HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK...

NOVEMBER 11, AT 11 am CANADA ALWAYS REMEMBERS! REMEMBRANCE DAY THROUGH THE YEARS  

NOV 10 --PHOTO: A poppy is placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier following the Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Nov. 11, 2013. (Sean KilpatrickéThe Canadian Press) It began as a visceral response to the terrible death toll of the First World War, but for Canadians, Remembrance Day has evolved into a tribute to all military dead and a celebration of the Canadian Forces in general. The victory of 1918 came at a heavy cost. From a population of about 7.8 million, Canada had put about 620,000 men and women into uniform during the war. Almost 10 per cent were lost. "With some 60,000 Canadians killed, the war produced a profound sense of loss in a country whose greatest military tragedy to date had been 267 dead in the South African War of 1899-1902," the Veterans Affairs Department says.

In 1919, there were calls for some sort of commemoration to mourn the dead and pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands who fought. That year, King George V urged that people observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. local time across the Commonwealth and Empire. It was first called Armistice Day, recalling the ceasefire agreement of Nov. 11, 1918, that silenced the guns after more than four years of carnage. In Canada, from 1921 to 1930, Armistice Day was observed on the Monday of the week in which Nov. 11 fell. But that Monday was also Thanksgiving and many veterans were upset at the combination of a solemn commemoration and a harvest celebration. As memorials and cenotaphs were built in cities, towns and villages across the country, many gathered there for Nov. 11 commemorations, holiday or not. * READ MORE...

IN CHINA APEC MEET: Noy wants better China ties

NOV 10--PHOTO: President Aquino chats with Vice President Jejomar Binay at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 yesterday before boarding a flight for China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing. --BEIJING – After being disinvited to a trade expo in Nanning and with bilateral relations strained by maritime territorial disputes, President Aquino returned to China yesterday, saying he wanted to improve ties. “We seek to have harmonious relationship with everybody so that we can concentrate on solving domestic problems that have to be addressed now. And we actually firmly believe without stability, prosperity is an impossibility,” Aquino told chief executive officers ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

China feted Aquino in a state visit in 2011, but bilateral relations have gone downhill since then. Yesterday, Aquino recalled that he and then Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed that the “be-all and end-all of our relationships do not have to be with just one particular issue” because there were many other aspects that must be considered. Aquino did not mention the West Philippine Sea dispute. He said it was in the interest of the Philippines to achieve harmony with all of its neighbors because there were many practices that each country could benefit from when faced with common challenges. “Anything that fosters greater stability is an objective for us because we do want more prosperity for our people and together with the rest of our brothers and sisters throughout the region and the world,” the President said. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Opposition lawmakers dared Palace, Senate: End politicking, begin rebuilding 

TACLOBAN CITY—“It is not worth it! Opposition lawmakers and a mayor on Sunday reminded the Palace and the Senate to stop the mudslinging and politicking and concentrate instead on helping rebuild the lives devastated by typhoons Yolanda, Sendong and Pablo and the Zamboanga siege. “It is not worth it. Politicking started very early this election season and the right time for it is during the campaign. I am urging them to wait for their time,” Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said. “Meanwhile, they should prioritize the people, especially those who need their time and attention.”

Marcos, along with his cousins Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, and Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado Revilla took turns in reminding President Benigno Aquino Jr. and the Senate to concentrate the last months on implementing projects that could ease poverty and create jobs. “We don’t want the people to lose faith in the government. It has been a roller coaster for them for one year after Yolanda ruined their lives,” Alfred Romualdez said. “They are now trying to rebuild and build back better their lives. We all have to help them. We have to look back and see how much work we have done so far, but the Senate has been distracted” Marcos said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee should refrain from doing too much politicking, referring to the ongoing hearing on Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family on the corruption charges against them.

ALSO Special Feature: Rebuilding Tacloban City after Yolanda 
Written for GMA News by Amillah S. Rodil is an architect and urban planner hailing from Iligan City, Mindanao. Her contract in Tacloban ended last July, but she decided to stay to volunteer for the City Housing Office. As of this writing, she is walking for climate justice with Climate Walk.

NOV 7 --PHOTO: A Yolanda survivor building a house in Tacloban City. Rose-An Jessica Dioquino ---When I saw the devastating images on television in the wake of super typhoon Yolanda, I wanted to go and help as soon as I could. I got my chance when I got a call from a United Nations agency as a consultant for Tacloban City. As an urban planner and architect, my job was to help facilitate the formulation of the recovery plan of the city government, along with the city planning team and other consultants. I say "facilitate" because we were not there to dictate to the city what to do; this was their plan and we were just there to assist them. I accepted the job because I wanted to be a part of the process of rebuilding the city; I believed that this was a great opportunity to push for change, and raise the profile of urban planning.

Upon arriving in Tacloban in late January, I jumped straight into preparations for a workshop with various stakeholders to discuss the physical framework for where and how Tacloban should rebuild. Through this workshop and further discussion, the following strategies emerged: the downtown and airport would be kept as is but built to be more resilient; mid-Tacloban (peripheral area north of downtown) would be an urban expansion area, trading center and government center extension; and the north of Tacloban (where existing government land was located with low risk from storm surge) would house the new township containing settlement areas for those who were affected. The plan, however, was not just about the physical rebuilding and eventual future development of Tacloban.

It was also about the recovery of other aspects of the city, such as shelter (over 50,000 houses damaged), social services and facilities (seven hospitals and 17 public health facilities, 90 percent of schools, and 36 city-owned buildings damaged); infrastructure and utilities (water was restored a few weeks after but in March power and telecommunications such as internet and cable services were still not fully restored); and economy (at least a hundred businesses had filed for closure; in April only 20 percent had renewed licenses). One of the major challenges of doing the plan was the sheer scope of work in such a short amount of time. The planning process was envisioned to be as inclusive as possible, involving many stakeholders.

This meant a lot of coordination and consultation had to be done in time for the Mayor's target to launch the plan in March and eventually present it to the national government. There were also lot of actors involved in recovery: the city government, the national agencies, the local and international NGOs that had come to provide assistance, the private sector, and the affected communities, all moving with their own objectives and timeframe. The efforts of all these actors needed to be mapped out and coordinated — and situated within the overall recovery vision for the city. * CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Short-term projects for Yolanda rehab to be completed
before end-2014 - Presidential spokesman Coloma

NOV 10 ---Government's short-term programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) to rehabilitate areas devastated by super Typhoon Yolanda will be completed before the end of this year, a Palace spokesman said on Sunday. In a briefing over state-run dzRB, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr  (photo) also said P119.2-billion medium-term PPAs, which include disaster prevention and mitigation, will be implemented from 2015 to 2016. "Ang long-term o pangmatagalang PPAs naman ay ipatutupad matapos ang taong 2016," he added.

The government has set P167.9 billion funding requirement for the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP), which is divided into four clusters, namely: resettlement, infrastructure, livelihood, and social services. Coloma said a Social Weather Stations survey showing that nine of 10 Filipinos are hopeful for the recovery of Yolanda-hit areas has inspired the government to do better. "Ang resulta ng survey ay lalong nagbibigay ng inspirasyon sa pamahalaan upang paigtingin pa ang mabilisan at epektibong pagpapatupad ng CRRP para sa kabutihan at kapakanan ng lahat ng nasalanta sa Yolanda Corregidor," he said. — Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza /LBG, GMA News THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Catholic Church ‘at forefront’ of Yolanda reconstruction – CBCP 

NOV 10 ---One year after Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines and left at least 6,300 dead, reconstruction has been difficult and may still be below 65 percent done, a Catholic Church official said over the weekend. Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines media head Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III told Vatican Radio that this is despite continued help from Philippine and international groups, including Church organizations. "The reconstruction and rehabilitation work to keep people back on their feet has been quite difficult because of the extent of the damage,” he said. On Saturday, the nation marked the first anniversary of the devastation caused by Yolanda. Foreign governments have assured the Philippines of continued help. Quitorio said that "despite so much effort, we have not yet maybe after one year achieved about 65 percent of the needed reconstruction."

He said international and local Church groups, including Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Internationalis, had been helping in the reconstruction. He said the Philippine government had been helping too "although it's very much wanting as reported by mainstream media."  “The Church has been at the forefront of the work. I would not be wrong if I say the biggest help in the reconstruction has been done by the Church” and Church-related organizations, he said.  On the other hand, he said many chapels and churches have not been repaired or rebuilt at this time. He said this is in line with the example of Pope Francis, who had taught that “we make a priority the lives of the people before we can reconstruct our own convents and our own churches." "Our chapels have not been reconstructed. People are holding their Masses in tents, makeshift chapels, where thousands of people gather on Sunday,” he said. — Joel Locsin/JDS, GMA News THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

(ALSO) Palace: We welcome criticism, suggestions

The government is open to suggestions to hasten the rehabilitation of areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda and improve the lives of typhoon survivors, Malacañang said yesterday. Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said over state-run dzRB the government welcomes suggestions to address flaws or inadequacies in the implementation of rehabilitation programs. The government had been criticized for the slow pace of the rehabilitation amid allegations of corruption and politicking. Coloma said it is important that nobody would be left behind in the efforts of the government to restore normalcy in the lives of the people affected by the storm. “We will come up with the best solution to attend to the needs of displaced survivors and ease the inconvenience they are experiencing,” he said.

