HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK...

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY VOWS TO CONTINUE AID TO YOLANDA AREAS 

NOV 6 ---Recovery efforts in areas that Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated last year will continue to receive support from United Nations agencies and the international community. Luisa Carvalho, UN Country Team resident and humanitarian coordinator in the Philippines, said the support will be given at all levels, particularly through the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery and relevant line departments. In a statement yesterday, Carvalho said they are privileged to have been able to contribute to the humanitarian response.

“We are humbled by the extraordinary resilience of the Filipino people who, despite the unprecedented destruction and tragedy that struck, pushed through individually and collectively, and with generosity of spirit, to this point where recovery is well underway,” she said. Carvalho said recovery started as soon as two months after the catastrophe, with UN agencies and partners shifting gears to rehabilitation and development work in August, due to the good results of humanitarian phase and in response to the Philippine government’s official launch of the recovery phase. “We recognize that ‘building back better’ will be a complex and long process, particularly the rehabilitation of human settlements and the restoration of livelihoods.” Families and communities must be prepared for upcoming weather systems, Carvalho said. People killed when Yolanda struck the Philippines last year will be remembered on the first anniversary of the world’s strongest typhoon on Nov. 8.

The UN Humanitarian Country Team served roughly 3.7 million people with food assistance; 82,000 mothers given feeding counsel; 23,000 pregnant and lactating women with prenatal and postnatal care; almost 1 million people with rehabilitated water systems; 350,000 with new or rehabilitated latrines; 570,000 households with emergency shelter; 162,000 households with emergency employment; 102,000 people provided information on prevention and management of gender-based violence in emergencies; 20,101 young people provided with information and services on health and protection; and 100,000 farmers with agricultural seeds and tools. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Yolanda, a year later, a million still lack jobs, shelter

NOV 8 --PHO5TO: Workers rush the construction of Burayan Bridge in Tacloban City yesterday in time for Pope Francis’ visit in January next year. BOY SANTOS MANILA, Philippines - A year after Super Typhoon Yolanda battered the country, close to a million people are still living in inadequate shelters and having a hard time finding jobs and livelihood, a humanitarian group said. According to an Oxfam report, at least 205,000 families are still waiting to be resettled in sturdier houses to be built on safer land. “The families often continue to live in makeshift shelters in areas prone to typhoons, flooding and other hazards. Others live in bunkhouses and tents across the affected regions,” the Oxfam report stated. “As of October 2014, only 452 permanent new homes had been built, largely reflecting difficulties in buying safe land in the right place,” it added.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a recent protection assessment found that people who remain displaced face a number of risks and residual humanitarian issues, including housing, land and property issues, physical security, water sanitation and hygiene. Justin Morgan, Oxfam’s country director in the Philippines, said displaced residents are concerned about their ability to earn an income as resettlement sites are far from their livelihood source. “Too often people are left to choose between a place of safety and their ability to earn an income,” he added. Coconut farming and fishing were the worst hit by the typhoon. Around 13 million coconut trees were destroyed or damaged in Eastern Visayas alone. “With key sources of income destroyed overnight, coconut farmers are left to grapple with delays in replanting crops caused by the slow pace of clearance of coconut lumber debris from their fields,” Oxfam said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino hits critics on eve of Yolanda anniversary, skips Tacloban visit 

NOV 7 ---MANILA, Philippines–President Benigno Aquino III on Friday scored critics who accused him of neglecting Tacloban City, the area most devastated by Super Typhoon “Yolanda,” and which happened to be the bulwark of his family’s political foes. In his speech after inspecting the Guiuan Public Market and relocation site in Eastern Samar, Aquino said he would leave it to the public to decide if his critics were correct in saying he ignored Tacloban, which incidentally was not part of his itinerary to commemorate the one year anniversary of the monster typhoon. “Sa kabila po ng inisyatiba nating ito, malakas ang kutob ko, bukas na bukas po, mayroon pa ring hihirit: Pinapabayaan ko raw ang Tacloban. Kayo na ang bahalang kumilala kung sino ang mga magsasabi niyan,” Aquino said. (Despite our initiatives, I have a feeling that tomorrow, someone will still claim I ignored Tacloban. I leave it up to you to find out who are saying this.)

