PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK

LACSON SLAMS TACLOBAN MAYOR OVER REHAB PROTESTS 

NOV 11--Presidential Assistant for Recovery and Rehabilitation Panfilo Lacson accused yesterday Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez of financing anti-government protests in that city. “In Tacloban, they commemorated the Yolanda anniversary with a protest rally,” he said. “That makes Tacloban a class of its own. It would be unfair for foreign and local observers to base their judgment on the Yolanda corridor in Tacloban,” he said, comparing it with other Yolanda-stricken areas. However, 85-year-old Bernardita Valenzuela, Tacloban City information officer, debunked the allegations, saying they don’t have the money to bankroll mass protests. “I have known the mayor since he was a young boy,” she said. “He is not a terrorist. He is a kind person. He is pro-people.” READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Ping, Alfred trade barbs over rehab fund: “We have no knowledge of the P6 billion. It did not pass through us. Where is it?”--- Mayor Romualdez 

NOV 11---REHABILITATION czar Panfilo Lacson on Monday accused Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez of lying about not receiving any funds from the national government to rebuild the city that was battered by super typhoon Yolanda a year ago. “We keep on hearing him tell the media that Tacloban has not received a single centavo... That’s a lie. We know that Tacloban City has received projects worth P6 billion,” Lacson said during a post-Yolanda assessment forum at the Philippine International Convention Center. But Romualdez insisted Monday the city has not received that kind of funding and demanded to know where the P6 billion went. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: ‘Yolanda’ donations now P73.3B Where did foreign aid go? PNoy admits difficulty in tracking it down  

NOV 11---A year after the fury unleashed by super-typhoon “Yolanda” on communities in the Visayas, foreign donations for the storm survivors have risen to P73.307 billion (approximately US $1.643 billion). Based on the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH) website, the foreign aid consisted of cash donations amounting to P45.109 billion ($1.011 billion) as well as non-cash assistance amounting to P28.198 billion ($632 million). READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Palace wishes b-day boy Binay good health  

NOV 11---Malacañang wishes Vice President Jejomar Binay long life and good health for his 72nd birthday, which he celebrates today amid allegations that he amassed illegal wealth. “Happy birthday to the Vice President. We wish that you enjoy your birthday, your special day. (We are wishing you) longer life and good health,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said when asked for Malacañang’s birthday wish for Binay, also a member of the Cabinet. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Yolanda heroine inspires daughter

NOV 11 --When Super Typhoon Yolanda pounded Tacloban on Nov. 8 last year, Salvacion Avestruz and three other state weather forecasters refused to abandon their posts at the city station. As a storm surge with waves seven meters high roared into the city, Salvacion tried to save a weather instrument. A crashing wave swept her away. Salvacion, 42, is among the missing in Tacloban. Her presumed death has not discouraged her daughter Mary Joyce, 19, from pursuing a similar career. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: PH allots P24M for Aquino’s APEC, ASEAN meetings 

NOV 12   --The government has set aside around P24 million for President Benigno Aquino III’s participation in two major regional conferences in China and Myanmar from November 10-13, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said on Sunday (Nov. 9). The Chief Executive left Sunday morning via a chartered flight to Beijing to attend the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. From China, President Aquino will proceed to Nay Pyi Taw to attend the 25th ASEAN Summit. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Tacloban mayor denies Lacson claim 

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez denied a claim made by former Senator Panfilo Lacson that the mayor had asked him to advance his city’s share of the taxes collected by the national government. Romualdez told reporters here that on the contrary, it was the the presidential assistant on reconstruction and rehabilitation who had offered to advance Tacloban’s internal revenue allotment or IRA. “No, no, no. He offered to me na i-advance ‘yung IRA and I turned him down,” the mayor said. READ FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Ping slams Tacloban mayor over rehab protests


LACSON

ORMOC CITY, NOVEMBER 17, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Lalaine Jimenea - Presidential Assistant for Recovery and Rehabilitation Panfilo Lacson accused yesterday Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez of financing anti-government protests in that city.

“In Tacloban, they commemorated the Yolanda anniversary with a protest rally,” he said.

“That makes Tacloban a class of its own. It would be unfair for foreign and local observers to base their judgment on the Yolanda corridor in Tacloban,” he said, comparing it with other Yolanda-stricken areas.

However, 85-year-old Bernardita Valenzuela, Tacloban City information officer, debunked the allegations, saying they don’t have the money to bankroll mass protests.

“I have known the mayor since he was a young boy,” she said. “He is not a terrorist. He is a kind person. He is pro-people.”

Lacson said Romualdez is reluctant to work hand-in-hand with the national government to help Typhoon Yolanda survivors.

Tacloban City received some P6 billion worth of projects as part of the national government’s recovery and rehabilitation programs, he added.

Speaking at the opening of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Recovery and Rehabilitation in Tacloban, Lacson said the city is not a microcosm of the whole Eastern Visayas.

“Why is Tacloban so different when Tacloban is not the microcosm,” he said in Filipino. “It’s not representative of the 171 cities and municipalities. Tacloban is but one of those devastated. Tanauan, Guiuan and Samar are not pro-administration, but coordination is continuing and rehabilitation and project implementation are very smooth.”

Lacson said it was not true that the national government did not give any help to Tacloban City.

Tacloban got the largest slice of the P251-million Department of the Interior and Local Government-Recovery After Yolanda (DILG-RAY) funds for its city hall, public market and civic center, he added.

Valenzuela said the DILG-RAY funds that the city government had received are for government infrastructure.

“What the people are asking here is, where are the funds for them, to be spent to rehabilitate them?” she said.

In a radio interview yesterday, Romualdez said the city government indeed received funds from the national government for the rehabilitation of city hall, civic centers and public markets.

“I received money from Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas for city hall, civic centers and public markets... but we haven’t received any assistance for bunkhouses,” he said.

However, Romualdez said he has no knowledge of the P6-billion funds that Lacson claims to have given the city government.

“If we had P6 billion, we could have done a lot of things here in Tacloban,” he said in Filipino.

“I never said that no help had come from the national government. We have no problem with reconstruction. I don’t know why OPARR is saying that City Hall would be moved. We are careful. Everything must be documented.”

Lacson said they keep on hearing Romualdez telling the media that Tacloban City has not received a single centavo.

“That’s not right, that’s a lie,” he said.

“We (at PARR) are in charge of consolidating data and we know that Tacloban City has received projects and activities worth P6 billion.

“After he accepted the funds, he requested that those funds be realigned and he wanted to transfer the city hall and public market sites,” he said. “He could have refused the downloaded funds and instead talk to DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) in charge of constructing totally damaged government structures.”

Lacson said he has been all over Leyte and Samar, but except for Tacloban, people were content with the aid they were receiving.

“In Samar, Guiuan and Tanauan, local governments were not rallying,” he said in Filipino.

“Their commemoration is to move forward and focus on what has been done. But Tacloban has rallies, complaints and many issues. I don’t know where the complaints are coming from.

“Let us ask ourselves why Tacloban is always complaining when no complaints are seen and heard in other places.”

Lacson has asked Romualdez and other local executives in Eastern Visayas to cooperate with the national government instead of thinking of politics.

“Let us think of the welfare of the survivors,” he said in Filipino.

Lacson said Samar Gov. Sharee Ann Tan came to his office last January to say that he forgot about her province, and that from then on, he sent private donors to Samar.

“We appreciate mayors going to us to tell us about their problems,” he said in Filipino. “Rehabilitation work is a tedious process, especially that we have to build back better.”

Romualdez and his wife, Cristina, a city councilor, have not been returning calls to give their side.

Yesterday, they had a press conference at noon, along with Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, but did not touch on the subject.

Rep. Romualdez just emphasized on the allegedly skewed priorities of the administration like planning to transfer the Tacloban airport to Palo or Tanauan.

The government must first solve the problems at hand before embarking on another grandiose and expensive project, he added.

Lacson said the national government will not give up on Tacloban despite the attitude of Romualdez, and that they will still include the city in the recovery and rehabilitation program.

“We will continue to extend a hand of cooperation to Tacloban,” he said.

