HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK...

YOLANDA REHAB HANGS; NO MASTER PLAN IN PLACE 

OCT 21 --LEYTE RITES :President Benigno Aquino 3rd greets US Ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg at the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park. With them is Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla. MALACAÑANG PHOTO PALO, Leyte: Rehabilitation of areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda almost a year later has not lifted off in the absence of a master plan for recovery due to a lack of qualified structural engineers and bureaucratic red tape in regulatory
approvals. The Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, headed by Panfilo Lacson, submitted in August this year a rehabilitation plan that will cost the government P170 billion from 2014 to 2016.

But President Benigno Aquino 3rd is yet to sign the master plan for the recovery program, leaving some families in tent cities, bunkhouses and makeshift shelters in danger zones in Tacloban City, Leyte. Aquino said he wants to know from the officials involved in the master plan “what is expected and when” programs and projects are to be completed. Aquino, who was in Leyte on Monday to commemorate the Leyte Landing, admitted that the lack of structural engineers was one of the reasons for the delay in the rehabilitation of Yolanda-hit areas. Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson had to hire engineers to help affected local government units assess damaged structures and prepare the program for reconstruction of projects.“Ngayon, bago natin nalaman na wala sa kakayahan nila, medyo ilang buwan rin ang tumakbo. Tapos ‘yon nga, pagha-hire para mabigay ‘yung detalyadong plano kung paano nga ‘yung build back better. So, ang pangako sa akin, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, this week ibibigay na nila timeline at saka details. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Slow government response in Yolanda-affected areas glaring 

OCT 23 --PHOTO: Eight months after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) ravaged the central Philippines, President Benigno Aquino III finally received on Friday, August 1, 2014, a P170.9-billion plan to rebuild areas affected by the powerful weather disturbance. Secretary Panfilo Lacson, presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery, turned over to President Aquino a voluminous book containing the comprehensive recovery and rehabilitation plan for Yolanda-affected areas. Lacson submitted the Yolanda rehabilitation master plan to the President after a Holy Mass to mark the late President Corazon Aquino's fifth death anniversary at the Manila Memorial Park.

Millions of victims who were already in very poor and vulnerable conditions even before the Typhoon Yolanda continue to endure barely survival conditions. Almost a year after Typhoon Yolanda hit the country, government efforts for the recovery of the affected areas are moving very slowly. According to research group IBON, the slow recovery efforts are on top of earlier criticisms of poor emergency response and relief work last year. These are also despite considerable resources already at hand from international, national, and local sources. Reports from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) tend to show that Yolanda victims are still in the relief phase and barely starting to recover almost a year after the typhoon struck. Typhoon Yolanda affected 1.5 million families of whom 918,261 families were outright displaced. Casualties included 6,300 deaths and 1,061 missing aside from 28,689 injured. The government subsequently drew up targets for repair, rehabilitation and construction which, according to OPARR data available as of end-September 2014, are still very far being met.

The largest number of Yolanda victims remains in uncertain and unstable conditions with abnormal and uncertain livelihoods. Although 1.5 million families were affected, only 215,471 families are reported to have benefited from Cash for Building Livelihood Assets projects. Only 44,870 fisherfolk were provided fishing gears and 32,081 fisherfolk had their bancas replaced or repaired; only 4,507 seaweed farmers were assisted. Only 9,149 farmers were provided farm implements, 2,482 farmers given seeds and 160 farmers helped with animal restocking. Just 27 public markets out of the target 132 have been repaired or rehabilitated.

Just 58 kilometers of farm-to-market roads out of the target 315 kilometers have been rehabilitated or constructed. Victims remain largely in temporary and transitional shelters. Some 1.2 million houses were damaged or destroyed, of which some 500,000 were completely destroyed. The OPARR however only reports 364 housing units completed in Tacloban and Tanauan, Leyte. Children are still unable to return to school buildings and classrooms. Some 6.9 million textbooks, learning materials and learning kits and 517 computer packages are being distributed. Yet only 213 classrooms have been repaired out of the target 19,648 classrooms. Only 13 health facilities have been rehabilitated. Meanwhile some 18 doctors, 668 nurses and 233 midwives have been deployed in Regions VII and VIII. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Lacson considering resigning as rehab czar   

