Wellington’s Filipino community is gathering this weekend to put together packs of clothes and dry goods to send to the victims of the devastating typhoon that has had such a dramatic effect on parts on the Philippines.
Godie Padilla is a spokesman for the 60 Filipinos who work and live in the town. He comes from Luzo in the province of Nueva Ecija a part of the Philppines untouched by the disaster but, nevertheless, is disturbed by images of destruction in the media.
The Padilla family and their friends have responded with shock and dismay at the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan in their native country. Whilst none of the local families has been directly affected, they are watching TV reports and receiving news with understandable anguish at the human suffering resulting from what is said to be ‘the strongest typhoon ever recorded’.
Godie has lived here for nearly 10 years with his wife Alicia and 3 children – Jom (12) who is a pupil at Kingsmead School in Wiveliscombe, Nicole (4) and Beatrice (2). Godie works on the nightshift at Pritex, Relyon’s acoustic insulation arm, during the week; his wife works a weekend nightshift Wellington House Residential Home.
Relyon, Swallowfield and the several care homes in the area are the major employers of local Filipinos, many of who have lived here for more than 5 years.
“All the Filipinos here meet very regularly – we get together nearly every week,” Godie said. “We have a strong, close-knit community and celebrate birthdays and fiestas together. To help in the aid effort right now is very important to us.”
Asked about Wellington as a place to live and bring up his family, Godie said, “It is a very friendly, quiet and comfortable place for us to make our home and we have all been made to feel very welcome here. We feel safe.”
There are more than 120,000 Filipinos living in England and Wales, an estimated 25,000 of whom are working as nurses. The Philippine Nurses Association of UK is holding an open charity donation drop-in event at the Philippine Embassy in London on Friday and Saturday. The drive, which is seeking useful items including canned food, blankets and tents, is intended to help people “get involved” and “start off the mobilisation” according to Michael Duque, the organisation’s president. That ‘mobilisation’ has already begun in Wellington.
If you have donations for Godie’s collection, please use this email address: