The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) is urging its partner civil society organizations (CSOs) and communities especially in Mindanao to support the Japan relief drive it is coordinating with the Japanese NGO, Peace Boat.

The campaign features the call for donation of specific relief goods and a relief fund to support relief efforts in Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that left thousands dead and wrecked havoc to many areas.

“Even a mighty Japan needs our help. Japan has even pledged to carry on its commitment to its partners and beneficiaries in Mindanao despite the long-term damage to its economy caused by the earthquake and tsumani, as well as by the threat to its power generating infrastructure shown by the continuing crisis of its nuclear power plant in Fukushima, so the least we can show is our appreciation for the Japanese people’s generosity by doing whatever we can to express concrete forms of solidarity in their dire moment of need,” IID Executive Director Gus Miclat said.

“The magnitude of the disaster is staggering and relief needs will continue to grow,” according to Miclat. “We will continue to reach out to partners across the country to help support the relief campaign.” A national newspaper has joined IID and Peaceboat in the campaign. IID and Peace Boat are collecting for the earthquake and tsunami victims include nail clippers, lotion, cotton buds, hand cream, cleanser, toothbrushes, toothpaste, face wash, body towels, wet tissues, hand mirrors, underwear (especially for women), socks, men’s trousers, diapers (child and adult) and feminine hygiene products. For peso cash donations, one can deposit the amount at Checking Account No. 358-3-35808090-2 of the Initiatives for International Dialogue with Metropolitan Bank, McArthur Highway, Matina, Davao City.

IID will also mobilize its partners based in Metro Manila to turnover one thousand peace cranes as a symbol of the Filipino people’s wish for healing in Japan. There is a tradition in Japan that says one-thousand folded cranes gives the folder one wish. The event will be held when Peace Boat docks in Manila on April 13 to receive the donations for Japan. IID and Peaceboat are both members of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) – a global civil society network that engages and partners with governments, civil society and multi-lateral institutions in conflict prevention and peace-building work. IID, a Davao-based regional advocacy and solidarity organization, has been in the forefront of solidarity and peace-building efforts in Mindanao and in the rest of the Southeast Asia region. It was instrumental in galvanizing support in the region for East Timor in the 1990’s up to its eventual independence in 2002.

“It will also be a momentous occasion for the Filipino to show moral support to the Japanese people’s struggle to deal with the effects of nuclear warfare exemplified by the Hibakuhas on board Peace Boat as well as the with the present threat of nuclear contamination”, Miclat said. Hibakushas are victims of the atomic bombing in Japan in the last World War.

“These are ominous times for the world and we must never give up hope, continue to care for each other, and live for tomorrow. Voices of hope must be heard and messages of empathy should be spread,” Miclat concluded.