The President again thumbed down the demand from People Surge, a militant group of typhoon survivors, to give P40,000 in immediate financial relief to each family affected by the typhoon. “Tanong ko po sa inyo: Tama bang magpapogi na lang ako. Abutan na lang natin lahat ng pamilya… So balik na naman tayong sa walang pangmatagalang solusyon,” Aquino said. (Let me ask you: Is it right for me to just make an impression and hand out cash to each family?… We’ll just get back to the lack of a long-term solution.) Aquino had been allegedly snubbing Tacloban supposedly because it was the bulwark of the Romualdezes. Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez is the nephew of Imelda Marcos. Aquino’s father, Ninoy Aquino, was assassinated on his return from exile in 1983 during the presidency Ferdinand Marcos. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Mar Roxas gets social media flak for magazine cover 

Sec. Mar Roxas appears on the cover of Esquire’s November issue. Screen grab from Esquire’s Facebook page. MANILA, Philippines — What about Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas saying hello from Tacloban got netizens irked? Roxas received flak on social media after he was featured on the cover of “Esquire Philippines” magazine commemorating the first anniversary of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan). The official Facebook account of Esquire shared the photo of its cover featuring a smiling and gentle Roxas, whose right hand was raised in a greeting while sitting on a pile of cut wood behind a cargo truck. The caption of the photo reads: “Hello from Tacloban… One year later.” Roxas’ smiling photo was taken about a year ago or on November 21, 2013, at the Tacloban City Port.

“There are reasons why stories are revisited: sometimes, it’s because there are new lessons to be learned. Sometimes, it’s because not enough people are listening. This month, a year after Yolanda, ESQUIRE Philippines returns to the ongoing tragedy that is the storm’s aftermath,” the status that accompanied the photo read. Some netizens called the photo “insensitive,” in “bad taste,” and an “insult” to the typhoon victims. Still, others noted a hint of sarcasm, a sense of a story, and even a note of hope. The photo was shared 514 times as of posting time since it was posted on Thursday. It also got 190 likes. “Esquire this is really done in bad taste. Give respect to the people of Tacloban,” commented Joseph Ongkeko Delos Reyes. “Bad move. How about putting the pictures of those who survived the disaster?” Dee Ferraris Necèsito pointed out. * READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘We Will Rise Again,’ prayers mark 1st Yolanda anniversary; Nov. 8 a Nat'L Day of Prayer

NOV 6 --A video released by the government features the song “We Will Rise Again” while Catholic bishops have declared Nov. 8 as a National Day of Prayer to mark the first anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas made the declaration in a circular issued on Nov. 4. Churches around the country will simultaneously ring their bells at 6 p.m. on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of Yolanda, which left at least 6,300 people dead and 28,000 injured and destroyed billions worth of properties. Villegas has urged his fellow prelates and apostolic administrators to take part in the simultaneous ringing of church bells and encouraged dioceses, schools and organizations to conduct their own activities to mark the anniversary of Yolanda.

Yesterday at 11:30 a.m., the government launched the music video of the song “We Will Rise Again” (video) online and in various television stations and cinemas nationwide to pay tribute to Filipino resilience and recognize those who helped in the relief and rehabilitation efforts. The video featured photos and footage of relief efforts by government agencies and local and international humanitarian groups. It also showed images of children in typhoon-hit areas who remained upbeat despite the tragedy that struck them. The five-minute song was composed by Jude Gitamondoc and performed by Raki Vega. “The Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery has put together this ‘We Will Rise Again’ music video as a reminder of the unwavering determination, the indomitable spirit and the unparalleled resilience of the Filipinos,” the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said. All state agencies, television networks, cinemas, development partners and private sector partners were asked to share the link of the music video in their official websites and social networking accounts.

The NDRRMC will also launch on Monday a book containing the experiences of those who joined in the relief efforts in areas struck by Yolanda. The book “Y it happened” will feature best practices, lessons and stories of typhoon survivors, donors, humanitarian groups and responders. “We are hoping the experiences we have in Yolanda would work in our favor so that these things would not happen again,” NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama said. Noy to visit Guiuan President Aquino will not be in Tacloban City tomorrow to commemorate the first anniversary of Yolanda. “Yolanda affected a wide area. The President chose Guiuan (Eastern Samar), which was the first point of impact last Nov. 8,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. “He has limited time as he is preparing for back-to-back APEC and ASEAN summits.” * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Feature: A year after super-typhoon Yolanda hit, normalcy amid dire problems

NOV 7 --PHOTO COURTESY OF GMA NEWS: Children play with a fishing net at a coastal village in Tacloban City on Thursday, November 6, one year since Typhoon Yolanda hit the central Philippines. November 8 is the first anniversary since Yolanda devastated parts of the Visayas, killing more than 6,000 people and leaving millions displaced in its wake. AFP/Ezra Acayan/NurPhoto MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - A year after super-typhoon Yolanda, internationally known as Haiyan, hit the central Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, life in the worst-hit areas, including Tacloban City, is almost back to normal. Signs of normalcy can be seen in the hassle and bustle of the market place, the ubiquitous tricyles (three-wheeled passenger motorbikes) causing traffic jams in some city streets and people lining up in fast-food outlets and flocking to reopened malls.

