BUSINESS HEADLINES THIS PAST WEEK...

YOLANDA RELIEF COST TO-DATE P52 B; MASTER PLAN TOTAL IS P167.9 B --DBM     

NOV 7 --LAST YEAR'S PHOTO COURTESY OF GMA NEWS --President Benigno Aquino III visits families displaced by Typhoon Yolanda at an evacuation center in Alangalang, Leyte on Monday, November 18. Aquino assured the families of continuous relief and reconstruction efforts in areas severely affected by the super typhoon. Also in photo is DSWD Sec. Corazon Juliano-Soliman. Marcelino Pascua Nov 18, 2013. The government said it has released a total of P52 billion since last year to support the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the provinces affected by the Super Typhoon Yolanda. In a statement on Friday, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the amount was released to various national government agencies, government-owned and -controlled corporations, and local governments to fund their respective relief and rehabilitation programs and projects.

The P52 billion released so far is part of the P167.9-billion Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) for Yolanda-hit areas approved by President Benigno Aquino 3rd on October 30. Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson has said the P167-9 billion fund for the Yolanda rehabilitation master plan is outside the private sector intervention in the amount of P12.3 billion and the participation of the multilateral and bilateral agencies from foreign countries in the amount of P17.4 billion. Of the amount released so far, P36.8 million, or .071 percent, was distributed to municipalities in Iloilo, Cebu, and Leyte help in the relief and rehabilitation of the communities in these areas, with the bulk of the funds being reserved for national agencies.The Budget agency explained that the said funding was grouped according to the four Main Clusters as consolidated under the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program: infrastructure, social services, livelihood, and resettlement. The biggest share, which is P6.06 billion, went to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to augment its Quick Response Fund and to support its feeding program. * READ MORE...

(ALSO SPECIAL REPORT ON CHINA) AIIB: China’s Asian bank may herald a new world order 

NOV 9 SPECIAL REPORT ON CHINA--The author: PHOTO: Kalinga Seneviratne is a journalist, radio broadcaster, television documentary maker and a media analyst. He was born and raised in Sri Lanka, lived in Australia for more than 20 years and is currently a senior research associate with the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre AMIC.

Since the 2008 economic meltdown, Europeans and the Americans have been asking the Chinese to contribute more to the Bretton Wood institutions. But, in turn, the Chinese have been demanding reforms to the hegemonic system of management and voting rights in these institutions that favor the Americans and the Europeans. Both appeals have mainly landed on deaf ears. Now the Chinese have decided rather than using their enormous financial reserves to prop up a world economic order that does not give them a say in its governance procedures, they will set up their own institutions. Many of the emerging nations seem to agree with China. In July this year, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) announced the formation of the BRICS Development Bank with a reserve fund of $ 100 billion that aims to strengthen the global financial safety net. Next week, at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Beijing, China will announce the launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with an initial Chinese investment of $50 billion.

The Chinese have been working on the idea for over a year and lobbied many of the regional governments to join in. In spite of heavy US pressure, 20 other Asian and Gulf states signed the MOU on October 24 in Beijing to set up the bank, that will begin to function at the end of 2015. India, which may have buckled to US pressure a year ago, has enthusiastically embraced the new bank under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and hinted at a substantial contribution to its capital. Staunch US allies Singapore, Philippines, Qatar and Kuwait have joined in. Only South Korea and Australia have caved in to US pressure and not signed in, while Japan doesn’t seem to have been invited. Just over a week after taking office, Indonesia’s new president Joko Widodo has overturned a decision of his predecessor and told the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on November 5 that Indonesia would also sign the MOU. Now Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbot says that his country is also keen to join the new regional bank. * READ MORE...

