AQUINO ARRIVES IN BOHOL TO CHECK CALAMITY REHAB

FEBRUARY 25 -President Benigno Aquino arrived at the airport here, on Monday, at around 4 p.m. on board the presidential plane. He went directly to the bunkhouses in Loon, Bohol, on board a black Montero. The President stayed at the site of the bunkhouses for about 15 minutes to check on the water and electricity there. He did not have any interaction with the beneficiaries and left for the Cong. Natalio Castillo Memorial Hospital, also in Loon town. DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman has recently turned over the check amounting to PhP317.5 million to the Habitat during a program in Sagbayan town, one of the recipients of the fund for rebuilding victims’ houses. His upcoming visit is the fourth after the earthquake. The first when he breezed into town within that week after the quake. The second was when he slept in Loon town to show solidarity with the Boholanos and the third when he inaugurated Abatan bridge on Nov. 23, 2013. The said bridge is one of the four that had collapsed due to the earthquake. The others are in Moalong, Loon; Tultugan, Calape; and Tagbuane, Alburquerque, all in Bohol.

ALSO: Quake-hit Bohol prepares for int'l choir festival to boost tourism

As it continues to recover from the effects of a magnitude-7.2 quake last October, Bohol province is preparing for an international choir competition to be organized by a Korean firm this March. Korean firm "Understanding and Communication Corp." is talking with the Bohol provincial government to hold the competition in the quake-hit area, state-run Philippine Information Agency reported over the weekend. Dubbed the Bohol International Choir Festival and Competition (BICFC), the event is scheduled March 18 to 22, and will see participants from around the world. Bohiol Gov Chatto said the choral festival would show the world Bohol’s beauty remains intact despite the quake, adding this is a big boost from the South Korean community.

ALSO: Protests, anger greet PNoy in Tacloban

TACLOBAN CITY—Violet ribbons express typhoon victims’ anger. Protesters festooned the streets with violet ribbons and carried placards to demonstrate their displeasure at the slow government response to the plight of typhoon Yolanda survivors as President Benigno Aquino III arrived to visit the storm victims in Eastern Visayas Tuesday. agencies and private organizations, and to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power uprising. Andrew Sudario, media liaison of the People Surge alliance of typhoon survivors, said that the violet ribbons “signified the neglect of President Benigno Aquino III” and the failure of his administration to respond to the demands of the typhoon victims.

ALSO: UN aid official shocked at finding more bodies after Yolanda

BODIES are still being found under the wreckage almost four months after super typhoon Yolanda ravaged the Philippines as survivors struggle to rebuild their lives, a top UN aid official said Thursday. The government’s confirmed death toll of 6,201 has not been updated for a month, as officials investigate whether the recently-discovered corpses are among the 1,785 listed as missing. All ears. United Nations undersecretary-General and humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos listens intently to a journalist who asked how she assessed the situation of typhoon Yolanda victims after her visit on Wednesday.

ALSO: Armless pilot brings message of hope to ‘Yolanda’ survivors

By the time you read this, Filipino-American Jessica Macabares Cox would be well into her mission of delivering hope to people in the storm-ravaged Visayas that only a “survivor” like her can bring. Cox, 31, the first licensed armless pilot in the United States, traces her roots to Guiuan, Eastern Samar, specifically to a barrio named Bobon, Mercedes. Her mission is to bring awareness on the help needed by persons with disabilities (PWDs) who survived super typhoon “Yolanda”. “We’ll be meeting with some persons with disabilities (PWDs) and those who experienced so much during the typhoon. We’ll be there to give them support, listen to them. We want to bring awareness to the rest of the world that these people still need our support and our help. That was the goal of our trip,” Cox told the Manila Bulletin after a fundraiser held Tuesday night at the Decagon, Silver City, in Frontera Verde in Pasig City. Cox, a motivational speaker, will spend three days in Tacloban, which like Guiuan suffered heavy structural damage from super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last Nov. 8. She is a psychology graduate of the University of Arizona.