In the rural areas of the province of Leyte of which Tacloban City is the capital, farmers have gone back to tilling their farms and fishermen have resumed their daily struggle to eke out a living. While normalcy is now noticeable in Tacloban City, there are still signs of extreme poverty in some areas with many still don't have enough food to eat not to mention the lack of shelter and sanitation facilities. There is also the lack of employment opportunities for the displaced families. In a report, Save the Children Philippine country director Ned Olney was quoted as saying that poverty is still high in the typhoon-hit areas, whose residents are 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. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Picking up the pieces: Survivors still eke out a living a year after Yolanda  

PHOTO: Fishermen raise an empty net off the coast of Anibong in Tacloban City, Leyte, almost a year after Typhoon Yolanda destroyed the city and many municipalities on the island. AFP/Noel Celis --A year after the super typhoon Yolanda cut a swath across the central Philippines, survivors in Leyte province are still struggling to make a living. Jun Pilapil Jr., 56, was a fisherman based in Tacloban City - one of the areas hardest hit by Yolanda. After the typhoon killed over 6,000 people in his home province on November 8 last year, he now fishes in the province of Biliran, of Leyte's northern coast, and transports and sells his catch back to Tacloban. "Hindi pa talaga nagno-normal sa pangingisda," the father of seven told GMA News Online in a phone interview. "Ang hirap ng hanapbuhay namin." Even though the government had provided him and his fellow fishermen a banca (Pilapil is the Tacloban Fisherfolk Urban Association president), he said that it was not enough.

He explained that the banca provided them was small and was not appropriate for use in rough seas or to catch larger fish. He also lamented that the Cancabato Bay, the main fishing ground off Tacloban City, had not been cleared of debris from the super typhoon. Thus, fish caught in the bay were small - if there was any catch at all. Currently, Pilapil uses a bigger banca provided by an international NGO, that is why he can fish in nearby provinces. But it was still a struggle to support his two children, who are college students. They were forced to stop their schooling. Still, Pilapil considered himself lucky because some of his colleagues had abandoned fishing altogether and had turned to construction work as laborers. Looting a supermarket As Yolanda devastated their town of Palo, Leyte and left them without food, water, and clothing, the Marciel family decided to walk to the urban center of Tacloban City. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Int’l community vows to continue aid to Yolanda areas


A girl living in tents provided by United Nations aid agencies for Yolanda survivors walks to school in Tacloban, Leyte yesterday. AP

MANILA, NOVEMBER 10, 2014
(PHILSTAR) Recovery efforts in areas that Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated last year will continue to receive support from United Nations agencies and the international community.

Luisa Carvalho, UN Country Team resident and humanitarian coordinator in the Philippines, said the support will be given at all levels, particularly through the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery and relevant line departments.

In a statement yesterday, Carvalho said they are privileged to have been able to contribute to the humanitarian response.

“We are humbled by the extraordinary resilience of the Filipino people who, despite the unprecedented destruction and tragedy that struck, pushed through individually and collectively, and with generosity of spirit, to this point where recovery is well underway,” she said.

Carvalho said recovery started as soon as two months after the catastrophe, with UN agencies and partners shifting gears to rehabilitation and development work in August, due to the good results of humanitarian phase and in response to the Philippine government’s official launch of the recovery phase.

“We recognize that ‘building back better’ will be a complex and long process, particularly the rehabilitation of human settlements and the restoration of livelihoods.”

Families and communities must be prepared for upcoming weather systems, Carvalho said.

People killed when Yolanda struck the Philippines last year will be remembered on the first anniversary of the world’s strongest typhoon on Nov. 8.

The UN Humanitarian Country Team served roughly 3.7 million people with food assistance; 82,000 mothers given feeding counsel; 23,000 pregnant and lactating women with prenatal and postnatal care; almost 1 million people with rehabilitated water systems; 350,000 with new or rehabilitated latrines; 570,000 households with emergency shelter; 162,000 households with emergency employment; 102,000 people provided information on prevention and management of gender-based violence in emergencies; 20,101 young people provided with information and services on health and protection; and 100,000 farmers with agricultural seeds and tools.

* These were done in partnership with national agencies, local governments, donors, private sector, and civil society.

Carvalho said 4,900 temporary learning spaces were created, 545,000 children received learning materials, and public health outbreaks were effectively prevented.

French commitment

The French business community reaffirmed yesterday its commitment to complete two reconstruction projects in Northern Cebu early next year.

The France-Philippines United Action (FPUA), in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, has built 74 disaster-resilient houses on a 5,488-square-meter site in Barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu.

The houses will be handed over to selected families before Christmas.

Designed by architect Ed Florentino, each house can withstand up to intensity 8 earthquakes and 275-300 kilometer-per-hour winds. Lafarge – the world’s largest cement maker and a member of FPUA – provided the construction materials.

FPUA now aims to construct 148 more houses on a 13,500-square meter site in Barangay Paypay, also in Daanbantayan, in partnership with the French and the Philippine Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, scheduled for completion by June 2015.

Beneficiary families will be covered by a comprehensive livelihood program.