OCT 22 --Former senator Panfilo Lacson and now Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) has admitted that he is thinking of resigning because of his frustrations with the limited power granted him as rehab czar. He described himself as “a superman without power” in his role as post-Yolanda rehabilitation czar. “I don’t have implementation authority. I don’t have a budget, three consultants under government payroll, no capital outlay, no MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses), and probably the only czar of its kind. A superman, if you will, without power,” the former senator said. Lacson, who attended the turnover on Tuesday of 229 classrooms and day-care centers to four Yolanda-hit towns in northern Cebu, said his “frustrations” keep on building up while handling the role as rehabilitation czar.

He added that his limited mandate hinders him from performing better. “I must now confess. This is the only job I ever had that every single day of my life, I am thinking of resigning,” Lacson said. He is the overall manager and coordinator of rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction efforts of government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities in the areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8 last year. “God knows I want to do better and accomplish more and I am certain that I could have done better and accomplished more,” Lacson said. “We still do with whatever limitations and restrictions. My main existence is just on coordinating with the national government agencies but you know we must learn how to improvise.”  The Department of Budget has released P50 billion for the rehabilitation efforts for the affected areas. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Tacloban after Yolanda: the European Union’s mission to Leyte

OCT 21 --In November 2, 2013, Typhoon Yolanda hit Tacloban City and devastated much of the province. Later, international aid came pouring in and rebuilding had begun. Nearly a year after the Yolanda event, the European Union visits Leyte to fulfill its mission to provide further aid and impart European culture as far as Southern Leyte. MANILA, Philippines - As the turbo-prop plane prepared to make its descent to Tacloban Domestic Airport, the pilot announced his personal thanks to the 30-something people aboard for visiting Leyte. A few people were peering out the small windows and looking down. Following suit, this writer did the same and the first thing he saw were hundreds of glints of silver sparkling like diamonds in the midday sun.

Those glints turned out to be new galvanized iron sheets for roofing—replacements for the ones lost during Super Typhoon Yolanda’s (Typhoon Haiyan) fury nearly a year ago. Much has changed since then and it was a pleasant surprise that the residents of Leyte have moved on and is in the process of rebuilding their lives. Much aid has come since Yolanda’s passing and European Union Member States alone have donated 180 million Euros in humanitarian assistance, giving priority to the most severely affected people and providing for them the basic needs such as shelter, food, water, and healthcare. Aid continues to come in via Tacloban but at present, it’s safe to say that the province is back in business. European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Ambassador of the Czech Republic in the Philippines Jaroslav Olsa are on a mission: to check on the progress of the people it has helped before, handing over tools for the livelihood of fishermen, updating on its “Erasmus Mundus” program, and bringing European film culture (Cine Europa) as far as to Southern Leyte. The mayor welcomes * READ MORE...

PART 2: Leyte after Yolanda: EU and the livelihood programs in Abuyog 

OCT 24 ---PHOTO: The EU delegation, headed by Guy Ledoux, visited the town of Abuyog, Leyte which is about 77 kilometers from Tacloban city. Like the rest of Leyte, Abuyog faced the wrath of typhoon Yolanda which severely crippled their fishing livelihood. With the help of the EU and FAO, Abuyog is slowly getting back to its feet. Photo: Yas Salanga/Philstar.com MANILA, Philippines - After saying their goodbyes to the staff and students of the Visayas State University, European Union delegates proceeded to travel to Abuyog town where the EU donated funds to build fishing boats and 159 motor engines for the local fisher folk. Abuyog officials have been working with the people of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) represented by Jose Luis Fernandez.

The EU delegates, headed by Guy Ledoux were introduced to Abuyog mayor Octavio Traya, Jr. The FAO people told the delegates that it was currently providing help to 10,000 Abuyog locals—crab farmers, fishermen, and fish vendors—and with the help of the EU, provide them with the necessary tools needed to re-activate their livelihood. Due to typhoon Yolanda’s destruction, the Abuyog locals were left with nothing to fish with since nearly all their fishing boats were destroyed. Most of them reverted to manning small sari-sari stores but that obviously was not enough to provide for their families. Raul Alonzo, one of the Abuyog locals assisted by the FAO is a fisherman and crab farmer. EU’s Guy Ledoux talked to him about his current state and how he was faring with crab farming nowadays. Watch the video here: * READ MORE...

