STORM VICTIMS HIT 'VERY GOOD' RATING OF PNoy

A TRAVESTY! A SURVEY company said Thursday President Benigno Aquino III received a “very good” satisfaction rating from areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda last November, but residents and relief workers from the storm-battered region questioned the SWS findings, with one volunteer describing it as “a travesty.” The British charity Oxfam said the situation in the Visayas as a “disaster on top of an already catastrophic disaster.” In a survey conducted from Dec. 11 to 16, 2013, Social Weather Stations said the President’s approval ratings in Yolanda-affected areas reached 73 percent (with a net satisfaction rating of +54), which was higher than his score outside calamity areas at 69 percent (+48). SWS said the survey involved face-to-face interviews with 1,550 adults in Metro Manila (300), the balance of Luzon (300), the Visayas (650) and Mindanao (300). More than two months after the disaster, the British charity Oxfam said the situation has become “a disaster on top of an already catastrophic disaster.” In Guiuan alone, many relief shelters collapsed under the weight of heavy rain that came last week, and emergency plastic sheets have been torn from shelters, leaving people exposed to the elements, said Oxfam country director Justin Morgan. “People are struggling to find places that are warm and out of harm’s way,” Morgan said in a statement posted on the charity’s website.

ALSO: Disaster-proof village set to rise in Cebu

DAANBANTAYAN, Cebu , Philippines – The French community on Saturday broke ground on the Habitat French Daanbantayan Village, the first disaster-resilient village in the province intended for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Don Lee, chairman of France-Philippines United Action (FPUA), said the village, costing $500,000, will be ready in six months. It is a joint project of FPUA, the provincial government of Cebu, local government of Daanbantayan and Habitat for Humanity Philippines. Lee said 17 French business establishments contributed to help typhoon victims, particularly in Northern Cebu.

ALSO: In Cebu village, online child porn earns more than fishing

IBABAO, Cebu: In this remote village, toddlers played oblivious at a nursery as the house next door became part of a horrifying child pornography ring, with live footage of children performing sex acts being streamed online to pedophiles around the world. The depraved scenes in the bungalow were being repeated in many homes throughout Ibabao, a secluded community in Cebu province where Internet child pornography had for some of its 5,000 residents become more lucrative than fishing or factory work. But police and authorities said that behind the closed doors of the tiny wooden and brick homes, many parents directed their children for sex videos in front of webcams connected via the Internet to paying pedophiles overseas. Other children were lured into the homes of neighbors and forced to perform sex acts in front of webcams, they said. Sitoy said the trade thrived because children were locked secretly inside homes, as well as Ibabao’s remote location and the fact some elected village leaders with relatives involved ignored the crimes. But some of the videos eventually found their way into the computer files of a known British pedophile two years ago, triggering a global manhunt to track down the perpetrators.


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Storm victims hit ‘very good’ rating of PNoy

TACLOBAN CITY, JANUARY 27, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) By Ronald Reyes | Jan. 24, 2014 at 12:01am

A SURVEY company said Thursday President Benigno Aquino III received a “very good” satisfaction rating from areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda last November, but residents and relief workers from the storm-battered region questioned the SWS findings, with one volunteer describing it as “a travesty.”

The British charity Oxfam said the situation in the Visayas as a “disaster on top of an already catastrophic disaster.”

In a survey conducted from Dec. 11 to 16, 2013, Social Weather Stations said the President’s approval ratings in Yolanda-affected areas reached 73 percent (with a net satisfaction rating of +54), which was higher than his score outside calamity areas at 69 percent (+48).

SWS said the survey involved face-to-face interviews with 1,550 adults in Metro Manila (300), the balance of Luzon (300), the Visayas (650) and Mindanao (300).

The President’s spokesman Herminio Coloma Jr. said they were gratified by the survey results.

“It is gratifying that those who suffered greatly appreciate what their President and government have done to ease their pain and alleviate their plight despite the shortcomings and challenges still being hurdled,” Coloma said.

More than two months after the disaster, the British charity Oxfam said the situation has become “a disaster on top of an already catastrophic disaster.”

