HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK...

STILL NO FINAL YOLANDA DEATH TOLL; LACSON HAS A REPORT: 'A STORY OF HOPE & CHANGE' 

NOV 4 --The official count stopped at around 4,000 and a regional police commander lost his post for projecting a death toll of 10,000. Three days before the first anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda, Malacañang said yesterday that the government still could not come up with a final list of fatalities in the storm that ravaged Eastern Visayas. “As you know, there is still an ongoing process of identification of the remains of the victims, which is being led by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI),” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. He said they have to consult the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) on the final death toll. The NDRRMC under its former head, retired general Eduardo del Rosario, reportedly stopped counting at 6,300 casualties. “We will need to check with the NDRRMC, noting that the NBI is still conducting DNA and other related tests. So this is an ongoing process because we would like to be able to honor the memory of all those who perished in the calamity,” Coloma said.

President Aquino had relieved Chief Supt. Elmer Soria, police director of Eastern Visayas, for telling the media that Yolanda’s death toll could reach over 10,000. “Ten thousand, I think, is too much,” Aquino told CNN in an interview. There was emotional drama involved with that particular estimate, pointing out that he believes the figure would be closer to 2,500 – but which turned The Philippine National Police leadership said Soria underwent severe stress due to Yolanda. Meantime, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa convened last Monday a meeting of the Cabinet clusters directly involved in the implementation of the Yolanda Comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan (CRRP). Coloma said Yolanda rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson reported the establishment of a one-stop shop for resettlement to facilitate the building of permanent housing units according to the master plan that Aquino signed last Oct. 28, nearly a year after the disaster.

The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council shall serve as the lead agency, as laid out in Administrative Order 44 or the Yolanda master plan that will provide relocation sites and housing units for typhoon victims. A joint memorandum circular is also being arranged for the concerned Cabinet secretaries where there shall be a “delineation of safe, unsafe and controlled zones” in the areas hardest hit by the typhoon. The agencies concerned are the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Science and Technology (DOST), National Defense (DND), Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The delivery of construction materials was discussed and is being facilitated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in coordination with the DPWH under Secretary Rogelio Singson. * READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Yolanda’ mothers struggle for survival   

NOV 5 --In this picture taken on Oct. 17, 2014, Emily Sagalis holds her baby girl inside her house in Tacloban, Leyte. Emily Sagalis gave birth on a concrete slab after battling storm surges that killed thousands, then like many new mothers in razed communities of the Philippines began another perilous struggle for survival with her baby. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Emily Sagalis gave birth on a concrete slab after battling storm surges that killed thousands, then like many new mothers in razed communities of the Philippines began another perilous struggle for survival with her baby.

About 250,000 women were pregnant in areas hit by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” a year ago, and in the weeks that followed babies were born on shattered roads alongside corpses, in the rubble of destroyed buildings and other places where exhausted mothers lay without adequate or any medical care. Successful deliveries, such as for Emily, became powerful moments of hope for traumatized families struggling in the desperate aftermath of Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) as well as for those involved in a massive relief effort. The strongest winds ever recorded and storm surges higher than two-story buildings destroyed entire towns in already poor farming and fishing areas, killing or leaving missing more than 7,350 people. She’s my miracle “She is my miracle. I’d thought I would die with her still inside me, when high waves came and took us all away,” Emily, then 21, told Agence France-Presse as she lay on the concrete slab moments after giving birth to Bea Joy. The birth took place three days after Yolanda struck, amid the ruins of the airport in Tacloban, one of the worst-hit cities. Emily survived the tsunami-like storm surges, which killed her mother-in-law and wiped out her shanty, by holding onto a fence with one hand and protecting her swollen belly from crashing debris with her other. * READ MORE...

ALSO: In Tacloban fishermen return, try o reconnect with the sea 

NOV 6 --PHOTO: Building from scratch. A fisherman starts to build a stand for his boat as other fishers check on the fishing equipment donated by the European Union in Leyte. AFP AND MEL CASPE TACLOBAN CITY—Jimmy Llegado, 43, fixed his eyes on the waters of Cancabato Bay in Tacloban, and then with his index finger pointed to the horizon, nodding. “That is the place where I go fishing. I’m back in the sea,” said Llegado, one of the fishermen in the city who almost lost their lives after super typhoon “Yolanda” slammed into Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8 last year, and yet are now returning to the sea to earn a living. “I’ve been a fisherman as far as I can remember. The sea is where I get our food. It’s my friend,” Llegado said.

