Man asks friends for relief goods instead of gifts

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

INSTEAD of accepting gifts on his birthday, a Leyte native working in Cebu asked his friends to donate cash or goods for typhoon survivors in his hometown.

Jessie Perez, district manager of Rep. Luis Gabriel Quisumbing (Cebu, sixth district), went to Abuyog, Leyte, with his five friends to distribute relief goods and engaged children in fun activities.

Perez raised funds through a social networking site.

“It all started asking my friends a birthday gift on Facebook,” he said. “Instead of giving me gifts for my birthday, I asked them to help the people in my hometown Abuyog.”

A lawyer-friend from Manila named Riva Dimaala donated P10,000.

“Then some of my friends abroad also donated. Christoph Endell, our former intern at Tangol Kalikasan who is now a lawyer in Germany also donated P10,000. He collected them from his colleagues because he saw the pictures that I posted three days after Yolanda hit Leyte,” said Perez, who used to work for an environmental law office.

Perez said he also spent his own money to buy more goods.

He said Rep. Quisumbing also donated five sacks of rice.

Perez went to Barangay Sta. Fe, Abuyog three days after the typhoon to check on her sister. He took photos of the destruction and uploaded them on Facebook two days later when he arrived in Cebu.

Perez and his friends arrived in Sta. Fe on Nov. 30 and distributed food packs. Some 500 families received food packs, which contained two kilos of rice, three cans of sardines and three packs of noodles.

The next day, they organized games for 200 children. The children also received water, cup cakes, candies and chocolates.

With him during the relief operations were Wendell Canque, who works at the Department of Foreign Affairs; Andrew Cuerda, a student of the University of Cebu; Cyrill Tuñacao, a student of Cebu Normal University; Junisan Catarungan, a make-up artist; and Susan Heyrosa, a housewife.

Perez said he was glad he was able to help people in his hometown.

“If somebody asks me the feeling after the distribution of relief goods, my answer is simply: indescribable feeling of fulfillment,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 05, 2013.

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