HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK ...

GOVT: DEATH TOLL ONLY 2; RED CROSS: NO, IT'S 21 

DEC 8 ---PHOTO: A resident walks during strong rain as Typhoon Hagupit hits San Juan town, Batangas province, eastern Philippines on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. AP ---At least 21 have been killed from Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit) in Samar based on the Philippine Red Cross’ count, but the official death toll of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council remained at two as of Monday evening. “It has to be verified, confirmed and validated so ang problema dito sa field makakatanggap na tayo ng report may namatay sa lugar na yan ang gagawin ay ibabalik natin at ive-verify kung totoo,” explained NDRRMC spokesperson Mina Marasigan. “Why? Kasi in the last few days na maraming reports na nakarating sa amin na apparently hindi pala totoo pag-check sa ground hindi pala totoo. So yun lang ang sinisiguro namin pag sinabing dead, yun Department of Health sinabing dead na,” she said. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: 21 dead, says Red Cross exec  

DEC 8 ---At least 21 people were reported dead, many of them drowned as flood waters rose in Borongan, the main town in Eastern Samar province, where Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit) made its first landfall, the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) said on Monday. “We have confirmed reports that 21 people died in Eastern Samar, 16 of them in Borongan,” Gwendolyn Pang, PNRC secretary general, said. The Inquirer reported Monday that 10 people died as Ruby crossed the Visayas on Saturday night and Sunday: seven in Northern Samar and Eastern Samar and three in Iloilo province. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) confirmed only two dead and three injured. Taken off list Government officials struck three people off the list of fatalities, saying their deaths were not related to Typhoon Ruby. READ FULL REPROT...

ALSO: Aquino approval marks at record low in 2014

DEC 11 ---President Aquino’s full-year net satisfaction rating average plunged to a record low in 2014 despite an improved net score in December, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey. The Fourth Quarter 2014 Social Weather Report found that 63 percent of 1,800 respondents were satisfied with the President and 24 percent dissatisfied, resulting in a net satisfaction rating (satisfied minus dissatisfied) of “good” plus 39. The latest score—his third-lowest so far—is 5 percentage points up from the plus 34 rating (59 percent satisfied and 25 percent dissatisfied) in September, which SWS also rated as “good.” However, it yielded a full-year net satisfaction average of “good” plus 36 in 2014, drastically lower compared with the previous averages recorded in 2010 (plus 62), 2011 and 2012 (plus 53), and 2013 (plus 55)—all of which were rated as “very good” by SWS. Malacañang welcomed what it said were improved satisfaction ratings of Aquino. “Perhaps it’s the good work that continues to show the efforts that the administration puts in to push for programs that would directly benefit the people,” Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, said in a press briefing. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Binay: Drop in latest poll rating still good

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday refused to tangle with Sen. Grace Poe over her rising popularity among voters, which makes her his potential closest rival in the 2016 presidential election. Binay’s rating continued to dive, dropping by 5 percentage points to 26 percent in the latest voter-preference survey of Pulse Asia, but he still kept the lead. Poe surged from 10 percent to 18 percent to land second place, overtaking Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and threatening Binay’s lead. But Binay is nonchalant, saying the main issue is whether those running for President have the capability and experience to govern. Poe is a first-time politician who topped the senatorial election in 2013. Her first experience in government was heading the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), as appointed by President Aquino. In an interview on dwIZ radio Wednesday, Binay considered his 26 percentage points still “good.”  READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO To go or not to go? PNoy changes mind, pushes through with 2-day trip to Korea

DEC 9 --President Benigno Aquino III AP FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—To go or not to go? President Benigno Aquino III, who shunned publicity on Tuesday because he was not feeling well, eventually decided to push through with his trip to South Korea later this week. Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte on Monday announced the cancellation of his trip on December 11 to 12 because of the need to focus on government efforts after the onslaught of Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit). Aquino’s Cabinet secretaries were supposed to represent him in the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-Republic of Korea (ROK) Commemorative Summit. However, a day later, Valte said Aquino changed his mind because of a waning Ruby, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression, and “encouraging” reports from the ground. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Palace ensures smooth flow of relief operations in Visayas

The government has assured the public that relief operations in areas in the Visayas affected by Typhoon Ruby are picking up, with all national roads now passable and a “human conveyor belt” formed to manually pass food packs. In a statement yesterday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the National Government Frontline Team continued to work with national agencies, local government units, humanitarian organizations and volunteers in helping rehabilitate the affected towns. “Owing to these coordinated efforts, all national roads in Eastern Samar are now passable. Personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have arrived to repair the damaged San Julian Bridge,” Lacierda said. Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II organized the formation of a human conveyor belt to manually pass food packs to towns across the bridge. “Relief goods continue to be delivered all across the province. (Yesterday), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is expecting eight runs of a C-130 plane carrying food packs. These will in turn be delivered to all affected residents, not just to those in evacuation centers, thereby reaching a total of 95,417 families in Eastern Samar,” Lacierda said. READ FULL REPORT..

