On the last few days of October, as Filipinos prepare to observe undas, severe tropical storm Nalgae, locally called Paeng, swept through the country causing massive floods, landslides and mudslides.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, more than two million people were affected. Several LGBTQ+ groups and personalities offered aid to those affected by the storm.
Zamboanga City is one of the places that suffered from heavy flooding. Alvin “Toni Gee” Fernandez, executive director of Mujer-LGBT Organization Incorporated, which is based in the Mindanao city, offered their office as temporary shelter for the LGBTQ+ community.
“To the members of the community directly affected by Typhoon Paeng who need temporary shelter and immediate evacuation, we would like to announce that the Mujer-LGBT community center is opening our doors for you!” Fernandez wrote on her Facebook page on 29 October.
Another Mindanao-based LGBTQ+ group, Tagoloan Gender Advocacy Group in Misamis Oriental, helped Mujer-LGBT in asking for donations for the affected families and LGBTQ+ communities in Zamboanga City and other parts of Mindanao.
Drag performers also chipped in in the relief efforts.
Drag Race Philippines’ first winner Precious Paula Nicole wrote in her Twitter account (@PreciousPaulaN), “Nakita ko ngayon lang sa news kung gaano kalala ang mga naapektuhan ng bagyong Paeng. Kahit sa ‘min sa Daet ay walang kuryente. Ako po ay muling nais tumulong (I just saw the news now on the gravity of those affected by typhoon Paeng. Even here in Daet, there is no electricity. I again wish to help),” tagging the Angat Buhay Foundation and its executive director Raffy Magno.
Precious had already asked for help from supporters and fans in getting donations for the victims of typhoon Karding (Noru) last September. What they collected were turned over to the volunteer-driven non-government organization Angat Buhay recently set up by former Vice President Leni Robredo to respond to poverty, calamities, and other social concerns.
The effort for Paeng victims is called Precious Gives and her team has collected P122,000 as of 1 November.
Another Drag Race Philippines contestant, Eva Le Queen, one of the four finalists, also launched a relief initiative called TampalPuso: The Eva Le Queen Birthday Fundraiser as she celebrated her 35th birthday on 29 October. The name was inspired by the Filipino term for a kind of flatfish, tampalpuke, which the drag queen used in one episode of Drag Race Philippines.
She expressed gratitude to the first batch of donors, writing, “Thank you all so much! We were able to raise 35K php as of writing to give to @angatbuhay_ph for the victims of Typhoon Paeng. This is the best birthday gift!” on Twitter (@eva_lequeen).
Donations reached P155,000 on 31 October, which Eva said will be donated to the Angat Buhay Foundation.
“Isang malaking pasasalamat sa lahat ng nag-abot ng tulong para sa ating (A big thank you to all who extended help through) #TampalPUSO birthday fundraiser. All funds were sent to @angatbuhay for the victims of Typhoon Paeng. May all your goodwill and kindness be returned to you a hundredfold. Happy Birthday indeed!” Eva wrote on Facebook.
Through the help of its network of volunteer groups and partners all over the Philippines, Angat Buhay has been doing relief operations in provinces such as Cavite, Negros Occidental, Laguna, Maguindanao, Leyte, Iloilo, Capiz, Rizal, Dinagat Islands, Cebu, Antique, Batangas and Aklan, and cities such as Cotabato and Zamboanga. As of 2 November, the organization has received P3,217,191.36 in cash donations through the Tanging Yaman Foundation. It has given out P5,000,000 worth of food at non-food items through volunteer groups and has provided aid to 10,120 families.
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