HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK ...

VP BINAY SAYS TIES WITH NOY STILL OK 

NOV 7 --CEBU CITY --They may not be on talking terms, but Vice President Jejomar Binay insisted yesterday that his relationship with President Aquino remains “OK.” Aquino had said last Monday that the Vice President was free to leave the Cabinet if he did not like the way the government was being run. Binay had criticized the administration for failing to address problems besetting the people. “We’re OK. We even laugh at each other. I still have a high respect for the President. But during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, the topic was serious, it was all about the Yolanda rehabilitation,” Binay said in an interview over radio dyHP here yesterday, referring to the Cabinet meeting last Wednesday wherein it was noted that the top two officials of the land did not speak to each other.

Binay said he decided not to attend yesterday’s hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee over the allegations against him, and would instead go to the media and directly to the people to present his side. He insisted the allegations against him and his family form part of a demolition campaign to derail his political plans. “It came to the point of becoming too personal and the allegations are baseless and humiliating,” he added. Binay said he remained unfazed by all the allegations of corruption against him. He said the attacks would not discourage him from running for president in 2016. “I am not a hypocrite. I made the declaration that I want to run for president in 2016... unlike the others who are playing it coy but really want to run,” Binay said in Filipino. * READ MORE...

ALSO While in China APEC meet: Aquino woos APEC investors 

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: President Aquino urged businessmen here yesterday to invest in the Filipino people and take advantage of a resilient economy backed by reforms. Speaking before chief executive officers from all over the world ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit here, Aquino said the Philippine government is dynamic and reviewing fiscal incentives, among other rules and regulations, as well as policies and laws to ensure that the country would be more investment-friendly. He said aside from laying down the foundations for economic growth through good governance, his administration invested heavily in education and other programs that would make Filipinos competitive.

“The key to our remaining competitive is in the direction that we have been taking, which is to utilize our greatest resource... our people. Therefore, investments in our people redound to continued competitiveness and redound further to continued economic growth.”  Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, praised Aquino as they sat as panelists at the meeting yesterday. “We have a very challenging scenario and the question of investment becomes critical – investment and innovation. These are necessary for our competitiveness,” Gurria said. Before he left for China yesterday, Aquino vowed to show the international community that the Philippines is ready to become a launching pad of sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region. He said the APEC summit would be held as the Philippines is experiencing “a positive transformation.” “As chair and host of APEC next year, we will show our readiness to serve as a launching pad for the growth of our economies towards a widespread and sustainable development,” Aquino said. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: People, S&T seen as APEC main drivers of growth 

Human capital development with emphasis on science and technology is the top strategy for economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. In a statement made over the weekend during the 26th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting in Beijing, del Rosario underscored as well alignment of education and training programs with industrial requirements of countries in the region.

He commended the establishment of the APEC Higher Education Research Center and the APEC Scholarship Roadmap in advancing cross-border education. Del Rosario informed the APEC ministers about the Philippines’ participation in the APEC Scholarship Program. He highlighted significance of other connectivity initiatives, such as transportation and logistics, financial services and professional mobility.

Del Rosario expressed gratitude to the 21-member APEC for its “unwavering support” that enabled the Philippines to move forward after it was devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013. APEC’s help, he said, allowed the Philippines to reconstruct and rehabilitate areas badly affected by the super typhoon, which left more than 6,000 people dead, mostly in Leyte province.

The secretary arrived in China’s capital on November 7 for the APEC ministerial meeting, which is headed jointly by China’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi and Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: PNoy avoids Tacloban opts  Guiuan visit on eve of ‘Yolanda’ anniversary  

NOV 7 --PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will not visit Tacloban City as survivors of super typhoon Yolanda mark the first year of the calamity on Nov. 8. Aquino will instead visit Guiuan today, one of the 171 cities and municipalities in 14 provinces and six regions in what is now known as the Yolanda corridor. “Yolanda affected a wide area. The President chose Guiuan, which was the first point of impact in November 2013,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said. Aquino “He has limited time as he is preparing for back to back APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summits.