He added that safety is the most important consideration and people must not return to areas that are known to be at risk. Coloma said the national government is one with the public in the effort to restore the livelihood of the people in the affected areas even as it continues to coordinate with concerned local government units. Coloma called on the public to practice bayanihan to help the government rebuild the lives and damaged homes of the typhoon victims. He said the devastation wrought by Yolanda in at least 81 provinces is “too wide and deep” and the government needs all the help it could get. Don’t look at us Meanwhile, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman has expressed exasperation over questions on the multi-million dollar donations to Yolanda victims. * READ MORE...

ALSO: PRIVATE SECTOR INITIATIVE IN NEGROS 'HOMESTAY PHL': Invite tourists into your homes and earn money 

Do you own a house, ancestral home, cottage, a farmhouse perhaps or manage a student dormitory? If you do, then you can join this private sector initiative, play host to paying accredited tourists (foreign as well as domestic) and earn money in the process. This is the core of the homestay program of Homestay Philippines, Inc. The concept is nothing new and Homestay officials are the first to point this out. It was Dr. Mina T. Gabor, former secretary of the Department of Tourism and now president of the International School of Sustainable Tourism, who thought of applying this concept to the Philippines, on a greater scale than before, after her travels abroad. Gabor was Tourism Secretary under President Fidel Ramos, 1996.

Homestay is a living arrangement with a host family or organization. Out-of-town guests are offered an extra private room or space for a reasonable charge compared to the more pricey hotels and other tourism-oriented establishments. The host family must share at least one meal with the guest(s). “Homestay is a private-sector initiative and it is the duty of the government to just support it,” DOT assistant secretary Allan Cañizal said in a recent briefing. “Homestay had been tried before but [it] failed because there was no marketing aspect. Now we have one.” Marketing and promotions are now being done through online networks, word of mouth, fliers and direct mail. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Remembrance Day through the years

MANILA, NOVEMBER 10, 2014 (CBC-TORONTO, CANADA) By John Ward, The Canadian Press Posted: Nov 07, 2014 3:31 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 07, 2014 6:20 AM ET

It began as a visceral response to the terrible death toll of the First World War, but for Canadians, Remembrance Day has evolved into a tribute to all military dead and a celebration of the Canadian Forces in general.

The victory of 1918 came at a heavy cost. From a population of about 7.8 million, Canada had put about 620,000 men and women into uniform during the war. Almost 10 per cent were lost.

"With some 60,000 Canadians killed, the war produced a profound sense of loss in a country whose greatest military tragedy to date had been 267 dead in the South African War of 1899-1902," the Veterans Affairs Department says.

In 1919, there were calls for some sort of commemoration to mourn the dead and pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands who fought.

That year, King George V urged that people observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. local time across the Commonwealth and Empire.

It was first called Armistice Day, recalling the ceasefire agreement of Nov. 11, 1918, that silenced the guns after more than four years of carnage.

In Canada, from 1921 to 1930, Armistice Day was observed on the Monday of the week in which Nov. 11 fell. But that Monday was also Thanksgiving and many veterans were upset at the combination of a solemn commemoration and a harvest celebration.

As memorials and cenotaphs were built in cities, towns and villages across the country, many gathered there for Nov. 11 commemorations, holiday or not.

* At its founding convention in Winnipeg, the Canadian Legion passed a resolution affirming that Armistice Day should be Nov. 11 and began lobbying Parliament to enshrine the date in law.

In 1931, a British Columbia MP, Alan Neill, introduced a bill to fix the date as Nov. 11 and rename it Remembrance Day. Also that year, the observance of Thanksgiving was moved to a Monday in October, and in 1957 the date was fixed to the second Monday of the month.

Poppy popularity spurred by American woman


A poppy is placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier following the Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Nov. 11, 2013. (Sean KilpatrickéThe Canadian Press)

Remembrance Day is a statutory holiday for the Canadian federal government as well as in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

New Democrat MP Dan Harris has a private member's bill before the House of Commons which would make Remembrance Day a national statutory holiday. The bill received second reading, or approval in principle, on Wednesday.