ALSO: UN relief chief revisits Yolanda-hit areas- ‘More needs to be done’

THE UN secretary general for humanitarian affairs said Wednesday that more needs to be done to help the victims of typhoon Yolanda, and just before she flew to Guian and Tacloban to assess the agency’s response four months after the killer storm struck. “Despite massive scale-up of aid efforts immediately following Haiyan (Yolanda’s international name), a lot more needs to be done. People need durable solutions,” said Valerie Amos on her Twitter account.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Aquino arrives in Bohol to check on calamity rehabilitation


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2014/02/aquino-e1391692268437.jpg

TAGBILARAN CITY, MARCH 3, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Carmel Loise Matus Inquirer Visayas - President Benigno Aquino arrived at the airport here, on Monday, at around 4 p.m. on board the presidential plane.

He went directly to the bunkhouses in Loon, Bohol, on board a black Montero.

The President stayed at the site of the bunkhouses for about 15 minutes to check on the water and electricity there.

He did not have any interaction with the beneficiaries and left for the Cong. Natalio Castillo Memorial Hospital, also in Loon town.

He was given a briefing on the retrofitted 25-bed capacity hospital, which has been housing the patients who were previously staying in a tent hospital provided by the Department of Health.

As of posting time, the President has been staying at the same hospital to meet with local residents and Bohol officials.

FROM INTERAKSYON.COM

P-Noy to revisit Bohol on Monday By: Philippines News Agency February 24, 2014 6:44 AM InterAksyon.com The online news portal of TV5


President Aquino and Public Works Secretary Singson inspect a bridge in Bohol, 28 November 2013. FILE PHOTO

TAGBILARAN CITY -- President Benigno S. Aquino III is scheduled to visit Loon town, about 25 kms from the capital, today (February 24) to inspect and see for himself the progress of rehabilitation efforts in Bohol province.

He is slated to conduct an ocular inspection of the bunkhouses and Loon hospital right after his arrival at the city airport at past one in the afternoon. Bunkhouses with comfort rooms, dirty kitchens, and faucets but which are not completed yet are funded by the government to benefit 100 internally-displaced families in Loon town in the aftermath of Oct. 15 earthquake.

During his first visit this year in Bohol, he is expected to meet with local officials led by Mayor Lloyd Lopez and provincial officials led by Gov. Edgar Chatto and preside over the multi-sectoral dialogue at the hospital grounds.

After the huddle here, the president is expected to fly back to Manila in the afternoon.

The provincial government led by Gov. Edgar Chatto, Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD), and Habitat for Humanity Foundation represented by Charlie Ayco, as executive director, recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to construct some 8,083 houses for thousands of quake victims who still remain in make-shift tents as their temporary shelters since day one after the tremor.

DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman has recently turned over the check amounting to PhP317.5 million to the Habitat during a program in Sagbayan town, one of the recipients of the fund for rebuilding victims’ houses.

His upcoming visit is the fourth after the earthquake. The first when he breezed into town within that week after the quake. The second was when he slept in Loon town to show solidarity with the Boholanos and the third when he inaugurated Abatan bridge on Nov. 23, 2013. The said bridge is one of the four that had collapsed due to the earthquake. The others are in Moalong, Loon; Tultugan, Calape; and Tagbuane, Alburquerque, all in Bohol.

FROM GMA NEWS TV

Quake-hit Bohol prepares for int'l choir festival to boost tourism February 23, 2014 7:53am 532 26 0 590

As it continues to recover from the effects of a magnitude-7.2 quake last October, Bohol province is preparing for an international choir competition to be organized by a Korean firm this March.

Korean firm "Understanding and Communication Corp." is talking with the Bohol provincial government to hold the competition in the quake-hit area, state-run Philippine Information Agency reported over the weekend.

