The world has watched in shock at the destruction caused by the world’s strongest typhoon to ever hit land, centering on the city of Tacloban on the island of Leyte in the Philippines. There is already an estimate of more than 10,000 casualties, a number that is likely to rise considerably with reports of other communities being completely flattened with few known survivors.
Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, a UK-based Filipino charity working closely with Filipino migrant workers in the UK, is aware that this is a time of great distress and anxiety for their community, whose members are employed in hospitals and care homes or as domestic workers in the UK. They are desperate for news of their families and loved ones. They are aware of the great need which may fall upon them to provide support for family members who have survived this catastrophe, and to help them reconstruct their communities.
“At this time, we believe there is a responsibility for employers to recognise the extraordinary difficulties and pressures on some of their employees from the Philippines, and we call upon them to respond in a responsible and compassionate way,” said Rafael Joseph Maramag, Kanlungan secretary.
Kanlungan calls upon employers to:
- Assist employees with facilities in their attempts to call home, and also to help them to have contact with the Philippines embassy in the UK;
- Provide them with adequate paid compassionate leave to visit home, to attend funerals, to visit relatives in hospital and to support their families in dealing with the wreckage of their homes and communities and the disappearance of their livelihood. These may need to include special arrangements for extended leave going beyond their collective bargaining agreement or employment contract with the assurance of their continued employment in the same position on their return
- Provide where possible financial assistance or loans towards airfares of employees needing to travel home.
They work directly with local Philippine organizations in the affected areas who are now providing relief on the ground. They ask for your support to these local Philippine humanitarian organizations either through Kanlungan, or directly to these organizations.
SAGIP Migrante: http:// migranteinternational.org/?p= 3386
Kanlungan also notes that the destruction caused by the typhoon in the Philippines, as with last year’s Typhoon “Bopha”, comes at a time when representatives of the world’s governments are meeting in Warsaw, Poland, for the UN climate change conference, COP 19. It is now recognised by many scientists that climate change, through increasing the temperature of the seas, leads to more intense hurricanes and typhoons.
Kanlungan calls on governments to not repeat the previous failures of COP meetings and further derail the already weak multilateral framework on climate change. It calls on governments to agree to ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, adequate public financing for adaptation and mitigation to climate change, and loss and damage associated with climate change impacts. Kanlungan reminds developed country governments in particular, led by the EU and US, that the UNFCCC treaty states that developed countries must take the lead in combating climate change and its adverse effects. The price of the failure to do this is the continued destruction of lives and livelihoods in countries such as the Philippines.
Kanlungan Filipino Alliance
Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines UK
Bahay Kubo Housing Association
Lingap Filipino Association
Philippine Theatre UK
Filipino Domestic Workers Association