[IN THE AFTERMATH OF YOLANDA,  TO THE SURVIVORS, HELPLESS AND SUFFERING:
Do not be afraid for God is always in charge. Faith is stronger than fear.
God is helping you carry your heavy cross"
AT PHNO WE ARE THINKING AND PRAYING FOR YOU ALL EVERYDAY]


SUPER TYPHOON YOLANDA WIPED OUT IMELDA MARCOS ANCESTRAL HOME

Save for a couch and a few mud-splattered wooden sculptures, one can barely picture the grandiose 17-room residence that used to house the once powerful family. The destruction of the controversial estate came nearly three years after the Supreme Court allowed her to retake the property, one of the assets of her husband, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, which the government had sequestered, on suspicion it was ill-gotten.
 

ALSO: 4,000 YOLANDA SURVIVORS ARRIVE IN MANILA

On Sunday, dazed arrivals were welcomed by volunteers, showering them with applause, ready meals, medicine, counseling, even sheer company.

ALSO: TACLOBAN MAYOR: WE NEED NAT'L GOVT TO GET THINGS DONE

We are also a victim: my employees, my city officials, the mayor said, Instead of people pointing fingers at each other, unity and more work were needed in Tacloban and in the other areas devastated by Yolanda.The city govt is functioning. Let's get things done.

SUPERTYPHOON YOLANDA WIPED OUT IMELDA NARCOS ANCESTRAL HOME


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GONE IN SECONDS. The sense of loss is apparent on Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ face as he views what remains of the Olot mansion in Tolosa, Leyte province, in the wake of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” RAFFY LERMA

TOLOSA, LEYTE, NOVEMBER 19, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Marlon Ramos - Former first lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos has lost one of her precious gems.

The grand Olot mansion, which Imelda, now the Ilocos Norte representative, considered her family’s ancestral home here, was reduced to a pile of rubble when a three-story-high storm surge whipped by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” obliterated everything inside the 42-hectare beach front property.

The destruction of the controversial estate came nearly three years after the Supreme Court allowed her to retake the property, one of the assets of her husband, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, which the government had sequestered, on suspicion it was ill-gotten.

Save for a couch and a few mud-splattered wooden sculptures, one can barely picture the grandiose 17-room residence that used to house the once powerful family.

“It took me a while to recognize the house,” the late dictator’s namesake son, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., told the Inquirer when he visited the property on Monday.

The senator dropped by the mansion before proceeding to the distribution of aid donated by Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. at Barangay (village) Imelda.

“What I immediately recognized was the area where the volunteers placed the relief goods because that was where we used to eat. It also had guest rooms,” he said, pointing to a damaged structure where a group of men placed boxes of bottled mineral water.

Marcos said he had so many good memories of the place, recalling that he spent most of his summers as a teenager in the beach house facing the Pacific Ocean.

He maintained that the property, which also had an 18-hole golf course, originally belonged to the paternal side of his mother, the Romualdezes, one of the oldest political clans in Leyte province.

Ironically, Leyte, which bore the brunt of the most destructive typhoon recorded this year, is one of the poorest provinces in the country.

Leo Acejo, the mansion’s caretaker, said he and a coworker almost gave up their lives guarding the Marcos estate, which lies between two hills.

His voice breaking, he recalled the moment when a wall of seawater swallowed the entire property.

“I saw the sea level drop, as if gathering power and momentum. I got more scared when I noticed that the clouds turned very dark,” he narrated.

“Then I saw what looked like a tornado. A giant tidal wave was coming. We immediately ran to safety inside a room in the staff house,” he continued.

“The wind sounded as if it was an airplane coming down.”

Acejo, who said he had been an employee of the Romualdezes for three decades now, said the seawater inundated the mansion but the flooding lasted only “for a few seconds.”

He said he drank about 2 liters of seawater as he held on for dear life, clutching the window grills.
When the deluge was over, the caretaker said he could not believe what he saw.

The Olot mansion, a testament to Imelda Marcos’ wealth and power in her home province, is now gone.

“It’s hard to see the mansion like this. I cannot imagine this could happen,” he said, his eyes welling with tears.

“But I am happy to be alive. I just want to move on. I don’t know if we can still rebuild the mansion.”

Marcos said his mother had been told of the destruction but photographs of the ruined mansion had been withheld from her.

“It’s sad, you know. She’ll also be hurt if she sees the pictures. More than the mansion, she was asking about the people,” Marcos said.

“That’s why we will prioritize helping the residents of Tolosa. We’re still lucky because the people around us have even less.”