FPUA members Total, Sanofi, and la Caisse des Dépôts collaborated with the Red Cross for the project.

Altogether, FPUA raised $613,700 from different French companies.

FPUA chairman Don Lee, Lafarge Philippines president and country CEO, said the French business community is one with these communities as they stand back on their feet and rebuild stronger foundations for the future.

“As we see the outpouring of continuous relief support given to those affected, we would like to supplement these inspirational efforts by launching the rebuilding of permanent homes in these surrounding communities,” he said.

Charlie Ayco, Habitat for Humanity chief executive officer, said each house costs P200,000 to build.

We could have opted to build cheaper houses but we are looking at it on a long-term basis. Instead of building cheaper ones using GI sheets for roofs, we will build houses that could withstand strong typhoons,” he said.

Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro said his town of 15 barangays needs at least 4,000 new houses and about 18,000 houses to be repaired. “At present we have given 7,000 shelter kits but these are just umbrellas and GI sheets. There are a lot of houses in the danger or no build zone. This is a good start.”

French Ambassador Gilles Garachon said the French government’s efforts to help in the rehabilitation of Yolanda-hit areas are all being coordinated with the Philippine government through the office of Secretary Panfilo Lacson, presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery.

Garachon said more and more French business firms in the Philippines and in the region are pledging help for the Yolanda-affected areas, particularly in the area of livelihood access.

FAO report

A report on how the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) responded to the Philippine government’s call for assistance to Yolanda victims a year ago will be presented at an international conference at Shangri-La Hotel in Makati on Nov. 12-13.

The report “FAO Response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: Relief, Rehabilitation, and Development for Resilience” will be among the 50 presentations to be made at the Second International Conference on Agricultural and Rural Development in Southeast Asia-2014.

Aristeo Portugal, assistant FAO Philippine representative since 2009, prepared the report.

Organizing the conference is the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

The theme is “Strengthening Resilience, Equity and Integration in ASEAN Food and Agriculture Systems.”

SEARCA director Gil Saguiguit Jr. said about 400 scientists, academics, economists, government policymakers, farmer-leaders and practicing farmers, representatives of civil society organizations, and other stakeholders are expected to attend the high-level conference.

In his report, Portugal said the response to Yolanda highlighted the significance of effective cooperation between FAO and the Philippine government and the importance of efficient collaboration between FAO and its partners.

Accomplishments

The government and international humanitarian agencies have accomplished a lot for the millions of Yolanda survivors in recovery and rehabilitation efforts in Eastern Visayas. – With Mike Frialde, Rudy Fernandez, Rainier Allan Ronda

A year later, a million still lack jobs, shelter By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 8, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Workers rush the construction of Burayan Bridge in Tacloban City yesterday in time for Pope Francis’ visit in January next year. BOY SANTOS

MANILA, Philippines - A year after Super Typhoon Yolanda battered the country, close to a million people are still living in inadequate shelters and having a hard time finding jobs and livelihood, a humanitarian group said.

According to an Oxfam report, at least 205,000 families are still waiting to be resettled in sturdier houses to be built on safer land.

“The families often continue to live in makeshift shelters in areas prone to typhoons, flooding and other hazards. Others live in bunkhouses and tents across the affected regions,” the Oxfam report stated.

“As of October 2014, only 452 permanent new homes had been built, largely reflecting difficulties in buying safe land in the right place,” it added.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a recent protection assessment found that people who remain displaced face a number of risks and residual humanitarian issues, including housing, land and property issues, physical security, water sanitation and hygiene.

Justin Morgan, Oxfam’s country director in the Philippines, said displaced residents are concerned about their ability to earn an income as resettlement sites are far from their livelihood source.

“Too often people are left to choose between a place of safety and their ability to earn an income,” he added.

Coconut farming and fishing were the worst hit by the typhoon. Around 13 million coconut trees were destroyed or damaged in Eastern Visayas alone.

“With key sources of income destroyed overnight, coconut farmers are left to grapple with delays in replanting crops caused by the slow pace of clearance of coconut lumber debris from their fields,” Oxfam said.

* Fishing communities are also facing declining catch after the typhoon. “Despite the overwhelming aid of new boats and repairs from the government and aid groups, the larger issue remains to be the damage caused by the typhoon on fishing grounds and marine eco-systems,” the group added.

Oxfam also reported that disaster risk reduction measures like support for diversified agricultural activities and robust evacuation systems at resettlement sites are still lacking across many municipalities.

“If the population’s vulnerability that Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) rendered so starkly visible is not addressed, affected communities will remain in harm’s way – exposed to future disasters and deeper poverty,” it said.

Oxfam has urged the national government to comprehensively address remaining humanitarian needs while delivering a “scaled up, pro-poor recovery agenda.”

Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero and Nancy Binay lamented that the rehabilitation efforts have been slow despite the government having all the resources at its disposal.

