PROMPTED BY FACEBOOK APPEAL: SAMAREÑOS HIRE BUS TO BRING GOODS TO THEIR HOMETOWN

ALSO: 500,000 IN WESTERN VISAYAS REMAIN IN EVACUATION CENTERS

The number of fatalities in Western Visayas rose to 233—162 in Iloilo, 50 in Capiz, 11 in Aklan and 10 in Antique, according to reports of provincial disaster risk reduction and management offices. At least 1,270 were injured and 15 missing. Convocar said most of the injuries were puncture wounds from nails and debris.

ALSO: TAMING YOLANDA'S FURY

But, drawing from his experience as Dick Gordon, administrator of the Subic Metropolitan Authority, he feels that with every agency — government and private – and individuals from outside of the province, and the survivors, cooperating with one another, the affected areas will be rehabilitated. “Magtulungan tayo, bumangon tayo kagaya noong mga panahon na kami tinamaan ng Pinatubo,” he said.


Prompted by Facebook: Smarenos hire bus to bring goods to townmates

TACLOBAN CITY, NOVEMBER 15, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Julie M. Aurelio - It started out as an online appeal on Facebook on Wednesday night for passengers wanting to go home to their families to Balangiga, Eastern Samar, which was ravaged by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) last week.
 


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PHOTO BY JULIE AURELIO/INQUIRER

Overnight, over 40 people from all over Metro Manila and nearby provinces converged at a police camp in Quezon City, but with an added mission — to bring relief goods bought with their own money to their townmates.

Braving the morning sun, the passengers — with boxes of personal donations and even water in hand — patiently waited for their companions to arrive so that they could begin their journey home.

Inside the no-aircon passenger bus, boxes of noodles, canned food, and other relief goods made it difficult for one to walk.

The impromptu mission even managed to come up with 20 cavans of rice and five gallons of mineral water – all from the passengers’ pockets.

“We will fight to the teeth to get these goods home to our families,” boldly said Gemma Balmaceda, the “organizer” of the impromptu mission.

A civilian employee of the Quezon City Police District’s Traffic Enforcement Unit in Camp Karingal, Balmaceda has been worried sick about her mother Estrella.

Since the typhoon struck last week, she has not heard from her mother, who lives in the town famous for the Balangiga massacre.

Balmaceda initially wanted to hitch a ride with the government’s C-130 planes, but there were too many passengers.

This prompted her to approach her boss, Senior Inspector Erlito Renegin, for help.

“I asked him, ‘Sir, maybe you can help me in getting a passenger bus. I just want to get home and check on my mother,” Balmaceda said.

Renegin, who heads the TEU’s Traffic Sector 3 based in Camp Karingal, decided to hire a bus to ferry the passengers to Balangiga so they could get home to their loved ones.

“They are having a hard time getting a ride at the station because there are too many people wanting to go home to the province. So I hired a bus for them. They will still be paying the regular fare,” Renegin said.

He also urged bus companies to help out in this time of need: “They should be of service at this crucial time. Everyone should help others.”

This was the same reason why Balmaceda and the other passengers decided to pull their resources and gather relief goods for their town.

“Sadly, the relief missions from the government and other private groups will barely reach our town. So we have to do it ourselves,” she said.

On Wednesday, she posted a message on Facebook, saying she would hire a bus to go home to Balangiga. Overnight, her wall was flooded with questions from acquaintances like the time, meeting place, and the fare rate.

She initially wanted to get 50 passengers for the trip, but as of Thursday morning, more than 40 had confirmed their intent to join the journey home.

Some of the passengers are from Novaliches, Las Piñas, Taguig, and even Bulacan and Batangas —all hailing from Balangiga and wanting to check up on their loved ones.

The day-long trip costs each passenger P1,300. Balmaceda plans to stay for three to four days before coming back to Metro Manila.

“We plan to use the same bus in going back here. Only adults will be making the trip, we made sure there are no kids,” she said.

Most of the passengers had separate provisions for their loved ones, and relief goods for their townmates.

“We are determined to get home alive and bring this personal aid, not just to our families but to our townmates. In times like this, everyone is practically family,” Balmaceda added.

Western Visayas: 500,000 remain in evacuation centers By Nestor P. Burgos Jr. Inquirer Visayas 1:58 am | Thursday, November 14th, 2013


PREPARING: Hot meals would be ready for evacuation centers. PRC Cebu’s regional warehouse was piled high with 2,000 tins of read-to-eat food, 4,000 blankets, 4000 plastic mats, 2,000 hygiene kits, 2,000 jerry cans, 10 units of health emergency tents and thousands of food and non-food items, purchased from the support sent by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

ILOILO CITY—As national attention focused on the devastation in Tacloban City brought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” more than half a million persons remain in evacuation centers in Western Visayas, desperately needing food, water and shelter.