The red poppy, the ubiquitous symbol of remembrance which blossoms on Canadian lapels every November, was forever linked to the First World War and its casualties through John McCrae's poem, In Flanders Fields.

But its use was first championed by an American woman, Moina Michael who was entranced by McCrae's poem and led a successful campaign to have the American Legion adopt the poppy as an official symbol of remembrance in 1920. It soon spread to France and by the following year it had also been adopted in Canada, Britain and Australia.

After its formation in 1925, the Canadian Legion, which became the Royal Canadian Legion in 1959, ran the annual poppy campaign.

In 1939, the towering National War Memorial in Ottawa was officially opened by King George VI. The cenotaph to commemorate the dead of the First World War was unveiled just months before the outbreak of the Second World War.

It now bears the dates of both those wars, as well as the Korean War. The Conservative government has said it wants to add the dates of the Afghanistan War as well.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier added in 2000

In May 2000, the bronze and granite Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added to the foot of the memorial. The remains of an unidentified Canadian were taken from a military cemetery near Vimy Ridge in France and re-interred in the tomb in a solemn service.

The centrepiece of Remembrance Day now is the main service held at the national memorial in Ottawa. The televised ceremony includes the Governor General and the prime minister, as well as the Silver Cross mother. She is selected by the Legion each year to represent all parents mourning the loss of a child in uniform.

Crowds at the service can run into the thousands and the ceremony has become as much a tribute to those in uniform as it is to their dead. As the ranks of Second World War vets dwindle — the youngest are approaching 90 — men and women from decades of peacekeeping missions and Afghanistan step up.

The war memorial came into sharp focus last month when a ceremonial guard at the Tomb was shot and killed by an assailant who attacked Parliament moments later.

In the aftermath, hundreds of people went to pay their respects to the murdered soldier and left the Tomb piled with bouquets, poppies, photos, poems and mementos, including a can of beer. © The Canadian Press, 2014

FROM PHILSTAR

IN CHINA APEC MEET: Noy wants better China ties By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


President Aquino chats with Vice President Jejomar Binay at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 yesterday before boarding a flight for China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing.

BEIJING – After being disinvited to a trade expo in Nanning and with bilateral relations strained by maritime territorial disputes, President Aquino returned to China yesterday, saying he wanted to improve ties.

“We seek to have harmonious relationship with everybody so that we can concentrate on solving domestic problems that have to be addressed now. And we actually firmly believe without stability, prosperity is an impossibility,” Aquino told chief executive officers ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

China feted Aquino in a state visit in 2011, but bilateral relations have gone downhill since then.

Yesterday, Aquino recalled that he and then Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed that the “be-all and end-all of our relationships do not have to be with just one particular issue” because there were many other aspects that must be considered. Aquino did not mention the West Philippine Sea dispute.

He said it was in the interest of the Philippines to achieve harmony with all of its neighbors because there were many practices that each country could benefit from when faced with common challenges.

“Anything that fosters greater stability is an objective for us because we do want more prosperity for our people and together with the rest of our brothers and sisters throughout the region and the world,” the President said.

* He said he was heartened to hear from Hu that cooperation in other areas of bilateral relations would continue.

Aquino said Philippine companies invested about $2.5 billion in the Chinese economy and in turn, China gave about $600 million in investments.

“We are happy to note that for instance in trade, there is a very significant growth in trade between our countries. In so many different other aspects, even from food production, there has been a lot of cooperation already. In people-to-people exchanges, provision of numerous teachers of Mandarin for our countrymen has also been coming into the country,” the President said.

“We send something like 800,000 tourists into China’s way and China sent us 200,000 tourists. So all of these numbers, I am told, have continued to grow,” he added.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Palace, Senate dared: End politicking, begin rebuilding By Christine F. Herrera | Nov. 10, 2014 at 12:01am


Remembering the carnage. Residents and survivors prepare to release lanterns as part of the memorial service to commemorate the first year anniversary of super typhoon “Yolanda” in Tacloban City;

TACLOBAN CITY—Opposition lawmakers and a mayor on Sunday reminded the Palace and the Senate to stop the mudslinging and politicking and concentrate instead on helping rebuild the lives devastated by typhoons Yolanda, Sendong and Pablo and the Zamboanga siege.


Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez lights a lantern to join the others preparing to release theirs; Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino
drop a bed of floating candles on Kankabato Bay; residents and survivors sit near lit candles to commemorate Yolanda’s devastation. AFP and Ver Noveno

“It is not worth it.

