Fact: Social media is a powerful tool that has changed our lives. But we’ve become so used to thinking of it as a breeding ground for negativity (hello, negastar netizens!), that it's refreshing to know there are still some people who actually use it for a good cause.
For instance, this:
Diday Veneracio Alcudia started a monetary collection for the families left behind by the "Fallen 44," the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos killed in combat in Mamasapano. She used her Facebook account to post this status message:
Town & Country editor-in-chief Yvette Fernandez—who didn't know who Diday was—saw the post on Facebook, because Diday tagged their common friend, Sandy Olaso Coronel.
The movement seemed simple enough: if they could get 560 people to donate P1,000 each, then the 12 injured policemen and families of the Fallen 44 would receive P10,000 each as abuloy.
Encouraged by Sandy, Yvette posted a callout for friends on her Facebook wall on January 30 to raise funds as well. “I said I would do it for one week, for people willing to trust me, and that I would write checks directly to the families of the fallen policemen, plus the [12 cops] injured in the same encounter," she explained.
Her Facebook post was then shared by her friends and their friends, and donations started pouring in. In just a few days, they had hit their initial target of P590,000. And at the end of the same week, the amount was doubled to P1.2 million.
“Collective sorrow channeled into something good. That was how we realized the power of social media,” shared Yvette.
It wasn’t just her friends and acquaintances who were sending donations. Strangers from around the world also showed their support for the fallen policemen and their families. Children sent in money from their allowance (a six-year-old gave P20), and a little boy even wrote letters for the children of the 44 families.
As more money started coming in, Yvette kept things transparent by regularly updating her Facebook wall with the list of donors. All of the coordination and communication was done via social media.
On February 19, the injured policemen received their checks. According to Yvette, there was a "palpable feeling of sadness all around." Still, the policemen took comfort in knowing that there were people out there who shared too in their mourning.
On February 24, the checks for the Fallen 44 cops were turned over at Camp Bagong Diwa. Some of the families who were left behind by our heroes were present. Yvette told Cosmo.ph: “We condoled with them and offered them our abuloy, and thanked them for what their men did in the service of our nation and its people. We are grateful.”
TOTAL FUNDS COLLECTED: P3,037,454.54
Total given to the 15 injured policemen: 40, 267.90
Total given to the 44 families: 55,405.35**
While the initiative of Yvette and her friends has ended, and all check turnovers have been implemented, it’s still not too late to help out if you want to.
The government is also accepting donations through these bank accounts:
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) Account Name: “DSWD-Armed Conflict Mamasapano, Maguindanao” – LBP Current Account Number (CA) No. 3122-1026-28
Philippine National Police, LBP Account Name: "PNP Special Assistance Fund" – LBP Current Account Number (CA) No. Account 1862-1027-77. Donors may contact through text PCinsp Renante F. Pinuela of DC – +63.917.8576020
** The checks were larger than the ones for the injured because more donations arrived after their visit to the injured policemen.