More than 6,000 people were killed in Tacloban City, particularly from the coastal villages of San Jose to Anibong district, when Yolanda struck, yet Llegado says the sea “is always a source of life.”  He received a new boat from a non-governmental organization a few months after the typhoon struck, but he says that was taken away from him for some unexplained reasons. To help him feed his family, a close friend lent him his boat so he could fish. “With or without a boat I go to the sea for food. I have to find ways,” Llegado said. “From nine o’ clock in the morning until one o’ clock in the afternoon I swim out to the sea, going to the San Jose area using an improvised fin while clutching an empty container so I’d float. I collect shells from the sea.” But Llegado says fishing in Cancabato Bay is getting difficult because the catch is dwindling. “There are already many fishermen because many boats were given away,” Llegado said. Indeed, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has said more than 20,000 boats will be given to the fishermen affected by Yolanda. And Senator Cynthia Villar on Wednesday underscored the lessons the Filipinos learned a year after the typhoon slammed into Eastern Visayas. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino, resign! – Yolanda victims 

NOV 5 ---THOUSANDS of survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on Tuesday called on President Benigno Aquino 3rd to step down as they deplored what they saw as his “insensitivity” to their plight. The call for the President’s resignation came almost a year after Yolanda, the most powerful typhoon to hit the country, devastated entire communities in Central Visayas. “Enough is enough—President Aquino must go,” Marissa Calbajao, spokesperson for the People Surge Alliance for Yolanda Survivors, said. The group, which claims to have about 20,000 members, said the President committed “grave injustice” to the typhoon victims because of the government’s imposition of a “no build zone” policy in coastal communities.

Almost 7,000 people were killed and about 16 million people were affected when Yolanda hit land on November 8, 2013 in Visayas. Most of the people who died were swept by a storm surge that engulfed buildings and swept houses into the sea. People Surge said the government’s response to help the typhoon victims was not enough. “A full year of witnessing Aquino’s betrayal not only of Yolanda survivors, but of the Filipino people as a whole, through his anti-poor, anti-environment, pro-big business, and pro-foreign policies, tells us that there is no future for us and for the generations to come under the Aquino government,” Calbajao said. She lamented that the government’s negligence especially in the conduct of relief and rescue operations left thousands of typhoon victims suffering because of the break down in social services. “We have exhausted all means to demand for justice to Yolanda victims: we have sent letters and engaged in dialogues, reached out through media and even lobbied in Congress—to no avail. We have been ignored, deceived, mocked, maligned and repressed by President Aquino and his ilk,” Dr. Efleda Bautista, chairperson of People Surge, said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: With relief goods nearly gone, Yolanda survivors rely on grit  

NOV 5 --LEYTE RISING — Members of All Hands Volunteers, a charity institution, helps build a school building at the Anabong Elementary School in Tacloban City, Leyte, which is slowly rising from the devastation wrought by super-typhoon ‘Yolanda’ on Nov. 8, 2014. (Linus G. Escandor, II) Tacloban City, Leyte – Relief goods for victims of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) here have dwindled nearly a year following the catastrophe. Thus, hard-luck survivors deal with the inevitable reality of fending for themselves. The City Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO), the local body tasked with the distribution of relief goods in all 138 barangays, has stopped giving food packs in August. The reason? There is no more food to distribute.

“Pero madami pa kaming Aquatabs, kahon-kahon (But we still have a lot of Aquatabs, boxes and boxes of them),” said Virgie, a CSWDO employee, pointing to the cache of water purifying tablets at the City Hall’s third floor. “Galing Australia yan (Those came from Australia),” she added. While they may not be actual food, Aquatabs are much needed in the northern parts of the province where potable water supply remains a problem, Virgie bared. She identified these areas as San Roque, Palanog, Sto. Niño, Tagporo, Sta. Elena, New Kawayan and Old Kawayan, which is near the famous San Juanico bridge that connects Leyte and Samar. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Priest says faith sustained Yolanda survivors; Because of faith they are moving on  

Fr. Kevin Apurillo, parish priest of San Joaquin Parish Church in Leyte says it is prayers, faith in God and community support. “This is really very difficult. But because of their faith, they are trying to move on. Faith keeps these people going,” Apurillo said in a CBCP News post. Typhoon Yolanda, the worst recorded typhoon in the world left more than 6,000 people dead, thousands more missing and displaced millions of residents in its wake. When the super storm calmed down, Apurillo said the survivors sought refuge in the parish church which was converted into a disaster relief center. “Faith and this church was the first refuge of many people. For several weeks and months, all life was here,” he shared.

Masses also helped in the recovery in the spirit of many survivors. “Spiritually, I think a lot of people recovered because of the Mass. That’s why many people did not leave the Church,” he said. But, Apurillo said, many people are still reeling from the pain especially those who lost family members and relatives many of whom would always visit the graves of loved ones everyday to say a prayer, offer flowers and light candles. On the anniversary of the tragedy on Saturday (Nov 8) a procession and a Mass will highlight the commemoration in the parish. Dubbed as “Panumdom” (remembering), the activity will start at 4 a.m. until 4 p.m. “The time is very symbolic for us because we started to feel the very strong wind at 4 a.m. and we finished counting dead bodies at 4 p.m,” Apurillo said.

“Panumdom is not just a commemoration of the awful things that happened but also a thanksgiving for another chance to experience life for all of us who survived. It’s not just to remember our struggles but also the love of the people for the Church and our love for them.” he added. STREAMLINE Meanwhile, the government has shortened the processing period of housing permits and licenses in resettlement areas for Yolanda survivors. President Aquino signed Administrative Order No. 44 imposing specific time periods in processing 16 housing–related clearances and permits by concerned govt agencies and designated designated the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) as the lead agency to implement his directive. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace admits shortcomings in rehab program...Coloma: "Govt continue to strive to provide solutions...."  