ALSO: DBM releases additional P8 B for Yolanda housing  

EARLIER NEWS, OCT 29, 2014 ---The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will release an additional P8 billion to the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the construction of permanent housing units for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. The DBM had released P11 billion for the same purpose as announced by presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery Panfilo Lacson last week. The P8 billion that was sourced from the 2014 Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program brought to P19 billion the total amount released for the housing needs of Yolanda victims.“Ultimately, our goal is to restore normalcy in these communities and improve their resiliency to disasters. This release will not just allow the NHA to provide shelter to Yolanda survivors,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

“It will also ensure that the affected families will have quality, permanent housing that will enable them to weather future disasters,” he added. The NHA made the request for funds after assessing the housing requirements of the different areas affected by Yolanda. The total requested amount of P19 billion would be used to construct a total of 64,982 houses. The amount is divided as follows: Region IV-B (Palawan), P207 million; Region V (Masbate), P29.9 million; Region VI (Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Aklan, Negros Occidental), P7.14 billion; Region VII (Cebu), P1.84 billion; Region VIII (Eastern Samar, Biliran, Leyte), P9.78 billion. “But more than just building permanent housing for the Yolanda victims, the government is implementing the ‘build back better’ strategy to rebuild communities in safer areas rather than in the danger zones where they were first located,” Abad said. Under the strategy, the government will target stronger infrastructure and better opportunities for economic growth in the newly built or rebuilt communities, from properly repaired roads that can transport goods from farms to markets, to the reconstruction of classrooms.THIS IS THE FULL STORY

ALSO: Philippine leader defends typhoon rebuilding pace 

NOV 7 --PHOTO: Filipino protesters covered with mud rally near Malacanang  presidential palace in …Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Friday defended the pace of rebuilding in communities ravaged a year ago by Super Typhoon Haiyan, insisting that thorough reconstruction takes time. Haiyan, the strongest storm ever to make landfall, killed or left missing more than 7,350 people as it flattened mostly poor areas in large swathes of the central Philippines. Tens of thousands of survivors are still dangerously exposed to future storms, living in tents, shanty huts or other flimsy shelters, as a prolonged rebuilding phase has only just begun.

In a speech at the hard-hit town of Guiuan a day ahead of Haiyan's one-year anniversary, Aquino said he was determined to ensure the reconstruction programme was carried out correctly, rather than rushing. "Curse me, criticise me but I believe I must do the right thing," Aquino said."I am impatient like everyone else but I have to stress that we can't rebuild haphazardly. We have to build back better... let's get it right the first time and the benefits should be permanent."Aquino has come under criticism for approving the government's 160-billion-peso ($3.6 billion) reconstruction master plan only last week. * READ MORE...

ALSO Again President's men explain: Aquino admin not ‘ruthless’ vs critics, says Palace

Malacañang on Sunday dismissed claims by the dean of the San Beda College’s Graduate School of Law that the administration “ruthlessly cut down its enemies.” Fr. Ranhilio Aquino-Callangan, dean of the said law school, posted on Facebook about the “less than nice way” the government treats its critics, the CBCP News reported. “Hindi po kami sang-ayon dahil sa simula’t sapul ang naging tugon naman po ng ating pamahalaan ay ‘yung hayaan ‘yung malayang pagpapahayag ng mga pananaw kahit ito ay taliwas o naiiba sa pananaw ng pamahalan,” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said over state-run radio. (We do not agree because from the start, the government has allowed free expression of opinions even if the view espoused may be against that of the government.)

Coloma said the administration of President Benigno Aquino III argues with reason. “Gumagamit po tayo ng mga kongkretong datos para ipakita ‘yung posisyon ng pamahalaan. At sa lahat ng pagkakataon ay naging handa namang makipagpalitan ng kuro-kuro sa isang maayos na paraan na naaayon sa diwa ng isang demokrasya,” he added. (We use concrete data to explain the position of the government. And at all times we are ready to exchange views in a proper way and in accordance with the spirit of democracy.) Callangan’s post, which has since been deleted, pointed out that the Aquino administration ousted many appointees of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and had “caused Ombudsman (Merceditas Gutierrez) to resign.”