He will report to the people on what the government has done and how it will complete the work through the full implementation of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan,” Coloma added. Only rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, National Housing Authority general manager Chito Cruz, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, and Public Works chief Rogelio Singson will visit Tacloban City on Saturday to turn over 120 housing units. The militant group Bagong Alyangsang Makabayan criticized Aquino’s decision to skip Tacloban City. “Why is Aquino skipping Tacloban on the first anniversary of Yolanda? Is it because of the protesters that will be gathering in the city starting tomorrow? Or is it still because, as [Interior Secretary] Mar Roxas puts it, the President is an Aquino and the mayor is a Romualdez?” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said.

“Why can’t he face the outraged survivors on this important day? The victims and survivors from People Surge have an important message for the President. They should be heard, not snubbed. It’s bad enough that they have suffered from the criminal neglect of the regime; they now have to contend with a regime that cares little for their grievances,” Reyes added. The party-list group Bayan Muna earlier filed House Resolution No. 1638 seeking a probe on the slow rehabilitation efforts as well as on the actual death toll related to the disaster. * READ MORE...

ALSO: President slams critics of Yolanda rehab 
“For those who don’t get tired of criticizing our every move, I will let God deal with them. The day might come that God will give them additional knowledge and kindness, that they may straighten up. My job here is done.” Aquino said.

NOV 8 ---PHOTO:Airport Briefing President Benigno Aquino 3rd shows the pictures of Tacloban right after it was ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda during a press conference in Villamor Airbase on Friday before he left for Guiuan, Samar. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN On the first anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda’s devastation, President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday lashed out at those who continue to criticize the government’s efforts the rebuild the hardest-hit areas. Instead of flying to Tacloban City, where the commemoration of the tragedy is centered, the President went to Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where typhoon Yolanda made the first of six landfalls on November 8, 2013 before unleashing its full fury on Central Visayas.

In his speech, President Aquino outlined what the administration has done to speed up recovery, but he also hit at his detractors. “For those who don’t get tired of criticizing our every move, I will let God deal with them. The day might come that God will give them additional knowledge and kindness, that they may straighten up,” he said.
Aquino anticipated his critics’ tirade about his not having visited Tacloban instead. “Despite all these initiatives, I have a strong feeling that first thing tomorrow, someone will still say I’ve neglected Tacloban. It’s up to you to recognize who would say such things,” he said. The President said some people look only for quick fixes and not long-term solutions that would prevent massive devastation in the future.

He rejected monetary dole-outs to typhoon victims, saying it would not sustain their needs. “There are those who say I should just give P40,000 to every family instead of these long-term solutions. Let me ask you, is it right that I just try to impress you? I hand money to every family that would have been spent for these projects: ‘Here, cash. You’re on your own,’” he said. “Then what will happen? After the P40,000 is done, I won’t have to worry anymore. But how long will the P40,000 last after food, school, all the expenses of the family?,” he added Aquino said he would rather get criticized for doing what he thinks is right for the typhoon survivors. “So go ahead, curse me, criticize me, but I think we should do it right. My conscience won’t be able to bear leaving you on your own, to allow tragedies to keep happening and say, ‘My job here is done.’ You are my bosses. I won’t be able to deal with that,” he said.* READ MORE...

PNoy avoids Tacloban; Opts Guiuan visit on eve of ‘Yolanda’ anniversary

NOV 7 ---PHOTO; Aquino meeting in Guiuan ---PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will not visit Tacloban City as survivors of super typhoon Yolanda mark the first year of the calamity on Nov. 8.
Aquino will instead visit Guiuan today, one of the 171 cities and municipalities in 14 provinces and six regions in what is now known as the Yolanda corridor. “Yolanda affected a wide area. The President chose Guiuan, which was the first point of impact in November 2013,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said. “He has limited time as he is preparing for back to back APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summits. He will report to the people on what the government has done and how it will complete the work through the full implementation of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan,” Coloma added. Only rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, National Housing Authority general manager Chito Cruz, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, and Public Works chief Rogelio Singson will visit Tacloban City on Saturday to turn over 120 housing units.

