ABS CBN Foundation International Salutes Heroism in Times of Tragedy

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Over 130,000 individuals are brought to safety through contributions of the Filipino American community.

“Volunteers of Northern California organization, “LUZVIMIN,” at work when tragedy fell.” | Photo credit: Analiza Gelasio

When you receive an envelope from ABS CBN Foundation International, you know that it was sent to you with a personal commitment of men and women who have the Filipino people at heart.

Last December, the 16th tropical cyclone of 2012 hit the gold-rush mountain barrios of Visayas and Mindanao, the southern islands in the Philippines and claimed with it over 1,000 lives. ABS CBN Foundation International reports that as of January 2013, $150,000.00 in contributions from the Filipino American community played a critical role in the rescue and rehabilitation done on the ground. Aid was given to 34,941 families and 139,764 individuals that needed immediate relief and assistance.

The financial contributions of approximately 2,500 donors made medical outreach and soup kitchens available to survivors of the calamity.

“As the contributions continue to come in, we are reminded that this critical work is only made possible by the generosity of the global Filipino community,” said Jo Ann Kyle, Managing Director for ABS CBN Foundation International. “Cheques come with letters and stories that paint a picture of the most remarkable heroes amongst us.”

For other Filipino Americans, times of tragedy have been transformed into times of service. Diva Tirol, Vice-President of Luzon Visayas Mindanao Association of the Bay Area, has been volunteering for over three years. With colleagues and friends in tow, they have been the steady workforce that plays a critical behind-the-scenes role in international disaster relief. In the wake of the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo, a constant shift of volunteers filled 9am to 10pm time slots, folding mail, marking envelopes, and sending them out into the mailroom.

“When you receive an envelope from ABS CBN Foundation International, you know that it was sent to you with a personal commitment of men and women who have the Filipino people at heart,” says Ora Seyler, volunteer and President for Luzon Visayas Mindanao Association of the Bay Area. “Our organization has raised funds steadily and consistently for the charity but when we come together to do real work, we know that every hour we spend chatting and bonding is time that will greatly impact the international aid we give to the least of our countrymen.”

Heroism, in its different forms and faces, has brought hundreds of thousands of Filipinos back to safety. And while the Filipino people continue to mourn for the many lives lost, the international community stands as a beacon of hope of better days to come. To learn more about ABS CBN Foundation International and opportunities to volunteer, visit http://www.abscbnfoundation.org.


ABS CBN Foundation International is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged Filipino families in the Philippines and around the world. Its flagship program, Bantay Bata (Child Watch), is a child abuse rescue operation that responds to an average of 15,300 calls for assistance a year. The program assists more than 21,000 children and families in relocation communities and feeds at least 4,400 severely malnourished children a year. Its education program serves 4.2 million elementary school children and their teachers. Other programs include Sagip Kapamilya (disaster rescue, relief and rehabilitation), ETV in schools (school reform in elementary schools) and Sagip Kalikasan (environmental programs).

In the United States, the organization partners with Filipino-American organizations and associations in addressing community issues--youth truancy, housing, issues affecting the elderly, health, and emergency needs. For more program information, visit http://www.abscbnfoundation.org.

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Keesa Ocampo
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