“We will not give up on Tacloban. Nobody will be left out in the rehabilitation programs but we hope the local government units will do their share.”

Maps

Detailed geohazard maps are being distributed to local governments in places that Typhoon Yolanda had devastated.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said 131 out of the 171 municipalities, covering nine Yolanda-hit provinces, now have maps at a scale of 1:10,000.

“With the geohazard maps, the degree of vulnerability to floods and landslides can be determined in these areas. These maps, which are more detailed and more precise, will enable national and local authorities to see clearly what’s on the ground,” he said.

Paje said the maps are an important tool in disaster risk reduction and management.

The completed maps cover towns in the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Cebu, Iloilo, Samar, Eastern Samar, Biliran, Dinagat Island and Palawan, he added.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has yet to complete the detailed geohazard maps for towns in the provinces of Masbate, Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Negros Occidental.

Paje said all concerned local governments down to the barangay level will be provided copies of the new maps, complete with recommendations.

“The new maps are more precise than those with 1:50,000 scale, thus fast-tracking rehabilitation and development efforts, including proactive measures on disaster prevention and preparedness, especially by LGUs,” he said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has allocated some P354 million for the detailed geohazard mapping in various disaster-prone areas. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Rhodina Villanueva


FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Ping, Alfred trade barbs over rehab funds; By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan, Christine F. Herrera | Nov. 11, 2014 at 12:01am


Policy forum. Vice President Jejomar Binay and rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson confer at the PICC on Monday during the multi-stakeholder policy forum on “Yolanda” a year after the storm devastated Eastern Visayas. Danny Pata

REHABILITATION czar Panfilo Lacson on Monday accused Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez of lying about not receiving any funds from the national government to rebuild the city that was battered by super typhoon Yolanda a year ago.

“We keep on hearing him tell the media that Tacloban has not received a single centavo... That’s a lie. We know that Tacloban City has received projects worth P6 billion,” Lacson said during a post-Yolanda assessment forum at the Philippine International Convention Center.

But Romualdez insisted Monday the city has not received that kind of funding and demanded to know where the P6 billion went.

“We have no knowledge of the P6 billion. It did not pass through us. We did not receive it. We also want to know where the money went because P6 billion is too big an amount to escape notice. Where is it?” Romualdez said.

“We demand a public accounting because it is unfair to our people to have it appear we have received so much even if we didn’t,” Romualdez added.

He said so far, the city has received P184 million from Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II for the repair of government offices, including the city hall, civic centers and public markets, but there was nothing for shelters for the victims, whose houses were washed away by storm surges.

The city has also received some P32 million in donations from senators, congressmen and local government units, while the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources gave P32 million in cash for financial assistance to fishemen, the mayor said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development also earmarked P34 million for its “cash-for-work program,” Romualdez said.

Of the P169.7 billion earmarked in the master plan for Yolanda-devastated provinces, not a single centavo had yet been distributed, he said.

But Lacson claimed that Romualdez kept changing policies that affected the rehabilitation process.

For example, Lacson said Romualdez suddenly decided that he wanted the funds from the DILG realigned overnight to build a new city hall instead of repairing the old one.

Asked where all the money went, Lacson said that for transparency’s sake, the national government would look into it and report its findings as soon as possible.

Starting Friday, thousands of typhoon Yolanda survivors from the People Surge movement staged protest rallies to express their rage over the alleged neglect and slow response of the national government to their needs.

Lacson accused Romualdez of busing in the protestors, saying that he sent the mayor a text message saying he saw a truck carrying protesters parked at the local government’s compound.

Lacson said the mayor replied: “Next time, we will be more circumspect.”

Lacson said that he tried to be patient with Romualdez but he was starting to get fed up.

“It is only now that we reached our threshold. We’ve been holding on to our punches all this time. Somehow, you will reach your elastic limit,” he said.

But Lacson assured Tacloban residents that they would not be set aside as the government has always practiced a policy of inclusion.

“We will continue to reach out. We are dealing with a calamity here. The people are suffering. We have a policy of inclusion, but I also have a message that I have stated before: You are either in or in the way,” he said.