Dubbed the Bohol International Choir Festival and Competition (BICFC), the event is scheduled March 18 to 22, and will see participants from around the world.

“Like a brother giving us a helping hand and pulling us out of the muck that we are in,” Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto said of the event, which he believed would benefit Bohol’s business and tourism.

Chatto added the choral festival would show the world Bohol’s beauty remains intact despite the quake, adding this is a big boost from the South Korean community.

“In Bohol, we are not cry babies. We may get boxed, hacked and chucked but we sure know how to get back on our feet faster than the speed of light,” he said.

The Bohol provincial government tapped well-known local artist Lutgardo Labad and Holy Name University Cultural Affairs Director Marianito Luspo to guide the organizers.

Both Labad and Luspo are members of the Bohol Arts and Cultural Heritage (BACH) Council.

Chatto also assigned Liza Quirog as the event’s overall chairperson, with Liza Flores of the Special Projects Section as deputy chairperson. — LBG, GMA News

THE BOHOL INT'L CHOIR FESTIVAL & COMPETITION

BOHOL CHOIR FESTIVAL BROCHURE: @  http://www.bicfc.com

BOHOL Int'l Choir Festival & Competition welcomes you!

Hi, I'm Cool-Jae HUH, a composer from S. Korea specialized in choral music.

I am so glad to inform you that there will be a new International Choir Festival in Bohol, Philippines.

As Bohol Culture & Tourism Ambassador, I believe that Bohol is one of the most attractive destination in Southeast Asia for the diversity of nature and the heritage of their culture & music. This event is the first held but it will be held year by year under the Provincial Government and it would became the representative choir festival in Asian Region.

I cordially invite your group in coming March to Bohol, and I hope you also inform the hold our festival to your neighbor choirs so that they can be interested in us.

Please find the brochure in our website. http://www.bicfc.com

With Anticipating your favorable response on the matter!

Very truly yours,

Cool-J from Seoul.

Protests greet PNoy By Ronald Reyes | Feb. 26, 2014 at 12:01am

Violet ribbons express typhoon victims’ anger

TACLOBAN CITY—Protesters festooned the streets with violet ribbons and carried placards to demonstrate their displeasure at the slow government response to the plight of typhoon Yolanda survivors as President Benigno Aquino III arrived to visit the storm victims in Eastern Visayas Tuesday.


Standing to be recognized. Survivors of Typhoon Yolanda joined the People Power celebration at the Edsa Shrine on Tuesday to press their call for speedier relief to their fellow victims in the Eastern Visayas region, and who tied violet ribbons in many places at Ground Zero to protest their plight. MANNY PALMERO

Aquino visited Tanauan and Tacloban in Leyte to break ground on various rehabilitation projects initiated by public agencies and private organizations, and to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power uprising.

Andrew Sudario, media liaison of the People Surge alliance of typhoon survivors, said that the violet ribbons “signified the neglect of President Benigno Aquino III” and the failure of his administration to respond to the demands of the typhoon victims.

“We do not think that visiting the Yolanda survivors as the President is doing will really serve their interests. We think that the President is just feigning concern for the victims and spending a few hours with them for photo ops and media interviews, which is nothing more than paying lip service to their urgent appeals for government assistance,” the alliance said in a statement.

More than 200 placard-bearing protesters led by People Surge lined the streets of Tanauan to show their disgust at Aquino’s refusal to grant them immediate cash assistance.

The leftist group Bayan also staged separate rallies along the streets where Aquino’s convoy passed enroute to Tacloban.

Jun Berino, secretary general of Bayan in the region, called on the President to heed the cry of typhoon survivors.

“The victims want to know what is the plan of the government for them and how rehabilitation program works for them. They wanted to be included in the consultation,” said Berino.

“Aquino will face our continued protest for his failure to address the plight of the victims and for the anti-poor policy of his rehabilitation program. Aquino should resign because he is no longer doing his job,” he added.