DAYS before the anniversary of super-typhoon Yolanda that killed more than 6,000 people and caused the disappearance of more than 1,000 others, the government again acknowledged it had shortcomings in disaster rehabilitation efforts that has led to calls for President Benigno Aquino III to resign. “While we recognize that there may have been shortcomings, the government continues to address and strives to provide a solution to these shortcomings that are continuously being identified,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in Filipino.

“The President, Cabinet and the administration are facing all they have to do and we are thankful for the help of other countries and private and civil society organizations. This is a wide-ranging program that needs the contribution of every Filipino,” Coloma added. But Yolanda survivors continued to complain of “persisting injustices” one year after the disaster that befell them and called for the ouster of Aquino. Leaders of the People Surge alliance of Yolanda survivors announced at a Tacloban City hotel on Tuesday that more than 20,000 Yolanda survivors from across the Eastern Visayas region will stage protest actions from Nov. 7 to Nov. 8, the anniversary of the typhoon, to call for Aquino’s ouster. “A full year of witnessing Aquino’s betrayal not only Yolanda survivors, but of the Filipino people as a whole, through his anti-poor, anti-environment, pro-big business, and pro-foreign policies. tells us that there is no future for us under the Aquino administration,” said Marissa Cabaljao of Western Samar, one of the spokespersons of People Surge. * READ MORE...
 


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Still no final Yolanda death toll

MANILA, NOVEMBER 10, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Delon Porcalla - The official count stopped at around 4,000 and a regional police commander lost his post for projecting a death toll of 10,000.

Three days before the first anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda, Malacañang said yesterday that the government still could not come up with a final list of fatalities in the storm that ravaged Eastern Visayas.

“As you know, there is still an ongoing process of identification of the remains of the victims, which is being led by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI),” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

He said they have to consult the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) on the final death toll.

The NDRRMC under its former head, retired general Eduardo del Rosario, reportedly stopped counting at 6,300 casualties.

“We will need to check with the NDRRMC, noting that the NBI is still conducting DNA and other related tests. So this is an ongoing process because we would like to be able to honor the memory of all those who perished in the calamity,” Coloma said.

President Aquino had relieved Chief Supt. Elmer Soria, police director of Eastern Visayas, for telling the media that Yolanda’s death toll could reach over 10,000.

“Ten thousand, I think, is too much,” Aquino told CNN in an interview. There was emotional drama involved with that particular estimate, pointing out that he believes the figure would be closer to 2,500 – but which turned

The Philippine National Police leadership said Soria underwent severe stress due to Yolanda.

Meantime, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa convened last Monday a meeting of the Cabinet clusters directly involved in the implementation of the Yolanda Comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan (CRRP).

Coloma said Yolanda rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson reported the establishment of a one-stop shop for resettlement to facilitate the building of permanent housing units according to the master plan that Aquino signed last Oct. 28, nearly a year after the disaster.

The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council shall serve as the lead agency, as laid out in Administrative Order 44 or the Yolanda master plan that will provide relocation sites and housing units for typhoon victims.

A joint memorandum circular is also being arranged for the concerned Cabinet secretaries where there shall be a “delineation of safe, unsafe and controlled zones” in the areas hardest hit by the typhoon.

The agencies concerned are the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Science and Technology (DOST), National Defense (DND), Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The delivery of construction materials was discussed and is being facilitated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in coordination with the DPWH under Secretary Rogelio Singson.

* Coloma said Lacson will deliver the “Yolanda Report: A Story on Hope and Change” on Friday, which will coincide with the launching of a music video “We Will Rise Again” in cooperation with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).

Livelihood assistance

Some P36.6 million worth of livelihood assistance was granted to victims of Yolanda a year after the storm devastated the Visayas.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said she handed out 98 checks worth P36,605,536.08 to beneficiaries from the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Aklan, Capiz and Guimaras.

Baldoz said P17.4 million went to the payment of salaries of over 3,000 Iloilo residents who will work on the repair of school buildings, bridges and other infrastructure damaged by the typhoon.

Beneficiaries from Aklan received checks worth P4,997,139 so they could resume fishing and aquaculture, oyster production, fish cage, and crab fattening.

Baldoz said P3,635,550 in livelihood assistance was released to 17 beneficiaries from the province of Capiz, while checks worth P8,218,9896.88 were given to beneficiaries from Negros Occidental.

Beneficiaries from Guimaras received checks amounting to P2,256,172 for their livelihood projects like native bag production and marketing, banana production and processing and seaweed farming and processing.

Baldoz said more people could still avail of the government programs since Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional office in Western Visayas still has remaining livelihood funds for the year.

She urged the beneficiaries to maximize the opportunity that the DOLE assistance gave them and make their business viable and sustainable enterprises.

SM Cares

SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of the SM Prime, will turn over to Yolanda victims on Nov. 9 the first batch of disaster-resilient houses.

SM cares in a statement said the firm is building 1,000 houses for the homeless in typhoon-devastated areas in Visayas.

The beneficiaries would get their disaster-resilient houses for free at the first SM Cares Housing Village in Bogo, Leyte, one of the badly hit areas.

It has been made possible through the help of people who donated around P200 million to build the houses, which could withstand calamities.

