Back when the deadly Typhoon Sendong (International name: Washi) hit Northern Mindanao in December 2011, I started a small Typhoon Sendong volunteer campaign and donation drive.
What I initially envisioned to be a small and private donation drive grew bigger and bigger by the minute, thanks to the power of Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other online media tools. Suddenly, my photos became viral, my tweets about Sendong were retweeted, shared and replied to and my calls for help were heard. Government agencies, public officials, NGOs and even international news agencies followed me on Twitter, Facebook and through this blog, shared the infos I sent out and sent donations (which I am and will always be thankful for).
Two of these public servants who started following me and engaging with me on Twitter are San Juan Congressman JV Ejercito and Cebu 6th District Congressman Luigi Quisumbing.
Of course, I knew who JV Ejercito and Luigi Quisumbing were. Not only was JV Ejercito the former mayor of San Juan and is the incumbent San Juan representative, he is, of course, one of the sons of former Philippine President Erap Estrada. I have never met him in person until Sendong (I met him in CDO weeks after Sendong and he happily told me that he and the local government of San Juan were able to raise Php 2 Million for Sendong victims, that he has also decided to donate his salary and, as if those weren’t enough, he was also able to gather hundreds of foam beds as donation for the typhoon victims).
As for Luigi Quisumbing, I first met him during the 2010 national campaigns. I covered a major political rally in Cebu and his family played host to candidates and guests. I remember him to be very amiable and down-to-earth. Since that political rally, I have not seen him.
And so you can imagine how fascinating it was to be in touch with them, thanks to the power of social networking. You can also just imagine how wonderful it was to learn that they, too, wanted to help the victims of the deadly typhoon.
Rep. Luigi Quisumbing first told me about their “Congressmen For Sendong” or “Congressmen For Others” project when I was still in America for the International Visitor Leadership Program. I thought it was a fabulous project not only because it involved permanent homes for several Sendong families but more importantly, because the money used to build these homes came from their own personal funds.
I thought that alone was commendable.
Meet the people behind the “Congressmen For Others” project:
Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito of San Juan, Rep. Mark Aeron H. Sambar of PBA Party List, Rep. Jun Omar C. Ebdane of Zambales 2nd District, Rep. Gabriel “Luigi” Quisumbing of Cebu 6th District, Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles of Davao City 1st District, Rep. Fatima Aliah Q. Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte 2nd District, Rep. Dakila Carlo E. Cua of Quirino and Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde Jr. M. of Buhay Party List
* photo courtesy of my dear friend ChadaCDO
They all arrived in Cagayan de Oro City last May 5, 2012. They came not only to sign the MOU with Gawad Kalinga CDO but to also help build the houses themselves.
Each home costs about Php 110,000.00
Thank you very much to Rod and Macel of ABS CBN Northern Mindanao and Armi and Pia of GMA 7 CDO for accommodating my invitation to cover the activities that day. And of course, huge shoutouts to my blogger friends who also came 🙂 Thank you so much Emma, Vic, Ding, Roxanne, Jacq and Lotlot! Appreciate all the support 🙂
* photo courtesy of my dear friend ChadaCDO
By the way, guess where these congressmen had their breakfast that day?
Why, at our humble Happy Eggs All-Day Breakfast Place, of course! 🙂 The congressmen and their support staff all came to our humble breakfast joint in Cagayan de Oro 🙂 I’ll write more about that next.
Thank you very much to all the congressmen who came and donated these homes for Typhoon Sendong victims. Thank you also for the trust and the warm accommodation. May your tribe increase!
And for those who still want to help Typhoon Sendong victims, you may want to CONTACT ME. I’m preparing various livelihood programs and series of trainings/seminars/workshops whereby folks can learn how to work online or earn money online and learn how to market their services and products via the power of social media, blogging and other online platforms.
Sponsors and other interested parties are welcome.
Thanks and please feel free to share this post 🙂