The militant group Bagong Alyangsang Makabayan criticized Aquino’s decision to skip Tacloban City. “Why is Aquino skipping Tacloban on the first anniversary of Yolanda? Is it because of the protesters that will be gathering in the city starting tomorrow? Or is it still because, as [Interior Secretary] Mar Roxas puts it, the President is an Aquino and the mayor is a Romualdez?” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said. “Why can’t he face the outraged survivors on this important day? The victims and survivors from People Surge have an important message for the President. They should be heard, not snubbed. It’s bad enough that they have suffered from the criminal neglect of the regime; they now have to contend with a regime that cares little for their grievances,” Reyes added. The party-list group Bayan Muna earlier filed House Resolution No. 1638 seeking a probe on the slow rehabilitation efforts as well as on the actual death toll related to the disaster. Coloma, however, assured Yolanda survivors that the government is doing all that it can to “build back better.” “Now that the CRRP has been completed, government is prepared to work with civil society and all the stakeholders in enabling those who were affected to rebuild their lives,” the Palace official added. * READ MORE...

Aquino to close Tacloban's Romualdez Airport; Plans to build a new one in Palo, Leyte  

TACLOBAN CITY – Mayor Alfred Romualdez and his cousins Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.(photo) on Saturday questioned the wisdom behind President Benigno Aquino III’s plan to close the Romualdez airport and build a new one in Palo, Leyte, whose mayor Remedios Petilla is his close ally. In a news conference at Patio Victoria, Mayor Romualdez said the P12 billion that would be shelled out to bankroll a new airport would better be used in rebuilding the lives of the survivors of Yolanda tragedy. The cousins took turns in asking the priority of President Aquino in view of the national government’s giving least attention to the Daniel Romualdez Airport, which has been closed to big aircraft while undergoing rehabilitation.

They said they hoped the President’s pronouncement would not be used as an “excuse” to stop the planned expansion of the tarmac for the arrival of Pope Francis in January. Congressman Romualdez said he did not want to think that the plan for transferring the airport was to stop the Pope from visiting the devastated Tacloban brought about by super typhoon Yolanda, which marked its first anniversary Saturday. President Aquino said the study on the new airport was shown to him after the Yolanda 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. 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,” the President explained.

ALSO Inquirer Editorial: Aquino’s mistake

President Aquino’s decision to skip Tacloban City in the series of commemorative activities marking the first anniversary of Super typhoon “Yolanda” was an egregious mistake. It reminded citizens across the country of the politically toxic atmosphere that hung over Tacloban immediately after it was devastated by the strongest storm to ever make landfall, and renewed questions about whether Mr. Aquino sees himself as president of an entire country, not only of those who voted for him. Not least, it raised concerns yet again that President Aquino, himself the beneficiary of potent political symbolism, does not fully understand, or is not ready to fully employ, the power of the symbol.

Of course he should have been at ground zero of the Yolanda catastrophe. That is the role of the head of state: to serve as the focus of national attention, indeed to serve the public interest by directing national attention to issues and events of importance. To argue that he had other commitments last Saturday, or that his schedule last Friday was already full (it was, in fact, actually full), is to confuse or to conflate his duties as head of government with those of head of state. As head of government, he had to prepare for his participation in crucial international summits; as head of state, he should have rearranged his schedule to accommodate a quick trip to Tacloban. He is right, of course, when he says Tacloban was not the only place that suffered; his trip to Eastern Samar, Palawan, Cebu, and Aklan on Friday was a necessary reminder that the scope of Yolanda’s destructiveness went well beyond Tacloban. He is also right that he or at least his administration can’t be blamed for neglecting Tacloban entirely; government resources have poured into the city and its immediate surroundings.

And yet: There was no excuse for the President asking, “Can anybody claim that we were the worst hit?” In fact, by the two most familiar, most frequently used measures, only Tacloban can make that claim: the most number of dead, the biggest damage to infrastructure. * MORE!......
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

VP says ties with Noy still OK


CEBU CITY, NOVEMBER 10, 2014
(PHILSTAR) They may not be on talking terms, but Vice President Jejomar Binay insisted yesterday that his relationship with President Aquino remains “OK.”