People Surge has called on the government to immediately release P40,000 in cash assistance to each survivor family and to scrap its no-build zone close to the coast.

The government has rejected both demands.

But Efleda Bautista, a storm survivor and executive vice chairperson of People Surge, said the cash assistance was crucial to the survivors, most of whom were peasants.

“We want to emphasize that this is a big issue for the peasants who were left penniless by Yolanda, to make it clearer to a hacendero president to grasp that it is a matter of life and death for millions in Eastern Visayas. If the President cannot address the crisis caused by Yolanda as well as other issues of real concern to the people, his capability to govern is already under question.” Bautista added.

On Tuesday, the president of Cebu Municipal Mayors League rejected the People Surge demand for P40,000 in cash assistance, saying the government should give them construction materials instead.

In a phone interview, Tuburan town Mayor Aljun Diamante, president of Cebu Municipal Mayors League, said this was more practical, because cash could be wasted.

On the occasion of the 28th EDSA People Power uprising, People Surge called on the public to unite again so as to “awaken the Aquino government “ to the real issues of the typhoon victims.

“It is just right that people unite and sustain their actions to awaken the deaf and blind president of the country. If Aquino will not act on this, time will come that we will be calling for his immediate ouster from office,” Sudario said.

In Cebu, Aquino dismissed the alliance demands.

“Let’s us not forget that there are 3 million plus families, about 16 million people affected by the typhoon,” he said.

“It is no joke [feeding so many people]. Some 280,000 families have to be taken care of every two days. That’s 140,000 food packs a day that must be transported from Mindanao or Luzon,” he added.

In Tanauan, Aquino inspected a permanent relocation site and a rehabilitated school, and led the groundbreaking of a public plaza with a private sector partner, Double Dragon Properties Corp.

Aquino also led the groundbreaking of the new Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center with another private sector partner, the International Container Terminal Services Inc.

Dr. Cirilo R. Galindez, chief of hospital at the center, said about P500 million was initially released for the construction of a 500-bed “state-of-the-art” hospital, which is expected to be finished by 2016.

The government’s equity is the land for the building.

The old site of medical center, about 10 kilometers from the new site, was wiped out by the storm sure during last year’s typhoon.

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez expressed thanks to the proponents of the new hospital project particularly to Enrique Razon, chairman and chief executive of ICTSI.

Aquino arrived in Tanauan, about 21 kilometers from Tacloban City, at about 1:45 p.m. onboard a helicopter from Cebu and went directly to Barangay Pago to inspect the ongoing construction of 1,500 housing units built by the Gawad Kalinga charitable organization.

In his speech at the town plaza, Aquino said that the main reason of his visit to Leyte was to know first hand the current situation and to make sure that all the needs of the survivors were being addressed. He added that residents in the no-build-zone area should be evacuated to a safer place to make sure that fatalities are kept low in the next strong typhoon.

Aquino informed the crowd that more than 20,000 housing units will be built in Leyte for the victims of the super typhoon. The President was accompanied by 11 Cabinet secretaries, including Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, the Cabinet head for Task Force Rehabilitation for Eastern Visayas and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas III.

The President said the government has done enough to bring immediate support to typhoon Yolanda survivors in Cebu contrary to accusations of People Surge.

The President reminded the public about the magnitude of the problem caused by typhoon Yolanda noting the government is dealing with more than 3 million affected families or 16 million people.

Forty-four of the country’s 81 provinces were affected, and the President said the government was able to respond to the needs of those areas.

This year in Bantayan Island, he said there were 3,476 affected families and the government was able to provide close to 7,000 food packs for them.

Bantayan island also needs 253 classrooms which will cost P133 million. It also needs three rural health units costing P17 million; 28 multi-purpose barangay halls-P37 million; and public market- P5 million, he said.

The government is also distributing today 100 boats so that fishermen in Bantayan island can start anew, the President added.