ALSO: Pangasinan to experience 11-hour blackout  

OCT 25 --DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – At least 10 towns and a city in this province will experience an 11-hour power outage today, according to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP). Lilibeth Gaydowen, NGCP’s North Luzon corporate communication and public affairs officer, said the affected areas are San Manuel, Binalonan, Pozorubio, Laoac, Manaoag, Mapandan, San Jacinto, San Fabian, Mangaldan, parts of Sison and Urdaneta City. The power interruption was scheduled for the replacement and relocation of air break switch and line conductors, installation of Pangasinan Electric Cooperative III’s metering equipment, testing of metering equipment of Dagupan Electric Corp.’s San Jacinto substation and annual preventive maintenance and testing of a transformer at NGCP’s Mangaldan substation. NGCP said normal operations will immediately resume after work completion. NGCP customers and the general public are advised to take the necessary preparations and precautions for the power interruption, Gaydowen said.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Rights group: Migrant workers abused in UAE homes 

OCT 24 --MANILA, Philippines - Many Asian and African women working as domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates have reported being overworked, beaten or sexually abused by their employers but are often trapped in slave-like conditions because they're excluded from the country's labor law protections, a rights group said Thursday. The abuse complaints are rampant throughout the wealthy Persian Gulf region that relies on foreign labor. Human Rights Watch said in a report that the migrant workers' residency is tied to their employers through a sponsorship system that prevents them from changing jobs and opens them to charges if they run away.
It cited passport confiscation, non-payment of wages, long hours of work, forced confinement, food deprivation and psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

The New York-based advocacy group said the report was based on interviews late last year with 99 female domestic workers, recruitment agents and employers in the United Arab Emirates. Twenty-two of the women said their employers physically abused them, beating them with sticks or cables, punching or slapping their faces, kicking or choking them. Six said their employers or members of the household sexually assaulted or harassed them. "The UAE's sponsorship system chains domestic workers to their employers and then leaves them isolated and at risk of abuse behind the closed doors of private homes," said Rothna Begum, Middle East women's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. "With no labor law protection for domestic workers, employers can, and many do, overwork, underpay, and abuse these women."

At least 146,000 migrant women work as domestic helpers in the United Arab Emirates, one of the world's 10 richest countries. Most of them come from the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Ethiopia. The report said authorities in June began requiring a weekly day off and 8 hours of rest within 24 hours for domestic workers. But the changes are weaker than labor protections for other workers that are enforceable by judicial authorities. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

NO MASTER PLAN IN PLACE; Yolanda rehab hangs


LEYTE RITES :President Benigno Aquino 3rd greets US Ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg at the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park. With them is Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

MANILA, OCTOBER 27, 2014 (INQUIRER) POSTED  October 21, 2014 12:25 am - Rehabilitation of areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda almost a year later has not lifted off in the absence of a master plan for recovery due to a lack of qualified structural engineers and bureaucratic red tape in regulatory approvals.

The Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, headed by Panfilo Lacson, submitted in August this year a rehabilitation plan that will cost the government P170 billion from 2014 to 2016.

But President Benigno Aquino 3rd is yet to sign the master plan for the recovery program, leaving some families in tent cities, bunkhouses and makeshift shelters in danger zones in Tacloban City, Leyte.

Aquino said he wants to know from the officials involved in the master plan “what is expected and when” programs and projects are to be completed.

Aquino, who was in Leyte on Monday to commemorate the Leyte Landing, admitted that the lack of structural engineers was one of the reasons for the delay in the rehabilitation of Yolanda-hit areas.

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson had to hire engineers to help affected local government units assess damaged structures and prepare the program for reconstruction of projects.

“Ngayon, bago natin nalaman na wala sa kakayahan nila, medyo ilang buwan rin ang tumakbo. Tapos ‘yon nga, pagha-hire para mabigay ‘yung detalyadong plano kung paano nga ‘yung build back better. So, ang pangako sa akin, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, this week ibibigay na nila timeline at saka details.