Aquino had said last Monday that the Vice President was free to leave the Cabinet if he did not like the way the government was being run.

Binay had criticized the administration for failing to address problems besetting the people.

“We’re OK. We even laugh at each other. I still have a high respect for the President. But during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, the topic was serious, it was all about the Yolanda rehabilitation,” Binay said in an interview over radio dyHP here yesterday, referring to the Cabinet meeting last Wednesday wherein it was noted that the top two officials of the land did not speak to each other.

Binay said he decided not to attend yesterday’s hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee over the allegations against him, and would instead go to the media and directly to the people to present his side.

He insisted the allegations against him and his family form part of a demolition campaign to derail his political plans.

“It came to the point of becoming too personal and the allegations are baseless and humiliating,” he added.

Binay said he remained unfazed by all the allegations of corruption against him. He said the attacks would not discourage him from running for president in 2016.

“I am not a hypocrite. I made the declaration that I want to run for president in 2016... unlike the others who are playing it coy but really want to run,” Binay said in Filipino.

* He said the reason he declared early for the highest government post was the radically changing political landscape.

Binay said there is a smear campaign against him called “Operation Stop Nognog 2016,” and accused Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II of being its mastermind.

Despite the smear campaigns, Binay said he would not be distracted from doing his job.

“I will continue to help our countrymen rise from poverty. My detractors want me to do the opposite, to be part of the problem rather than helping them out of poverty and unemployment,” Binay said.

He said it is still too early to pick a running mate, and there is a wide field of qualified candidates.

Among the possibilities he mentioned were Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, who are known to be eyeing slots in the opposition’s Senate slate.– Mitchelle Palaubsanon/The Freeman

Aquino woos APEC investors By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 10, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


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 – President Aquino urged businessmen here yesterday to invest in the Filipino people and take advantage of a resilient economy backed by reforms.

Speaking before chief executive officers from all over the world ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit here, Aquino said the Philippine government is dynamic and reviewing fiscal incentives, among other rules and regulations, as well as policies and laws to ensure that the country would be more investment-friendly.

He said aside from laying down the foundations for economic growth through good governance, his administration invested heavily in education and other programs that would make Filipinos competitive.

“The key to our remaining competitive is in the direction that we have been taking, which is to utilize our greatest resource... our people. Therefore, investments in our people redound to continued competitiveness and redound further to continued economic growth.”

Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, praised Aquino as they sat as panelists at the meeting yesterday.

“We have a very challenging scenario and the question of investment becomes critical – investment and innovation. These are necessary for our competitiveness,” Gurria said.

Before he left for China yesterday, Aquino vowed to show the international community that the Philippines is ready to become a launching pad of sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region.

He said the APEC summit would be held as the Philippines is experiencing “a positive transformation.”

“As chair and host of APEC next year, we will show our readiness to serve as a launching pad for the growth of our economies towards a widespread and sustainable development,” Aquino said.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

People, S&T seen as APEC main drivers of growth November 9, 2014 11:08 pm by BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON REPORTER

Human capital development with emphasis on science and technology is the top strategy for economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

In a statement made over the weekend during the 26th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting in Beijing, del Rosario underscored as well alignment of education and training programs with industrial requirements of countries in the region.

He commended the establishment of the APEC Higher Education Research Center and the APEC Scholarship Roadmap in advancing cross-border education.

Del Rosario informed the APEC ministers about the Philippines’ participation in the APEC Scholarship Program.
He highlighted significance of other connectivity initiatives, such as transportation and logistics, financial services and professional mobility.

Del Rosario expressed gratitude to the 21-member APEC for its “unwavering support” that enabled the Philippines to move forward after it was devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013.

APEC’s help, he said, allowed the Philippines to reconstruct and rehabilitate areas badly affected by the super typhoon, which left more than 6,000 people dead, mostly in Leyte province.

