AirAsia announced Friday (23 May 2014) it raised a total of PHP97million or USD2.17million from its ‘To Philippines with Love’ campaign (#toPHwithlove) in aid of reconstruction efforts in Typhoon Haiyan affected areas. The donations, which comprise public-giving, a matching component by the AirAsia Group and contributions by AirAsia partner companies, are to be distributed to four development partners to fulfill the airline’s pledge to support rebuilding of homes and livelihoods for survivors in the hardest hit areas.
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes (3rd from right) and Philippines Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Secretary Panfilo Lacson exchange handshake during the turnover ceremony held at Tacloban airport on Friday, 23 May 2014. Fernandes and Lacson are flanked by officials from AirAsia’s development partners (first row, 2nd from left) Philippine Red Cross Secretary General Gwen Pang, PRC Chairman Richard Gordon, (second row,2nd from left) Hapinoy President Mark Ruiz, Rags2Riches Founder & CEO Reese Fernandes, Tacloba City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, AirAsia Zest Director Michael Romero, Habitat for Humanity CEO Charlie Ayco, Habitat for Humanity Youth Ambassador Karina Escano, AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani and AirAsia Zest cabin crew in their red uniform.
The main recipient, the Philippine Red Cross, will be building 345 homes in Panay with public contributions amounting to PHP46million (USD1.04million). From the matching and partner funds managed by AirAsia Foundation, Habitat for Humanity Philippines will be receiving PHP37.4million (USD850,000) to construct 187 permanent housing units in Tacloban. The latter structures are designed to be resilient to an Intensity 8 earthquake and 250kph windspeed.
“We express our deepest gratitude to guests who contributed generously to this fund-raising effort which exceeded all our expectations. We started this campaign as an expression of ASEAN unity for survivors who lost so much and we are incredibly touched to find that the campaign received donations from people in 75 countries all over the world. AirAsia is proud to match this donation and ensure that every cent goes to rebuilding lives,” said Group CEO Tony Fernandes at a press conference here today.
Contributing partner companies to this donation drive are Credit Suisse, Tune Insurance, Queens Park Rangers Football Club, CIMB Group and EQ8.
This marks the second phase of AirAsia’s campaign in aid of post-Haiyan relief and reconstruction efforts. During the initial relief period, AirAsia was one of the first commercial carriers to operate humanitarian flights, carrying close to 5,000 relief workers and survivors as well as 400 tonnes of aid items to Tacloban, Cebu and Kalibo. This is in addition to the 250,000 free seats made available across AirAsia’s Philippines network for people to travel in search of missing family members.
In selecting the reconstruction partners, AirAsia prioritised their comprehensive approach in ensuring that beneficiaries are better equipped to face future weather challenges. The PRC requires home recipients to undergo a compulsory Participatory Approach on Safe Shelter Awareness training while Habitat for Humanity’s programme covers disaster awareness training and skills training to enable communities to contribute ‘sweat equity’ in rebuilding their homes, while equipping them to maintain their homes to disaster resilient standards. All housing units funded by AirAsia donations will also be equipped with sanitation facilities and provided with access to electricity supply.
Beneficiaries of the PRC homes will be selected based on a set of criteria based on extent of impact of the disaster on the families including their vulnerability factor (single parents, families having more than 3 children below the age of 15, families with persons with disability or the elderly). Habitat for Humanity homes will be assigned to families according to a needs-based list provided by the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Another aspect of rehabilitation funded by AirAsia Foundation is in livelihood creation. To this end, a total of PHP8million (USD180,000) will be allocated to Hapinoy’s Project Bagong Araw to revive disrupted sari-sari store networks. A total of 133 women from low-income households in Palo Municipality in Leyte will receive a combination of grant and loan of PHP60,000 (US$1,340) per household to set up home-based sari-sari stores or provision goods businesses. This revolving capital is expected to continuously provide loans to other low-income households affected by the typhoon. “We believe that for people to get their lives back on track, it is crucial that they have jobs and the opportunity to earn an income. The livelihood projects that we support also help restore damaged supply chains to address the problems of inflation and shortages in typhoon-affected areas,” Fernandes added.
The fourth recipient of AirAsia Foundation’s allocation is Rags2Riches, Inc., a Filipino social enterprise that trains underprivileged individuals in craft skills and engages them in its value chain to enable them to earn fair wages. Rags2Riches is a recipient of AirAsia Foundation’s Social Enterprise Grant 2013 to train 100 artisans in craft skills. With this additional funding, Rags2Riches will undertake to train 50 individuals in Tacloban in sewing and painting skills so that they are able to join the social enterprise’s artisans network. Products from this collaboration will be made available for sale on AirAsia Megastore as this is a crucial component of AirAsia’s support to provide the artisans with access to market.
The balance of just over USD54,000 is earmarked for support to airport workers in Tacloban, Cebu and Kalibo whose homes were damaged or destroyed during the storm.
AirAsia’s ‘To Philippines with Love’ (#toPHwithLove) campaign took place over a six-week period between Nov 16 – Dec 31, 2013, when the airline group launched a regionwide donation campaign to enable its guest to contribute to Typhoon Haiyan reconstruction efforts. The multi-tiered campaign included collections of cash donations on board flights and at selected airports throughout the AirAsia Group network, as well as a dedicated AirAsia Foundation microsite.
For future updates on the above initiatives, the public can log on to AirAsia Foundation’s Facebook (fb.com/AirAsiaFoundation) and microsite (airasiafoundation.com/typhoonhaiyan).
AirAsia is firmly committed to the philosophy that no corporation can live apart from the community it serves. As a truly Asean airline, we will always extend a helping hand to the communities we serve in their time of need.
AirAsia was at the forefront of relief efforts in the wake of the tsunami that struck the region in 2004, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (2008), Typhoon Nesat in the Philippines (2011), the earthquake which struck Sichuan in China (2008) and the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Fukushima, Japan (2011).
AirAsia has also supported the recovery of Bali, Indonesia, after the terrorist bombings in 2005, by giving away 12,000 free seats on its flights. It mounted rescue flights from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur in November 2008 to help people stranded by the closing of the airport in Bangkok. Similar rescue efforts were extended in Padang and Jakarta in October 2009 to help those affected by the 7.6- magnitude earthquake that hit Sumatra island.