Romualdez, on the other hand, bemoaned the slow pace of rehabilitation.

“After one year, of the 14,500 permanent homes needed for the survivors, only 400 units have so far been built, and half of these were constructed by the private sector,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez’s cousins, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, joined the mayor in demanding an accounting also of the P14.7 billion in supplemental budget that Congress passed for the repair and rehabilitation of the Yolanda-devastated provinces.

Marcos and Rep. Romualdez principally authored the supplemental budget bill that was immediately approved by both houses of Congress in December last year.

“We want to find out where the billions in supplemental budget went,” Marcos said.

Congressman Romualdez said on top of the supplemental budget, the Senate also realigned the P8 billion in their pork barrel allocations for the calamity-stricken areas, shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that the Priority Development Assistance Fund and portions of the Disbursement Acceleration Program were unconstitutional.

Mayor Romualdez said if what Lacson said about the P6 billion were true, that would have been enough to rebuild the runway of the Daniel Romualdez Airport in the city.

“If indeed there was P6 billion in projects, we could easily say it could cover the construction of the airport. It should have been finished by now. But even our engineering department was not consulted about the closing for repairs of the airport,” Romualdez said.

Not one stakeholder was consulted when the national government decided to close the Tacloban airport to big aircraft, he added.

“We were not consulted. Even the chamber of commerce whose businesses are directly affected by the lack of air transport was not consulted,” the mayor said.

The mayor also demanded that the Palace show the city a study that recommended the transfer of the Tacloban airport to Palo, whose mayor, Remedios Petilla is the mother of Liberal Party official and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.

On Nov. 8, during the anniversary of Yolanda onslaught. President Aquino announced in Guiuan, Eastern Samar that a study was shown to him after Yolanda and that the study recommended the transfer of Tacloban airport because it was vulnerable to flooding.

The President said Tacloban is always hit by typhoons and that air traffic comes to a halt every time the airport gets flooded.

But the mayor said officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency told him there was no such study done by JICA.

“So where is that study? The Palace should make public that study and show us if indeed there was such a study done. To build a new airport would cost the national government P12 billion. Why not use the funds for building shelters for the Yolanda survivors so they can start rebuilding their lives and move on?” Romualdez said.


FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

‘Yolanda’ donations now P73.3B Where did foreign aid go? PNoy admits difficulty in tracking it down by Genalyn Kabiling November 11, 2014 Share this:

A year after the fury unleashed by super-typhoon “Yolanda” on communities in the Visayas, foreign donations for the storm survivors have risen to P73.307 billion (approximately US $1.643 billion).

Based on the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH) website, the foreign aid consisted of cash donations amounting to P45.109 billion ($1.011 billion) as well as non-cash assistance amounting to P28.198 billion ($632 million).

PLEDGES

Of the rehabilitation assistance pledged by foreign governments, organizations and private individuals, the aid actually received has reached P17.248 billion ($386 million). The Philippine government has received P1.195 billion in cash donations and P1.265 billion in non-cash aid. Non-government organizations, multi laterals and other groups, on the other hand, received foreign aid amounting to P14.760 billion.

Among the biggest donors to Yolanda survivors are Japan (P27.9 billion), United Kingdom (P11.8 billion), United States (P4 billion), Germany (P10 billion), Australia (P4.5 billion), Canada (P1.7 billion), Norway (P1.5 billion), and European Union (P1.2 billion).

For the sake of transparency and accountability, the government earlier set up FAiTH website to monitor the foreign aid offered by various countries and organizations to Yolanda-hit communities.

President Aquino has repeatedly expressed gratitude to the international community for their support and solidarity for the communities affected by the powerful typhoon last year.

NO GOV’T CONTROL

The President, in a media interview last Friday, however admitted that the government could not track all foreign donations since the bulk of the aid went to NGOs and other counterpart agencies of foreign countries.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have control. They gave the funds to their counterpart organizations so how do we account for that? We never received it. We never disbursed it,” Aquino said in mix of Filipino and English.