Politicking started very early this election season and the right time for it is during the campaign. I am urging them to wait for their time,” Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said.

“Meanwhile, they should prioritize the people, especially those who need their time and attention.”

Marcos, along with his cousins Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, and Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado Revilla took turns in reminding President Benigno Aquino Jr. and the Senate to concentrate the last months on implementing projects that could ease poverty and create jobs.

“We don’t want the people to lose faith in the government. It has been a roller coaster for them for one year after Yolanda ruined their lives,” Alfred Romualdez said.

“They are now trying to rebuild and build back better their lives. We all have to help them. We have to look back and see how much work we have done so far, but the Senate has been distracted”

Marcos said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee should refrain from doing too much politicking, referring to the ongoing hearing on Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family on the corruption charges against them.

* Martin Romualdez said the President had better give priority to the projects that could be finished within his last few months in office.

“Perhaps the President is really pushing for a second term by wanting to transfer the Tacloban airport to Palo,” Martin said.

“The President had better improve first the airport named after his father because that airport has been declared one of the worst airports in the world.”

“Political mudslinging started very early. We have not progressed as well as we wanted to because of politicking,” Marcos said.

He said it was not surprising that politicking came early and the vice president should have expected that. He cautioned his colleagues against being preoccupied with politics and mudslinging “We have to help our people affected by the typhoon and the Zamboanga siege to pick up the pieces,” Marcos said.

President Aquino said the study on the new airport was shown to him after Yolanda’s onslaught.

“In a two to four meters storm surge, lulubog kaagad ‘yung airport. Si airport naman ang pagdadalhan natin ng initial na, ‘di ba, si doctor, si relief, si communication,” Aquino said.

Lahat ng wala—‘yung bumagsak ‘pag nagkaroon ng event, airport ang pinakamabilis. Pero ‘yung airport mo guaranteed isa sa unang babahain at ‘pag binaha ‘yan lilinisin mo. So habang binaha, hindi puwedeng landingan.

Habang nililinis, hindi rin puwedeng landingan. So kailangan na nating ilipat ito kasi [ang] alternative gagawa tayo ng seawall.”

But Rep. Romualdez disputed the President’s claim and said the Tacloban airport was already operational 24 hours after Yolanda flattened Eastern Visayas.

“All aircraft from other countries, big and small, used the Tacloban airport to bring in relief goods, medical equipment and personnel-volunteers. What delayed the use of the airport was the clearing of debris but it was cleared of debris in 24 hours,” said Romualdez, the leader of the House’s Independent Minority bloc.

The mayor said even closing down the Tacloban airport was not “well thought out” since there was no consultation made before it was decided to be closed to air traffic.

“It’s really sad that that’s happening now because even one airline alone like Zest Air Asia, they don’t have small planes. They are losing about 24,000 passengers a month,” the mayor said.

“And for other airlines that used to fly in, they are losing close to 100,000 passengers a month.”

The businessmen and tourists had to fly in and out of Tacloban via Cebu.

“I feel that was not thought out properly. I feel that they should have collected all materials and gathered all the equipment necessary before deciding to shut down the airport. It was poor planning,” the mayor said.

He said the government should have expected that the airport was deteriorating very fast and that the first couple of weeks and months after Yolanda, all those passengers and cargoes

coming in, it was really over-using the runway. That should’ve been predicted and planned,” he said.

“Basically, what I’m saying is that I’m not against the transfer of the airport, I’m saying that we don’t come to make rush decisions. We have to look at that very carefully because it will affect not only the economy in billions of pesos,” the mayor said.

“Especially now, and the problem now when you make that announcement, it is now an excuse not to rehabilitate the airport and now we are having a problem here, because we want the (local) economy to pick up and move on. We’re talking about resilience, and what is really resilience? It is to bounce back better.”

In fact, the mayor said, they feared that the promise to expand the tarmac for Pope Francis was not going to happen anymore.

“They’re not expanding it because they are using now as an excuse and they’re saying now we are not going to spend a single centavo anymore at the airport because we have plans of transferring the airport,” he said.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Rebuilding Tacloban City after Yolanda By AMILLAH S. RODILNovember 7, 2014 11:59pm 67 7 0 139 Tags: Tacloban City , Super Typhoon Yolanda


A Yolanda survivor building a house in Tacloban City. Rose-An Jessica Dioquino

When I saw the devastating images on television in the wake of super typhoon Yolanda, I wanted to go and help as soon as I could. I got my chance when I got a call from a United Nations agency as a consultant for Tacloban City. As an urban planner and architect, my job was to help facilitate the formulation of the recovery plan of the city government, along with the city planning team and other consultants.