In Cebu, the President warned the heads of the agencies responsible for restoring power in Cateel, Davao Oriental, one of the areas hardest hit by typhoon Pablo in December 2012, that they must address the problem or they should resign.

“I have asked the concerned departments: how come over a year later (there is still no electricity in some parts of Cateel)? Perhaps it was due to the bureaucratic processes. They pointed fingers and passed the buck as to who should be held accountable,” the President said.

“I was not happy with them. That means next time that I follow it up with them, my question would be: when will there be electricity or when will you submit your resignation letters?”

“They only have two options. I am a very simple man and I talk plainly. We have work to do, and they must do their work or they will be sorry for not doing it,” the President added.

Aquino on Monday said there has already been a request from the National Electrification Administration for additional funds to bring back power in parts of Cateel, but when he checked it with the Department of Budget and Management, the request form was nowhere to be found.

This prompted Aquino to discuss the issue with Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, NEA administrator Edita Bueno and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.

Aquino also noted that only 110 permanent houses have so far been built in Cateel.

The President said the remaining 1,179 permanent houses in Cateel will be completed by August. With Marvin T. Modelo, Joyce Pangco Panares and Junex Doronio

FROM MANILA STANDARD

UN aid official shocked at finding more bodies By Alena Mae S. Flores | Feb. 28, 2014 at 12:01am

BODIES are still being found under the wreckage almost four months after super typhoon Yolanda ravaged the Philippines as survivors struggle to rebuild their lives, a top UN aid official said Thursday.

The government’s confirmed death toll of 6,201 has not been updated for a month, as officials investigate whether the recently-discovered corpses are among the 1,785 listed as missing.


All ears. United Nations Undersecretary-General and humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos listens intently to a journalist who asked how she assessed the situation of typhoon Yolanda victims after her visit on Wednesday.
The UN official appealed for more help to the survivors. DANNY PATA

UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs Valerie Amos recounted the shock of discovering the dead during a visit Wednesday to the devastated central city of Tacloban.

“As the debris is cleared, they are finding more dead bodies. We experienced that for ourselves,” she told reporters.

Amos visited Tacloban to inspect the progress of the UN-aided rehabilitation effort and check on the condition of survivors of one of the strongest typhoons ever to hit land.

The government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council confirmed bodies are still being found.

“Sometimes they find two or three a day, then there are days where they find none,” the council’s spokesman Reynaldo Balido said.

The latest casualty figures were a month old and did not reflect any subsequent corpse retrievals as the authorities work to reconcile the numbers, he added.

Balido said residents have learnt to adapt to the sight of newly found corpses.

Yolanda raked across the central Philippines on November 8 last year, wrecking 1.1 million houses and displacing more than 4 million residents of some of the country’s poorest provinces according to the UN.

The worst damage was inflicted by huge tsunami-like surges of seawater into Tacloban and other coastal communities.

Amos said Tacloban survivors need more help.

“They are many people trying to live in their original (ruined) homes. They put up a tarpaulin as a roof and put some wood on the side and that’s not good enough. It won’t stand up to a storm,” she said.

The UN was also concerned about the welfare of more than a million farmers after 30 million coconut trees were destroyed, she said.

Replacement trees will not bear fruit for another six to eight years, Amos said.

About 30,000 small fishing boats were also destroyed or damaged, she added.

To help these people, the UN asked aid donors for $788 million in December, but Amos said only just over $362 million has been raised.

“Signs of devastation are still evident but so too are signs of progress,” she added.

Permanent housing and restoration of livelihood remain the greatest concerns, Amos said.

“If you look at other situations where this kind of natural disaster has happened, the recovery efforts can take a long time. Our focus has for to be on how can we support our people over the next few months as those longer term recovery efforts bear fruit,” Amos told a press conference Thursday.

The UN partner agencies and even the private sector have made possible the building of temporary shelters in the areas affected, Amos said.