The secretary arrived in China’s capital on November 7 for the APEC ministerial meeting, which is headed jointly by China’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi and Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

PNoy avoids Tacloban By Joyce Pangco Panares, Ronald Reyes | Nov. 07, 2014 at 12:01am MANILA STANDARD

Opts Guiuan visit on eve of ‘Yolanda’ anniversary

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will not visit Tacloban City as survivors of super typhoon Yolanda mark the first year of the calamity on Nov. 8.

Aquino will instead visit Guiuan today, one of the 171 cities and municipalities in 14 provinces and six regions in what is now known as the Yolanda corridor.

“Yolanda affected a wide area. The President chose Guiuan, which was the first point of impact in November 2013,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said.

Aquino “He has limited time as he is preparing for back to back APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summits. He will report to the people on what the government has done and how it will complete the work through the full implementation of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan,” Coloma added.

Only rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, National Housing Authority general manager Chito Cruz, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, and Public Works chief Rogelio Singson will visit Tacloban City on Saturday to turn over 120 housing units.

The militant group Bagong Alyangsang Makabayan criticized Aquino’s decision to skip Tacloban City.

“Why is Aquino skipping Tacloban on the first anniversary of Yolanda? Is it because of the protesters that will be gathering in the city starting tomorrow? Or is it still because, as [Interior Secretary] Mar Roxas puts it, the President is an Aquino and the mayor is a Romualdez?” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said.

“Why can’t he face the outraged survivors on this important day? The victims and survivors from People Surge have an important message for the President. They should be heard, not snubbed. It’s bad enough that they have suffered from the criminal neglect of the regime; they now have to contend with a regime that cares little for their grievances,” Reyes added.

The party-list group Bayan Muna earlier filed House Resolution No. 1638 seeking a probe on the slow rehabilitation efforts as well as on the actual death toll related to the disaster.

* Coloma, however, assured Yolanda survivors that the government is doing all that it can to “build back better.”

“Now that the CRRP has been completed, government is prepared to work with civil society and all the stakeholders in enabling those who were affected to rebuild their lives,” the Palace official added.

Lacson said the CRRP calls for a relocation of about 205,128 families away from unsafe areas and into safe areas. Of the permanent housing units that need to be built in safe zones, 1,252 units have already been completed while 7,377 units are undergoing land development and housing construction.

“Also 37,500 housing units have been bid out and are already awarded. These units are to be completed by November 2015. Meanwhile, 30,700 housing units already have identified sites with proposed builders, and are scheduled for bidding in November 2014. These housing units are set to be completed one year from the awarding of the projects. Another 43,171 are scheduled for bidding around November or December 2014,” Lacson said.

As for the infrastructure damaged by the super typhoon, Lacson said the government’s ongoing and completed projects against targets are at 30 percent of national roads, 57 percent of damaged bridges, 37.4 percent of flood control structures, 51.7 percent of new classrooms, 39 percent of sea ports, 88 percent of airports, 88 percent of municipal halls, 82 percent of civic centers, and 79 percent of public markets.

“All electric distribution systems have already been repaired. We have also made progress in reconstructing infrastructures in the agricultural sector, one of the main sources of livelihood in the affected regions. All damaged post-harvest facilities and irrigation systems have already been reconstructed,” Lacson added.

But in a report released Thursday, Oxfam, the international humanitarian and development agency, said “close to a million people continue to live in inadequate shelters and are still struggling to find the resources to resume their livelihoods” a year after Yolanda.

“As so many of those targeted for resettlement continue to wait while living in inadequate and unsafe shelter, they often remain unsure of what basic services, such as water and education, will be in place. They are concerned about their ability to earn an income, as resettlement sites are further from their source of livelihood,” Oxfam country director Justin Morgan said.

“Recovery must be premised on the priority needs of those most affected by the typhoon. In the context of large-scale emergencies, government should adopt a more flexible approach that expedites government administrative procedures without compromising transparency and accountability. It should be able to explore mechanisms beyond business-as-usual,” Morgan added.