I say "facilitate" because we were not there to dictate to the city what to do; this was their plan and we were just there to assist them. I accepted the job because I wanted to be a part of the process of rebuilding the city; I believed that this was a great opportunity to push for change, and raise the profile of urban planning.

Upon arriving in Tacloban in late January, I jumped straight into preparations for a workshop with various stakeholders to discuss the physical framework for where and how Tacloban should rebuild.

Through this workshop and further discussion, the following strategies emerged: the downtown and airport would be kept as is but built to be more resilient; mid-Tacloban (peripheral area north of downtown) would be an urban expansion area, trading center and government center extension; and the north of Tacloban (where existing government land was located with low risk from storm surge) would house the new township containing settlement areas for those who were affected.

The plan, however, was not just about the physical rebuilding and eventual future development of Tacloban. It was also about the recovery of other aspects of the city, such as shelter (over 50,000 houses damaged), social services and facilities (seven hospitals and 17 public health facilities, 90 percent of schools, and 36 city-owned buildings damaged); infrastructure and utilities (water was restored a few weeks after but in March power and telecommunications such as internet and cable services were still not fully restored); and economy (at least a hundred businesses had filed for closure; in April only 20 percent had renewed licenses).

One of the major challenges of doing the plan was the sheer scope of work in such a short amount of time. The planning process was envisioned to be as inclusive as possible, involving many stakeholders. This meant a lot of coordination and consultation had to be done in time for the Mayor's target to launch the plan in March and eventually present it to the national government.

There were also lot of actors involved in recovery: the city government, the national agencies, the local and international NGOs that had come to provide assistance, the private sector, and the affected communities, all moving with their own objectives and timeframe. The efforts of all these actors needed to be mapped out and coordinated — and situated within the overall recovery vision for the city.

* The very nature of planning demands, or assumes, that there is time to plan first before doing anything. But in this case it was difficult to ask people to stop what they were doing especially if there are no alternatives presented. For example, in the 40-meter no-build zone declared by the national government, many people had already rebuilt, using whatever materials they could find.

It is possible to stop rebuilding temporarily, such as in the case of Japan. I had been to some areas affected by the 2010 tsunami almost a year after, and the affected areas were still empty, razed by buldozers - waiting for plans to be finalized.

Obviously, reconfiguring a devastated city could get more difficult if you just let people do what they want, but there is also a tradeoff in delaying action -- it also delays the recovery of the normal life of people. So in Tacloban, we had to plan while doing - with the plan serving more as an initial framework or draft with the details to be filled in or revised along the way.

Since I came here there has been steady improvement. When I moved in to the apartment I rented in February, we were still relying on a generator that had to be turned off by 9 p.m. By March we had power; by then, about 82 percent of connections had been energized.

Back in February eating meant a round-robin choice of about three to four good restaurants. Now, there are a lot more choices.

A surge of businesses reopened by the third quarter of the year due to soft loans offered by the Department of Trade and Industry. Robinsons Malls fully reopened in June, offering movies people missed at discounted prices. My apartment's cable services also went back up in June.


A local pop-up bar in downtown Tacloban City. Reuters/Thin Lei Win

The influx of assisting organizations has also brought with it a new, albeit temporary, economy. The big organizations have blocked out rooms in hotels, or rented houses and buildings for their staff accommodation and offices. Vehicle rentals have flourished. Restaurants and eating places have had good business from transient workers.

One year after Yolanda, many parts of Tacloban look almost normal. Late afternoon in the downtown you will find typical city scenes: students filing out of school, office workers rushing to get jeepneys, groups of friends lingering in coffee shops, fitness buffs jogging in the public track oval. There is even some traffic (and traffic lights).

But Tacloban is not really normal, not yet. Amidst the images of a bustling city, there is still uncertainty and suffering. As of October 3, about 300 families were still in tents, and 3,600 in makeshift homes, the term used for those who have hastily rebuilt wherever they could. These people remain at risk, living in poor shelters in cramped conditions, facing the phase out of relief. Those in tents are targeted to be transferred to transit houses made out amakan and nipa soon, before they are transferred to permanent homes.

As for permanent housing, based on figures from the National Housing Agency, there is a total of 13,187 houses planned for Tacloban in various stages. Including NHA and LGU projects, these comprise 85 percent of the target of 14,433 units, based on the number of those in high risk areas. Fully-completed houses are 68, partially completed 1,107. By November they aim to turn over about 800.