“It impeached a Chief Justice by buying the votes of senators. It has caused the prosecution and detention of senators not on the Yellow Side,” he had said. The dean also claimed that at the same, Aquino has been soft on his allies who have gotten their share of controversy. He had called the government “hypocritical” for targeting Vice President Jejomar Binay. “It is clear that he is hounded now to destroy his chances at the presidency,” Callangan said, claiming that Binay’s inquisitors did in fact profit from wrongdoing such as receiving allocations from the Disbursement Acceleration Fund. “It is this attempt at railroading the results of the 2016 election that I most detest, and that will be true whether the candidate is Binay or Pokwang or Aling Dionesia!” he said. Coloma insisted that the government recognizes everyone’s right to disagree or have a different opinion. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO Finally govt starts to respond(?): PDRF continues Yolanda rehabilitation efforts

NOV 10 --PHOTO: DESTROYED houses brought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Tolosa, Leyte FILE PHOTO --More livelihood opportunities, new classrooms and housing facilities are being rolled out in Yolanda-hit communities as the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) strengthens partnerships with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and international non-government organizations. A year after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” slammed central Philippines, PDRF continues to implement its rehabilitation programs aimed at bringing local economies back to normal. Livelihood ---“Our efforts have transitioned to target more long-term and sustainable impacts within the affected communities.

The goal is not just to rebuild but also to help people stand on their own feet and aspire for even better living conditions,” said PDRF president Rene Meily. PDRF, for instance, is distributing startup grants and livelihood equipment to various micro-enterprises in Tacloban City, as well as fiberglass motorized boats for Ormoc fishermen who lost their livelihood due to last year’s typhoon. These grants were provisioned through the support of civic and business initiative US Philippines Society. Education  --After distributing more than 3,000 school supply packages to elementary school children in Tacloban through PLDT’s Sack ‘o Joy Program, PDRF has also been bridging support from NGO National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Naffaa) Region V in Colorado, US Philippines Society and Embracing the World Foundation to build new classrooms and repair school buildings in Salvacion Elementary School in Ormoc, San Jose Elementary School in Tacloban and other schools in Capiz and Antique. Shelter --

With approximately 4.1 million people displaced and 1.1 million houses destroyed by Yolanda, PDRF has intensified its efforts to address the sizeable need for quality shelter and transitional housing facilities. Partnering with Filipino-American entrepreneur Vonz Santos and Relief NGO Operation Compassion, PDRF has deployed an initial batch of 50 “butterfly houses” and 150 indigenous housing facilities in various resettlement areas in Leyte. More sustainable alternatives to tents and bunkhouses, these butterfly houses are steel-framed and compact units that can be unfolded into immediately livable housing structures. On top of these programs, PDRF has also been working on other development clusters to address gaps in the health facilities, as well as in the disaster preparedness and environmental resilience measures of disaster-stricken areas.

ALSO Manila Standard Opinion: What resilience asks of us  

NOV 8 --One year ago, the Philippines was ravaged by a typhoon called Yolanda. Thousands perished; thousands remain missing. Millions were displaced and billions of pesos in homes, infrastructure, commerce and livelihood were destroyed. The lost opportunities and unrealized potential are even more difficult to quantify. The past year spent in relief, recovery and rehabilitation has been trying. We have seen how government, at the local and national levels, is struggling to help those affected despite constraints and human failings. We continue to hear stories of survivors still living in deplorable conditions -- as if their losses have not been harrowing enough. There are saving graces, to be sure. The international community has rallied in support of the affected communities.

