Dr. J. Mark Munoz, Millikin University professor of management and international business, has embarked on a campaign to help the thousands of victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
"As many of you know, thousands of people perished and hundreds of thousands are currently displaced and suffering," says Munoz. "I was born in the Philippines and have family there. Fortunately, my family was spared and experienced only very minor property damage. We are now mobilizing efforts to help others."
Located in Southeast Asia, the Philippines has a population of about 105 million. The country is a close U.S. ally and trading partner. The country imports about $7 billion worth of products from the U.S. annually, and exports about $6.6 billion worth of products to the U.S. under the presidency of Benigno Aquino. The country is on track towards economic recovery and enhancement of social programs directed towards health and education. The country is relatively poor with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of $4500.
Munoz adds, "The country's infrastructure is fragile. An exceptionally strong typhoon, such as Haiyan, can create extensive damage. My understanding is that food, water and medicines are being sent to the country. An important issue to consider is lack of electricity. Many cities will likely be without power for several months."
Munoz has teamed up with the Watts of Love Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Chicago, to provide 10,000 portable solar lighting units with cell phone chargers to the typhoon victims.
"Imagine families living in darkness for several months," said Munoz. "Imagine families being totally cut off from communication. The solar powered lighting units and chargers will save lives, provide hope, and can serve as a device families can use for other emergencies in the future. In my classes, I talk about global citizenship all the time. I cannot merely sit back and watch. I need to provide help where I can."
In 2005, Munoz wrote a book about the Philippines entitled "Land of My Birth." The book was a sociopolitical critique of the Philippines and was a call for arms for economic, political and social reform. In that same year, Munoz was recognized with a Calatagan Award, a literary and cultural award from the Philippine American Artists and Writers Association.
More information on how to help is available on the Watts of Love Foundation website at www.wattsoflove.org
to read an article from the Herald & Review about Dr. Munoz's efforts.