The head of the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba is apologizing for sitting on $72,000 in donations people had raised for Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.

Many in Winnipeg donated and raised money to help those in the Philippines, which was devastated by the Nov. 8 storm.

Shortly after the typhoon hit, the Canadian government said it will match any donations to registered Canadian charities providing aid to the typhoon-ravaged country.

But while the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba — through the Philippine Association of Manitoba — had great success with its Haiyan relief fundraising efforts, the $72,000 it raised was still in Winnipeg as of this week.

Centre president Lito Taruc told CBC News his fundraising committee did not understand the rules related to the government's matching fund program.

Committee members thought they had to wait until after filing all the necessary paperwork this month before they could send the relief money to the Philippines.

"We will correct all the mistakes that we had," Taruc said in an interview Thursday.

"I am apologizing to the community and also to the donors … the delay sending the money, it's because we don't know exactly the full process."

Taruc said the donations will be sent to a Filipino relief group as soon as possible.

The fact that the donations had not gone to the Philippines already concerned Elsa Mutya, who helped out with fundraising events.

"The typhoon happened, like, a couple months ago already, so that money could have been used a while ago," she said.

The Mennonite Central Committee of Manitoba, which does humanitarian work around the world, says the focus following a disaster should be on immediate food relief, water and shelter.

"Making a very rapid response is essential," said Ron Janzen, MCC Manitoba's executive director.