Civil society groups have been working quietly and painstakingly to effect changes, one survivor, one household at a time. The resilience of the Filipino spirit has enabled many to start contemplating a future and build back what they have lost, both the tangible and intangible. Sometimes, however, resilience becomes a convenient excuse for something else -- fatalism, complacency, and a refusal to take responsibility for the things that befall us. Yolanda -- Haiyan to the rest of the world -- will not be the last of its kind to hit us. Science tells us so; the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change only affirms the grim picture that has already been painted. Attempts of countries of the world to negotiate to bring down their greenhouse gas emission levels -- said to be directly responsible for the warming of the planet and, consequently, stronger and more frequent weather disturbances -- have been precisely that, attempts. The big players have their individual national interests to consider, for good or bad. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Yolanda relief cost to-date P52B; Master plan total is P167.9B – DBM


LAST YEAR'S PHOTO COURTESY OF GMA NEWS --President Benigno Aquino III visits families displaced by Typhoon Yolanda at an evacuation center in Alangalang, Leyte on Monday, November 18, 2013. Aquino assured the families of continuous relief and reconstruction efforts in areas severely affected by the super typhoon. Also in photo is DSWD Sec. Corazon Juliano-Soliman. Marcelino Pascua Nov 18, 2013. 

MANILA, NOVEMBER 10, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) by MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO Reporter - The government said it has released a total of P52 billion since last year to support the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the provinces affected by the Super Typhoon Yolanda.

In a statement on Friday, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the amount was released to various national government agencies, government-owned and -controlled corporations, and local governments to fund their respective relief and rehabilitation programs and projects.

The P52 billion released so far is part of the P167.9-billion Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) for Yolanda-hit areas approved by President Benigno Aquino 3rd on October 30.

Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson has said the P167-9 billion fund for the Yolanda rehabilitation master plan is outside the private sector intervention in the amount of P12.3 billion and the participation of the multilateral and bilateral agencies from foreign countries in the amount of P17.4 billion.

Of the amount released so far, P36.8 million, or .071 percent, was distributed to municipalities in Iloilo, Cebu, and Leyte help in the relief and rehabilitation of the communities in these areas, with the bulk of the funds being reserved for national agencies.

The Budget agency explained that the said funding was grouped according to the four Main Clusters as consolidated under the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program: infrastructure, social services, livelihood, and resettlement.

The biggest share, which is P6.06 billion, went to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to augment its Quick Response Fund and to support its feeding program.

* The Department of Education had the second biggest allocation with P4.96 billion for the repair of classrooms and the allocation of new school seats. The DBM noted that the amount also included funding requirements for recovery from the Bohol earthquake, which struck just one month before Yolanda.

Other agencies with the largest releases were: Department of Interior and Local Government (P4.48 billion), National Electrification Administration (3.93 billion), Department of Public Works and Highways (P3.11 billion), Philippine Coconut Authority (P2.87 billion), Department of Agriculture ( P2.77 billion), National Housing Authority (P2.44 billion), Department of Transportation and Communications (P2.15 billion), and the Department of Finance/Bureau of Treasury (P2 billion).

Funds sourced from 2012-2014 budgets

The DBM explained that the P52 billion was gathered from various budget including the Calamity Fund and Continuing Appropriations from both the 2012 and 2013 budgets, the 2013 National Budget, the 2013 Calamity Fund and Continuing Appropriations, the P14.6 billion Supplemental Appropriations passed by Congress after the typhoon, the 2014 National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund, and the recently-approved Yolanda Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program, among other sources.

“The national government has made great strides this past year to help the people affected by Typhoon Yolanda, especially in Leyte and Samar. On our part, we had to ensure there were enough funds to support the rescue and reconstruction efforts and that these funds were released as quickly as possible,” said Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad.

“Though a lot of work still needs to be done in helping the Yolanda victims, we are on the right track with President [Benigno] Aquino [3rd] recently signing the P167.9-billion rehabilitation master plan. This is our commitment to help the Yolanda-affected cities and municipalities not only to rebuild but to build back better,” Abad added.

Yolanda, recorded as the strongest typhoon ever to make landfall, swept through the Philippines on November 8, 2013. With wind speeds of more than 300 km/h, the super typhoon caused massive destruction in Regions IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and Caraga.

