HK elite give P110M for poorest Pinoys

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The 2018 ICM charity banquet held on Oct. 24 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai (Photo from ICM FB page)

Members of Hong Kong’s business community raised nearly P110 million in donations for the poorest families in the Phillipines living on less than P27 a day.

The International Care Ministries (ICM), a nonprofit organization, held its annual auction and charity banquet on October 24 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Wan Chai and raised HKD15.9 million (P108.6 million).

“Despite having 10 fewer tables than a few years ago, this year, total donations were HK$15.9m, up 14 percent on last year’s result of HK$14.0m,” said David Sutherland, ICM board chair and the former chief financial officer of Morgan Stanley Asia Pacific.

“The 2018 banquet turned out to be a milestone – the first time the ICM banquet has crossed the US$2 million mark,” he added.

An individual ticket to the banquet cost $2,500 while the price for booking a table ranged from $30,000 to $100,000.

During the night’s “Moment of Giving,” 122 individuals gave away a total HK$6.6 million for Filipino indigents.

Thirteen donors gave away HK$500,000 for sick Filipinos who need but cannot afford surgery.

ICM said there were estimated seven million Filipinos mired in poverty and earning less than US$0.50 (P27) a day.

Twenty-two percent of the children of these “ultra-poor” Filipinos go to bed hungry once a week, 32 percent have had a sibling die, 10 percent are seriously ill at any time, 40 percent have no electricity, and 46 percent defecate outside, ICM said.

To help raise funds, ICM bidded out trips to luxury resorts in Vietnam, Japan, France, Oman, Portugal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Italy, and the United States.

Artworks donated by Filipinos artists, like Ramon Orlina’s “Loveliness of Autumn (a carved amber crystal priced at HK$50,000),” were also put on the auction block.

One of the auction items that had the most number of bidders were the tickets to see The Ellen DeGeneres Show live  in Los Angeles.

The live auction prizes also included dinner with Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo to be catered by Margarita Fores, who was named in 2016 as Asia’s Best Female Chef.

The three live auction prizes, including the dinner with VP Robredo, raised HK$1 million.

ICM uses the funds it raises to help “ultra poor” Filipinos, who are invited to attend a four-month intensive program that delivers holistic skills training and low-capital resources.

“We call it Transform, where 30 people meet once a week and they train them on values, health, and livelihood,” Sutherland said.

“Each of these lessons brings tangible change to them and their communities. They see amazing benefits after transform,” he added.

These positive changes include a 101 percent in household income, a 28 percent decrease in the number of those with serious illness, a 20 percent increase in families who now have toilets, a 25 percent increase in “family satisfaction,” and a 36 percent decrease in those going hungry at least once a week.

“Our research shows that improved family relationship drives all other positive changes as people trust each other and they help each other,” Sutherland said.

Transform’s medical treatment packs have also helped treat 2,595 children with diarrhea, the fourth leading cause of death among children under five in the Philippines; screened 29,598 Filipinos for tuberculosis, and de-wormed 76,175 individuals.


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