On Wednesday, People Surge co-convenor Efleda Bautista criticized Soliman for reporting during a special Cabinet meeting on Yolanda that all survivors have already been transferred from the so-called tent cities and evacuation centers to temporary shelters.

“Maybe she has not visited San Jose (in Tacloban) yet. There are still survivors living in tents there,” Bautista said in a phone interview. “We are survivors. We do not manufacture hocus pocus data. We are the victims yet they are insulting us with their lies. You can’t blame us for being angry because it’s already been a year,” Bautista added.

Thousands of Yolanda survivors will mark Nov. 8 with protests demanding accountability from the Aquino administration.

“Thousands are expected to join the protest actions on Nov. 7 and 8, one year after Yolanda, and one year after the Aquino government’s gross criminal neglect of the victims of the storm. More than remembering those who perished in the storm, we are called upon to join the survivors’ fight for pro-people rehabilitation and reconstruction,” said Reyes in an e-mailed statement.

“The victims of Yolanda are justified in expressing their outrage over the Aquino government’s failure to provide adequate permanent housing, sustainable livelihood, and other basic social services,” Reyes added.

Reyes maintained “the victims are justified in condemning corruption and inefficiency in the conduct of relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction work since the storm hit.”

Looking at the amount of foreign donations which have been poured to the areas hit by Yolanda, Reyes said “there is strong domestic and international pressure on the Philippine government to deliver the basic needs of the people one year after Yolanda.”

Reyes said Tacloban City will be the site of the two-day protests, while mass actions will also take place in the provinces of Roxas, Aklan and Northern Iloilo, which were also badly hit the storm.

Reyes said they are closely working with People Surge, the International League of People’s Struggles, Tindog Network and the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment for the international and national actions.

Earlier Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez noted that only 400 out of the needed 14,500 permanent houses for displaced victims have been built.

“That is about 2.75 percent of the total permanent houses that need to be built,” Reyes said.

“The rehabilitation framework of the Aquino government is one that depends on public-private partnerships or privatization, further marginalizing the victims. Agriculture, which is the primary source of livelihood of the majority of the population, was not given priority at the onset,” Reyes said.

“In its study, National Economic and Development Authority estimates that the investment requirements for agriculture until 2017 to be around P18.7 billion despite the total damage to agriculture being around P31 billion and future losses amounting to P30.8 billion based on NEDA’s own estimates.

People Surge estimates that the total damage to agriculture in Eastern Visayas would reach up to P64 billion. This includes coconut production losses valued at P41.958 billion, P6.428 billion damage to the fishing industry, P5.695 billion damage to banana plantations, P3.462 billion damage to palay (unhusked rice), and P6.5 billion damage to livestock and root crops, abaca, corn and vegetables,” Reyes added.

Reyes said the big real estate developers, mining and construction firms have divided the disaster areas and the devastated communities.

“They have identified the areas of investment that are profitable, a criteria that does not necessarily go hand in hand with the actual needs of the people,” Reyes said.

Reyes acknowledged the resiliency of the survivors amid the apparent government negligence.

But the Department of Social Welfare and Development said on its website that “Yolanda made [the] Samar community stronger” through a DSWD program that emphasized the integrated delivery of social services.

Typhoon survivors, the DSWD said, “did not allow the disaster to overwhelm them, instead they used it as a springboard to grow stronger as a community.”

Assistant Secretary Javier Jimenez, newly designated department spokesman, said they have done their best to provide the people of Eastern Samar with all the assistance. – With Rio N. Araja and Mel Caspe

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

President slams critics of Yolanda rehab November 7, 2014 11:39 pm by CATHERINE S. VALENTE Reporter


Airport Briefing President Benigno Aquino 3rd shows the pictures of Tacloban right after it was ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda during a press conference in Villamor Airbase on Friday before he left for Guiuan, Samar. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

On the first anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda’s devastation, President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday lashed out at those who continue to criticize the government’s efforts the rebuild the hardest-hit areas.

Instead of flying to Tacloban City, where the commemoration of the tragedy is centered, the President went to Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where typhoon Yolanda made the first of six landfalls on November 8, 2013 before unleashing its full fury on Central Visayas.