The government, however, can probably ask these NGOs where the foreign aid went, according to the President. “We will, perhaps, the CabSec (Rene Almendras) is present, we will try and inquire from everybody who was supposed to have given something,” Aquino said.

The government, on the other hand, could account for the donations it has received from various nations, according to the President. He said the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery is working on another website that will allow the public to track donations for the rehabilitation phase.


FROM PHILSTAR

Palace wishes b-day boy Binay good health (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 11, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang wishes Vice President Jejomar Binay long life and good health for his 72nd birthday, which he celebrates today amid allegations that he amassed illegal wealth.

“Happy birthday to the Vice President. We wish that you enjoy your birthday, your special day. (We are wishing you) longer life and good health,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said when asked for Malacañang’s birthday wish for Binay, also a member of the Cabinet.

When asked to react to Binay’s wish for an end to a campaign to smear his reputation, Valte said the question should be posed to those whom he thinks is behind the propaganda against him.

“I really can’t say much about it owing to the fact that, we have said this time and again, we have nothing to do with what is happening and we have more than enough on our plate to engage in extraneous activity,” Valte said.

Despite the differences between Binay and some administration allies, Malacañang believes that President Aquino and the Vice President can still work “when they need to.”

“The President already said what he has to say on the matter. From what I remember, the Vice President attended the last Cabinet meeting on Typhoon Yolanda. It was as expected. They work when they need to,” Valte said.

Earlier, the President said Binay is free to leave the Cabinet if he is no longer satisfied with the way things are being run by the administration.

Aquino made the statement after Binay criticized the administration’s way of handling the looming power crisis, criminality and traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

Binay, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers, said he continues to respect the President and vowed to remain a “team player.”

Binay, who has declared his intention to run for President in 2016, has been tagged in allegedly overpriced projects like the Makati City Hall parking building and Makati Science High School.

Political rivals also claimed that the Binay family owns an estate in Rosario, Batangas.

Binay has maintained that he never stole public funds and dismissed all allegations as black propaganda.

On the eve of his 72nd birthday, the Vice President, his wife former Makati mayor Elenita Binay, daughter Sen. Nancy Binay and son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay attended a Mass yesterday at the Makati City Hall.

The Vice President declined to be interviewed after the Mass and rushed off to attend a forum on the rehabilitation efforts for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

The elder Binay also avoided answering questions from media on his alleged secret accounts in foreign banks.

“Boss, malayo na ‘yan sa issue (that is already far from the issue),” Binay told a reporter.

The issue Binay was referring to was the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II, which is currently being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee.

At the Senate hearing last Nov. 6, former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado showed copies of some of Binay’s alleged time deposits and balance statements in various banks in Hong Kong.

Senator Binay said yesterday that instead of debating with her father, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV should file a court case against the Vice President.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the Mass held at Makati City Hall, Senator Binay said nothing would come out of the much-anticipated debate.

“I am not in favor of the debate because why would we stoop down to that level? Our work is priority,” said the senator, eldest of the Vice President’s children.

Senator Binay also dared Trillanes and her father’s other detractors to file an impeachment case against him.

Binay’s wife Elenita meanwhile told reporters that the planned debate was “pointless.”

P-Noy called Drilon

Senate President Franklin Drilon revealed yesterday that he had received a call from President Aquino a while back, relaying a request by Binay for the Senate to stop its investigations into the allegedly overpriced parking building constructed by the city government of Makati.

Drilon made the disclosure after reporters asked him if he received a call from the President about the request made by the Vice President.

The President himself previously admitted that he met with the Vice President at Malacañang last month and that it was Binay who brought up the issue of the cases and investigations being pursued against him by the Senate and the other government agencies.

Drilon said that he could not recall when he received the call from the President but he said that he saw it as being nothing more than Aquino relaying a request made by the Vice President.

“President Aquino called me up and relayed the request of Vice President Binay to stop the investigations,” Drilon said.

“I told him, sir, you were part of the Senate before, you know that nobody can dictate on the senators what to do, especially when the matter of when to start and stop an investigation is addressed to the chair and the members of a committee. Not even the Senate President can tell them to stop,” he added.

Drilon said that he did not feel any pressure from the call from the President and that he took it at face value.

