PHILIPPINE AMBASSADOR Generoso DG Calonge students 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Moshe Kotzen)
Philippine Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calogne rolled up his sleeves, along with 21
eighth-graders from Boys Town Jerusalem in the capital Monday morning, to pack
much-needed relief supplies for Typhoon Haiyan survivors still reeling from the
devastating tropical storm.
Working in coordination with the Philippine
Embassy, Calogne and the students prepared 25 boxes filled with ready-to-eat
food, blankets, pillows and other basic necessities donated by the school,
located in the Bayit Vagan neighborhood.
Since the storm ravaged the
islands in the central Philippines, approximately 4 million people have been
displaced, with some 350,000 remaining in over 1,000 evacuation
“Especially after this typhoon, words cannot describe how much
we appreciate the aid of the Israeli nation,” said Calogne Sunday.
a sorrowful event, but we’re overjoyed and overwhelmed by Israel’s
Calogne said Israel was among the first country’s to set up a
fully functional and staffed field hospital in Bogo City
, on the Island of Cebu,
which has cared for thousands of victims who fled the adjacent Island of Leyte,
which bore the brunt of the powerful storm.
Additionally, Calogne said
the JDC, IsraAid and Masa have dispatched hundreds of volunteers to aid the
“It’s a very special response in an already strong
relationship that will only be strengthened,” said the
Several of the eighth-graders from the school who helped
Calogne pack the boxes expressed empathy and compassion for the Filipino
“I was happy as an Israeli youngster to be able to help people
in need,” said 13-yearold Itamar Ziv. “I’ve been in difficult situations myself
and can appreciate how important help is when you need it most.”
student Yosef Meir Karasanti said he was proud to help the many victims and held
a special place in his heart for the nation, which granted 10,000 visas to
European Jews to take refuge in 1939.
“It was a special feeling to be
able to help people in need that we don’t even know, and I was proud to be able
to give,” he said.
He added that he’ll “never forget the honor of shaking
the ambassador’s hand next to the school’s Righteous Gentile
Boys Town Jerusalem first formed a bond with the Philippine
nation in 2011, when the school was among the first institutions in Israel to
pay tribute to the little-known efforts of the Philippine government to save the
lives of thousands of Jews during World War II. The school conferred its “Jan
Zwartendijk Award for Humanitarian Ethics and Values” to honor the late
Philippine president Manuel Luis Quezon, who in 1939 provided the
Since 2011 relations have remained strong between the country and
school, which has hosted a number of visits from high-ranking Philippine
dignitaries to its campus, including Philippine Vice President Jejomar C. Binay,
cabinet ministers and ambassadors.
According to Calogne, who noted the
two governments recently signed a deal for direct flights between Tel Aviv and
Manila, there are presently about 500 Jewish families living in the
Boys Town director of international development Yoni Strimber has
traveled to the Philippines several times to meet with leaders of the Jewish
community there, government officials, and descendants of Quezon.
Moshe Linchner, Boys Town’s dean of students, said the school was delighted to
aid the victims of the disaster.
“We are happy to be able to provide some
small assistance, as we remain mindful of the help the Philippine nation
provided the Jewish people in our terrible time of need,” he said.
Calogne said his government was prepared to face the devastation alone, he noted
that Israel’s ongoing support will help the nation “rise up faster.”
want to express the heartfelt gratitude of the Filipino people and government
for this outpouring of good will and compassion,” he said.
the supplies will be shipped midweek from a port in Tel Aviv by an area shipping
company that has agreed to deliver the boxes free of charge.