According to the DSWD, it affected almost 1.47 million families with 918,261 displaced from their homes. The overall number of reported damaged houses was 1.17 million.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

AIIB: China’s Asian bank may herald a new world order November 9, 2014 8:18 pm by KALINGA SENEVIRATNE


KALINGA SENEVIRATNE is a journalist, radio broadcaster, television documentary maker and a media analyst. He was born and raised in Sri Lanka, lived in Australia for more than 20 years and is currently a senior research associate with the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre AMIC --… He specializes in development journalism and feature writing and has been writing for the Inter Press Service (IPS) newsagency since 1991. He has been part of the IPS ‘Terra Viva” reporting team at a number of international conference. In addition he has been an award-winning community radio broadcaster in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s; In 1987 he won a UN Media Peace Award for a series broadcast on Australian community radio titled “We don’t Want No Peace” looking at the relationship between rich and poor countries. He has taught radio production, international communications and journalism at tertiary level in Australia and Singapore …

Since the 2008 economic meltdown, Europeans and the Americans have been asking the Chinese to contribute more to the Bretton Wood institutions. But, in turn, the Chinese have been demanding reforms to the hegemonic system of management and voting rights in these institutions that favor the Americans and the Europeans. Both appeals have mainly landed on deaf ears.

Now the Chinese have decided rather than using their enormous financial reserves to prop up a world economic order that does not give them a say in its governance procedures, they will set up their own institutions. Many of the emerging nations seem to agree with China.

In July this year, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) announced the formation of the BRICS Development Bank with a reserve fund of $ 100 billion that aims to strengthen the global financial safety net. Next week, at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Beijing, China will announce the launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with an initial Chinese investment of $50 billion.

The Chinese have been working on the idea for over a year and lobbied many of the regional governments to join in. In spite of heavy US pressure, 20 other Asian and Gulf states signed the MOU on October 24 in Beijing to set up the bank, that will begin to function at the end of 2015.

India, which may have buckled to US pressure a year ago, has enthusiastically embraced the new bank under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and hinted at a substantial contribution to its capital. Staunch US allies Singapore, Philippines, Qatar and Kuwait have joined in. Only South Korea and Australia have caved in to US pressure and not signed in, while Japan doesn’t seem to have been invited.

Just over a week after taking office, Indonesia’s new president Joko Widodo has overturned a decision of his predecessor and told the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on November 5 that Indonesia would also sign the MOU. Now Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbot says that his country is also keen to join the new regional bank.

* The 21 founding members of the AIIB are Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Indonesia will also join this list.

The purpose of the AIIB will be to provide infrastructure development funds to countries in the Asian region that was earlier dominated by the Japan-, Australia- and US-dominated Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Estimates have put the infrastructure development needs of the Asian region up to 2020 at $8 trillion with Indonesia alone needing $230 billion. The existing institutions were not supposed to provide this unless China was willing to invest its huge reserves.

In a commentary published in the Jakarta Post, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, Simon Tay argued that the AIIB proposal runs against the established regional and global order, in which the Americans dominate the World Bank while the Japanese traditionally head the Asian Development Bank. But he added that times have changed, “some will remember how, back during the Asian crisis of 1997-1998, they (US) persuaded Japan and others not to support calls for an Asian Monetary Fund. However, the reality today is that, given the real needs for infrastructure, a simple No will no longer suffice.”

Dr Ahmad Rashid Malik, senior research fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad writing in Pakistan’s Nation newspaper described the AIIB as an “Asian dream come true.” He sees this as a major breakthrough in ending western financial institutions’ hegemony in Asia, which many Asian leaders have fought against for over half a century.

“China wants to build new economic corridors in Asia such the Silk Route Belt in Central Asia, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and the China-India-Bangladesh-Myanmar (CIBM) Economic Corridor. These are energy and trade corridors mutually beneficial to these countries,” he points out. “China would provide a leadership role in building these corridors to uplift the infrastructure in Asia, hitherto neglected for centuries.”

