The Daily Gamecock

Typhoon victims need SC's relief efforts

Philippines too poor to get by on their own

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, over two thousand Filipinos have been killed and some fear the death toll could reach ten thousand. The powerful storm slammed into the Visayas, an archipelagic region in the middle of the country, and devastated the area. It’s up to us as humans to step in when our fellow man is in need, and University of South Carolina students can and should do our part.

I had the privilege of visiting the Philippines last summer. Some friends who have lived there for many years were able to show me much of the country, including many places tourists don’t get to see on a normal vacation there.

There’s a lot that can be said about Filipinos, and most of it is very positive. They live in a poor nation, but they exude happiness and ambition. Their political history has been violent, but they are still passionately involved in shaping their society. The Philippines is a very religious country and the people place a high value on family.

The Philippines possesses great ingenuity and the people are always looking to better their situation. The country is too poor for everyone to ride on buses, so instead the people have taken old jeeps left by the American military after World War II and converted them into makeshift buses called Jeepneys. This makeshift public transportation system wasn’t a central effort by the state, but instead developed organically to meet a need. Instead of pressing a button to signal the driver that you want to get off the bus, you simply tap a coin against the metal ceiling of the Jeepney.
Filipinos also exhibit an admirable degree of patriotism. After wrestling independence from Spain and the United States and defending themselves from a Japanese invasion during World War II, the people are quite proud of their history and optimistic about where they’re headed.

The Philippines has been knocked down by this storm, but I am confident they will rise up again stronger than they were before. We can help them in this difficult time.

Already governments around the world have dispatched personnel to assist with humanitarian aid. We too can help as a student body. South Carolina students can support the relief effort in the Philippines by raising funds and awareness.

I don’t have all the answers to how we can help the Philippines, but as students we are in a unique position to use creativity to affect positive change in this desperate situation. Coordinate with your friends, classmates, fraternities, sororities or any group you associate with to come up with a way to help. And especially make sure to support those students who are already working on charitable projects.

Together we can help the Philippines recover from this terrible crisis. The world becomes a closer in times like these, and it’s important for South Carolina to be a part of that.