Designed to be above the requirements of the existing building code and mandated standards, each house includes pre-cast walls and roofs, which could withstand the strength of winds accompanying a Category 5 super typhoon without any major material damages.

In addition to its disaster resiliency features, the houses have heat resistant painted roofing to help lower interior temperature and increase energy efficiency. The windows and doors are made of aluminum frame and PVC to provide a high level of resistance to corrosion, rot, chipping, fading, insect assault, discoloration and severe conditions.

The village will have utilities, basic amenities like streetlights, community center and basketball court. Community and livelihood development programs will also be conducted in each village to make the project more sustainable for the residents. – Mayen Jaymalin, Perseus Echeminada, Lalaine Jimenea

FROM THE INQUIRER

‘Yolanda’ mothers struggle for survival Agence France-Presse 1:40 AM | Wednesday, November 5th, 2014


In this picture taken on Oct. 17, 2014, Emily Sagalis holds her baby girl inside her house in Tacloban, Leyte. Emily Sagalis gave birth on a concrete slab after battling storm surges that killed thousands, then like many new mothers in razed communities of the Philippines began another perilous struggle for survival with her baby. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Emily Sagalis gave birth on a concrete slab after battling storm surges that killed thousands, then like many new mothers in razed communities of the Philippines began another perilous struggle for survival with her baby.

About 250,000 women were pregnant in areas hit by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” a year ago, and in the weeks that followed babies were born on shattered roads alongside corpses, in the rubble of destroyed buildings and other places where exhausted mothers lay without adequate or any medical care.

Successful deliveries, such as for Emily, became powerful moments of hope for traumatized families struggling in the desperate aftermath of Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) as well as for those involved in a massive relief effort.

The strongest winds ever recorded and storm surges higher than two-story buildings destroyed entire towns in already poor farming and fishing areas, killing or leaving missing more than 7,350 people.

She’s my miracle

“She is my miracle. I’d thought I would die with her still inside me, when high waves came and took us all away,” Emily, then 21, told Agence France-Presse as she lay on the concrete slab moments after giving birth to Bea Joy.

The birth took place three days after Yolanda struck, amid the ruins of the airport in Tacloban, one of the worst-hit cities.

Emily survived the tsunami-like storm surges, which killed her mother-in-law and wiped out her shanty, by holding onto a fence with one hand and protecting her swollen belly from crashing debris with her other.

* She then rested at an evacuation center with hundreds of other survivors, before going into labor and frantically catching a tricycle to the airport, where the military had set up a makeshift hospital.

But for every “miracle baby,” many others died because of a lack of medical care shortly after the typhoon, and then over the next year from malnutrition, illness and other complications, according to aid groups such as Save the Children and Unicef.

“We know mortality goes up for newborns in a typhoon-affected community,” Save the Children Philippine country director Ned Olney said in an interview ahead of Saturday’s one-year anniversary of Yolanda.

There are no official figures for the number of babies who died in the year after the typhoon.

But an average of 750 babies have been born every day in typhoon-hit communities, including during those initial weeks and months when access to medical care was at its worst, according to Olney, whose organization played a big role in providing aid to newborns and children.

“It was common that children were being born every day on the side of the road wherever there was space, in unhygienic conditions,” Olney said.

Bitter start

Infections, respiratory illnesses and hypothermia are the typical killers of newborn babies in disasters such as Yolanda, according to Olney.

Even for the babies that survived, most began their lives in bitter poverty.

Emily and her husband, Jobert, spent the first few months after the disaster living in a shanty on the same site as their previous home in San Jose, a small fishing town facing the Pacific Ocean on the outskirts of Tacloban that was almost entirely wiped out by tsunami-like waves.

When the French news agency visited them three months after Haiyan, the three were completely reliant on the food, money and other aid donated by relief organizations.

Living at the site of so much death haunted them.

However, at least their shelter was packed with sacks of donated rice and canned goods, while a charity group had set up a tent nearby from which it was giving out hot meals for mothers and their children.

A year after the typhoon, Jobert, Emily and Bea Joy’s lives are much more desperate.

They are living in a temporary shelter built by a Canadian aid group next to their old home, but it has no electricity, toilet or running water, and the thatch walls fail to keep out heavy rain.

The emergency aid stopped flowing many months ago and Emily, who is still breastfeeding, has lost a lot of weight. Rotting teeth are revealed when a smile flickers across her face while playing with Bea Joy.

Nadir

Their nadir came a few weeks ago when their food stocks dwindled to almost nothing, with Jobert having to buy from local stores on credit and still spend days without eating.

“They are my family so they ate what we had,” said Jobert, whose skin clings tightly to his bones. “I couldn’t let them go hungry. Sometimes I cried. But as long as they could eat, that’s all that mattered.”

They have since taken a tentative step away from that precipice, with Jobert securing a two-month contract doing manual labor for P260 a day.

Common across areas

“But we don’t know what will happen after that,” said Emily.

Save the Children’s Olney said the Sagalis family’s plight was common across the typhoon-hit areas, which were already among the poorest in the Philippines.

“There’s no question in my mind the poor are poorer than they were before the typhoon … many thousands of families in the typhoon-affected areas are still living hand to mouth,” Olney said.

