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    Tuesday, December 11, 2018-7:13:34P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Additional 500 Filipinos get $50 each in relief assistance

ESPERANZA Navera, a person with disabilities, was the first one to arrive at the Kristo Rai Church in Gaparan on Thursday night, 11 hours before the scheduled distribution of $50 each in relief assistance to Filipino nationals affected by Typhoon Yutu.

Another Filipino, Evelyn del Mundo, said she arrived at around 10 p.m. “People kept coming,” she said. By 3 a.m., Friday, the area near the entrance to the church’s social hall was already crowded. An hour later, the number of people had already exceeded 400 which was the number of slots allocated for Friday’s relief distribution for Filipino nationals.

The Philippine Consulate General on Guam announced on Nov. 13 that it would distribute relief assistance from the Philippine government to 400 Filipino nationals on a first-come, first-serve basis. On Nov. 15, the consulate general office said there would be additional 100 slots, thanks to the generosity of the Filipino Community of Guam which donated $5,000.

So far on Saipan, a total of 1,100 Filipinos have received $50 each in relief assistance from their government.

Filipinos gather outside the social hall of Kristo Rai Church on Friday morning to receive relief assistance from the Philippines government.Filipinos gather outside the social hall of Kristo Rai Church on Friday morning to receive relief assistance from the Philippines government.

“It was a little bit chaotic,” said Philippine vice consul  to Guam Alex O Vallespin, referring to the relief assistance distribution on Friday morning.

But he said they were able to maintain order with the assistance of the Department of Public Safety. The distribution of relief assistance started at 8 a.m. as scheduled.  “Everything was under control,” he added.

Asked if there would be another distribution of relief assistance for the rest of the estimated 11,000 Filipino workers on Saipan, Vallespin said: “It’s up to Manila to decide.”

Volunteers from the American Red Cross distribute breakfast to Filipino nationals at the Kristo Rai Church.  Photos by Junhan B. TodinoVolunteers from the American Red Cross distribute breakfast to Filipino nationals at the Kristo Rai Church. Photos by Junhan B. Todino

Last week, Vallespin’s team distributed relief assistance to 200 Filipinos on Tinian, and  to those on Rota which was hit by Typhoon Mangkhut in September.

 For his part, Philippine Honorary Consul to the CNMI Glicerio “Eli” Arago said the Philippine Overseas Workers Welfare Administration may provide relief assistance to Filipino workers who are OWWA members in the CNMI.

He said  OWWA, in a last-minute decision, canceled its membership registration scheduled for last week. “Maybe they figured it out that it will be better for them to come here on a later date for membership registration and the distribution of relief assistance.”

Arago said there are also efforts, through the United Filipino Organization, to collect funds to assist Filipinos affected by Typhoon Yutu on Saipan and Tinian. “It will not be  financial assistance but it will supplement the aid that they [Filipino] have already received,” he added.