Sri Lanka’s International Monetary Cooperation Minister Dr Sarath Ammunugama also agrees that this bank will have a positive impact on the region’s infrastructure development. “This will enable Sri Lanka to obtain loans at a concessionary rate to further boost the expansion and building of infrastructure,” he told the Daily News in Colombo.

While much of the region’s media and economic analysts have welcomed the new bank, most of the western media have been barking about possible lack of good governance, anti-corruption and human rights procedures in the bank’s lending policies. They tend to argue that the ADB and the World Bank have strict criteria in this area, ignoring the fact that the ADB in particular has been criticized for years by civil society groups and even certain government officials for their insensitivity to the plight of the poor such as in funding water privatization schemes, or for land rights of the poor or even for cronyism in the choice of consultants.

FROM PHILSTAR

DBM releases additional P8 B for Yolanda housing Philippine StarPhilippine Star – Tue, Oct 28, 2014

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will release an additional P8 billion to the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the construction of permanent housing units for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

The DBM had released P11 billion for the same purpose as announced by presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery Panfilo Lacson last week.

The P8 billion that was sourced from the 2014 Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program brought to P19 billion the total amount released for the housing needs of Yolanda victims.

“Ultimately, our goal is to restore normalcy in these communities and improve their resiliency to disasters. This release will not just allow the NHA to provide shelter to Yolanda survivors,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

“It will also ensure that the affected families will have quality, permanent housing that will enable them to weather future disasters,” he added.

The NHA made the request for funds after assessing the housing requirements of the different areas affected by Yolanda. The total requested amount of P19 billion would be used to construct a total of 64,982 houses.

The amount is divided as follows: Region IV-B (Palawan), P207 million; Region V (Masbate), P29.9 million; Region VI (Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Aklan, Negros Occidental), P7.14 billion; Region VII (Cebu), P1.84 billion; Region VIII (Eastern Samar, Biliran, Leyte), P9.78 billion.

“But more than just building permanent housing for the Yolanda victims, the government is implementing the ‘build back better’ strategy to rebuild communities in safer areas rather than in the danger zones where they were first located,” Abad said.

Under the strategy, the government will target stronger infrastructure and better opportunities for economic growth in the newly built or rebuilt communities, from properly repaired roads that can transport goods from farms to markets, to the reconstruction of classrooms.

FROM YAHOO ASIA

Philippine leader defends typhoon rebuilding pace November 7, 2014 AFP NewsAFP News


Filipino protesters covered with mud rally near Malacanang presidential palace in …

Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Friday defended the pace of rebuilding in communities ravaged a year ago by Super Typhoon Haiyan, insisting that thorough reconstruction takes time.

Haiyan, the strongest storm ever to make landfall, killed or left missing more than 7,350 people as it flattened mostly poor areas in large swathes of the central Philippines.

Tens of thousands of survivors are still dangerously exposed to future storms, living in tents, shanty huts or other flimsy shelters, as a prolonged rebuilding phase has only just begun.

In a speech at the hard-hit town of Guiuan a day ahead of Haiyan's one-year anniversary, Aquino said he was determined to ensure the reconstruction programme was carried out correctly, rather than rushing.

"Curse me, criticise me but I believe I must do the right thing," Aquino said.

"I am impatient like everyone else but I have to stress that we can't rebuild haphazardly. We have to build back better... let's get it right the first time and the benefits should be permanent."

Aquino has come under criticism for approving the government's 160-billion-peso ($3.6 billion) reconstruction master plan only last week.

* He previously defended the time taken to finalise it, saying programmes from affected municipalities had to be throughly scrutinised.

The government's plan calls for 205,000 new homes for roughly one million people to be built in areas away from coastal danger zones, but this has only just started with a few thousand constructed so far.

Important reconstruction work has taken place ahead of the formal adoption of the master plan, including rebuilding roads, bridges, hospitals and other vital infrastructure.

