Filipino sailor gets home rebuilt due to charitable organisations

Dorset Echo: TYPHOON DAMAGE: Benjie Barcenas, left, with Mike Chittenden of The Sailors' Society TYPHOON DAMAGE: Benjie Barcenas, left, with Mike Chittenden of The Sailors' Society

LOCAL aid has been provided for a Filipino sailor who lost his home in Typhoon Haiyan.

Benjie Barcenas, who works on a vessel based at Portland Port, saw his home destroyed by Haiyan, which devastated parts of the Philippines last November.

The seafarer’s wife Charlyn is in hospital with a serious medical condition and has not been responding to treatment.

Benjie returned home on Saturday from Heathrow to see the roof of his home rebuilt thanks to local efforts and to be by his wife’s bedside with his two-year-old son Ben.

Two organisations and a business have clubbed together to donate £1,000 for a roof for Benjie’s home in Iloilo and for further medical help for his wife.

Volunteers for charity the Sailors’ Society became aware of Benjie’s plight during routine visits to sailors on board ships which are docked at Portland.

Mike Chittenden of the Sailors’ Society said: “We became aware of Benji and his situation when we went on the Wave Sentinel, a cable repair ship, to speak to the crew.

“I found out that his home suffered a lot of damage in Typhoon Haiyan.”

Mike reported the case to his society and the charity has been able to grant £600 to repair the Benjie’s home in Iloilo City.

In addition to this, Portland Seafarers’ Support and Global Marine Systems, whose Wave Sentinel vessel Benjie works on, have made the donation up to £1,000.

Volunteer ship visitor Mike has been visiting Benjie on a regular basis, providing SIM cards and mobile top-ups to keep him in contact with the hospital where his wife is being treated.

Mr Chittenden said the society is giving a grant of £600 to help Benji and his wife.

“Benji is currently at work on the Wave Sentinel on the Irish Sea.

“He is due to return back to Portland Port and then should get permission to go home.”

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