The government, as well as many international aid groups, is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to ease poverty across the typhoon-hit areas.

But, with 25 million people living below the poverty line across the Philippines, or about one quarter of the population, there are no expectations of a miracle cure in the typhoon zones.

Still, Emily and Jobert insist they have fortunate lives, thanks to Bea Joy.

“When we are here in our house, just the three of us, playing and cooking, then we are happy … she is our happiness,” Emily said.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Tacloban: Fishermen return, try to reconnect with the sea By Ronald Reyes | Nov. 06, 2014 at 12:01am


Building from scratch. A fisherman starts to build a stand for his boat as other fishers check on the fishing equipment donated by the European Union in Leyte. AFP AND MEL CASPE

TACLOBAN CITY—Jimmy Llegado, 43, fixed his eyes on the waters of Cancabato Bay in Tacloban, and then with his index finger pointed to the horizon, nodding.

“That is the place where I go fishing. I’m back in the sea,” said Llegado, one of the fishermen in the city who almost lost their lives after super typhoon “Yolanda” slammed into Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8 last year, and yet are now returning to the sea to earn a living.

“I’ve been a fisherman as far as I can remember. The sea is where I get our food. It’s my friend,” Llegado said.

More than 6,000 people were killed in Tacloban City, particularly from the coastal villages of San Jose to Anibong district, when Yolanda struck, yet Llegado says the sea “is always a source of life.”

He received a new boat from a non-governmental organization a few months after the typhoon struck, but he says that was taken away from him for some unexplained reasons. To help him feed his family, a close friend lent him his boat so he could fish.

“With or without a boat I go to the sea for food. I have to find ways,” Llegado said.

“From nine o’ clock in the morning until one o’ clock in the afternoon I swim out to the sea, going to the San Jose area using an improvised fin while clutching an empty container so I’d float. I collect shells from the sea.”

But Llegado says fishing in Cancabato Bay is getting difficult because the catch is dwindling.

“There are already many fishermen because many boats were given away,” Llegado said.

Indeed, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has said more than 20,000 boats will be given to the fishermen affected by Yolanda.

And Senator Cynthia Villar on Wednesday underscored the lessons the Filipinos learned a year after the typhoon slammed into Eastern Visayas.

* She and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala distributed certificates and tokens to local and international non-government organizations that helped in the government’s rehabilitation efforts.

Villar said there was no question farmers and fishermen were the top priorities since most of the disaster-hit communities relied heavily on farming and fishing. It was important for them to get back to their farms and to the sea.

“The sooner that happens, the sooner their lives and those of their families will have a semblance of normalcy,” she said.

Ambassador Guy Ledoux of the European Union praised Yolanda’s survivors for their resilience and their efforts to revive their communities.

Ledoux, along with Czech Republic Ambassador Jaroslav Olša and Food and Agriculture Organization Representative to the Philippines José Luis Fernandez came back to the province for the ceremonial distribution of 159 boat engines and 259 fishing nets for the affected fishermen in Abuyog, Leyte.

“It is very important for fishermen to have these engines for their economic activity… I was here last year and now I am back, and I am pleased to see that life is back in Leyte,” Ledoux said during his visit to Abuyog last month.

“And these fishermen, they are busy again getting new ideas, and it is interesting to know about their collaboration to ensure their recovery.”

The European Union has provided $1.9 million to the fishermen affected by Yolanda, while the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department will continue to distribute boat engines to about 1,700 fishermen in the Yolanda-hit fishing communities.

The engines aside, the EU-funded support to the FAO will provide 3,000 fishermen with materials to mend or replace their lost fishing gear, while 1,000 women will be trained in fish processing and other income-generating activities.

Around 1,000 seaweed farmers will receive assistance to restore their seaweed farms. With Macon Ramos-Araneta

FROM THE MANNILA TIMES

Aquino, resign – Yolanda victims November 4, 2014 11:24 pm by NEIL A. ALCOBER
REPORTER

THOUSANDS of survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on Tuesday called on President Benigno Aquino 3rd to step down as they deplored what they saw as his “insensitivity” to their plight.

The call for the President’s resignation came almost a year after Yolanda, the most powerful typhoon to hit the country, devastated entire communities in Central Visayas.

“Enough is enough—President Aquino must go,” Marissa Calbajao, spokesperson for the People Surge Alliance for Yolanda Survivors, said. The group, which claims to have about 20,000 members, said the President committed “grave injustice” to the typhoon victims because of the government’s imposition of a “no build zone” policy in coastal communities.

Almost 7,000 people were killed and about 16 million people were affected when Yolanda hit land on November 8, 2013 in Visayas. Most of the people who died were swept by a storm surge that engulfed buildings and swept houses into the sea.
People Surge said the government’s response to help the typhoon victims was not enough.

“A full year of witnessing Aquino’s betrayal not only of Yolanda survivors, but of the Filipino people as a whole, through his anti-poor, anti-environment, pro-big business, and pro-foreign policies, tells us that there is no future for us and for the generations to come under the Aquino government,” Calbajao said.

She lamented that the government’s negligence especially in the conduct of relief and rescue operations left thousands of typhoon victims suffering because of the break down in social services.

