THE “bayanihan” spirit still lives among Filipinos in the United States despite being away from home for years.
This Filipino culture became evident when Filipinos from Texas and even as far as Nevada, more than a thousand miles away from the areas devastated by hurrricane Harvey, offered their homes to kababayans in Houston who were displaced by the calamity.
Other members of the Filipino-American Community are also extending a helping hand to those affected by what has been described as one of the worst weather disturbances in United States history, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“We salute and thank our kababayans in the United States for keeping the spirit of bayanihan alive,” said Foreign Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano after receiving an update from the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles.
“We are touched by the gestures of members of the Filipino-American Community who opened their homes to those who lost theirs and are helping in one way or another our other affected kababayans,” Cayetano said.
In his report, Consul General Adelio Angelito Cruz said the Filipino-American Community has accommodated at least 20 Filipinos who lost their houses in the flood-devastated coastal cities of Rockport and Aransas Pass.
He said many Filipinos in neighboring cities like Dallas, around 242 miles from Houston, and Austin, 165 miles away, have also opened their doors to family and friends from the affected areas.
“A Filipina from Las Vegas, Nevada, more than 1,600 miles from Houston, even called up the Consulate General to offer her home as shelter for those displaced,” Cruz said.
According to the Consul General, the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce of Texas is scheduled to bring 20-foot trucks filled with relief goods for distribution to affected families in Corpus Christi. The group will organize another relief effort in Houston once the highway has been declared passable.
Cruz said many Filipinos are taking part in the relief effort and have been volunteering to help victims in various parts of the city, the third largest in the United States.
He said several Filipino medical professionals in Houston who were working when the hurricane struck opted to remain in their hospitals or clinics to assist the injured.
The Filipino Young Professionals of Houston has also put out a call for volunteers and donations for a planned relief effort.
Cruz said Pinoy Houston TV continues to monitor and report on the situation in Houston, including making the rounds of different shelters to see if there are Filipinos there who they could assist.
Based on the latest reports, at least 39 people, including four foreigners, were reported dead and more than a million displaced by Harvey, which is the first category four hurricane to make landfall in the US since 2005.