Our country has been wracked by natural and man-made disasters within a span of six months this year. There was the MNLF incident in Zamboanga City on September 6, 2013, the Intensity 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake with the epicenter in Carmen, Bohol, the flooding in Central Luzon and the Tropical Storm Yolanda, with its Storm Warning Signal No. 4, believed to be the most destructive storm ever recorded. These man-made and natural disasters have devastated wide swaths of the entire country causing loss or injury to life and limb in the tens of thousands, and property losses to the hundreds of millions. The actual extent though has not yet been fully assessed nor reported at this time.

Our brothers and sisters in the affected areas of the country have not been spared from these tragedies. Until now, we have not fully assessed the extent of damage caused to our ranks as we continue to strive to obtain as much information as we can.

We assure you however, that your officers have not been remiss in the performance of their duty to bring comfort and aid to our stricken brothers and sisters. In fact, during the Joint Executive-Legislative Meeting held in Glan, Sarangani Province on October 4-6, 2013, the Board of Directors approved Board Resolution No. DY-2003-15-008-K dated October 5, 2013, entitled �A Resolution Instituting the National Service Committee, Appropriating Funds therefore and for other Purposes.� In the said meeting, the Board of Directors authorized the release of P 50,000.00 from the Calamity Fund, additional P10,000.00 personal aid from the National President and P8,494.00 raised from �passing the hat� were gathered to provide assistance to our brothers and sisters affected by the MNLF incursion in Zamboanga City.

On the day after the Bohol earthquake, the amounts of P 40,000.00 each were authorized to be released for those affected in Cebu City and Bohol Province.

In the same way, on November 11, 2013, the amount of P50,000.00 from the remaining balance of the Calamity Fund and another P50,000.00 from the Benevolence Fund were authorized to be released, together with an additional P 20,000.00 personal contribution from the National President will be extended as aid and assistance to our devastated brothers and sisters in various areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

We beg the indulgence of our brothers and sisters that we cannot do anything more. Currently, we cannot call for the donation of clothes, foodstuffs and water as we have no logistical means through which to send these to our brothers and sisters in the affected areas. Perhaps, we can have it possible only upon formulation of systems and processes for the delivery of service under a rationalized service program which will be done by the National Service Committee. Moreover, please understand that because of the region-wide effects of these tragedies, our regional officers have not been able to adequately respond as they themselves are victims of these tragedies.

Thus, we thank the individual efforts of our members in bringing aid to our affected brothers and sisters, specifically those exemplified by the Office of the Vice-President Jejomar Binay and the Office of Congressman Bebot Bello in organizing a task force for the purpose. We have been informed that a 40-footer container van has been made available for the purpose of delivering by land the material assistance to Tacloban City. We were also informed that donations of foodstuffs, clothing and drinking water are still coming, thus, for those who still wish to contribute similar donations, you may drop it to 1-BAP Office at Angono Street, Makati City, with telephone number (02) 931-53-11.

That having been said, we appeal to the generosity of our brothers and sisters who may have funds to spare so that we can continue providing financial assistance to our tragedy-stricken brothers and sisters. The funds which have been set aside precisely for this purpose has been depleted as we have already borrowed from the Benevolence Fund, which should have been intended to provide assistance to our brothers and sisters who have died, and not for purposes of providing assistance to calamity victims. As such, financial assistance is preferred at this time considering the immediate need to respond to the cry for help of the victims and it is deemed faster and easier way of conveying our proposed assistance. Let us open our hearts, any amount would definitely be of great help.

Your Cheque donations may be paid in the name of

Alpha Phi Omega International Philippines Incorporated

while Cash donations may be deposited to:

Alpha Phi Omega International Philippines Incor porated Banco-De-Oro, Anonas Branch Account Number 149-010-3668 Swift Code Number for Dollar Account: BNORPHMM

It has been said that the Almighty God has accorded His people in the Philippines the brunt of these tragedies because He knows, in His Infinite Wisdom, that the resiliency of the Filipino will enable him to bear them. Yes, Filipinos are survivors because of people like us who have great faith to our Creator and have great concern to humanity. Finally, in these trying times, let us tighten the unbroken circle so that we can discover the true meaning of service to our brothers and sisters who have most need of it. Indeed, no joy can equal the joy of helping others.

In Leadership, Friendship and Service,

BROTHER MAMINTAL “MIKE” TAHA National President Development Year 2013-2015