* So, makita ko lang ‘yon, okay na ako doon [Now, before we knew what they were capable of, a few months had passed.

Then, there was the hiring of engineers for us to be able to come up with detailed plans on how to build back better. So, I was promised, if I am not mistaken, they will give me the timeline and details this week. So, if I see the timeline and the details, they will be okay with me],” the President told reporters.

As of September 20, 2014, the Department of Budget and Management has released P40 billion for relief and rehabilitation programs and projects in areas hardest hit by the typhoon, leaving a balance of P30 billion for the 2014 rehabilitation and reconstruction budget, he said.

Of this, P20 billion is allocated as provision for 70,000 housing units identified by the National Housing Authority, P2.5 billion will go to livelihood programs, P2.5 billion to welfare programs and P5 billion for the repair of roads damaged by typhoons Glenda and Mario and future calamities.

The President said housing programs are still in place but that have been a series of hurdles, such as identifying safe and suitable lands and acquiring environmental permits.

He said the government targets to build 100,000 housing units in typhoon-affected areas in Regions 4B, 5, 6. 7, 8 and Caraga.

LEST WE FORGET: THE IMPACT OF TYPHOON YOLANDA ON ONE VILLAGE ALONE!


In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, Super Typhoon Yolanda survivors walk through ruins in the village of Maraboth in the Philippines. AP PHOTO/DAVID GUTTENFELDER FROM THE INQUIRER.

Aquino said 1,100 permanent houses will be turned over by next month.

The Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City may have to be relocated either to Palo town or Santa Fe town because the location of the airport at present is prone to storm surges.

The relocation of the airport is based on a Japan International Cooperation Agency study.

READERS' COMMENTS

2 Responses to Yolanda rehab hangs

vg says: October 21, 2014 at 9:29 am We know Aquino can cut through the red tape if he wishes. Look at how he broke the rules and laws when he created DAP. He just has no interest in helping Yolanda victims and towns recover. He has no friends there. Reply

Dominador D. Canastra says: October 21, 2014 at 3:14 am Bakit ngayon lang nalalaman ni Presidente PNoy at ni Sekretaryo Mar Roxas ng DILG ang mga kaulangang ito? More than isang taon na mula nang sinira ni Yolanda ang Leyte lao na ang Tacloban. Agosto pa nilagak sa nga kamay ni Aquino at Roxas ang master plan ni Lacson, na isa paring nagdudunong-dunongan e ang expertise niya naman ay ang magpulis at mag-extra judicial solution sa mga krimen. Conclusion–The Aquino Administration is GUILTY of criminal iincompetence, lack of devotion to duty and negligence tantamount to ECONOMIC SAbOTAGE, human rights abuse of the Yolanda victims allowed to continue living in tents, shelters, bunkhouses in danger zones. Aquino and his men are also guilty of corruption for until now not accounting for the money in the hundreds of millions in US dollars received as humanitarian aid from foreign countries and foreign organizations. Reply

FROM THE IBON FOUNDATION

Slow government response in Yolanda-affected areas glaring IBON NEWS | 23 October 2014 |


President Benigno Aquino III receives a copy of the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan for areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda from rehabilitation czar Sec. Panfilo Lacson at the Manila Memorial Park on Friday, August 1. The masterplan includes the P170.7-billion major rehabilitation project for infrastructure, resettlement, livelihood, social services, climate change, and disaster preparedness. Photo by Roy Lozano-- GMA NEWS: More than half a year after Yolanda, PNoy receives rehab master plan By ANDREO CALONZO,GMA NewsAugust 1, 2014 4:57pm

Millions of victims who were already in very poor and vulnerable conditions even before the Typhoon Yolanda continue to endure barely survival conditions.

Almost a year after Typhoon Yolanda hit the country, government efforts for the recovery of the affected areas are moving very slowly. According to research group IBON, the slow recovery efforts are on top of earlier criticisms of poor emergency response and relief work last year. These are also despite considerable resources already at hand from international, national, and local sources.