“Is it fast enough? Even if we say it’s faster than other countries, there are still many who are sick and dying,” Cayetano said.

“We already provided the appropriation for it, over P100 billion (under both the supplemental and 2014 budget) since last year. It is now, and has been, in the hands of the executive to utilize for the benefit of the victims of Yolanda,” said Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on finance.

Binay, on one hand, aired her disappointment over the fact that a lot of the victims of Yolanda remain without homes, food and the necessary medical services.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also noted that in the aftermath of Yolanda, it took about five months before agencies began restoring civil documents, which children need in order to avail of basic services and education.

Santiago has filed a bill that seeks to institutionalize the protection of children affected by natural disasters like Yolanda.With Pia Lee-Brago, Marvin Sy

FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino scores critics on eve of Yolanda anniversary Marc Jayson Cayabyab @MJcayabyabINQ I INQUIRER.net 7:15 PM | Friday, November 7th, 2014


President Aquino (right clockwise) meets with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas (second right) and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez (in bright orange shirt) and other local officials to discuss alternative measures to hasten relief operations in and rehabilitation of Tacloban and other areas of Leyte devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” MALACACANG FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–President Benigno Aquino III on Friday scored critics who accused him of neglecting Tacloban City, the area most devastated by Super Typhoon “Yolanda,” and which happened to be the bulwark of his family’s political foes.

In his speech after inspecting the Guiuan Public Market and relocation site in Eastern Samar, Aquino said he would leave it to the public to decide if his critics were correct in saying he ignored Tacloban, which incidentally was not part of his itinerary to commemorate the one year anniversary of the monster typhoon.

“Sa kabila po ng inisyatiba nating ito, malakas ang kutob ko, bukas na bukas po, mayroon pa ring hihirit: Pinapabayaan ko raw ang Tacloban. Kayo na ang bahalang kumilala kung sino ang mga magsasabi niyan,” Aquino said.

(Despite our initiatives, I have a feeling that tomorrow, someone will still claim I ignored Tacloban. I leave it up to you to find out who are saying this.)

The President again thumbed down the demand from People Surge, a militant group of typhoon survivors, to give P40,000 in immediate financial relief to each family affected by the typhoon.

“Tanong ko po sa inyo: Tama bang magpapogi na lang ako. Abutan na lang natin lahat ng pamilya… So balik na naman tayong sa walang pangmatagalang solusyon,” Aquino said.

(Let me ask you: Is it right for me to just make an impression and hand out cash to each family?… We’ll just get back to the lack of a long-term solution.)

Aquino had been allegedly snubbing Tacloban supposedly because it was the bulwark of the Romualdezes.

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez is the nephew of Imelda Marcos. Aquino’s father, Ninoy Aquino, was assassinated on his return from exile in 1983 during the presidency Ferdinand Marcos.

Mar Roxas gets social media flak for magazine cover
Marc Jayson Cayabyab @MJcayabyabINQ INQUIRER.net 4:18 PM | Friday, November 7th, 2014

Sec. Mar Roxas appears on the cover of Esquire’s November issue. Screen grab from Esquire’s Facebook page.
MANILA, Philippines — What about Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas saying hello from Tacloban got netizens irked?

Roxas received flak on social media after he was featured on the cover of “Esquire Philippines” magazine commemorating the first anniversary of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan).

The official Facebook account of Esquire shared the photo of its cover featuring a smiling and gentle Roxas, whose right hand was raised in a greeting while sitting on a pile of cut wood behind a cargo truck.

The caption of the photo reads: “Hello from Tacloban… One year later.” Roxas’ smiling photo was taken about a year ago or on November 21, 2013, at the Tacloban City Port.

“There are reasons why stories are revisited: sometimes, it’s because there are new lessons to be learned. Sometimes, it’s because not enough people are listening. This month, a year after Yolanda, ESQUIRE Philippines returns to the ongoing tragedy that is the storm’s aftermath,” the status that accompanied the photo read.

Some netizens called the photo “insensitive,” in “bad taste,” and an “insult” to the typhoon victims. Still, others noted a hint of sarcasm, a sense of a story, and even a note of hope.

The photo was shared 514 times as of posting time since it was posted on Thursday. It also got 190 likes.

“Esquire this is really done in bad taste. Give respect to the people of Tacloban,” commented Joseph Ongkeko Delos Reyes.

“Bad move. How about putting the pictures of those who survived the disaster?” Dee Ferraris Necèsito pointed out.

* One netizen suspected that the cover photo is an early election campaign ploy. Roxas is President Benigno Aquino III’s presumed bet to succeed him in 2016.

“What’s this Esquire? (An) election edition of your (magazine)?” Nico Anthony Brosas asked.

Another said the magazine wanted to ride on the controversy to get attention. “Very tasteless, like spitting on the countless people’s mass graves. All for what? Generate publicity for this magazine?” Frederick Ong said.

