Members of Winnipeg’s Filipino community are wondering when thousands of dollars of donations will make their way to the typhoon-devastated Philippines.
Typhoon Haiyan hit the area on Nov. 8, 2013, and Winnipeg’s Filipino community quickly mobilized to raise funds for relief efforts.
The Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba raised about $72,000. But it’s been over two months and now donors are wondering if their funds have even made it to the area yet.
Last week, the president of the PCCM, Lito Taruc, told CBC News his fundraising committee didn’t understand the rules surrounding a federal fund-matching program, and money would be sent as soon as possible.
But there is still no news on if that money has been sent yet.
Junior Agustin donated $100 to the PCCM for relief efforts and wants to know what happened with his money.
“Did the money that we donated pass to the affected area or not yet? That’s my concern,” he said. “It’s January. That money was collected in November. It should be there.”
John Reyes, the president of the Manitoba Filipino Business Council, said there are more than just questions about relief funds when it comes to the PCCM.
Reyes said the PCCM’s financial reports show only one member paid their $12 dues last year.
“Some who have designations, one of whom is a CGA, another is a student of law,” he said. “How could they have missed the cut off line?”
Reyes said with questions swirling around the PCCM, a public forum is becoming necessary.
“They have to explain themselves. They’re supposed to be the face of the community.”
Filipino community member Ron Cantiveros echoed those concerns, saying a recent annual general meeting was held without notifying community news sources.
“It was hard to believe that they wouldn’t have involved four Filipino newspapers,” he said, adding the PCCM represents about 65,000 Filipinos in the area.
Only a fraction of those showed up to the AGM, he said.
“They just either want to pass things without consultation from the community or they’re hiding something,” he said. “[It] speaks volumes.”
CBC tried to contact Taruc to see if the funds have been sent, but he did not return our calls.