Reports from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) tend to show that Yolanda victims are still in the relief phase and barely starting to recover almost a year after the typhoon struck. Typhoon Yolanda affected 1.5 million families of whom 918,261 families were outright displaced. Casualties included 6,300 deaths and 1,061 missing aside from 28,689 injured. The government subsequently drew up targets for repair, rehabilitation and construction which, according to OPARR data available as of end-September 2014, are still very far being met.

The largest number of Yolanda victims remains in uncertain and unstable conditions with abnormal and uncertain livelihoods. Although 1.5 million families were affected, only 215,471 families are reported to have benefited from Cash for Building Livelihood Assets projects. Only 44,870 fisherfolk were provided fishing gears and 32,081 fisherfolk had their bancas replaced or repaired; only 4,507 seaweed farmers were assisted.

Only 9,149 farmers were provided farm implements, 2,482 farmers given seeds and 160 farmers helped with animal restocking. Just 27 public markets out of the target 132 have been repaired or rehabilitated. Just 58 kilometers of farm-to-market roads out of the target 315 kilometers have been rehabilitated or constructed.

Victims remain largely in temporary and transitional shelters. Some 1.2 million houses were damaged or destroyed, of which some 500,000 were completely destroyed. The OPARR however only reports 364 housing units completed in Tacloban and Tanauan, Leyte.

Children are still unable to return to school buildings and classrooms. Some 6.9 million textbooks, learning materials and learning kits and 517 computer packages are being distributed. Yet only 213 classrooms have been repaired out of the target 19,648 classrooms. Only 13 health facilities have been rehabilitated. Meanwhile some 18 doctors, 668 nurses and 233 midwives have been deployed in Regions VII and VIII.

* Efforts to rebuild infrastructure are also moving slowly. Only 5.8 kilometers of national roads have been repaired or rehabilitated out of a target 116 kilometers, three (3) bridges out of a target 34 bridges, six (6) ports out of a target 43 port facilities, 33 out of 99 flood control facilities, 25 municipal halls out of a target 153 municipal, city and provincial halls, and 21 out of 161 civic centers.

Millions of victims who were already in very poor and vulnerable conditions even before the Typhoon Yolanda continue to endure barely survival conditions. Approaching Typhoon Yolanda's first anniversary, real community development escapes them and they face a future of being put in a 'new normal' of an even lower level of existence than they had before. (end)

Reference: Mr Sonny Africa (IBON executive director)

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Lacson considering resigning as rehab czar October 22, 2014 10:24 pm

Former senator Panfilo Lacson and now Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) has admitted that he is thinking of resigning because of his frustrations with the limited power granted him as rehab czar.

He described himself as “a superman without power” in his role as post-Yolanda rehabilitation czar.

“I don’t have implementation authority. I don’t have a budget, three consultants under government payroll, no capital outlay, no MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses), and probably the only czar of its kind. A superman, if you will, without power,” the former senator said.

Lacson, who attended the turnover on Tuesday of 229 classrooms and day-care centers to four Yolanda-hit towns in northern Cebu, said his “frustrations” keep on building up while handling the role as rehabilitation czar.

He added that his limited mandate hinders him from performing better.

“I must now confess. This is the only job I ever had that every single day of my life, I am thinking of resigning,” Lacson said.

He is the overall manager and coordinator of rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction efforts of government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities in the areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8 last year.

“God knows I want to do better and accomplish more and I am certain that I could have done better and accomplished more,” Lacson said.

“We still do with whatever limitations and restrictions. My main existence is just on coordinating with the national government agencies but you know we must learn how to improvise.”

The Department of Budget has released P50 billion for the rehabilitation efforts for the affected areas.

* Lacson said P39 billion has been front-loaded to different national agencies while another P11 billion was released just last Monday to the National Housing Authority for its housing project.

But according to him, full rehabilitation could not yet be achieved due to lack of funds considering that it would still need around P120 billion.

Cebu province still needs around P7 billion for its P12.6-billion rehabilitation and recovery plan.
PNA

FROM PHILSTAR

Tacloban after Yolanda: the European Union’s mission to Leyte By Elyas Isabelo L. Salanga (philstar.com) | Updated October 21, 2014 - 10:48am 5 65 googleplus0 0


In November 2, 2013, Typhoon Yolanda hit Tacloban City and devastated much of the province. Later, international aid came pouring in and rebuilding had begun. Nearly a year after the Yolanda event, the European Union visits Leyte to fulfill its mission to provide further aid and impart European culture as far as Southern Leyte.