The common question that is asked for the recovery of Tacloban is, why does it seem so slow? Like a person who gets sick, the recovery of a city depends much on its health and how it functioned before the typhoon. Stronger, more resilient parts might be able to recover faster, such as downtown Tacloban, which, even though it was flooded and looted, remained mostly intact. Vulnerable parts of the city, such as informal coastal settlements, will take some time and may need a reimagined future. The creation of new parts of the city, such as new settlements, will take even longer - mainly because it needs to start from scratch, and needs more than just housing to work.

I came to Tacloban wanting to push for change. I discovered that it wasn't easy. There is a multitude of elements that are needed for recovery, and the city government or even the national government cannot control all these. I ended up downsizing my expectations. Tacloban is indeed on the road to recovery -- but whether it will be a better and more resilient city - is something not yet seen, but hoped for. — JST, GMA News

Amillah S. Rodil is an architect and urban planner hailing from Iligan City, Mindanao. Her contract in Tacloban ended last July, but she decided to stay to volunteer for the City Housing Office. As of this writing, she is walking for climate justice with Climate Walk.

Short-term projects for Yolanda rehab to be completed before end-2014 November 9, 2014 2:49pm 29 5 2 39 Tags: Super Typhoon Yolanda GMA NEWS NETWORK


COLOMA

Government's short-term programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) to rehabilitate areas devastated by super Typhoon Yolanda will be completed before the end of this year, a Palace spokesman said on Sunday.

In a briefing over state-run dzRB, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr also said P119.2-billion medium-term PPAs, which include disaster prevention and mitigation, will be implemented from 2015 to 2016.

"Ang long-term o pangmatagalang PPAs naman ay ipatutupad matapos ang taong 2016," he added.

The government has set P167.9 billion funding requirement for the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP), which is divided into four clusters, namely: resettlement, infrastructure, livelihood, and social services.

Coloma said a Social Weather Stations survey showing that nine of 10 Filipinos are hopeful for the recovery of Yolanda-hit areas has inspired the government to do better.

"Ang resulta ng survey ay lalong nagbibigay ng inspirasyon sa pamahalaan upang paigtingin pa ang mabilisan at epektibong pagpapatupad ng CRRP para sa kabutihan at kapakanan ng lahat ng nasalanta sa Yolanda Corregidor," he said. — Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza /LBG, GMA News

Catholic Church ‘at forefront’ of Yolanda reconstruction – CBCP official November 9, 2014 8:02pm 1 3 0 6


Philippine Catholic priest, Monsignor Pedro Quitorio of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) GETTY IMAGES

One year after Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines and left at least 6,300 dead, reconstruction has been difficult and may still be below 65 percent done, a Catholic Church official said over the weekend.

Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines media head Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III told Vatican Radio that this is despite continued help from Philippine and international groups, including Church organizations.

"The reconstruction and rehabilitation work to keep people back on their feet has been quite difficult because of the extent of the damage,” he said.

On Saturday, the nation marked the first anniversary of the devastation caused by Yolanda. Foreign governments have assured the Philippines of continued help.

Quitorio said that "despite so much effort, we have not yet maybe after one year achieved about 65 percent of the needed reconstruction."

He said international and local Church groups, including Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Internationalis, had been helping in the reconstruction. He said the Philippine government had been helping too "although it's very much wanting as reported by mainstream media."

“The Church has been at the forefront of the work. I would not be wrong if I say the biggest help in the reconstruction has been done by the Church” and Church-related organizations, he said.

On the other hand, he said many chapels and churches have not been repaired or rebuilt at this time.

He said this is in line with the example of Pope Francis, who had taught that “we make a priority the lives of the people before we can reconstruct our own convents and our own churches."

"Our chapels have not been reconstructed. People are holding their Masses in tents, makeshift chapels, where thousands of people gather on Sunday,” he said. — Joel Locsin/JDS, GMA News

FROM PHILSTAR

Palace: We welcome criticism, suggestions By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 9, 2014 - 12:00am 2 45 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The government is open to suggestions to hasten the rehabilitation of areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda and improve the lives of typhoon survivors, Malacañang said yesterday.

Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said over state-run dzRB the government welcomes suggestions to address flaws or inadequacies in the implementation of rehabilitation programs.

The government had been criticized for the slow pace of the rehabilitation amid allegations of corruption and politicking.

Coloma said it is important that nobody would be left behind in the efforts of the government to restore normalcy in the lives of the people affected by the storm.

“We will come up with the best solution to attend to the needs of displaced survivors and ease the inconvenience they are experiencing,” he said.

