by Yoly Tumangan Tubalinal.
January 16, 2012
I got a nagging email from a very frustrated and exasperated friend and MegaScene columnist, Don Azarias. Reacting to a report from Loida Nicolas Lewis’ secretary that the collection in the U.S. for Dondon Lanuza’s fund only reached $3,286 as of January 4, Don wrote:
It breaks my heart to know that this is the only amount we can raise for that poor Filipino named Rogelio (sic)”Dondon” Lanuza who could lose his life after being unjustly sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.
We can do better than this, can we not?
As of January 9, the total donation raised only reached $16,670. With Lewis’ matching grant, it will be $33,340 – still nowhere near the the P35 M or $800,000 the victim’s family is asking for blood money.
Don has many good reasons to be exasperated. And may I add, he can rant about it as well after all, he gave his donation to this cause too. And if only every one of those who read or heard of this fundraising responded with any amount he or she could easily afford, the P35 million Lanuza needs to save his life will have been ready in no time.
With eight million overseas Filipinos, four million of whom are in the U.S., it is hard to believe that raising P35 million can’t be done. Unfortunately, it takes forever for people to actually respond to these calls and time is something Dondon Lanuza doesn’t have. Indeed, he is literally racing against time. We can’t simply sit, hope and pray that P35 M will magically pop up and voila, our problem is solved!
We can still do it
Time may not be on our side but our number is. According to the 2000 U.S. census, there are 54,595 Filipinos in Cook County, 14, 111 in Du Page County and 6,988 in Lake County. Let’s take this weekend and the next one to mount a massive campaign for this cause. If we could do a GOTV (Get Out The Vote) in the name of politics, we could also do a GOTD (Get Out The Dollar) in the name of life and justice for a fellow Filipino.
From now until January 28, let’s get out there in Filipino restaurants and stores, hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and at dinner dances and organizations’meetings to bring Dondon’s case to our fellow Filipinos. No amount is too small for this fundraiser. Every donation will be appreciated. But because of the kind of money we are raising, we need people who have the means to give as generously as they could. We also need as many volunteers as we can get. How helpful and effective it would be if we could only move our over 200 FilAm organizations to action and mobilize their people to collect donations.
The results could even surprise you. You might actually prove to the doubting Thomases out there that Filipinos aren’t really apathetic. Many are simply not in tune to the technology that we use today or that their minds are preoccupied with so many things that they can’t find the time or concentration to respond to pleas like this one.
Legwork, personal commitment and perseverance are necessary to make this drive a success. I’m appealing to presidents and officers of organizations to take up this cause now. Please don’t waste any more time because time is of the essence in this drive. Quick action, regardless of what everyone is doing, can do the trick. Let’s all work together and bring forth the magic of unity and community support.
Background of Lanuza’s case
For the sake of those who haven’t read or heard of Dondon’s case, here’s an excerpt from the press release we published in December 2011.
Loida Nicolas Lewis leads support for OFW in Saudi
Urges global donations for “blood money” to save and free Dondon Lanuza Fundraising website www.helpdondon.com built to raise 35M Pesos by February 2012
December 6, 2011 (New York, NY) - Filipino American philanthropist and political activist Loida Nicolas Lewis is calling on Filipinos all over the world to empathize with the plight of an OFW, and his mother, who need the support of every Filipino to stop his execution by beheading.
Rodelio “Dondon” Lanuza, 37, was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the accidental death of a Saudi National occurred in 2000. Now, Dondon has been in prison for over 11 years under a death sentence by beheading.
In February 2011, he was pardoned by the relatives of the victim in exchange for blood money amount of 3 Million Riyal or 35 Million Philippine Pesos (US$800,000). Letty Lanuza, his mother, then launched a campaign that has only raised about $13,000 (2% of the goal) in the last 9 months. When Mrs. Nicolas Lewis was approached with the case, her heart felt for Mrs. Lanuza and she decided to help raise the money needed to save a life.
Not just with intention, but with decisive action, Nicolas Lewis embarked on a campaign and asked her friends and contacts to support Dondon. She and several Filipino philanthropists are matching dollar-for-dollar donations that the public will give.
Lewis is urging the Filipinos Overseas and Filipinos in the Philippines to help raise the “blood money” as a Christmas gift to his mother Letty for her son’s life. The one-year anniversary of the family’s forgiveness and condition to receive the “blood money” is February 2012.
We do not have the luxury of time. By February 2012, it would be one year since they forgave and required the blood money equivalent. If by that time, we have very little to show to them, it may mean the withdrawal of their forgiveness and hasten the death of Dondon. (Lord, spare him!), pleaded Mrs. Letty Lanuza, Dondon’s mother.
Ways to send your donations:
I. By PayPal at www.helpDondon.com
II. By Check:
Please make your donation to:
Payee: Loida N. Lewis FBO Dondon Lanuza
Mail to: Loida N. Lewis FBO Dondon Lanuza, P.O .BOX 1080 New York, NY 10028
III. Money Remittance/Wire Transfer donation to Dondon’s mother, Mrs. Letty Lanuza’s bank account (in the Philippines), or through Loida Lewis FBO (for the benefit of) Dondon Lanuza.
Note: Donations sent through any of Metrobank’s overseas branches and international offices are free of charge. For those who wish to send their donations through any of Metrobank’s remittance correspondents worldwide, the bank has agreed to waive all Metrobank related charges.
A. In the Philippines
Account Name: Letty Lanuza
Metrobank Branch: Malolos Mc Arthur Hi-Way Branch
Savings Account No. 575-3-57501112-9
B. Outside the Philippines
Account Name: Loida N. Lewis FBO Dondon Lanuza
Metrobank Branch: New York
Metrobank Account No.: 16048420
Swift Code: MBTCUS33
ABA Routing #: 026002846
For more information, please visit www.helpdondon.com or you can also contact Loida Nicolas Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org / (212) 756-8901 or Letty Celestino Lanuza at email@example.com/ (702) 220-7206 .
Editors’ Note: MegaScene will publish the names of donors as soon as they become available. If you gave and didn’t see your name in the list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .