McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

November 25, 2013

Ada woman hoping for news of missing brother

Ada —    When Ada resident Violeta Oliver saw news footage of Typhoon Haiyan, she started worrying about her brother.

   A native of the Philippines, Oliver was at her office on Nov. 7 when co-workers colleagues told her that a typhoon was supposed to strike her homeland the next day. She assured her colleagues that typhoons are common in the Philippines, but they told her that Haiyan was the biggest storm in the nation’s history.

   The day that Haiyan hit, Oliver went home and watched CNN’s coverage of the storm. As she followed the story, she wondered whether her brother, Perfecto Maceda Badoy Jr., was safe.

   “I said, ‘Oh, my brother lived there!’” she said in a Nov. 21 interview. “I said, ‘I hope he’ll be OK.”

   Oliver, 52, said she has other relatives in the Philippines, but she doesn’t talk to them very often. She is mostly worried about Perfecto.

   Perfecto lives near the airport in Tacloban, the capital of Leyte Island in the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan — otherwise known as Yolanda — devastated the city, killing at least 1,725 people.

   The storm killed more than 5,200 people and displaced another 12,000 throughout the central and southern Philippines.

   Oliver said she talked to Perfecto about six months ago, but she has not heard from him since the storm. She is waiting for news of her brother, but she has no way to call him because the typhoon knocked out power and disrupted phone service in Tacloban.

   “I just hope he’s OK and we can find him,” she said. “I hope I hear from him.”

Call for help

   Oliver’s worries prompted her to seek help from Ed Poblete, director of the Compassion Outreach Center and minister at the Central Church of Christ. A Filipino missionary, Poblete is a member of Medical Action for Relief Counseling and Healing for Christ, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Church of Christ.

   March for Christ works with other organizations in the Philippines and the United States to help victims of natural disasters. A team of doctors, nurses, dentists and volunteers is currently providing assistance for typhoon victims.

   Poblete and his wife are heading to Tacloban next week to join the March for Christ team, which has developed a plan to provide emergency relief and help the victims start rebuilding their lives. The couple will remain in the Philippines until Dec. 16.

   “I’m just going to go there and tag along and see what they’re doing and help them,” Poblete said. “We’re going to bring them relief funds and just be a part of that for a short period of time.”

   The trip will also give Poblete a chance to visit his mother, who lives in the northern Philippines.

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