4,000 ‘Yolanda’ survivors arrive in Metro By Jaymee T. Gamil Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:34 pm | Monday, November 18th, 2013


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INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — As the main gateway to Metro Manila of thousands of evacuees fleeing their typhoon-ravaged homes in the Visayas region, Villamor Airbase in Pasay city has been abuzz with human activity in the past week.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) National Capital Region director Alicia S. Bonoan estimated that around 4,000 evacuees have already arrived in Metro Manila.

By 5 p.m. on Sunday alone, the military airport already received 10 C-130 planes of evacuees, Bonoan said, in an interview at the Villamor Airbase grandstand.

But Bonoan noted the volunteers readily matched that number. “We have a long list of volunteers.

Thousands. It’s almost a challenge, but at least we know the arrivals are served. We can’t reject the volunteers because we’re here 24/7. We even have repacking operations at the [Villamor Airbase] gym,” Bonoan said.

On Sunday, dazed arrivals were welcomed by volunteers, showering them with applause, ready meals, medicine, counseling, even sheer company.

Logistical services were also made available to the arrivals, such as free calls and transportation, provided by businesses, non-government organizations and civilian volunteers in close coordination with social workers.

At the parking lot behind the grandstand, tents, offering various free services, have been set up by organizations and local government units.

Most tents gave away packs of food or water. One tent had volunteers sifting through clothing and toys for donations. Some stalls offered medical checkups, vaccinations, medicines. Some tents were set up to process volunteers and donors.

One tent was for “Nanay Bayanihan,” set up to temporarily shelter the evacuee-mothers and their young children. At the tent, the infants and toddlers could comfortably sleep on pillows and mats. Their specific needs are attended to, such as diapers, toys and playtime, and breastmilk, with volunteer-mothers acting as wet nurses.

Another busy service was “Oplan Hatid.” Over the week, volunteer drivers have gone to register in the hundreds, offering to drive the survivors to their known relatives in Metro Manila, or to bus stations. On Sunday, around 200 drivers had signed up, to chauffeur around 800 evacuees.

On Saturday, one man had even agreed to chauffeur a family as far as Baguio, said volunteer Leah Lagmay. Another volunteer had then stepped forward to give him a gas voucher for P5,000.

“Until now, it’s giving me goosebumps. It has restored my faith in humanity!” Lagmay said.

Lagmay said “Oplan Hatid” needed volunteer-drivers most during weekdays, and on evenings. As the arrival schedules of the evacuees tend to change, drivers may need to be flexible and to be ready to dedicate hours for the task.

Bonoan said that as of Saturday, 200 evacuees, without relatives in Metro Manila, had been forwarded to shelters run by the agency or non-government organizations.

She confirmed plans by the Pasay city government to put up a nearby tent city for the evacuees. Pasay city administrator Dennis Acorda said the tent city is currently being set up at the Villamor Airbase Elementary School. Earlier, he said the local government hopes the site could accommodate a maximum of 400 evacuees.

“We are now preparing long-term for those without relatives here. We assess their capabilities for employment. But many people have come forward, also offering job opportunities.

We’re happy about that,” Bonoan said.

FROM MANILA STANDARD

‘We need nat’l govt to get things done’ By Ronald Reyes | Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:15am 6

TACLOBAN CITY—“I’m not fighting the national government. I need them,” Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez (photo) said Monday.

Mayor Romualdez He made the statement amid the reports claiming Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II had asked him to resign following the devastation caused by super typhoon “Yolanda” on Nov. 8, with the national government blaming him and other city officials for not being prepared for the howler.

“That’s not true,” Romualdez said.

“He was asking for some letters but I told him to go easy on the red tape. I’ll make it clear: the city government is functioning. We are also a victim: my employees, my city officials.”

Romualdez said that, instead of people pointing fingers at each other, unity and more work were needed in Tacloban and in the other areas devastated by Yolanda

“Let’s get things done,” he said.

He said his employees, especially those who had not been reporting for work because they lost their loved ones, needed understanding and sympathy.

“Our workers need to mourn also for their dead loved ones. I don’t want my workers to be working yet totally worried looking after the welfare of their own families.”

He said he was happy to report that the clearing operation in the city was getting faster.

“I arranged it so we could distribute relief goods at night,” Romualdez said.

“We found out that during the day we could not locate our evacuees as they were busy looking for food and help and checking on the whereabouts of their loved ones. Yet at night they were all together.”

Romualdez said he told President Benigno Aquino III about their problems, and Aquino was sympathetic.

He said he would propose that the national government start training people whose only job would be to rescue people with complete equipment each time a disaster hit an area.

He said there were temporary grave sites in the city but only three forensic pathologists were working in the area, although he was not complaining.

He said he had no time for political intrigues.

“My only appeal is that let’s get back to work,” Romualdez said.

“I don’t have time for intrigues. I don’t want people asking me about our relations with the national government. I am not fighting them. We just have to focus on our work. Let’s stop blaming each other.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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