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Toronto Concert for Flood Victims- A Gift from the Heart
UNITY CONCERT ORGANIZING COMMITTEE STATEMENT
The Unity Concert 2009: Rebuilding People’s Lives is a product of the great compassion, desire to help and generosity of our sponsors coupled with the community building capacity of various individuals and community organizations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). It is this outpouring of solidarity and the generous spirit of community response to the urgent task of helping rebuild the lives of those hard hit by Typhoons Ketsana and Parma in the Philippines that we are gathered here today.
The Unity Concert is a testament to the spontaneous response of various community organizations and concerned Filipino-Canadians who have joined hands in hosting a musical extravaganza. It is also a gift from the heart as the clarion call for volunteers was gladly answered by a special group of talented and professional artists and performers who are concerned about the millions of Filipinos suffering from the devastating effects of the worst onslaught of natural and man-made calamities.
Unity Concert 2009: Rebuilding People’s Lives is a confirmation of the successful effort of various community organizations to gather groups willing to work together in a collaborative project that would directly benefit the typhoon victims of the Philippines.
Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) hit the Philippines at the end of September, causing widespread damage unseen in the country’s recent history. Agricultural systems and infrastructure in Metro Manila and surrounding areas suffered extensive damage. Many lives were lost, homes destroyed, electricity and clean water are still unavailable in many regions of the country.
Flood water levels reached a record 20 feet high in worst affected areas at the peak of Typhoon Ketsana’s fury.
Typhoon Parma (Pepeng) another tropical storm also hit the Northern part of the Philippines after Ketsana causing rising flood waters, landslides and further damage.
An estimated 7 million people are still suffering in multiple ways from the two major tropical storms today. Filipinos need help desperately and the large Filipino community and various organizations have responded to their cry for help.
Each one of us offered our time, resources, talents, skills and artistic abilities to make this concert happen. Indeed, this concert is a gift from the heart coming from the willingness, compassion and generosity of all of you gathered here today in response not only to the urgent need to help our suffering brothers and sisters due to the two calamities in the Philippines. We are also here to bear witness to the pressing need to care for our natural environment and human resources. Caring for our people demands that we should also care for our lands, our forests, our rivers and the future of our next generation.
The images that we saw during the floods in the Philippines cannot be solely blamed on the weather or climate change alone. It is the result of various factors, foremost among them is the lack of adequate forest cover and the prolonged mismanagement of natural resources in the country.
This environmental tragedy has generated sympathy and generosity from countless people worldwide. Overseas Filipinos, governments, charitable organizations and other communities have donated goods and money for the victims.
Citizen’s Disaster Response Center (CDRC) was the chosen administrator of the funds raised by the Unity Concert . CDRC is a 25-year old non government organization that pioneered and continues to promote community-based disaster management in the Philippines. CDRC operates nationwide through a network of regional centers and through people’s organizations.
Organized in 1984, CDRC has touched the lives of more than three million of the most affected, least served and most vulnerable victims of disasters through preparedness and mitigation, emergency relief, and rehabilitation programs. It has worked with the United Nations and received assistance from foreign governments and various international charity organizations.
Thank you for joining us in this collaborative effort to help the flood victims in the Philippines. To each and every one of you who assisted in many ways to make this concert a success, we salute and congratulate you for joining us in this noble task.
ORGANIZING COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Ben Corpuz, Unity Concert overall chair,CASJ and Santaguinians Association of Ontario
Hermie Garcia, Chair of Marketing and Promotions
Mila Garcia, Co-Chair of Marketing and Promotions, Phil. Reporter and CASJ
Flor Dandal, Chair of Finance, Kababayan Community Center
Helen Reyes, Chair of Ticketing from Santaguinians Association of Ontario
JoJo Geronimo, Co-Chair of Food Committee, Labour Education Centre
Paulina Corpuz, Philippine Advocacy through Arts and Culture
Ricky Esguerra, Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ)
Karen Tan, Markham Federation of Filipino Canadians
Teresa Torralba, Making Waves
Dyan Ruiz, Philippine Reporter
Bert de Lara, Co-Chair of Food Committee, Chair-Philippine Heritage Band
Edwin Mercurio, Chair Communications, MercuryNewsOnline
Popoy Cana, Cana Caridad Foundation
Jonathan Canchuela, Filipino Migrant Workers Movement
Mon Torralba, Making Waves
Alex Felipe, Kapisanan Philippine Centre for the Arts
Ariel and Maggie Recana from Whitby