ALSO: Give Mar Roxas a break, Palace asks netizens 

Malacañang on Monday came to the defense of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas whose widely circulated photo showing him falling off a motorcycle in Eastern Samar province was ridiculed on social media. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte asked the public not to put “color” into Roxas’ decision to take a motorcycle, which he used to go around the province hit by Tropical Storm “Ruby.”  Roxas, the administration’s presumptive standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential election, was previously ridiculed online for taking the Metro Rail Transit and carrying a sack of feeds during an inspection on separate occasions. Critics saw them as publicity stunts intended to increase Roxas’ chances in 2016. Valte said other government officials had to take alternative modes of transportation in Samar because streets were blocked by debris. “Let’s not put color [into the ride]. It was unfortunate that he fell and we should be thankful—at least we are thankful—that Secretary Mar was not hurt,” she said. READ FULL REPORT..


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Gov’t: Death toll only 2; Red Cross: No it’s 21


A resident walks during strong rain as Typhoon Hagupit hits San Juan town, Batangas province, eastern Philippines on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. AP

MANILA, DECEMBER 15, 2014 (INQUIRER) Frances Mangosing @FMangosingINQ - At least 21 have been killed from Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit) in Samar based on the Philippine Red Cross’ count, but the official death toll of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council remained at two as of Monday evening.

“It has to be verified, confirmed and validated so ang problema dito sa field makakatanggap na tayo ng report may namatay sa lugar na yan ang gagawin ay ibabalik natin at ive-verify kung totoo,” explained NDRRMC spokesperson Mina Marasigan.

“Why? Kasi in the last few days na maraming reports na nakarating sa amin na apparently hindi pala totoo pag-check sa ground hindi pala totoo. So yun lang ang sinisiguro namin pag sinabing dead, yun Department of Health sinabing dead na,” she said.

The two deaths confirmed by the NDRRMC were two people who died from hypothermia in Iloilo last December 6.

Gwendolyn Pang of Philippine Red Cross said most of those 21 people died from drowning when waters rose in Borongan in Eastern Samar, where Ruby made its first landfall.

“Ang hinihintay namin documented ito. As soon as ma-receive ang report from the DOH then we will have an update,” Marasigan said.

Meanwhile, Red Cross chief Richard Gordon defended their death count, saying the number was reported by their field workers.

In a radio interview, Gordon said this is one of the many ways the Red Cross can help the government to unburden its heavy task during disasters.

“We are not competing with them; we are helping them.” Gordon said in the interview.


FROM THE INQUIRER

21 dead, says Red Cross exec Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:39 AM | Tuesday, December 9th, 2014


MANILA RUBY 4th LANDFALL

MANILA, Philippines—At least 21 people were reported dead, many of them drowned as flood waters rose in Borongan, the main town in Eastern Samar province, where Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit) made its first landfall, the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) said on Monday.

“We have confirmed reports that 21 people died in Eastern Samar, 16 of them in Borongan,” Gwendolyn Pang, PNRC secretary general, said.

The Inquirer reported Monday that 10 people died as Ruby crossed the Visayas on Saturday night and Sunday: seven in Northern Samar and Eastern Samar and three in Iloilo province.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) confirmed only two dead and three injured.

Taken off list

Government officials struck three people off the list of fatalities, saying their deaths were not related to Typhoon Ruby.

Left on the list were a 4-month-old girl in Calbayog City, Samar; an elderly couple in Sulat town, Eastern Samar; two in Cebu, one in Dolores town in Eastern Samar, one in Iloilo, and one in Catarman, Northern Samar.

Ruby, the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, proved to be not as destructive as Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), which left 6,300 people dead, thousands injured or missing and tens of thousands homeless.

Early preparations, including the evacuation of a million people from danger zones saved many lives this time.

Church leaders said prayers as well as preparedness helped save many communities from great damage.

Tents destroyed

In Tacloban City, Leyte province, the 200 families living in tents for more than a year since Yolanda have something to be thankful for after Ruby.

Since Ruby’s strong winds flattened the tents in San Jose district, the city government would give priority to transferring the families to “transitional houses.”

Families living in bunkhouses, however, would have to return to the bunkhouses even if these were damaged during the typhoon.

Those living in bunkhouses and tents were among the 17,000 families who moved to 26 evacuation centers in Tacloban—a decision that saved their lives.

The strong winds of Ruby destroyed the tents and the bunkhouses. But no one was hurt since the occupants were already in evacuation centers when Ruby struck on Saturday night.

A day after Ruby lashed Tacloban, Gemma Fabi, 32, of Barangay 89 in San Jose district, returned to find her tent on the ground.

“We have nowhere to go,” said the mother of three children. She lost a daughter, Gemmarose, during Yolanda.

