McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

November 25, 2013

Ada woman hoping for news of missing brother

Eric Swanson Staff Writer

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.

Searching for Perfecto

   When Oliver learned that Poblete was going to the Philippines, she asked him to help find her brother. Poblete agreed to search for Perfecto, even though the chances of finding him are slim.

   “This late, it’s going to be hard,” Poblete said. “We’ve searched all the Internet resources to find relatives and she (Oliver) has, and so far, no word.”

   Oliver said she is relying on her faith, and the support of friends and relatives, to comfort her while she waits for news of her brother.

   “Just pray, I guess,” she said. “Pray for everybody.”


   Ed Poblete, director of the Outreach Compassion Center, released this statement last week:

   On behalf of the Filipino-American community living in Ada and surrounding cities, we thank all those who have showered us with calls, text messages and Facebook postings expressing concern and inquiring about the well-being of our families in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, also called Yolanda.

   The Filipino people are accustomed to surviving natural calamities. The nation is hit by an average of 20 typhoons per year, and the archipelago sits on the “Pacific ring of fire,” with numerous active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. The spirit of resiliency is the hallmark of the Filipino people. They will survive and move on!

   Sadly, Typhoon Haiyan hit with such overwhelming destruction that without international relief aid, more lives would perish due to hunger, thirst and disease. We are touched by the outpouring of donations from the U.S. government, the Chickasaw Nation, area churches, businesses and individuals. We hope that you will continue giving to a good charitable organization that you trust to use the funds prudently and with integrity.