“We have exhausted all means to demand for justice to Yolanda victims: we have sent letters and engaged in dialogues, reached out through media and even lobbied in Congress—to no avail. We have been ignored, deceived, mocked, maligned and repressed by President Aquino and his ilk,” Dr. Efleda Bautista, chairperson of People Surge, said.

* The group also lambasted the president for the government’s “anti-people, investment-led and debt-driven rehabilitation” that, it said, focused heavily on infrastructure “distributed among Aquino’s big business allies.”

In a statement, the group claimed that the P20 billion rehabilitation supplemental budget this year and the P23.8 billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) allocations on disaster management were “plundered.”

It also criticized the “deceptive ‘divide and conquer’ relief operations marked by empty promises of relief, conditional cash transfers, and other forms of aid being subjected to preconditions to prevent the people from participating in legitimate mass actions to redress grievances, as well as the perpetration of demolition tactics as part of the government’s beautification frenzy in time for Pope Francis’ visit.”

Back to work

But the Philippine Red Cross said thousands of families whose livelihood were devastated when the typhoon hit have returned to work.

In a forum in Manila, Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon said almost 30,000 households have so far received cash grants of up to $220 as part of the Philippine Red Cross’s three-year $360-million recovery plan that aims to support 500,000 people across Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Panay and Palawan islands.

Gordon said families have set up sari-sari stores, selling basic food needs, including live pigs, goats and chicken.
“One year after Haiyan [Yolanda] robbed so many families of their income, we are seeing people return to work, including setting up new businesses,” he said. He noted that farming, rearing livestock and sari-sari stores are the top three livelihood that people enter into.

Gordon said Red Cross built 6,081 houses, while 13,506 households received cash or materials for shelter repair assistance. Seven health facilities were either repaired or built and equipped, and 1,493 water systems were repaired or constructed.

However, Gordon admitted that much more have yet to be accomplished because the devastation was so huge that it will take two more years to uplift the condition of 16 million people who were affected by the disaster.

Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang said there are still humanitarian needs on the ground. She said they have yet to reach 400 barangays to help families there rebuild their lives.

Red Cross, in a press conference attended also by International Federation of the Red Cross delegation in the Philippines head Marcel Fortier and International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in the Philippines head Pascal Mauchle, said aside from livelihood, victims need housing, medical services, water and toilets.

Gordon admitted that people living in small islands have yet to receive the needed support because Red Cross volunteers have difficulty reaching them. He said they could not even ask help from the military since the areas are insurgency infested.

He said some 500,000 people have yet to receive humanitarian assistance while 40,000 households who have yet to be relocated to safer homes. With Jaime R. Pilapil

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

With relief goods nearly gone, Yolanda survivors rely on grit by Ellson Quismorio November 4, 2014 Share this:


LEYTE RISING — Members of All Hands Volunteers, a charity institution, helps build a school building at the Anabong Elementary School in Tacloban City, Leyte, which is slowly rising from the devastation wrought by super-typhoon ‘Yolanda’ on Nov. 8, 2014. (Linus G. Escandor, II)

Tacloban City, Leyte – Relief goods for victims of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) here have dwindled nearly a year following the catastrophe. Thus, hard-luck survivors deal with the inevitable reality of fending for themselves.

The City Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO), the local body tasked with the distribution of relief goods in all 138 barangays, has stopped giving food packs in August.

The reason? There is no more food to distribute.

“Pero madami pa kaming Aquatabs, kahon-kahon (But we still have a lot of Aquatabs, boxes and boxes of them),” said Virgie, a CSWDO employee, pointing to the cache of water purifying tablets at the City Hall’s third floor.

“Galing Australia yan (Those came from Australia),” she added. While they may not be actual food, Aquatabs are much needed in the northern parts of the province where potable water supply remains a problem, Virgie bared.

She identified these areas as San Roque, Palanog, Sto. Niño, Tagporo, Sta. Elena, New Kawayan and Old Kawayan, which is near the famous San Juanico bridge that connects Leyte and Samar.

* Yolanda tore through the country’ central islands on November 8, 2013, killing thousands and displacing millions. This triggered a massive, global-scale outpouring of support for the victims.

According to a USAID fact sheet, as of April 2014 international donors had pledged approximately $796M to address the needs of Yolanda survivors

DWINDLING

Luz Aguillon, who signs the release orders, said they used to dispense “loaded” food packs containing half a sack of rice, 24 canned goods, 24 instant noodles and 20 packs of coffee when the city government began distribution efforts in December 12 last year.

First to run out were canned goods and coffee. “Depende kasi sa availability ng goods (it depends on the availability of the goods),” she noted.

On June 24, the CSWDO distributed only instant noodles to hungry storm victims after their rice supply was exhausted. The last pack of noodles was given out on August 22.

Because of the dwindling food supply, the city government failed to include Barangays 86, 59-A, 43-B and 35-A in the last wave of food distribution, the Manila Bulletin/ Tempo learned.

WAITING LIST

Should there be a resupply of relief goods, Aguillon said the CSWDO would prioritize “vulnerable” constituents composed of families with senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs) as well as pregnant and lactating women.

There are 17,391 families in the waiting list.