In partnership with major international aid agencies, the government has also helped to roll out vaccination programmes for millions of children and given rice seeds to desperate farmers.

Aquino cited international aid agencies as saying post-Haiyan recovery efforts were moving faster compared with programmes in Indonesia's Bandeh Aceh after it was hit by mega-tsunami waves in 2004.

The president also defended his decision not to visit Tacloban, the biggest city in the typhoon-hit areas but where the mayor is a bitter political rival, for one-year anniversary commemorations.

"I have a hunch my critics will say I am taking Tacloban for granted.... but I am not after brownie points," he said, insisting recovery efforts were strong there and he did not have to visit personally.

Palace: Aquino admin not ‘ruthless’ vs critics Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ INQUIRER.net 3:28 PM | Sunday, November 9th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Sunday dismissed claims by the dean of the San Beda College’s Graduate School of Law that the administration “ruthlessly cut down its enemies.”

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino-Callangan, dean of the said law school, posted on Facebook about the “less than nice way” the government treats its critics, the CBCP News reported.

“Hindi po kami sang-ayon dahil sa simula’t sapul ang naging tugon naman po ng ating pamahalaan ay ‘yung hayaan ‘yung malayang pagpapahayag ng mga pananaw kahit ito ay taliwas o naiiba sa pananaw ng pamahalan,” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said over state-run radio.

(We do not agree because from the start, the government has allowed free expression of opinions even if the view espoused may be against that of the government.)

Coloma said the administration of President Benigno Aquino III argues with reason.

“Gumagamit po tayo ng mga kongkretong datos para ipakita ‘yung posisyon ng pamahalaan. At sa lahat ng pagkakataon ay naging handa namang makipagpalitan ng kuro-kuro sa isang maayos na paraan na naaayon sa diwa ng isang demokrasya,” he added.

(We use concrete data to explain the position of the government. And at all times we are ready to exchange views in a proper way and in accordance with the spirit of democracy.)

Callangan’s post, which has since been deleted, pointed out that the Aquino administration ousted many appointees of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and had “caused Ombudsman (Merceditas Gutierrez) to resign.”

“It impeached a Chief Justice by buying the votes of senators. It has caused the prosecution and detention of senators not on the Yellow Side,” he had said.

The dean also claimed that at the same, Aquino has been soft on his allies who have gotten their share of controversy.

He had called the government “hypocritical” for targeting Vice President Jejomar Binay. “It is clear that he is hounded now to destroy his chances at the presidency,” Callangan said, claiming that Binay’s inquisitors did in fact profit from wrongdoing such as receiving allocations from the Disbursement Acceleration Fund.

“It is this attempt at railroading the results of the 2016 election that I most detest, and that will be true whether the candidate is Binay or Pokwang or Aling Dionesia!” he said.

Coloma insisted that the government recognizes everyone’s right to disagree or have a different opinion.

PDRF continues Yolanda rehabilitation efforts Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:30 AM | Sunday, November 9th, 2014


DESTROYED houses brought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Tolosa, Leyte FILE PHOTO

More livelihood opportunities, new classrooms and housing facilities are being rolled out in Yolanda-hit communities as the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) strengthens partnerships with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and international non-government organizations.

A year after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” slammed central Philippines, PDRF continues to implement its rehabilitation programs aimed at bringing local economies back to normal.

Livelihood

“Our efforts have transitioned to target more long-term and sustainable impacts within the affected communities. The goal is not just to rebuild but also to help people stand on their own feet and aspire for even better living conditions,” said PDRF president Rene Meily.

PDRF, for instance, is distributing startup grants and livelihood equipment to various micro-enterprises in Tacloban City, as well as fiberglass motorized boats for Ormoc fishermen who lost their livelihood due to last year’s typhoon.

These grants were provisioned through the support of civic and business initiative US Philippines Society.