“I looked at a home that Catholic relief services for example, have developed. It has a five-year life span which could be a bridge between what people have now and when the longer term housing solutions are put in place,” she said.

Providing permanent shelter, she said may take a long process since the government must consider several factors such as land rights, the location of the new homes and the local government must consult with the communities.

She also said that most people do not want to move particularly if their livelihoods are associated with being very close to the shoreline, which is dangerous.

“All of those process take time. So what we are focusing on is that while that consultation takes place that we are able to have solutions for people who bridged the gap between what happens in the longer term and what people have now,” she said.

Aside from the contributions made by the international community to the UN appeal, Amos also noted that “considerable resources” have been committed to help Yolanda survivors.

She noted that a trust fund, in partnership with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, may be set up for the restoration of the affected areas.

Amos said donor nations would have to discuss first the best and most secure way of creating the trust fund and coursing the said funds to the programs.

On Thusday, the US government on Thursday turned over 1,500 metric tons of rice to the victims of ryphoon Yolanda.

In a statement, US ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg said the donation is part of its continuing commitment to support the Philippine government’s post-Yolanda relief and reconstruction.

The donation was turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the World Food Program.

“This assistance signifies once again the commitment of the American people to partner with Filipinos in rebuilding the lives of so many affected by Typhoon Yolanda,” he added.

The assistance is a part of the 5,000 metric tons of rice—enough to help feed 500,000 people for one month—that was announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Tacloban in December 2013.

The remainder of the rice assistance is expected to arrive in March. With Sara Susanne D. Fabunan and AFP

FROM MANILA BULLETIN

Armless pilot brings message of hope to ‘Yolanda’ survivors
by Ellson Quismorio February 27, 2014 (updated)

Manila, Philippines — By the time you read this, Filipino-American Jessica Macabares Cox would be well into her mission of delivering hope to people in the storm-ravaged Visayas that only a “survivor” like her can bring.

Cox, 31, the first licensed armless pilot in the United States, traces her roots to Guiuan, Eastern Samar, specifically to a barrio named Bobon, Mercedes. Her mission is to bring awareness on the help needed by persons with disabilities (PWDs) who survived super typhoon “Yolanda”.


ON MISSION TO DELIVER HOPE (EPA) – Armless Fil-American pilot Jessica Cox is seen in Manila on Feb. 26, 2014, on her way to Tacloban City on a mission to deliver a sense of hope to the survivors of super-typhoon ‘Yolanda.’

“We’ll be meeting with some persons with disabilities (PWDs) and those who experienced so much during the typhoon. We’ll be there to give them support, listen to them. We want to bring awareness to the rest of the world that these people still need our support and our help. That was the goal of our trip,” Cox told the Manila Bulletin after a fundraiser held Tuesday night at the Decagon, Silver City, in Frontera Verde in Pasig City.

Cox, a motivational speaker, will spend three days in Tacloban, which like Guiuan suffered heavy structural damage from super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last Nov. 8. She is a psychology graduate of the University of Arizona.

She will then proceed to Bobon where her mother, Inez, grew up in a family of 13 children. Her mother, who lost her father when she was two months old, lived in poverty, yet all the siblings managed to get college education.

That strength in spirit and resilience is what Cox said she inherited from her mom, which guided her in overcoming the challenges and discrimination that came with being born without arms.

“I always wondered why am I so strong and resilient. Much of it has to do with my mother’s story. I’m very fortunate of my Filipino roots. It’s so much of who I am,” shared Cox. With the effects of the typhoon still very evident in Central Visayas, it’s time to give something back, she said.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to assist PWDs in the disaster-stricken areas, Cox said some 800 people, many among them PWDs, attended the very meaningful and empowering event organized by Ortigas Foundation, Inc.

Inspirational

In her speech, the charming and inspiring Cox preached that “desire, persistence and fearlessness” will accomplish any goal no matter how “limited” a person perceives oneself to be.