Still, cooler-headed netizens tried to make sense of the cover and said Roxas was on the cover photo because he was as much a part of the story as the victims of the monster typhoon.

“I am not defending anyone but what I have read are really horrifying ordeals our fellow Taclobanons are experiencing after a year. The cover, in my opinion, is merely a part of the story,” John Voltaire Vera said.

“As cliché as it may sound, this is a perfect example why you should not judge a book by its cover. Let us read the story first before we criticize… A cover is just part of the story, it is not the whole. I’ve personally read this issue and it has taken all sides to provide a brief explanation of what has been done and what still needs to be done for Tacloban,” Vera added.

“(One) would definitely get pissed off seeing the cover of this magazine. But then again, I urge everyone … to … take the time to fully analyze the photo and … read the full article that comes with it. This isn’t some early campaign propaganda whatsoever. The story covers the events that happened during Yolanda and how everyone who suffered the wrath of this storm is coping…” added Andrew Marquez.

It is not clear if the photo gives a hint of political satire – but it certainly brings back the grim picture of the clan politics that marred the early rescue efforts in severely hit Tacloban, a bulwark of the Romualdezes.

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez figured in a political conflict with Roxas. In the aftermath of the deluge, Mayor Romualdez broke down in tears in a post-disaster assessment at the Senate and accused Roxas of asking him to cede control of the city to the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Romualdez also accused Roxas of bringing up the clan politics between the Romualdezes and President Aquino instead of immediately sending aid to the city.

“Secretary Roxas said we should legalize everything… ‘You have to remember: we have to be very careful because you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino,’” Romualdez quoted Roxas.

Roxas then clarified that he merely mentioned the Romualdez-Aquino tension to avoid politicizing the disaster.

There was even a video of the encounter allegedly uploaded on YouTube by former San Juan congressman Jose Mari Gonzales, the father of Romualdez’s wife, Cristina.

The video of a meeting with Mayor Romualdez was supposedly spliced to make Roxas say to Romualdez: “You have to understand. You are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino. If it’s not legalized, then OK you are in charge and we’ll help you, then that’s it … (unintelligible) bahala na kayo sa buhay ’nyo.”

Roxas said the video was maliciously edited.

Romualdez is the nephew of Imelda Marcos, widow of the late stronghold Ferdinand Marcos. Aquino’s father, Ninoy Aquino, was assassinated on his return from exile in 1983 during the Marcos presidency.

FROM PHILSTAR

‘We Will Rise Again,’ prayers mark 1st Yolanda anniversary By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 7, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - A video released by the government features the song “We Will Rise Again” while Catholic bishops have declared Nov. 8 as a National Day of Prayer to mark the first anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas made the declaration in a circular issued on Nov. 4.

Churches around the country will simultaneously ring their bells at 6 p.m. on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of Yolanda, which left at least 6,300 people dead and 28,000 injured and destroyed billions worth of properties.

Villegas has urged his fellow prelates and apostolic administrators to take part in the simultaneous ringing of church bells and encouraged dioceses, schools and organizations to conduct their own activities to mark the anniversary of Yolanda.

Yesterday at 11:30 a.m., the government launched the music video of the song (click to watch video) “We Will Rise Again” online and in various television stations and cinemas nationwide to pay tribute to Filipino resilience and recognize those who helped in the relief and rehabilitation efforts.

The video featured photos and footage of relief efforts by government agencies and local and international humanitarian groups. It also showed images of children in typhoon-hit areas who remained upbeat despite the tragedy that struck them.

The five-minute song was composed by Jude Gitamondoc and performed by Raki Vega.

“The Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery has put together this ‘We Will Rise Again’ music video as a reminder of the unwavering determination, the indomitable spirit and the unparalleled resilience of the Filipinos,” the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

All state agencies, television networks, cinemas, development partners and private sector partners were asked to share the link of the music video in their official websites and social networking accounts.

The NDRRMC will also launch on Monday a book containing the experiences of those who joined in the relief efforts in areas struck by Yolanda.

The book “Y it happened” will feature best practices, lessons and stories of typhoon survivors, donors, humanitarian groups and responders.

“We are hoping the experiences we have in Yolanda would work in our favor so that these things would not happen again,” NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama said.

Noy to visit Guiuan

President Aquino will not be in Tacloban City tomorrow to commemorate the first anniversary of Yolanda.

“Yolanda affected a wide area. The President chose Guiuan (Eastern Samar), which was the first point of impact last Nov. 8,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. “He has limited time as he is preparing for back-to-back APEC and ASEAN summits.”

* The President will inspect the Guiuan public market, Cogon relocation site and other areas.

Meanwhile, a thanksgiving concert will be held today at the Quezon Memorial Circle in recognition of all those who helped Tacloban City and its people recover from the devastation caused by Yolanda.