MANILA, Philippines - As the turbo-prop plane prepared to make its descent to Tacloban Domestic Airport, the pilot announced his personal thanks to the 30-something people aboard for visiting Leyte. A few people were peering out the small windows and looking down. Following suit, this writer did the same and the first thing he saw were hundreds of glints of silver sparkling like diamonds in the midday sun.

Those glints turned out to be new galvanized iron sheets for roofing—replacements for the ones lost during Super Typhoon Yolanda’s (Typhoon Haiyan) fury nearly a year ago. Much has changed since then and it was a pleasant surprise that the residents of Leyte have moved on and is in the process of rebuilding their lives.

Much aid has come since Yolanda’s passing and European Union Member States alone have donated 180 million Euros in humanitarian assistance, giving priority to the most severely affected people and providing for them the basic needs such as shelter, food, water, and healthcare. Aid continues to come in via Tacloban but at present, it’s safe to say that the province is back in business.

European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux and Ambassador of the Czech Republic in the Philippines Jaroslav Olsa are on a mission: to check on the progress of the people it has helped before, handing over tools for the livelihood of fishermen, updating on its “Erasmus Mundus” program, and bringing European film culture (Cine Europa) as far as to Southern Leyte.

The mayor welcomes

* Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez together with his wife, Cristina Gonzalez, welcomed the delegates inside an immaculately clean and spacious room. Not much can be seen inside of it except a big wooden table laden with snacks and a few cocktail tables near it. Mr. Ledoux proceeded to chat with the mayor concerning the funds and the Tacloban government. efforts in rebuilding the city.

As for the gallery of the EU's meeting with the mayor; Tacloban's ongoing reconstruction, please view it here:

TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS CLICK HERE & SCROLL DOWN TO BOTTOM OF PAGE.>> ONGOING RECONSTRUCTIONS IN TACLOBAN

(To be continued: The EU delegates’ trip to Visayas State University and the life-changing “Erasmus Mundus.”)

PART 2: Leyte after Yolanda: EU and the livelihood programs in Abuyog By Elyas Isabelo L. Salanga (philstar.com) | Updated October 24, 2014 - 4:32pm 0 0 googleplus0 0


The EU delegation, headed by Guy Ledoux, visited the town of Abuyog, Leyte which is about 77 kilometers from Tacloban city. Like the rest of Leyte, Abuyog faced the wrath of typhoon Yolanda which severely crippled their fishing livelihood. With the help of the EU and FAO, Abuyog is slowly getting back to its feet. Photo: Yas Salanga/Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - After saying their goodbyes to the staff and students of the Visayas State University, European Union delegates proceeded to travel to Abuyog town where the EU donated funds to build fishing boats and 159 motor engines for the local fisher folk. Abuyog officials have been working with the people of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) represented by Jose Luis Fernandez.

The EU delegates, headed by Guy Ledoux were introduced to Abuyog mayor Octavio Traya, Jr. The FAO people told the delegates that it was currently providing help to 10,000 Abuyog locals—crab farmers, fishermen, and fish vendors—and with the help of the EU, provide them with the necessary tools needed to re-activate their livelihood.

Due to typhoon Yolanda’s destruction, the Abuyog locals were left with nothing to fish with since nearly all their fishing boats were destroyed. Most of them reverted to manning small sari-sari stores but that obviously was not enough to provide for their families.

Raul Alonzo, one of the Abuyog locals assisted by the FAO is a fisherman and crab farmer. EU’s Guy Ledoux talked to him about his current state and how he was faring with crab farming nowadays. Watch the video here:

* One of the locals also spoke with Mr. Ledoux concerning the EU and FAO’s assistance to her.

Ivy Atienza is a housewife but she’s doing her part in earning money for her family. Ivy, together with most women of Abuyog is currently being trained to debone fish caught by their husbands.

The EU delegates were later escorted to the Abuyog municipal hall where the turnover of boat engines was to be held. EU head Guy Ledoux spoke a few words to the locals who attended the ceremony. Watch the turnover here.