Education

After distributing more than 3,000 school supply packages to elementary school children in Tacloban through PLDT’s Sack ‘o Joy Program, PDRF has also been bridging support from NGO National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Naffaa) Region V in Colorado, US Philippines Society and Embracing the World Foundation to build new classrooms and repair school buildings in Salvacion Elementary School in Ormoc, San Jose Elementary School in Tacloban and other schools in Capiz and Antique.

Shelter

With approximately 4.1 million people displaced and 1.1 million houses destroyed by Yolanda, PDRF has intensified its efforts to address the sizeable need for quality shelter and transitional housing facilities.

Partnering with Filipino-American entrepreneur Vonz Santos and Relief NGO Operation Compassion, PDRF has deployed an initial batch of 50 “butterfly houses” and 150 indigenous housing facilities in various resettlement areas in Leyte.

More sustainable alternatives to tents and bunkhouses, these butterfly houses are steel-framed and compact units that can be unfolded into immediately livable housing structures.

On top of these programs, PDRF has also been working on other development clusters to address gaps in the health facilities, as well as in the disaster preparedness and environmental resilience measures of disaster-stricken areas.

* It has also been working closely with the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (Oparr) to complete programs for areas with no development sponsors.

Earlier this year, Oparr launched the “adopt a town” approach to efficiently bridge private sector support for 24 Yolanda-hit areas that need continuous rehabilitation funding.

PDRF is the country’s major permanent private sector consortium for disaster management.

It is led by its co-chairs—Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, PLDT Chair Manuel Pangilinan and Ayala Corp. Chair Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

What resilience asks of us By Manila Standard Today | Nov. 08, 2014 at 12:01am

One year ago, the Philippines was ravaged by a typhoon called Yolanda. Thousands perished; thousands remain missing. Millions were displaced and billions of pesos in homes, infrastructure, commerce and livelihood were destroyed.

The lost opportunities and unrealized potential are even more difficult to quantify.

The past year spent in relief, recovery and rehabilitation has been trying. We have seen how government, at the local and national levels, is struggling to help those affected despite constraints and human failings. We continue to hear stories of survivors still living in deplorable conditions -- as if their losses have not been harrowing enough.

There are saving graces, to be sure. The international community has rallied in support of the affected communities. Civil society groups have been working quietly and painstakingly to effect changes, one survivor, one household at a time. The resilience of the Filipino spirit has enabled many to start contemplating a future and build back what they have lost, both the tangible and intangible.

Sometimes, however, resilience becomes a convenient excuse for something else -- fatalism, complacency, and a refusal to take responsibility for the things that befall us.

Yolanda -- Haiyan to the rest of the world -- will not be the last of its kind to hit us. Science tells us so; the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change only affirms the grim picture that has already been painted. Attempts of countries of the world to negotiate to bring down their greenhouse gas emission levels -- said to be directly responsible for the warming of the planet and, consequently, stronger and more frequent weather disturbances -- have been precisely that, attempts. The big players have their individual national interests to consider, for good or bad.

* Outside of these high-level talks, how then are communities vulnerable to the effects of climate change supposed to live?

Recovery and rehabilitation are the focus, and rightly so, during this first-year mark. We will always be interested to know how the affected people and communities are doing, one year after the Big One visited us. Yes, homes must be rebuilt and businesses restored. People must be able to heal and move on.

But an equally compelling focus point is the question of how well we can face up to the Next Big One.

Resilience is so much more than standing strong amid challenges. It also entails taking action to minimize, if not eliminate, vulnerability to adversity.

Leadership and participation are crucial to this stage. The risks and hazards will always be there, but they only turn to disasters when combined with conditions that could have been prevented or mitigated. Decisive preparedness measures at the local level will determine how well the people can face a looming disaster.

We need to do aim for more than the ability to cope with life’s most difficult blows.

We must also embrace the disposition to anticipate what lies ahead and take steps to shield ourselves and others from its most adverse consequences.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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