 

The post-disaster situation in Visayas reminds me of what we have seen and experienced in the mid-1990s when I was in my teens in Pampanga. We were severely affected by heavy floodwaters and seen people affected by the Mt. Pinatubo’s lahar. From the small baranggay of Cabalantian in the town of Bacolor was totally destroyed. Homes were ravaged and the survivors are walking bare feet with clothes on their backs towards our town of San Fernando pleading for food, water and a place to stay temporarily on that cold drenched day of October 1995. The baranggay is just a few kilometers from us. It is like the same situation where survivors are pleading desperately for help on the aftermath of Yolanda.

To the International Disaster Response Teams that have already penetrated the areas affected by this devastation and people from all walks of life who shared their time, money and effort, government relief workers, non-government aid workers, our own servicemen and the military personnel of the 22 nations who offered, heeded and extended their hands to the plea of the Filipinos in times of crisis and desperate need. We thank them for their efforts on these relief aid and rehabilitation work.

For now it is “Pay it forward” and let’s start working on for the common goal of helping the survivors / kababayans who are affected with this disaster.




CRB Benedict Baluyut, is a certified real estate professional (Real Estate Broker) a regular member of Registered Financial Planner - Philippines. He writes from time to time with Registered Financial Planner Column at Business Mirror. Catch his Facebook page Pinoymoneyvantage | Follow him at Twitter | Google + or visit his official blog at http://www.pinoymoneyvantage.net.
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