In Guiuan alone, many relief shelters collapsed under the weight of heavy rain that came last week, and emergency plastic sheets have been torn from shelters, leaving people exposed to the elements, said Oxfam country director Justin Morgan.

“People are struggling to find places that are warm and out of harm’s way,” Morgan said in a statement posted on the charity’s website.

“More were made homeless in the Philippines by typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) than by the 2004 Asian tsunami and with only three out of 32 evacuation centers remaining in Guiuan following typhoon Haiyan, this is a disaster on top of an already catastrophic disaster.”

Oxfam said millions are living in dire conditions due to the lack of adequate temporary shelter and are at risk of waterborne diseases and respiratory distress.

Morgan noted that foreign donors have generously committed $331 million to the response but the UN’s shelter budget is severelyunder-funded at 24 percent of what is needed, meaning close to 400,000 people will not receive adequate temporary housing unless more money is delivered.

The government is providing some interim accommodation for people affected but current plans do not come close to meeting the huge number needed.

“Emergency shelters are struggling to withstand the extreme weather we’re experiencing in the Philippines,” said Morgan.

“In one of the most disaster prone countries in the world, it’s critical we quickly provide safe homes and build quality evacuation centers for those continuing to live in dangerous and difficult locations,” he said.

“The government has committed to build better housing than the poor region had before the typhoon hit and these storms show just how crucial it is that they keep their promise,” Morgan added.

Oxfam said there is a critical need for an injection of funds for construction materials such as tool kits, corrugated iron roofs and concrete foundation slabs.

At the same time the government, the United Nations and humanitarian agencies must work with people affected to quickly find and clear safe land for temporary and permanent housing, the charity said.

The latest SWS survey drew angry criticism from residents and their families in Yolanda-stricken areas.

Eden Chua-Peneda, Tacloban City councilor and newly elected president of the Liga ng mga Barangay Federation Presidents of the Liga ng mga Barangay in Eastern Visayas, said that Aquino’s “rehabilitation program is nowhere to be seen” in Tacloban and in the other affected areas.

She cast doubts on the survey’s integrity.

One relief volunteer said she was exasperated by the latest survey finding.

“Social Weather Station (SWS) is the very same polling body that said Gloria Macapagal Arroyo won over Fernando Poe Jr. in the pre-exit polls. What a travesty,” said Krizette Laureta Chu, a young media professional in Manila comes from typhoon Yolanda-stricken Tanauan town in Leyte.

Chu, who has been leading various relief services for her hometown and Eastern Visayas in general, expressed dismay in her Facebook account saying: “SWS sells its results to the company that commissions the survey. Ah, oo nga pala, it was also SWS that said President Aquino’s rating was not affected by his (non) response to Typhoon Yolanda.”

She then challenged the SWS to answer several questions.

“Who are these happy people that are satisfied with the way President Aquino ran the relief operations in Leyte? Where do they live? Are these the homeless living in tents, or the homeless living in those beautiful, international standard-conforming bunkhouses? Oh, maybe they interviewed the starving evacuees! I don’t know, they must have interviewed people in the lap of luxury to get such a high 73 percent approval rating. I’m so curious! Even my rich friends in Tacloban are struggling, so who are happy about the relief operations?”

She also wanted to know what questions were asked, and if they were designed to lead respondents to a particular answer. Were respondents offered biscuits in exchange for answering those questions?

“Who commissioned the survey? A survey in Tacloban is cost-prohibitive. Who paid for the fuel so the SWS employees can go around? Who paid for the car? Who paid for the food that they consumed on the ground, where food is scarce and expensive, especially during the week they went around? Who flew them in or out? Who hosted them during their stay?”

“We need to know just how many fellow Warays are actually ecstatic over the speed with which the bodies were retrieved, relief distributed, and medical assistance given. Not. Seriously,” Chu said.

Meanwhile as residents in the coastal areas were back in building makeshift houses in the same place where the typhoon destroyed their houses, one survivor said they were back because they had nowhere else to go.

“I don’t want my family to continue getting wet in the rain. You can see our situation here. We don’t have a home... I’ll still build a home to house my family,” said former tricycle operator Richard Doring.