In his speech, President Aquino outlined what the administration has done to speed up recovery, but he also hit at his detractors.

“For those who don’t get tired of criticizing our every move, I will let God deal with them. The day might come that God will give them additional knowledge and kindness, that they may straighten up,” he said.

Aquino anticipated his critics’ tirade about his not having visited Tacloban instead.

“Despite all these initiatives, I have a strong feeling that first thing tomorrow, someone will still say I’ve neglected Tacloban. It’s up to you to recognize who would say such things,” he said.

The President said some people look only for quick fixes and not long-term solutions that would prevent massive devastation in the future.

He rejected monetary dole-outs to typhoon victims, saying it would not sustain their needs.

“There are those who say I should just give P40,000 to every family instead of these long-term solutions. Let me ask you, is it right that I just try to impress you? I hand money to every family that would have been spent for these projects: ‘Here, cash. You’re on your own,’” he said.

“Then what will happen? After the P40,000 is done, I won’t have to worry anymore. But how long will the P40,000 last after food, school, all the expenses of the family?,” he added

Aquino said he would rather get criticized for doing what he thinks is right for the typhoon survivors.

“So go ahead, curse me, criticize me, but I think we should do it right. My conscience won’t be able to bear leaving you on your own, to allow tragedies to keep happening and say, ‘My job here is done.’ You are my bosses. I won’t be able to deal with that,” he said.

* The President’s remarks were a response to criticisms that the government’s assistance to typhoon survivors was not enough.

He stressed the difficulty of feeding 1.47-million displaced families every day.

Considered as the strongest typhoon to hit land in 2013, Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas.

With record winds that spawned tsunami-like storm surges, Yolanda flattened entire communities and left thousands homeless.

More than 6,300 were killed, about 1,000 went missing while thousands more were injured due to the typhoon.

Aquino decided to forego a stop at Tacloban, and go to Guiuan instead, a decision that he defended at a news conference in Villamor Airbase upon his return from Guiuan, where he was briefed on government preparations for possible Ebola cases in the country.

Responding to questions about his choice of Guiuan over Tacloban to commemorate the tragedy, the President said, “At the end of the day, this is not politics.”

He was apparently referring to speculations that he skipped Tacloban to avoid its mayor, Alfred Romualdez, with whom he has traded barbs over Yolanda preparedness and recovery.

Asked to comment on criticisms about his choice, Aquino answered: “Can anybody claim that [they] were the worst hit?”

The President noted that he has already visited Leyte many times, but his visit on Friday was only his second time in Guiuan.

According to Aquino, the government has done everything it can to address all the needs of the typhoon victims, which includes providing them food, clothes, shelter and livelihood assistance.

He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development has distributed about 12.2 million family food packs, also with the help of non-government organizations.

He also noted that the Department of Labor and Employment has provided livelihood assistance to about 33,000 people, while about 21,000 have graduated from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s vocational education and training programs.

The President also said that schools being built in the disaster areas are expected to be finished by June next year.
Three airports and 14 ports damaged by the typhoon have been repaired or rebuilt, he said.

The President thanked the private sector for contributing P12.98 billion to Yolanda recovery efforts.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Aquino to close Tacloban's Romualdez Airport; Plans to build a new one in Palo, Leyte whose mayor is his close ally By Christine F. Herrera | Nov. 09, 2014 at 12:01am


SAD DAY IN TACLOBAN: AT TACLOBAN MASS GRAVE CEREMONIES

TACLOBAN CITY – Mayor Alfred Romualdez and his cousins Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.(photo) on Saturday questioned the wisdom behind President Benigno Aquino III’s plan to close the Romualdez airport and build a new one in Palo, Leyte, whose mayor Remedios Petilla is his close ally.

In a news conference at Patio Victoria, Mayor Romualdez said the P12 billion that would be shelled out to bankroll a new airport would better be used in rebuilding the lives of the survivors of Yolanda tragedy.

The cousins took turns in asking the priority of President Aquino in view of the national government’s giving least attention to the Daniel Romualdez Airport, which has been closed to big aircraft while undergoing rehabilitation.