He added that safety is the most important consideration and people must not return to areas that are known to be at risk.

Coloma said the national government is one with the public in the effort to restore the livelihood of the people in the affected areas even as it continues to coordinate with concerned local government units.

Coloma called on the public to practice bayanihan to help the government rebuild the lives and damaged homes of the typhoon victims.

He said the devastation wrought by Yolanda in at least 81 provinces is “too wide and deep” and the government needs all the help it could get.

Don’t look at us

Meanwhile, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman has expressed exasperation over questions on the multi-million dollar donations to Yolanda victims.

* In an interview in Tacloban City where she inspected government projects, Soliman said international non-government organizations (NGOs) and not the government should account for around $850 million of this foreign aid.

“I have already called on them to make a public accounting of where they spent the huge funds they received…The government is being asked where the donations went… but it did not pass through the government,” she said.

“What went to us are goods like the tents... But the money, we never handled any of it,” she added.

She said at least 55 percent of the donations went to the United Nations and around 40 percent went to international NGOs.

Soliman said international NGOs should be ready to account for the Yolanda aid in the same way that the DSWD has answered questions regarding government funds for Yolanda.

“We are always ready to explain. However, we cannot explain what we never handled,” she said. –With Rainier Allan Ronda

TOURISM's HOMESTAY PHL: Invite tourists into your homes and earn money  Amadís Ma. Guerrero @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:01 AM | Sunday, November 9th, 2014


PHOTO: Rapha Valley in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental is one of the country’s leading showcases for farm tourism, organic farming and homestay.

Do you own a house, ancestral home, cottage, a farmhouse perhaps or manage a student dormitory?

If you do, then you can join this private sector initiative, play host to paying accredited tourists (foreign as well as domestic) and earn money in the process.

This is the core of the homestay program of Homestay Philippines, Inc.

The concept is nothing new and Homestay officials are the first to point this out.

It was Dr. Mina T. Gabor, former secretary of the Department of Tourism and now president of the International School of Sustainable Tourism, who thought of applying this concept to the Philippines, on a greater scale than before, after her travels abroad.

Homestay is a living arrangement with a host family or organization.

Out-of-town guests are offered an extra private room or space for a reasonable charge compared to the more pricey hotels and other tourism-oriented establishments. The host family must share at least one meal with the guest(s).

“Homestay is a private-sector initiative and it is the duty of the government to just support it,” DOT assistant secretary Allan Cañizal said in a recent briefing. “Homestay had been tried before but [it] failed because there was no marketing aspect. Now we have one.”

Marketing and promotions are now being done through online networks, word of mouth, fliers and direct mail.

* Also discussed during the briefing was the First Homestays of the World Summit, to be held Dec. 3-5 at the Nature’s Village Resort, Bacolod City (call 02-832-0996). The course fees are P4,500 (live-out) and P8,500 (live-in).

“We will be creating jobs and livelihood opportunities,” said Gabor, “All you need is a presentable place in your home. The alternative accommodations must be safe, comfortable and affordable; this will provide extra income for the host families. We can earn additional income from these homes, some of which have been abandoned.”

“The private sector can expect something nice to happen,” she added.

Banaue town in Ifugao is one of the first in the country to offer homestay accommodations to visitors.
Banaue town in Ifugao is one of the first in the country to offer homestay accommodations to visitors.
The accommodations can be found or developed in any area in the country visited by foreign and domestic transients, including well-known destinations like Banaue, Pagudpud and Boracay.

“The investment of the families is very minimal,” Gabor said, “They can start with one room, recoup their costs, and be able to expand and add more rooms. There are village-type accommodations like those of the T’boli (in Mindanao) while the large areas have city homestays.”

The investments, according to Rose Bilongco, Homestay Philippines president, include uniform toilets, training costs, signages, and a four-night free stay for assessment visits.

“It’s not just economics we are looking at but we want the visitors to sample, to experience the Filipino way of life,” she said, “It’s our people that we are marketing as well, not just events (and places). We want them to earn money at the same time.”

A media colleague, Lito C., was apparently inspired by all this information and decided to turn entrepreneur. He has a house in Mandaluyong City plus a rented house in Dolores, Quezon, near the mystic Mt. Banahaw.

He learned from Gabor that to join the Homestay cooperative, once must pay a P1,000 entry fee plus a sharing contribution fee of P15,000 – quite reasonable considering the advantages.

“They (the cooperative) will promote your place. And I can do business and enjoy it,” he said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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