“Who knows, what they say maybe nothing but hot air especially since it’s government talking. As long as it isn’t clear where we are transferring, we aren’t leaving”, he added.

Lester Glenn Tabada, another relief worker in the city, expressed disbelief over Aquino’s approval rating.

“I totally disagree with the result. I don’t know SWS conducted the survey, or where they conducted it. I hope they also asked around those who were affected by the storm,” Tabada told the Manila Standard.

In social media, the SWS finding triggered anger and disbelief.

Ju Myl Peterson said: “Who are they fooling! I am from Tacloban and I know what we felt and what we saw. Our sentiments cannot be measured nor be contained in this article on how disappointed and outraged we were on repeated abuse and negligence the national government was to us. The local government is not spared as well since they had some lapses but then we cannot do anything about the typhoon but we should measure them on how they responded.... Without a doubt we were victims of Yolanda and Philippine politics. And sad to say that through three years of Aquino government it has only projected an incompetent and manipulative regime who has no values nor skills to qualify it for public service.”

Nicky Kim said: “Another manipulated survey controlled by our government.”

Billy Gunner posted: “Rigged surveys as usual. I am a victim too and I am very, very, very disappointed at how the government handled the tragedy. This survey adds insult to my injury!”

FROM PHILSTAR

Disaster-proof village set to rise in Cebu By Freeman, Dino Balabo (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 27, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0

DAANBANTAYAN, Cebu , Philippines – The French community on Saturday broke ground on the Habitat French Daanbantayan Village, the first disaster-resilient village in the province intended for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Don Lee, chairman of France-Philippines United Action (FPUA), said the village, costing $500,000, will be ready in six months.

It is a joint project of FPUA, the provincial government of Cebu, local government of Daanbantayan and Habitat for Humanity Philippines.

Lee said 17 French business establishments contributed to help typhoon victims, particularly in Northern Cebu.

“We want to help families get back on their feet by delivering the peace of mind that comes from a safe and durable home. We are privileged to be working with architects from Habitat for Humanity, who have designed disaster relief houses that will withstand the deteriorating climate situation in the Philippines,” Lee said.

Rene Sunico, a member of FPUA and representative of La Farge Philippines, said they chose Cebu as location because a lot of French companies operate here.

Meanwhile, Cyril Rocke, president of the French Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, said more French have vowed to support the construction of houses for typhoon victims.

Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro said the groundbreaking ceremony marked another milestone and is a step closer to their dream of building a new Daanbantayan.

Floating house

Meanwhile, in Bulacan, engineer Cecilia Geronimo, vice president for external affairs of the Bulacan State University, recently presented in a flood summit a 2010 study on the construction of a floating house that utilizes the principle of buoyancy.

Geronimo said then students Jomar Bunag, Jason Ramos and Ruel Manictic who are now all licensed civil engineers, came up with the concept.

According to Geronimo, the study showed that for a little over P1 million, local residents can build a floating house that rests on one to nine barges.

She said the smallest house will be 5.7 meters by five meters wide and will have an elevation of at least six meters from ground to ceiling.

The floating house can carry up to 348.75 kilos or seven persons weighing 80 kilos each.

FROM MANILA TIMES

In Cebu village, online child porn earns more than fishing January 26, 2014 9:49 pm


In Ibabao, children listen to their teacher at a day care center next to the now abandoned house (back) that used to stream live sex acts of children to pedophiles watching online overseas. AFP PHOTO

IBABAO, Cebu: In this remote village, toddlers played oblivious at a nursery as the house next door became part of a horrifying child pornography ring, with live footage of children performing sex acts being streamed online to pedophiles around the world.

The depraved scenes in the bungalow were being repeated in many homes throughout Ibabao, a secluded community in Cebu province where Internet child pornography had for some of its 5,000 residents become more lucrative than fishing or factory work.

“In the beginning I was shocked, I could not believe this was happening in my town,” mayor Adelino Sitoy said last week, shortly after police announced they had cracked a global live-streaming pedophile ring in which Ibabao was a key source of the child pornography.