The event is dubbed as “Handumanan: Pasasalamat sa mga Bayani ng Haiyan.” “Handumanan” is the Visayan word for “tribute.”

Organizers said Leyteño Rico Blanco, former frontman of rock band Rivermaya, has authorized the use of his award-winning song “Liwanag sa Dilim” to be the thanksgiving concert’s carrier song.

Celebrities Daniel Padilla, Sitti, Kim Chiu, Karla Estrada and Kitchie Nadal are expected to be at the concert.

Other performers include celebrities and artists like sculptor Aba Dalena, Geo Ong, Imago, South Border, Banda ni Kleggy, Mayonnaise, Gracenote, Phylum Band, Myrus, the UP Madrigals, Ballet Philippines, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and British singer Steve Steadman.

The concert was organized by the Haiyan Disaster Governance Initiative, which is led by actor-producer Carlo Maceda and former Tacloban City administrator Tecson John Lim.

However, organizers of a dance concert supposedly set today at the Balyuan Amphitheater in Tacloban City have decided to cancel the event after online uproar for being insensitive and disrespectful of the victims of Yolanda.

The event received criticism from netizens over what some dubbed as an inappropriate tagline, “Party like it never happened; remember because it did.”

Netizens also noted insensitive statements on the shirts being sold by organizers, including “Eat, Pray, Loot” and “Akala ko Tsunami, Storm Surge Pala.” – With Alexis Romero, Janvic Mateo, Aurea Calica

Feature: A year after super-typhoon Yolanda hit, normalcy amid problems (philstar.com) | Updated November 7, 2014 - 11:30pm 0 0 googleplus0 0


PHOTO COURTESY OF GMA NEWS: Children play with a fishing net at a coastal village in Tacloban City on Thursday, November 6, one year since Typhoon Yolanda hit the central Philippines. November 8 is the first anniversary since Yolanda devastated parts of the Visayas, killing more than 6,000 people and leaving millions displaced in its wake. AFP/Ezra Acayan/NurPhoto

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - A year after super-typhoon Yolanda, internationally known as Haiyan, hit the central Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, life in the worst-hit areas, including Tacloban City, is almost back to normal.

Signs of normalcy can be seen in the hassle and bustle of the market place, the ubiquitous tricyles (three-wheeled passenger motorbikes) causing traffic jams in some city streets and people lining up in fast-food outlets and flocking to reopened malls.

In the rural areas of the province of Leyte of which Tacloban City is the capital, farmers have gone back to tilling their farms and fishermen have resumed their daily struggle to eke out a living.

While normalcy is now noticeable in Tacloban City, there are still signs of extreme poverty in some areas with many still don't have enough food to eat not to mention the lack of shelter and sanitation facilities. There is also the lack of employment opportunities for the displaced families.

In a report, Save the Children Philippine country director Ned Olney was quoted as saying that poverty is still high in the typhoon-hit areas, whose residents are 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.

* With strength of 270 kilometers per hour, Yolanda was the strongest typhoon to hit landfall anywhere in the world. It was followed by tsunami-like waves that literally wiped out Tacloban City.

Official government data show that the number of dead from the disaster topped 6,300 while 28,689 were injured and 1,061 still missing. But local officials said that the death toll could be as high as 10,000 because some of the dead could have been sucked by the receding flood waters and their bodies were never recovered.

Total number of people affected was placed at 13 million or 7.8 percent of the country's population.

The World Health Organization placed the Yolanda disaster at Category 3, which was at par with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the Haiti earthquake in 2010.

After the disaster, scores of foreign countries came to help in the rescue and recovery efforts. These included China which sent its state-of-the-art Peace Ark Hospital Ship to provide treatment to the injured survivors. China also dispatched medical teams and sent relief assistance.

After some initial bickering due to politics, the government of President Benigno Aquino III has launched a massive reconstruction program in the disaster-hit areas. The government, along with the foreign donors, has constructed hundreds of temporary bunkhouses and has provided financial and food assistance to thousands of survivors.

But it was only last month, almost a year after the catastrophe, when President Aquino approved the P167.9 billion ($3.82 billion) Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) that is aimed at solidifying the government's commitment to rebuild areas devastated by Yolanda.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the CRRP, which was recommended by former senator Panfilo Lacson, presidential assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, outlines the government's commitment to implement over 25,000 specific rehabilitation and recovery plans and programs and activities.

Under the plan, the government will undertake massive efforts to rehabilitate the 171 affected cities and municipalities in 14 provinces and six regions known as the "Yolanda corridor," based on the "build-back-better" principle.

The recovery plan focuses on long-term and sustainable efforts to reduce vulnerabilities and strengthen the capacities of communities to cope with future hazard events. It will rebuild damaged infrastructure, set up new settlements and basic community facilities, and provide livelihood among the affected residents.