“The President relayed to me in plain and simple language the request of the Vice President,” Drilon said.

However, Drilon admitted that the request was out of the ordinary and that it was the first time that he has been asked to do such a thing.

“Not in my own personal experience. I have been chair of so many committees, I have not received any request to stop an investigation,” Drilon said.

He said that he did not feel affronted by the request of the Vice President and the action of the President to relay it to him.

“Why should it be an affront? The President of the Republic was relaying a request of the Vice President of the Republic,” he said.

Trillanes said that the call made by the President to Drilon clearly had no effect on the hearings because these were not stopped and are still being conducted by the Blue Ribbon subcommittee.

According to Trillanes, that move by the Vice President was a confirmation that he has been looking for ways to stop the investigations being conducted by the Blue Ribbon subcommittee and other government agencies.

Aside from the alleged overpriced Makati parking building, Binay has also been accused of owning properties that he did not declare in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth, including a 150-hectare estate in Rosario, Batangas.

Binay has denied being the owner of the estate and a Chinese-Filipino businessman named Antonio Tiu has claimed ownership of the Batangas estate.

Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs, declined yesterday to comment on the Vice President’s reported request to stop the Senate inquiry.

“That issue is dead. We should talk about the more important things like the Yolanda rehabilitation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the Rosario property should be properly assessed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to determine if it falls under the scope of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.

Buhay party-list group Rep. Lito Atienza for his part denounced the Senate probe on the Makati City Hall parking building as an abuse of authority of the senators. – With Helen Flores, Mike Frialde, Alexis Romero, Marvin Sy, Perseus Echeminada


Yolanda heroine inspires daughter By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 11, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - When Super Typhoon Yolanda pounded Tacloban on Nov. 8 last year, Salvacion Avestruz and three other state weather forecasters refused to abandon their posts at the city station.

As a storm surge with waves seven meters high roared into the city, Salvacion tried to save a weather instrument. A crashing wave swept her away.

Salvacion, 42, is among the missing in Tacloban. Her presumed death has not discouraged her daughter Mary Joyce, 19, from pursuing a similar career.

Mario Peñaranda, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) station in Tacloban, yesterday said Salvacion tried to save the bureau’s microbarograph even though a huge wave was about to engulf the station.

Salvacion’s husband and three children have accepted monetary assistance from the weather bureau and the union amounting to P100,000.

The Civil Service Commission has also honored her along with three other civil servants.

Their families received a plaque and P100,000 each under the commission’s Pamanang Lingkod Bayani program. Three immediate family members also received partial scholarships under the project.

Working student

Mary Joyce is now working at the PAGASA station in Catarman, Northern Samar under a job order contracting scheme.

While she was supposed to do mostly clerical work, Mary Joyce said she also wants to have the opportunity to do weather observation like her mother.

She is a graduating BS math student at the University of Eastern Philippines in Catarman.

“I have to work while studying so I can support my family,” Mary Joyce told The STAR in a phone interview.

She said her mother wanted her to become a teacher.

“My nanay (mother)’s dream for me is to become a teacher,” she said, adding that she accepted the job for practical reasons.

Having been raised in an environment of weather forecasting, Mary Joyce said she wants to follow the footsteps of her mother.

She described her mother as very kind and devoted to her job.

She said her mother decided to travel to Tacloban from their house in Catarman on Nov. 8, 2013, even if it was her day off.

“I just choose not to think of her so I will not be sad,” she said when asked how she copes with their loss.

PAGASA administrator Vicente Malano told The STAR that Mary Joyce would be prioritized for hiring upon graduation.

Survivor’s tale

Meanwhile, Peñaranda continues to bear the trauma brought by Yolanda.

“There are times when the trauma comes back especially when I am alone. I still recall the horror caused by the typhoon,” Peñaranda told The STAR in a phone interview.

Yolanda – the strongest typhoon to hit the country last year – left nearly 6,000 people dead and more than 1,700 missing.

Peñaranda was with Salvacion and two other colleagues at the PAGASA station in Tacloban when storm surges as high as seven meters hit the area.

