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Typhoon Yolanda remembered with build a shelter project, book launching in New York

MANILA, Philippines — Three years after Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines, the Filipino-American community in New York recalled the impact of the disaster by re-visiting the pioneering Build A Shelter Project (BASP). The BASP launched on November 26, 2013 in New York, is a community-led project supported by the Philippine Consulate General and undertaken in partnership with Philippine Jesuit Foundation (PJF) based in New York and Gawad Kalinga Community Foundation (GK) based in the Philippines.
The Consulate General, in cooperation with the Assumption Alumni Association, hosted a BASP Appreciation and Book Launch event to update the Filipino-American and international community who donated to the project on the project’s latest developments at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center in New York on November 15. Consul General Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega reported that BASP was able to build 108 houses in the three villages in Eastern Samar and one in Leyte. She also apprised the community on the total donations that BASP received amounting to gross US$ 395,944.01 or net of US$ 384,591.11.
The remaining BASP funds as determined by the Convenors Group composed of Filipino Community members will be used for the installation of jetmatic water pumps and the repair of multipurpose halls in beneficiary communities. Consul General De Vega, thanked the BASP convenors Vivian Talambiras-Cruz, Nimfa Du Tinana, Roger Alama, Zultan Bermudez and Atty. Ferdinand Suba for all their work. The Consulate likewise acknowledged the invaluable assistance of the PJF and Gawad Kalinga represented by Mr. Sonny Ramirez and donors.
“The BASP community of donors pitched in and sustained this worthwhile project, proving that in times of need ordinary people can come together and do extraordinary things”, remarked the Consul General. The launch of two books inspired by the impact of the typhoon, “Yolanda: An Oral History in Verse” by Tim Tomlinson and a children’s book “Maria’s Colorful Banca” by Ella Louise Francia and Minnie Francisco-Francia” were likewise held at the event. Portions of the proceeds of Tomlinson’s book will go to families from Tacloban, Palo and San Jose in Leyte and Basey in Samar who shared their stories with the author.
Ms. Grace Labaguis of GMA Pinoy TV representing the author of “Maria’s Colorful Banca narrated how the book came about with the author being inspired to write it when her family visited the affected areas to paint and donate bancas to the typhoon survivors. Gelline De Guzman, a second generation Filipino-American based in New York announced the plan of her group to participate in the New York City Marathon next year for the benefit of BASP beneficiaries.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.