They said they hoped the President’s pronouncement would not be used as an “excuse” to stop the planned expansion of the tarmac for the arrival of Pope Francis in January.

Congressman Romualdez said he did not want to think that the plan for transferring the airport was to stop the Pope from visiting the devastated Tacloban brought about by super typhoon Yolanda, which marked its first anniversary Saturday.

President Aquino said the study on the new airport was shown to him after the Yolanda 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. 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,” the President explained.

* Congressman 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 Rep. Romualdez, leader of the House 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,” he said.

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 weeks and months after Yolanda, all those passengers and cargoes coming in, it was really over-using the run way. 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 pickup and move on. We’re talking about resilience, what is really resilience? It is to bounce back better,” the mayor said.

In fact, the mayor said they fear that the promise to expand the tarmac for the Pope is 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.

INQUIRER EDITORIAL

Editorial: Aquino’s mistake Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:15 AM | Monday, November 10th, 2014



President Aquino’s decision to skip Tacloban City in the series of commemorative activities marking the first anniversary of Super typhoon “Yolanda” was an egregious mistake. It reminded citizens across the country of the politically toxic atmosphere that hung over Tacloban immediately after it was devastated by the strongest storm to ever make landfall, and renewed questions about whether

Mr. Aquino sees himself as president of an entire country, not only of those who voted for him. Not least, it raised concerns yet again that President Aquino, himself the beneficiary of potent political symbolism, does not fully understand, or is not ready to fully employ, the power of the symbol.

Of course he should have been at ground zero of the Yolanda catastrophe. That is the role of the head of state: to serve as the focus of national attention, indeed to serve the public interest by directing national attention to issues and events of importance. To argue that he had other commitments last Saturday, or that his schedule last Friday was already full (it was, in fact, actually full), is to confuse or to conflate his duties as head of government with those of head of state. As head of government, he had to prepare for his participation in crucial international summits; as head of state, he should have rearranged his schedule to accommodate a quick trip to Tacloban.

He is right, of course, when he says Tacloban was not the only place that suffered; his trip to Eastern Samar, Palawan, Cebu, and Aklan on Friday was a necessary reminder that the scope of Yolanda’s destructiveness went well beyond Tacloban.

He is also right that he or at least his administration can’t be blamed for neglecting Tacloban entirely; government resources have poured into the city and its immediate surroundings.

And yet: There was no excuse for the President asking, “Can anybody claim that we were the worst hit?” In fact, by the two most familiar, most frequently used measures, only Tacloban can make that claim: the most number of dead, the biggest damage to infrastructure.

* There was no excuse for the President, during his Guiuan stop, to mistake criticism from the usual quarters—“Despite this initiative, I have a strong sense that, tomorrow, someone will claim, I neglected Tacloban. I leave it to you to find out who those are who make that claim”—as a basis for decision-making, as though only those who oppose him politically have criticized his administration’s response to Yolanda, especially in Tacloban City.

There was no excuse for the President to skip the city altogether. In the same way that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would have been pilloried if she had neglected Berlin during the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, or US President Barack Obama if he had failed to visit New York on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Mr. Aquino’s absence from Tacloban on the first anniversary of Yolanda was a failure to do his duty. What would it have taken to take a quick helicopter ride from Guiuan or from Bantayan Island?

So he doesn’t like the Romualdezes; so he has visited Tacloban several times since the storm made landfall; so he has released considerable funds to help in the rehabilitation of the city. It was still his responsibility to be present at Yolanda’s ground zero, to give focus to the series of commemorations, to rally the people of Tacloban, to serve as symbol of a wounded but resilient nation.

Couldn’t he have served as that symbol in the other sites he visited? Yes, but only to an extent. Because national and international attention was focused on Tacloban, his absence became obvious, and an antisymbol of sorts: Of the political divisiveness that disrupted rescue and relief operations in Tacloban, of the partisanship that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas infamously warned Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez about, even of perceptions of selective justice. The President could have avoided all of that, if only he had found his way to ground zero.
 


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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