Officials of government agencies said they were rushing to send assistance, especially to isolated islands and villages by land, helicopters and boats, but they called for more help and volunteers for the packing of food packs and other relief assistance.

At least 664,109 evacuees have been counted as of Wednesday morning, the Department of Health’s regional director, Dr. Marlyn Convocar, said in a briefing at the regional incident command post at the Iloilo International Airport.

The number of fatalities in Western Visayas rose to 233—162 in Iloilo, 50 in Capiz, 11 in Aklan and 10 in Antique, according to reports of provincial disaster risk reduction and management offices.

At least 1,270 were injured and 15 missing. Convocar said most of the injuries were puncture wounds from nails and debris.

The Office of Civil Defense in the region reported that 2.026 million people were affected by the supertyphoon.

Health officials and personnel said there was a need to provide potable water and ensure proper sanitation in evacuation centers, especially because of the huge number of evacuees.

Convocar said most of the health cases involved upper respiratory diseases.

Ma. Evelyn Macapobre, regional head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, said the agency had already distributed 42,542 food packs since Friday.

The Iloilo provincial government has also been extending relief assistance, mostly to the 11 northern towns that were worst-hit by the typhoon. The lobby of the provincial capitol has been transformed into a relief packing and distribution center with the help of students, policemen and other volunteers.

Macapobre said much more was needed by the evacuees. She appealed for more volunteers to ensure continued packing and delivery of food packs. A pack consists of rice, sardines and noodles that may last three days for a family of five.

To serve the needs of the evacuees, 44,274 food packs have to be delivered daily if all of them are fully dependent on food assistance, Macapobre said.

While acknowledging the extent of destruction and death in Tacloban, officials appealed to news organizations to also report more about the situation in Western Visayas.

“We appeal to our media friends to also put Western Visayas on the map of disaster (assistance) need,” said Janet Mesa, regional director of the Philippine Information Agency.

Mesa noted that badly hit areas like northern Iloilo, northern Antique, Capiz and Aklan were hit “as badly as Tacloban.”

FROM PHILSTAR

Taming Yolanda’s fury FROM THE STANDS (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 - 12:00am

By Domini M. Torrevillas

The power of communication technology is such that the whole world knows about the miserable tragedy that super typhoon Yolanda (international name, Haiyan) slammed on provinces in the Visayas, killing thousands of men, women and children, shattering buildings to smithereens, rendering populations hungry, thirsty, shivering from storm surges, and feeling abandoned, desolate, angry, and hopeless.

We should thank CNN for its comprehensive, unending coverage of the Tacloban tragedy. CNN must have moved viewers to sympathize with, and come to the aid of, the survivors of the strongest typhoon that ever hit this planet: parents crying over drowned parents and children and lost relatives; angry faces and stretched hands demanding food, water, medicines, shelter.

You can see Tacloban city in complete ruin. Houses broken apart, caused by 10-foot high waves and howling winds. Awful scenes splashed on the screen. Scientists said a Signal No. 4 super typhoon would hit the Visayas; but not one of them had any idea of the impact of the tempest that was more than three times the force of Katrina in the US several years ago.

There was, and still is, so much focus on the Leyte capital city of Tacloban (made famous by Gen. Douglas McArthur wading through the waters, declaring, “I shall return.”) but many other places in the island of Leyte and surrounding islands (Eastern Samar (Guiuan), Panay, Capiz, Northern Palawan, and Coron, Palawan)are still desolate landscapes — destroyed buildings and ruined agricultural crops, and inhabitants near starvation point and at their wit’s end — up to today. At this writing yesterday, a lawyer texted me: “Please send Red Cross and other aid agencies to Banayon and all barangays of Dagami. They’re hungry and thirsty.”

Thank God cries for help and salvation have not fallen on deaf ears. Immediately, countries and organizations started to send , and continue to send, millions of dollars donations, relief goods, water and medicines, among them the US, Canada, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the People’s Republic of China, the International Federation of Red Cross, United Nations agencies, civic organizations, Catholic and Protestant relief divisions, and media networks, among them the Philippine STAR’s Operation Damayan.