“Hinihintay namin na sumagot yung region sa request namin (We’re waiting for the DSWD regional office to respond to our request for additional goods),” she said.

ELBOW GREASE

Edwin, a tricycle driver from Barangay 48, said he realizes that he can’t rely on the government forever and must then use some elbow grease to feed his family of seven.

He counts himself among the lucky ones in the storm-ravaged city, having a steady source of income.

“Ang boundary ng tricycle P200. Kapag madami tao, kumikita ako P1,000. Kapag mahina naman kumikita ako P200-300 pwede na pambili ng bigas at ulam (I have to pay the tricycle operator 200 as boundary. If there are many passengers I can earn P1,000. On lean days, I earn P200 to P300 which is enough to buy rice and viand).”

He said there are over 2,500 registered tricycles in the city, meaning he must work hard to compete with his fellow drivers.

Edwin can’t help but feel that the government could do better in helping people get back on their feet. “Nakakabangon na kami unti-unti pero kung sa tulong ng gobyerno, kulang pa rin (We’re slowly getting back on our feet. As for government’s help, it is still lacking).”

BUNKHOUSES STILL GET RICE

Over at the bunkhouses in Calipayan, residents still get a sack of rice every month. There used to be canned goods and noodles too, 32-year-old Lito Lucete shared.

“Wala nang ulam pero ang mahalaga may bigas. Madali na lang ulam (There are no viands anymore but at least they still give us rice. Viands are easy to find),” said Lucete while painting a pedicab on the side of the street.

A fellow resident among the swathe of bunkhouses here, Sharon, a mother of 10 says they had their last rice supply on October 22. Her family’s main source of income is a small sari-sari stall, which she was able to put with the help of a loan shark.

“Marami nga akong binabayarang utang (I have a lot of debts to pay),” she said with a chuckle.

But given the difficult living conditions in these cramped structures, Sharon said she would readily give up receiving relief goods in exchange for a permanent home.

“Kahit wala nang relief basta may paglalagyan sa amin na permanente. Mahirap kasi sa mga bata kapag palipat-lipat. May mga nag-aaral pa akong anak (I don’t mind not receiving relief goods as long as we get a permanent home. It’s difficult for children to transfer from one place to another. Some of my kids are still studying),” she said.

The regional office of the DSWD is in charge of the relief distribution in bunk houses.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Priest says faith sustained Yolanda survivors by Leslie Ann G. Aquino and Genalyn D. Kabiling November 5, 2014 Share this: What keeps Typhoon Yolanda survivors going?

Fr. Kevin Apurillo, parish priest of San Joaquin Parish Church in Leyte says it is prayers, faith in God and community support.

“This is really very difficult. But because of their faith, they are trying to move on. Faith keeps these people going,” Apurillo said in a CBCP News post.

Typhoon Yolanda, the worst recorded typhoon in the world left more than 6,000 people dead, thousands more missing and displaced millions of residents in its wake.

When the super storm calmed down, Apurillo said the survivors sought refuge in the parish church which was converted into a disaster relief center.

“Faith and this church was the first refuge of many people. For several weeks and months, all life was here,” he shared.

Masses also helped in the recovery in the spirit of many survivors.

“Spiritually, I think a lot of people recovered because of the Mass. That’s why many people did not leave the Church,” he said.

But, Apurillo said, many people are still reeling from the pain especially those who lost family members and relatives many of whom would always visit the graves of loved ones everyday to say a prayer, offer flowers and light candles.

On the anniversary of the tragedy on Saturday (Nov 8) a procession and a Mass will highlight the commemoration in the parish.

Dubbed as “Panumdom” (remembering), the activity will start at 4 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“The time is very symbolic for us because we started to feel the very strong wind at 4 a.m. and we finished counting dead bodies at 4 p.m,” Apurillo said.

“Panumdom is not just a commemoration of the awful things that happened but also a thanksgiving for another chance to experience life for all of us who survived. It’s not just to remember our struggles but also the love of the people for the Church and our love for them.” he added.

STREAMLINE

Meanwhile, the government has shortened the processing period of housing permits and licenses in resettlement areas for Yolanda survivors.

President Aquino signed Administrative Order No. 44 imposing specific time periods in processing 16 housing–related clearances and permits by concerned govt agencies and designated designated the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) as the lead agency to implement his directive.

* The HUDCC which is headed by Vice-President Jejomar Binay serves as chair of the resettlement cluster under the government’s post-Yolanda rehabilitation master plan.

“The provision of safe shelter is a basic human need, thus, it is imperative for the Government to expedite the identification, construction and development of housing and resettlement sites for families where houses were damaged by typhoon Yolanda,” the President’s order read.

TWO DAYS

Permits that could be issued within two working days are the geohazard report, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) assessment, Department of Science and Technology assessment, zoning certification, clearance from Municipal Agrarian Reform Office, irrigation clearance certification, Sugar Regulatory Authority clearance certification, and Philippine Coconut Authority clearance certification.

Getting a certification declaring that the housing site is outside the National Integrated Protected Area system will be processed within three working days.

10 DAYS

Permits obtained in 10 days are the Sanggunian resolution approving land reclassification, approval of subdivision plans, certification of eligibility for conversation for agricultural lands, order of land conversion, and environmental compliance certificate. Development permits from local government units could be approved in 15 working days.

