By Raffy B. Osumo, Special to Arab News
Friday 11 October 2002
Last Update 11 October 2002 12:00 am
JEDDAH, 11 October — Help is on the way for Filipinos deported from Malaysia recently.
The help is in the form of used but quality clothing packed in 32 boxes, plus 2 boxes of assorted medicines. The total package, weighing around 700 kilograms, came from Filipinos in the Western Region who responded to the call of Alyansa for help.
The assorted clothing will be sent by sea cargo next week, while the medicines will be shipped by air this week to the Philippine National Red Cross’ (PNRC) headquarters in Manila for proper distribution.
On top of clothing and medicines, Alyansa has collected more than 500 riyals from different individuals and will be transferring the money to PNRC’s account this week.
The overwhelming support by OFWs to Alyansa’s project aptly titled: Alay sa Halaw Mula sa Alyansa – Jeddah was no surprise at all. According to Caesar Lontok, who led the sorters, “many others would like to contribute but we just ran out of boxes.”
“The clothing mostly came from the Industrial City area. We have only been to two of the five phases of the Industrial City and we ran out of boxes. The final number of boxes were sorted out from a total of 50 boxes we have collected,” added Lontok.
After the donation campaign for Filipino deportees in Sabah was published in Arab News, donations started pouring in at Tropicana Restaurant, the designated drop center. Others were collected from villa to villa. “It was easy to get donations. All were willing to help. They were even excited to put in what they can spare,” observed Sam delos Santos, president of Alyansa, who was with the group who went from villa to villa at the Industrial City.
While Alyansa was trying to collect help for Filipino deportees, the group also initiated a fund-raising campaign for the family of Roberto Saavedra of Atimonan, Quezon, who works as photo copier technician.
Saavedra is currently imprisoned in the Briman jail for side-swiping a Yemeni national almost four months ago, 3 days after his wife gave birth. His victim was hospitalized but after 15 days, he was discharged. Local authorities are only waiting for any person to sign as guarantor for Saavedra to be released from prison. This guarantor has to make sure that he appears in court when summoned.
Efforts to reach Saadvedra’s employer (Al-Hana Trading, a contracting firm) were fruitless. According to Arab News sources, the company is losing and is almost bankrupt, thus, they are not eager to help Saavedra.
Alyansa was able to collect some cash from its member last Friday during their meeting and have given it to Mrs. Saavedra. Arlen Sallador, Alyansa’s deputy secretary-general, was able to solicit two boxes of baby milk from Abbot Nutritional products for the baby.
Alyansa is also planning to write the Consulate asking that the case of Saadvedra be expedited so that he can be released from prison and reunited with his family.
Alyansa said those who want to help the Saavedra family can contact secretary-general Jibreel de Vera at 636-0606 extension 13, Arlen Sallador at 052 620 868, and Caesar Lontok at 636-0606 extension 48.
De Vera, on the other hand, said those who still want to contribute for the Sabah deportees may bring may bring their donations to Tropicana. The goods will be sent via Felora Freight Service of Felix Jordan; while the medicines will be sent by air through Al-Hijaz Cargo managed by Jun Reyes.