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1st ANCOP USA Disaster Preparedness Summit in Chicago Inspires Participants from Across U.S.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
CHICAGO, IL. – “I commend ANCOP USA for hosting this Summit before a catastrophe takes place and not after,” said Philippine Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge of Chicago in his welcome remarks to ANCOP USA leaders during the opening of the 1st ANCOP USA Disaster Preparedness Summit held at the Westin North Shore Hotel in this city. 

The Filipino diplomat also honored ANCOP USA for what it is doing for poor Filipinos.

Calonge welcomed the Summit participants from around the United States and the Philippines. He also gave an update on the rebuilding efforts by the Philippine government after Typhoon Yolanda.

Referring to the 25 typhoons that visit the Philippines yearly, Consul General Calonge observed that “the Filipino spirit is water proof.”

After an invocation given by ANCOP USA President Eric Villanueva, Roger Santos, ANCOP USA Executive Director & COO, gave a presentation about ANCOP and where it stands today in its programs of poverty alleviation.

Santos was followed by the five principal speakers who discussed catastrophe and disaster mitigation procedures and shared actual experiences in assisting victims of calamities, including Typhoon Yolanda victims in the Visayas.

Two of the speakers came from Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in the United States.

Brian J. Backe, Senior Director of US Programs & Resources at CRS and Caroline Brennan, Senior Communications Officer of CRS’ Global Humanitarian Response Team, narrated their experiences in the field and their strategies while responding to disasters and catastrophes. They shared details of CRS’ relief operations in the Yolanda areas in the Visayas.  

Brennan reported that CRS helped in cleaning the Typhoon Yolanda devastated areas in Leyte by working with 9,000 people. Throughout the Haiyan/ Yolanda areas of destructions, Brennan said CRS had completed 2,208 small houses, while 4,213 are still under construction. She said their goal is to build 20,000 shelters for the typhoon victims. 

The CRS speaker also reported on the job training they conduct for the displaced  typhoon victims, which is recognized by the Philippine government that often lead to job placements.

Dr. Joe Yamamoto, a member of CFC International Council & President of CFC ANCOP Tekton, gave an overview of the extent of damages brought by Typhoon Yolanda. He cited damages to property at P89.6 billion and 6,300 people killed.

He likewise mentioned the two medical/surgical missions conducted by ANCOP USA in southern Philippines which treated close to 10,500 patients in two provinces. 

Dr. Yamamoto also reported on the relief operations conducted by Couples for Christ in the Visayas, including the Jerry Can water purifiers given out by ANCOP USA in areas where availability of drinking water became major problem.

Dr. Lana W. Galicia, a medical practitioner in California who is a member of Couples for Christ, also spoke at the Summit about medical mission during disaster . She shared her experiences as member of the medical/surgical mission that treated some 10,000 poor people in 8 Iloilo towns last February.

“The medical mission gave me peace,” the lady doctor said. She added, “I thank God for allowing me and giving me the opportunity to serve.”
        
Volunteerism During Disaster
The last speaker was Henry Capello, Founding President and Executive Director of Caritas in Veritate International, an NGO and a confederation for Integral Development and Human Progress. 

Capello outlined the various steps, procedures and protocols that an NGO should adopt in order to be able to respond to a disaster with maximum efficiency. He stressed, however, that first and foremost, any disaster response, in order to have meaning, should bring with it the face of Jesus Christ. 

Capello was given a standing ovation by the Summit delegates at the end of his talk, which lasted over an hour. 

An open forum was conducted after each speaker. 

Judging from the feedback obtained from the participants during the Workshop that followed the talks, the delegates, who were volunteer leaders of ANCOP around the US, were inspired by what they heard and were motivated by the relevant information they gathered in relation to ANCOP’s work for the poor. (ANCOP USA Communications)



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