Applying for a certificate of tax exemption for social housing projects, on the other hand, will take the longest period at 30 days.

All socialized housing projects will also be exempted from the required fees for the issuance of clearances except for the documentary stamp tax.

In same AO 44, the President directed various agencies, including HUDCC, National Housing Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Land Registration Authority, to designate representatives for each concerned province to facilitate the approval of the housing permits.

A two-step approval process must also be implemented by the concerned government agencies to hasten the issuance of the necessary housing clearances, according to the President.

AO44 stated that each dedicated agency representative must assist the NHA and the concerned local government unit in facilitating the information needed by the agency to issue the permits required for the housing project. The agency’s focal person in the resettlement cluster will then oversee the timely issuance of the housing permits and prepare a report to Lacson’s office.

CONTROLLED ZONES

Aquino also directed the Department of Interior and Local Govenrment to ensure the participation of concerned lgus in the implementation of the streamlined approval process of permits.

In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. convened a meeting of the cabinet clusters involved in the implementation of the ‘Yolanda’ Comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan (CRRP).

Apart from the one-stop shop for resettlement projects, Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation Panfilo Lacson reported the delineation of safe, unsafe, and controlled zones. This matter, Lacson said, is being finalized by the secretaries of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Science and Technology, National Defense, Interior and Local Government, and Public Works and Highways.

Lacson also said the Department of Trade and Industry and the DPWH handle the delivery of steady supply of construction materials.

Coloma said Lacson will deliver the “Yolanda Report: A Story on Hope and Change” on Friday, November 7. The event will coincide with the launching of a music video “We Will Rise Again” in cooperation with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.

Coloma said there is no definite plan yet if President Aquino will visit the typhoon-hit places on the first anniversary of the Yolanda onslaught this weekend.

Palace admits shortcomings in rehab program By Joyce Pangco Panares, Mel Caspe | Nov. 05, 2014 at 12:01am


Protest. Members of People Surge, Gabriela, urges President Benigno Aquino III to step down during a press conference in Tacloban City following his alleged inaction over the plight of the survivors of super typhoon Haiyan. Mel Caspe

DAYS before the anniversary of super-typhoon Yolanda that killed more than 6,000 people and caused the disappearance of more than 1,000 others, the government again acknowledged it had shortcomings in disaster rehabilitation efforts that has led to calls for President Benigno Aquino III to resign.

“While we recognize that there may have been shortcomings, the government continues to address and strives to provide a solution to these shortcomings that are continuously being identified,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in Filipino.

“The President, Cabinet and the administration are facing all they have to do and we are thankful for the help of other countries and private and civil society organizations. This is a wide-ranging program that needs the contribution of every Filipino,” Coloma added.

But Yolanda survivors continued to complain of “persisting injustices” one year after the disaster that befell them and called for the ouster of Aquino.

Leaders of the People Surge alliance of Yolanda survivors announced at a Tacloban City hotel on Tuesday that more than 20,000 Yolanda survivors from across the Eastern Visayas region will stage protest actions from Nov. 7 to Nov. 8, the anniversary of the typhoon, to call for Aquino’s ouster.

“A full year of witnessing Aquino’s betrayal not only Yolanda survivors, but of the Filipino people as a whole, through his anti-poor, anti-environment, pro-big business, and pro-foreign policies. tells us that there is no future for us under the Aquino administration,” said Marissa Cabaljao of Western Samar, one of the spokespersons of People Surge.

* People Surge chairperson, educator Efleda Bautista, said they are preparing a week of protest actions that began with mass grave visits and memorials during All Saints’ and All Souls’ days.

Bautista said groups of disaster survivors from Mindanao and the Visayas will hold a human rights conference on Nov. 5 and a disaster survivors conference on Nov. 6, prior to the big protest actions on Nov. 7-8.

“We have exhausted all means to demand for justice to Yolanda victims: we have sent letters and engaged in dialogues, reached out through media and even lobbied in congress, all to no avail,” recalling how they almost begged for action from the national government.

“We have been ignored, deceived, mocked, maligned and reressed by President Aquino and his ilk,” Bautista added.

But Coloma insisted that the government is doing all it can to address the needs of survivors and announced that Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa met on Monday with Cabinet clusters involved in the the Yolanda Comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan (CRRP).

Coloma said the meeting tackled Aquino’s Administrative Order No. 44 which establishes a one-stop shop for the resettlement of victims who lost their homes to super typhoon Yolanda last year.

“In line with the build back better principle adopted by the government in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas, there is a need to ensure the development of housing and resettlement sites that are safe and resilient from disasters due to hydro-meteorological and geologic hazards,” Aquino said.

“The provision of safe shelter is a basic human need, thus it is imperative for the government to expedite the identification, construction and development of housing and resettlement sites for families who houses were damaged by typhoon Yolanda,” the President added

Aquino directed at least 11 government agencies to designate officers for each affected province who will facilitate the processing and issuance of necessary documents to Yolanda survivors.

These agencies include the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council; National Housing Authority; Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board; Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Environmental Management Bureau, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Science and Technology, Land Registration Authority, and the Department of Interior and Local Government.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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