“Walls are only there for people who do not want it enough,” she stressed, while occasionally flashing her megawatt smile, showing her Filipino features.

A catchy phrase – “think outside the shoe” – was a lesson she shared. When she was five, for the first time she successfully laced a shoe using her feet. She found a way to tie the laces before slipping her foot inside.

The method is similar to how she buckles herself on the pilot’s seat of a light-sport plane. Now, Cox can do pretty much everything with her feet, from driving a car, writing, playing the piano and putting on/removing contact lenses.

More Help

Also in the country is Patrick Chamberlain, Cox’s taekwondo instructor. He flew in with his wife Jessica on Monday night.

“It’s a very important thing to invest time in,” Chamberlain said of their mission. “We want to see for ourselves what’s going on in the Philippines and to see if we can make it better.”

“We know it’s very difficult for PWDs to get aid in a disaster. That’s why we’re here with Handicap International to help bring attention to their programs so that other aid organizations can become familiar with helping PWDs and to also bring support from all over the world,” he said.

“We didn’t do much. What we’ve been trying to do since the typhoon is to put a new roof on the family home in Bobon, Mercedes. So this year, we both put in extra money to rebuild the roofs here.” With a wind speed reaching 315 kilometers per hour, Yolanda practically left all buildings in Guiuan roofless.

Accompanying the couple is film director Nicholas Spark, who intends to finish shooting his documentary about Cox, titled “Rightfooted,” here in the Philippines.

Hope

“Hope is something that is so precious,” admitted Cox, drawing the knowledge from the various challenges that she conquered. “Hope can come from unexpected places too,” she added.

Cox revealed that during one shoot of the documentary, a woman who was in despair came up to her “out of nowhere” and asked her a special favor.

“She came up to me in tears saying her friend just found out her baby won’t have arms and she’s trying to find someone to help her. And here she’s running into me, in the middle of nowhere, as God planned.”

“It brought so much hope to her knowing that my story and all that I’ve done could bring so much hope to this future mother. And that type of hope is what we would also like to bring to all those victims who survived the typhoon, who’ve lost family, or have been injured,” said the armless, yet fearless lady.

‘More needs to be done’ By Ronald Reyes | Feb. 27, 2014 at 12:01am

UN relief chief revisits Yolanda-hit areas

THE UN secretary general for humanitarian affairs said Wednesday that more needs to be done to help the victims of typhoon Yolanda, and just before she flew to Guian and Tacloban to assess the agency’s response four months after the killer storm struck.

“Despite massive scale-up of aid efforts immediately following Haiyan (Yolanda’s international name), a lot more needs to be done. People need durable solutions,” said Valerie Amos on her Twitter account.


Helping the victims help themselves. The Baroness Valerie Amos, United Nations Undersecretary-General
for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, shares a photo moment with residents
of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, as she checks on how the victims were rebuilding their own homes.
The UN officials posted the picture on her Twitter account.

Amos visited the World Food Program tent city where survivors of the typhoon continue to live, as well as a “woman-friendly” facility in Tacloban.

“While the government-led relief operation has made marked progress, millions of people still require urgent assistance to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. More than a million homes were damaged or destroyed and over 4 million people were displaced with many still in need of support to find durable housing solutions. Farmlands and fishing equipment were decimated, limiting people’s ability to produce food or earn an income,” the UN Development Program said in an earlier statement.

“Restoring livelihoods is at the heart of UNDP Yolanda recovery work. With 33 million downed or damaged coconut trees, there is an influx of raw materials with which new carpenters can now get hands-on training. The logs are cut into the desired sizes for use in the different projects like furniture making, food cart, and house construction,” the UN Development Program said in its social media account.

Amos visited the country twice in November 2013 in the two weeks following the typhoon to see for herself the impact of the disaster and to ensure adequate support for humanitarian assistance.