But while the village is currently in the spotlight, authorities and child rights advocates say the fast-growing global industry is infecting many parts of the Philippines, with thousands of children having been abused.

At first look, the coastal community of Ibabao is a typical close-knit rural village, where many of the long-time residents are relatives or enjoy close and longstanding ties.

In scenes echoed across the devoutly Catholic country, its residents regularly attend masses held in quaint chapels along narrow footpaths and dirt roads.

Parents sell children for online sex

But police and authorities said that behind the closed doors of the tiny wooden and brick homes, many parents directed their children for sex videos in front of webcams connected via the Internet to paying pedophiles overseas.

Other children were lured into the homes of neighbors and forced to perform sex acts in front of webcams, they said.

Sitoy said the trade thrived because children were locked secretly inside homes, as well as Ibabao’s remote location and the fact some elected village leaders with relatives involved ignored the crimes.

But some of the videos eventually found their way into the computer files of a known British pedophile two years ago, triggering a global manhunt to track down the perpetrators.

The British man was convicted in March last year and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Shortly afterwards, police in the Philippines began carrying out raids in Ibabao and nearby areas with the help of British, Australian and United States authorities.

One of the raids saw dozens of Filipino police and social workers break into the bungalow next to the day care center in September last year, arresting a couple and rescuing their three children, aged three, nine and 11.

Two days later, 13 other children who were being abused in other Ibabao homes were rescued.

Residents are generally wary of outsiders but some allowed Agence France-Presse to interview them on condition of anonymity.

They said “cybersex dens” remained in operation, but security fears and the Filipino tradition of not interfering with a neighbor’s affairs helped to ensure that people did not pry further or try to stop it.

Housewife Jennifer Canete, 38, was willing to talk openly about the crimes, confirming many people in the community were involved and that she feared her four young children could become victims.

Canete said one of her children attended the nursery located next to the house where the three children were being abused.

“We were angry that this could happen just near the day care,” she said.

“I was also afraid, we didn’t know what could happen to our children if they went to school because there were many here who were doing that.”

Shadowy outsider introduces child cyberporn

Authorities say they do not know exactly when the trade arrived in Ibabao.

But, according to local social workers, a Filipino woman from outside the community believed to belong to an organized crime group relocated to the village several years ago and introduced locals to the get-rich-quick scheme.

That woman taught residents how to scout for clients in pornographic chat rooms and receive payments through international money transfers, according to the social workers, who did not want to be named for security reasons.

Some operators lured friends of their children into their homes and abused them, threatening to harm their parents if they told anyone, the social workers said.

One parent said a neighbor who had tried to recruit her said clients paid as much as $100 a session, a fortune in a region where the minimum daily wage is the equivalent of about seven dollars.

She said the neighbor justified the trade by saying that no actual physical contact took place.

“I was angry. We were always taught to protect and love our children,” the woman said.

“We are not rich, but we are also not poor and desperate. It was an evil thing to do.”

Nevertheless, she said that staying silent and steering clear of those involved in the trade was the best thing to do, to avoid any trouble.

In announcing the dismantling of the pedophile network, Britain’s National Crime Agency said in mid-January that 11 people had been arrested in the Philippines and 18 elsewhere around the world.

Another 733 suspects were being investigated, the agency added.

Andrey Sawchenko, Philippine head of the Washington-based International Justice Mission who helped in the arrests, said 39 children had been rescued in Ibabao and elsewhere in the Philippines.

But this is widely believed to be just the tip of the iceberg, with the British crime agency describing online child sex abuse as a “significant and emerging threat”.

“Extreme poverty, the increasing availability of high speed Internet and the existence of a vast and comparatively wealthy overseas customer base has led to organized crime groups exploiting children for financial gain,” it said.

Dutch advocate group Terre des Hommes estimates that “tens of thousands” of children are being abused through the cybersex industry just in the Philippines.

Last year, the group created a virtual 10-year-old Filipina girl that was deployed in Internet chat rooms to lure pedophiles.

Over 10 weeks, 20,000 people from 71 countries approached the fake girl asking for sexual performances, according to Terre des Hommes, which passed the details of the pedophiles onto police.
AFP


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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