VIDEO URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqbJe0paRiA

 
EU head of delegation Guy Ledoux say a few words during turnover ceremony of engines for fishermen

Pangasinan to experience 11-hour blackout By Eva Visperas (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 25, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – At least 10 towns and a city in this province will experience an 11-hour power outage today, according to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

Lilibeth Gaydowen, NGCP’s North Luzon corporate communication and public affairs officer, said the affected areas are San Manuel, Binalonan, Pozorubio, Laoac, Manaoag, Mapandan, San Jacinto, San Fabian, Mangaldan, parts of Sison and Urdaneta City.

The power interruption was scheduled for the replacement and relocation of air break switch and line conductors, installation of Pangasinan Electric Cooperative III’s metering equipment, testing of metering equipment of Dagupan Electric Corp.’s San Jacinto substation and annual preventive maintenance and testing of a transformer at NGCP’s Mangaldan substation.

NGCP said normal operations will immediately resume after work completion. NGCP customers and the general public are advised to take the necessary preparations and precautions for the power interruption, Gaydowen said.

Rights group: Migrant workers abused in UAE homes Teresa Cerojano | Updated Friday October 24, 2014 - 11:22am

MANILA, Philippines - Many Asian and African women working as domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates have reported being overworked, beaten or sexually abused by their employers but are often trapped in slave-like conditions because they're excluded from the country's labor law protections, a rights group said Thursday.

The abuse complaints are rampant throughout the wealthy Persian Gulf region that relies on foreign labor. Human Rights Watch said in a report that the migrant workers' residency is tied to their employers through a sponsorship system that prevents them from changing jobs and opens them to charges if they run away.

It cited passport confiscation, non-payment of wages, long hours of work, forced confinement, food deprivation and psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

The New York-based advocacy group said the report was based on interviews late last year with 99 female domestic workers, recruitment agents and employers in the United Arab Emirates.

Twenty-two of the women said their employers physically abused them, beating them with sticks or cables, punching or slapping their faces, kicking or choking them.

Six said their employers or members of the household sexually assaulted or harassed them.

"The UAE's sponsorship system chains domestic workers to their employers and then leaves them isolated and at risk of abuse behind the closed doors of private homes," said Rothna Begum, Middle East women's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. "With no labor law protection for domestic workers, employers can, and many do, overwork, underpay, and abuse these women."

At least 146,000 migrant women work as domestic helpers in the United Arab Emirates, one of the world's 10 richest countries. Most of them come from the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Ethiopia.

The report said authorities in June began requiring a weekly day off and 8 hours of rest within 24 hours for domestic workers. But the changes are weaker than labor protections for other workers that are enforceable by judicial authorities.

* A 28-year-old Indonesian quoted in the report said her employer beat her every day and in March last year twisted her right arm behind her back so severely that it broke.

Another Indonesian worker said her employer raped her last year when he took her to clean a second house he bought. A Filipino worker said her employers would slap or punch her to make her "work harder."

Almost all workers interviewed complained of long hours and many complained of not being paid on time or in full, the report said. One said she was never paid for almost three years.

The report said workers often endure months of abuse due to fear of deportation, of being banned for future employment or being charged with "absconding."

Two Filipino former domestic workers recounted their suffering in the United Arab Emirates during the report's launch in Manila.

Marelie Brua, 24, said she escaped from her employer after two months of 22 to 23 hours of work a day, being fed rotten food, paid half of what was stipulated in her contract and collapsing twice due to exhaustion.

When she complained, her employer said, "We bought you for 10,000 dirhams ($2,700), do you know that?"

Marina Sarno, a 39-year-old mother of four, said she worked from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. the next day and was fed stale bread.

Her employer, who kept her cellphone and documents, scolded her when she was too sick to work. "I told her not to treat me like an animal," Sarno said.

When Sarno's husband contacted Philippine authorities, her bosses allowed her to go home. But her recruiter made her sign a quit claim in exchange for her air ticket, and the employer confiscated Sarno's savings, she said.

Philippine Labor Secretary Erlinda Baldoz said Manila has stopped processing contracts for domestic helpers bound for the United Arab Emirates because it won't let Philippine labor officials verify contracts.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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