UN-NGO Conference 2015 Underscores the Value of NGO, Government and Private Sector Partnerships in the Aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda

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NEW YORK, 25 August  2015 -- PH Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. addressed the 2015 NGO Conference at the United Nations in a breakout session entitled “The Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan: Learning the Value of Innovative NGO, Government and Private Sector Partnerships for Sustainable Development and Disaster Preparedness”  which was held on 25 August 2015.

The 2015 NGO Conference, which was sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Canada, Denmark, Republic of Korea, Sao Tomé and Principe, Suriname, and Ukraine to the United Nations, took place at the UN Headquarters from 25 to 26 August 2015.

In his statement, Consul General de Leon recognized the active engagement of the Filipino-American community organizations in the relief and rehabilitation efforts after Typhoon Yolanda which affected millions of families in the Philippines. He also acknowledged the immediate response, not only by raising funds and giving donations, but  also through their collaboration  with non-Filipino community organizations, the US-based private sector, local government authorities, and the Philippine Consulate. 

“Partnerships  among the NGO’s , government and private sector is imperative and relevant  in the relief and in the long  term, sustainable  recovery in areas affected by natural disaster, in this case the families and economies of the town greatly affected  by Typhoon Yolanda,”  emphasized the Consul General.

He cited examples of relief and rehabilitation partnership efforts, both in disaster preparedness and sustainable development initiatives  in the US Northeast during the 20 months after Yolanda.  He mentioned  notable examples of Consulate-led and community-initiated activities involving  varied players from the private sector (e.g. freight forwarders, hotel chains, NY restaurants, Broadway theater producers and operators, television networks, Fortune 500 companies),  NGO’s/foundations (e.g. ABS-CBN Foundation, GMA Foundation, Disaster Relief Foundation, My Shelter Foundation, Gawad Kalinga US Foundation and Habitat for Humanity), faith-based organizations (e.g. Archdioceses in PA and NY, Manila and Borongan, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Medical Mission Board and ANCOP USA) and government institutions (e.g. PH Department of Health, PH Department of Social Welfare and Development, LGU’s in Eastern Samar and Leyte, Offices of the Chief Executives in Jersey City, Nassau County and Staten Island NY, and Fairlawn, NJ, Fraternal Organization of Police in Philadelphia, etc).

The Consul General mentioned the Build A Shelter Project (BASP) as an innovative partnership, both a community-based and Consulate-led initiative, aimed at building 104 houses in four villages in Eastern Samar and Leyte in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.  The mission of the project  to raise funds for the target houses was accomplished through close coordination and collaboration of Filipino-American community organizations, the private sector in the US Northeast, foundations and NGO’s, faith-based, and government institutions.  To date, 54 houses were already built and handed over to beneficiaries in Tanauan, Leyte and Hernani, Eastern Samar, he reported.

The Breakout Session was also participated in by other panelists from the Filipino-American community, namely: Rene Ballenas of Team Maharlika; Ms. Nelsie Parrado of Handang Tumulong Foundation; Ludi de Asis Hughes of Bergen County; Ms. Aurora Aquino, an NGO representative; Mr. Nanding Mendez of Fiesta America; and Ms. Ann Marie Jacob, of Manila-based Shoephoric Company. Mr. Aristeo Portugal, Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Manila served as the Panel moderator in a private capacity.