“It is the general rule in PAGASA that personnel on duty should not leave or abandon their posts at all costs if a locality is under threat from a tropical cyclone,” he said.

PAGASA has yet to rebuild its station in Tacloban as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) still has to designate a new location for the weather bureau’s office, according to Peñaranda.

“We requested the administrations of PAGASA and CAAP if they can make our new office at least two-story so it would not be reached by high waves,” he said.

The weather bureau currently uses an office space inside the Department of Science and Technology compound in Palo, Leyte.


FROM 9news.ph

PH allots P24M for Aquino’s APEC, ASEAN meetings Published: Mon, November 10, 2014


AQUINO

The government has set aside around P24 million for President Benigno Aquino III’s participation in two major regional conferences in China and Myanmar from November 10-13, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said on Sunday (Nov. 9).

The Chief Executive left Sunday morning via a chartered flight to Beijing to attend the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. From China, President Aquino will proceed to Nay Pyi Taw to attend the 25th ASEAN Summit.

“While these meetings will further strengthen our regional relations and trade partnerships with our neighbors, it is also important to note that in this particular conference in Beijing, China is anticipated to turn over the APEC chairmanship to the Philippines as we host the APEC Summit next year,” Ochoa said.

In the two conferences, President Aquino will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Andrea Abad, and Presidential Protocol Chief Celia Anna Feria.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and Social Secretary Susan Arnaiz will also join the President in China, while Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. will be part of the delegation to Myanmar.

In Beijing, President Aquino will lead the dialogue on economic reforms during the APEC CEO Summit 2014 organized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), and discuss innovative development, economic reform and growth, and strengthening structural development in the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

He is also set to meet with the APEC Business Advisory Council and other industry leaders to discuss disaster resilience, small and medium enterprises, financial inclusion, and domestic governance, among others.

The APEC leaders are expected to adopt the 22nd APEC Leaders’ Declaration on the conclusion of the conference on November 11.

In Nay Pyi Taw, President Aquino will be participating in meetings between ASEAN leaders and the United Nations, Japan, the United States, and China, among others, as well as with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council.

He will also attend events for the launch of the ASEAN Communication Master Plan and the ASEAN Institute of Green Growth Economy.

The amount earmarked for the trip covers expenses for transportation, accommodation, food, equipment, and other requirements of the Chief Executive and his delegation. – 9News Online, with reports from PIA wires


FROM THE INQUIRER

Tacloban mayor denies Lacson claim Joey Gabieta @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Visayas 9:48 PM | Tuesday, November 11th, 2014


Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez denied a claim made by former Senator Panfilo Lacson that the mayor had asked him to advance his city’s share of the taxes collected by the national government.

Romualdez told reporters here that on the contrary, it was the the presidential assistant on reconstruction and rehabilitation who had offered to advance Tacloban’s internal revenue allotment or IRA.

“No, no, no. He offered to me na i-advance ‘yung IRA and I turned him down,” the mayor said.

Tacloban has an annual IRA allotment of about P450 million.

“The city does not need to make a cash advance. What we need is assistance, hindi bale (not an advance),” Romualdez said.

“If you make bale, that means you’ll get all your money for six months and which we’ll spend for one or two months. So on the third month, we have no more money. So what, I’ll close down city hall because we’re bankrupt?” Romualdez said.

“When it comes to help, you help us for five months, give others dole-out, then we will be given IRA. What’s that?”

Romualdez said that while he received more than P230 million from the government through its RAY (Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda) program, Tacloban did not receive any other financial assistance from the government.

The amount was intended for the repair of the City Hall, public market and the Tacloban astrodome, which served as the main evacuation center during the onslaught of Yolanda.

The repair work on the astrodome has already begun while that on the public market and the City Hall has yet to be start. However, minor repairs were started at the City Hall with the funds partly used from the financial assistance it received from private donors and organizations.

The city government received more than P30 million from the donors, a portion of which was used by the local government to purchase 10 hectares of land in the northern part of the city for a resettlement site.

Romualdez said he was doing everything to restore normalcy in Tacloban after it was ravaged by Yolanda but could do more for lack of money.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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