As of this writing, American ships have docked at the Tacloban pier, bringing food packages, heavy equipment to help clear the streets of debris and help build temporary shelters. The complete feeding of thousands and rehabilitation and relief work will take time, patience and more financial assistance.

As I expected, upon learning that Yolanda had struck, Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard “Dick” Gordon quickly deployed assistance and relief teams to evaluate the damage and to support rescue efforts. Staff and volunteers from local chapters were deployed in the different affected areas.

But even before Yolanda entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), PRC Leyte had packed relief goods for immediate distribution to evacuation centers.

Hot meals would be ready for evacuation centers. PRC Cebu’s regional warehouse was piled high with 2,000 tins of read-to-eat food, 4,000 blankets, 4000 plastic mats, 2,000 hygiene kits, 2,000 jerry cans, 10 units of health emergency tents and thousands of food and non-food items, purchased from the support sent by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Soon after Yolanda struck in Tacloban, PRC’s 32-man team arrived in Tacloban, with the Olongapo chapter bringing 10 chainsaws, Quezon city, 12, and Manila chapter, six. They also brought one rescue truck, one closed van, three ambulances, 5,000 liters of fuel tanker, and one 6x 6 truck.

They set up a blood bank (with a blood bank refrigerator with generator), a rescue boat, two buffalo banks, satellite phones, single-side band mobile radios, 50 shovels, 30 pairs of boots, 30 pairs of safety gloves, three boxes of medical gloves, three boxes of masks, flashlights, pick mattocks, and claw bars.

They brought 10,000 tins of ready-to-eat meals and 1,000 packs of food items, but obviously, the stuff was not enough to reach all the hungry survivors.

When the area is cleared of debris, PRC is going to set up 120 tents and 20 dome tents — donated by Kuwait. Ten thousand body bags are being readied, as will be water and sanitation tankers and six water bladders.

Battle-scarred but not one to give up, Dick Gordon, giving directions from the Manila PRC headquarters to teams in the field, is positive things are going to work out, but slowly because of the severe damage inflicted by Yolanda.

But, drawing from his experience as administrator of the Subic Metropolitan Authority, he feels that with every agency — government and private – and individuals from outside of the province, and the survivors, cooperating with one another, the affected areas will be rehabilitated. “Magtulungan tayo, bumangon tayo kagaya noong mga panahon na kami tinamaan ng Pinatubo,” he said.

A piece of good news is Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras’ declaration, in an interview with Karen Davila yesterday morning, that the government and private sectors are going to plan renewal project that will take into consideration the topographical and geological features of the affected areas to prevent future catastrophes like super typhoon Yolanda.

* * *

Public school students are fortunate that they are enjoying the augmentation of their classroom learning with the showing of Knowledge Channel shows. The courses teach them extra lessons in history, mathematics, science and English, arts and culture, and social values, among others. They also teach students to be electronically-proficient.

For school year 2013-14, beginning this month, new shows are being shown.

First of these is “Carlos’ Blog,” created for high school English so students will have a better understanding and appreciation of Philippine drama and theater. Each story in the three-part series revolves around Carlos, who jots his experiences and thoughts through a blog. The program also sheds light on the negative effects of alcoholism and tobacco consumption and abuse.

There’s “Economiks with Dr. Tullao,” esteemed De la Salle University economics professor who discusses the laws of supply and demand, and the roles of markets and governments, using live action, animation and text graphics.

“Kwentong Kartero” is the love story of Popo, a mailman or kartero, and Divina, a teacher. The funny, yet informative and value-laden episodes of three series, talk about population and development, sexuality, and responsible parenthood.

“Agos” is a four part series that talks about water, its forms, processes, conservation and preservation.

“Pamilya Masigasig” stars Wendell Ramos and Arlene Muhlach, as they talk about skills training and entrepreneurship based on TESDA’s units of competencies and modules on food processing, commercial cooking, bread and pastry production, food and beverage servicing, and horticulture.

“From Lines to Life” is a set of videos that discusses the basics of making an animated film, from writing, pre-production, production, to post-production, and even music and voice recording. The goals of these videos are to familiarize Filipino viewers with the medium, and encourage them to tell stories through films, thereby producing more original Filipino animated content.

“K-LIKASAN: Kalma Klima and Weather Weather Lang,” features Kalma Klima and Weather Weather Lang, in episodes on student environmental projects which became top winners of Best Student Projects on Climate Change. Initiated by the Communication Foundation for Asia, the contest aims to inspire the youth and their communities to think and undertake simple and practical projects that could help mitigate the effects and impact of climate change.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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