Lacson earlier said the government was aiming to complete about 85 to 90 percent of the rehabilitation of areas devastated by the typhoon before the end of President Aquino's term in 2016.

He said that a total of 18,400 rehabilitation projects are being undertaken in the devastated areas under the CRPP.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Picking up the pieces: Survivors still eke out a living a year after Yolanda By ROUCHELLE R. DINGLASAN, GMA NewsNovember 3, 2014 4:57am 258 4 0 311 Tags: Tacloban City , typhoon yolanda


Fishermen raise an empty net off the coast of Anibong in Tacloban City, Leyte, almost a year after Typhoon Yolanda destroyed the city and many municipalities on the island. AFP/Noel Celis

A year after the super typhoon Yolanda cut a swath across the central Philippines, survivors in Leyte province are still struggling to make a living.

Jun Pilapil Jr., 56, was a fisherman based in Tacloban City - one of the areas hardest hit by Yolanda. After the typhoon killed over 6,000 people in his home province on November 8 last year, he now fishes in the province of Biliran, of Leyte's northern coast, and transports and sells his catch back to Tacloban.

"Hindi pa talaga nagno-normal sa pangingisda," the father of seven told GMA News Online in a phone interview. "Ang hirap ng hanapbuhay namin."

Even though the government had provided him and his fellow fishermen a banca (Pilapil is the Tacloban Fisherfolk Urban Association president), he said that it was not enough. He explained that the banca provided them was small and was not appropriate for use in rough seas or to catch larger fish.

He also lamented that the Cancabato Bay, the main fishing ground off Tacloban City, had not been cleared of debris from the super typhoon. Thus, fish caught in the bay were small - if there was any catch at all.

Currently, Pilapil uses a bigger banca provided by an international NGO, that is why he can fish in nearby provinces. But it was still a struggle to support his two children, who are college students. They were forced to stop their schooling.

Still, Pilapil considered himself lucky because some of his colleagues had abandoned fishing altogether and had turned to construction work as laborers.

Looting a supermarket

As Yolanda devastated their town of Palo, Leyte and left them without food, water, and clothing, the Marciel family decided to walk to the urban center of Tacloban City.

* They had not eaten for three days, recalled family matriarch Melita Marciel, 45, so the family took part in the looting of a supermarket in Tacloban City.

They also lived on government and non-government organization dole outs for three months.

Marciel remembered that her husband was not able to avail of the cash-for-work program offered by the government and other NGOs.

She, herself, had wanted to take part in a livelihood seminar run by the Department of Trade and Industry. But there were limited slots, and she did not get in.

Currently, she said that they were still trying to get back on their feet. Her husband was now working as a part-time driver in a private company.

As for her, the mother of four, she wished that she could revive her sari-sari store, a business she ran before Yolanda came.

"Sa ngayon, kulang pa talaga ang sweldo ng asawa ko na P260 lang kada araw na may trabaho siya,” explained Marciel. “Nag-aaral [sa Grade Five] sa malayo ang anak ko at kailangan niya pang mamasahe. Hindi naman namin mailipat kasi doon na siya nag-aaral."

A long way to recovery

Though there are cases in which a family's fortunes had taken a turn for the better post-Yolanda, these stories of hardship are common enough in Yolanda-hit areas.

According to World Vision's response director Andrew Rosauer, the restoration of livelihood among the Yolanda survivors was the "biggest challenge" in the recovery and rehabilitation phase.

According to Rosauer, one indicator to assess whether the survivors have indeed recovered from the disaster will be if they could afford to send their children to school without government or NGO aid.

"I am very impressed with the speed in which the Filipino people managed to rebound from this…There is still recovery to be done. I can't emphasize it enough. We are not yet there. We are a long way to recovery but we have made great strides," he said.

"The will of the Filipino people to actually to have a sense of normalcy, a day after the emergency, was something that struck most of our team… From the very beginning there is this drive to get back to normalcy as early as possible. I think, because of that, we have made huge progress from day one."

Meanwhile, the national government, through the Department of Trade and Industry, has several programs that offers a way out of the hardship.

According to DTI Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya, focal person on Yolanda rehabilitation and recovery programs, Yolanda survivors may go to the nearest DTI office at their province or locality to know more of the programs offered on their area.

There are three main programs that the agency is extending to the survivors:

the Livelihood Seeding Program provides survivors training or seminars with a start-up tool kit (i.e. sewing machines, and grocery goods to sell) to kickstart their small business; the Shared Service Facility is ideal for cooperatives and groups as program has the government buying costly equipment intended to improve production or services; Financial assistance is provided by the Small Business Corporation, Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Under the P170-billion rehabilitation plan signed by the President late last month, the livelihood cluster will have a budget of about P30 billion.

For this year, the cluster has earmarked about P6 billion. Out of this number, only 44 percent has been utilized, with less than two months to go before the year ends. — DVM, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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