Olive Tiu, regional director of the Philippine Information Agency announced that US Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg is scheduled to turn over 1,500 metric tons of rice to representatives of World Food

Program and the Department of Social Welfare and Development on Feb. 27.

The rice assistance is part of the 5,000 metric tons of rice announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Tacloban in December 2013, Tiu said.

Amos is expected to fly back to Manila for a press conference.

In the House of Representatives, opposition lawmakers kept up their criticism of the administration’s slow response to the plight of the storm survivors.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate and Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz hit the lack of a detailed rebuilding and rehabilitation plan.

Protests greeted President Benigno Aquino III in Tacloban early this week, when he flew there to break ground on a handful of resettlement projects.

Ilagan chided the government for allowing contractors to build substandard bunkhouses that are used for temporary shelter.

“Everything has been politicized and corruption has seeped in and woe to our survivors,” Ilagan added.

Ilagan said the Aquino government should be held accountable for its neglect.

Zarate said it has been more than three months since the typhoon, but the government has provided no significant help to the survivors.

Dela Cruz said the Yolanda survivors were so despearate they had to join protest rallies to get the government’s attention.

“I cannot blame them. They are victims, they need to bring out their concerns and seek help from all quarters, including the government,” Dela Cruz said.

But Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, a member House minority bloc, renewed his appeal to the Yolanda survivors to be more patient.

“The government can only do so much,” Albano said. “Let’s just do what is right to the best of our ability,” he added.

On Tuesday, protesters festooned the streets with violet ribbons and carried placards to demonstrate their displeasure at the slow government response to the plight of typhoon Yolanda survivors as

President Benigno Aquino III arrived to visit the storm victims in Eastern Visayas.

Responding to the government’s inability to restore power in 24 barangays in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, which were battered by typhoon Pablo in December 2012, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla again imposed a deadline on himself to bring back electricity to the affected communities.

Petilla last year offered to resign when he failed to meet his self-imposed target to restore power to the communities affected by typhoon Yolanda by Christmas Day, but the President rejected his resignation.

Petilla said he decided to step into the picture after the National Electrification Administration and the Department of Budget and Management blamed each other for the delay in the restoration of power in some parts of Cateel.

The finger-pointing drew the ire of the President, who was in the Davao Oriental town on Monday.

“This is really the concern of NEA and DBM. But I am now taking full responsibility for this and I have committed 45 days to restore power in the remaining 24 barangays,” Petilla said in a phone interview.

“As to who was in the wrong - whether it was NEA or DBM - that can be investigated and settled later and that is beyond me. The bottom line now is I have given a deadline and I intend to meet it,” Petilla

Added. Petilla said the electric cooperatives in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley have had a hard time restoring power.

“These are basically small cooperatives owned by the people and their budgets are not that big. So they asked for a calamity loan from NEA. Initially it was P51 million but it has now ballooned to P83 million – and that does not include yet the remaining 24 barangays,” he said.

Petilla said NEA sent a letter to DBM asking if the loan could be treated as a grant so as not to burden consumers with high power rates.

“NEA submitted a request to the DBM and the latter agreed but there were several legal requirements that had to be met because these cooperatives are privately owned and we will be channeling government funds into them,” Petilla said.

“The government legal team said there was no problem because the cooperatives are owned by the people, making them public in nature, but somewhere along the way, the paper trail went cold and they are now looking for the papers,” Petilla added.

Petilla said eventually, he will work to transform the entire loan – which could reach P103 million to include the 24 barangays – into a grant.

“Of course NEA does not have unlimited funds, but we will try our best,” he said.

On Tuesday, Aquino warned NEA administrator Edita Buena and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad that they must address the problem or resign.

“I was not happy with them. That means next time that I follow it up with them, my question would be: when will there be electricity or when will you submit your resignation letters? They only have two options.” – With Sara Susanne D. Fabunan, Maricel V. Cruz and Joyce Pangco Panares


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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