By Gerry Palon
President of the Coalition of Filipino American Chambers of Commerce,
A national organization of 24 chamber organizations in the United States
COFACC recently launched its 2nd wave of Save Lives, Save Livelihood Campaign for the marginalized workers in the Philippines in collaboration with the FACC Foundation, Inc. The kick-off meeting for this campaign was highlighted by a webinar conducted by Dr. Anthony Leachon, Chairman of the Kil Kovid Movement in the Philippines. The webinar was attended by Fil AM leaders and concerned citizens from all over the six (6) time zones of the US plus some guests from the Philippines. It was also livestreamed in FB https://www.facebook.com/cofacc/videos/309421441170665.
The Kilkovid movement in the Philippines also caused OPM songwriter and singer Ogie Alcasid to compose a song titled “Bayaning Tunay” which was beautifully and emotionally renditioned by the country’s top OPM entertainment singers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbJyq4paVX0.
The 2nd wave of Save Lives, Save Livelihood fundraising campaign is primarily focused to purchase/solicit COVID testing kits as well as medical grade facial masks that will be distributed to the marginalized workers in the Philippines in cooperation with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCI), Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and with the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT). The average retail price of testing kits in the US is around $11/pc. which when sold in the Philippines will cost approximately $15/pc. For the average low income Filipino worker, this is simply unaffordable.
The first wave of Save Lives which started in August, 2021 focused on fundraising for the vaccines. When the campaign was done in Dec., the vaccination rate in the Philippines already went up and followed the trend of the rest of the neighboring countries in Asia during the last 6 months of 2021. But the situation in Dec. up to early Feb., 2022 which saw alarming spikes with the entry of Omicron, a new variant which CDC claims less potent than the Delta variant but highly infectious and transmittable by air.
The key to success in surviving and fighting this pandemic is to continue observing social distancing protocols especially in big public gatherings and attending indoor activities. Early detection thru fast antigen testing and immediate action to isolate will greatly help to prevent the spread of virus.
The fundraising campaign for testing kits and facial masks will run from Feb. 18 to May 31, 2022. Each chamber in the 24 member organization have assigned one (1) ambassador to form the Save Lives Ambassador Team who will identify potential donor companies and charitable institutions that will financially support the Save Lives, Save Livelihood campaign of COFACC and the FACC Foundation, Inc. Local chambers will continue to support the Save Lives, Save Livelihood project thru their local crowdfunding initiatives. The testing kits and facial masks campaign are expected to arouse the awareness level and charitable spirit of the Fil Ams for our Motherland.