Another resident, Sherelyn Pedrosa, 38, and eight months pregnant, said she was hoping that the city government would now give her family a permanent house that could withstand a strong typhoon.

She said she didn’t want to use the old tent as temporary shelter again after staying there for more than a year since Yolanda hit Tacloban on Nov. 8, 2013.

Moving this week

Idelbrando Bernadas, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) officer, said the 200 families were given priority in moving to transitional houses in Barangay (village) Cabalawan, about 13 kilometers north of the city center.

He said the families, who were staying in different evacuation centers, would be transferred before the week was over.

The transitional houses—which has a floor area of 40 square meters—are made of nipa thatch and coconut lumber.

Ready for occupancy

Bernadas said the transitional houses were ready for occupancy by Yolanda survivors who had been affected by Ruby.

When told of the promise, Pedrosa and Fabi said they hoped they would indeed move to the transitional houses.

“We are tired of living in a tent that is no longer livable because it is worn out and has lots of holes,” Fabi said.

Seventeen bunkhouses in Caibaan, Sagkahan, were also damaged by Ruby but the occupants would not be moved to transitional houses.

Instead, they will go back to the bunkhouses once repairs are done, Bernadas said.

Domingo Eraya, 48, camp leader at one bunkhouse site, said the repair was being undertaken by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“They provided the materials and about 40 men were hired to do the repair works,” Eraya said.

The workers, who are paid P300 by IOM under a cash-for-work program, are expected to finish the repairs in two days.

Unwilling to return

But the occupants were not enthusiastic about returning to the temporary shelters hastily constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) last year.

Marilyn Regneter, 43, said she didn’t feel safe in the bunkhouse, which was made of light materials that would not stand the power of another storm.

“We are already tired living in the bunkhouse. It was destroyed by Ruby—proof that it is not really resilient to typhoons. Hopefully, our government will really think fast and transfer us to a permanent shelter,” Regneter said.

Regneter and 200 other families sought refuge at the nearby Chinese cemetery as Ruby lashed Tacloban City on Saturday.

The weather began to improve in the Visayas on Monday and the Philippine Coast Guard allowed the resumption of ferry trips on the Cebu-Dumaguete, Cebu-Tagbilaran and Cebu-Cagayan de Oro routes.

The Cebu-Ormoc route and all routes to Bicol remained suspended because of gale warnings.

Commander Armand Balilo, spokesman for the Coast Guard, said there were no maritime accidents as Ruby crossed the Visayas.—Reports from Jerry E. Esplanada in Manila; Joey A. Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas; and wires

FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino approval marks at record low in 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:33 AM | Thursday, December 11th, 2014


AQUINO

MANILA, Philippines–President Aquino’s full-year net satisfaction rating average plunged to a record low in 2014 despite an improved net score in December, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

The Fourth Quarter 2014 Social Weather Report found that 63 percent of 1,800 respondents were satisfied with the President and 24 percent dissatisfied, resulting in a net satisfaction rating (satisfied minus dissatisfied) of “good” plus 39.

The latest score—his third-lowest so far—is 5 percentage points up from the plus 34 rating (59 percent satisfied and 25 percent dissatisfied) in September, which SWS also rated as “good.”

However, it yielded a full-year net satisfaction average of “good” plus 36 in 2014, drastically lower compared with the previous averages recorded in 2010 (plus 62), 2011 and 2012 (plus 53), and 2013 (plus 55)—all of which were rated as “very good” by SWS.

Malacañang welcomed what it said were improved satisfaction ratings of Aquino.

“Perhaps it’s the good work that continues to show the efforts that the administration puts in to push for programs that would directly benefit the people,” Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, said in a press briefing.

“We note that from the last decline in June for the second quarter, so far the numbers have consistently been going up, and we extend our appreciation to the people for their continued support for President Aquino and his administration,” Valte said.

Valte said Malacañang was prepared for what its critics would say anew.

“I’m sure they have a lot more to say … It’s the same rating that the President received in May 2012, that’s 63 (percent). The highest that he ever received, at least for this particular survey firm, is at 77 (percent)—that was August 2012. I will leave that to them, whatever they still have to say. But, again, this will just encourage the administration to push further with the reforms,” Valte said.

SWS considers a rating of +70 and above as “excellent”; +50 to +69 as “very good”; +30 to +49, “good”; +10 to +29, “moderate”; +9 to -9, “neutral”; -10 to -29, “poor”; -30 to -49, “bad”; -50 to -69, “very bad”; -70 and below, “execrable.”

SWS asked respondents: “Please tell me how satisfied or dissatisfied you are in the performance of Benigno Aquino III as President of the Philippines. Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, undecided if satisfied or dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, very dissatisfied, or you have not ever heard or read anything about Benigno Aquino III?”

SWS noted that the President got a “very good” plus 60 rating three months into his administration and reached the record high of “very good” plus 67 in August 2012.

Aquino, who has 18 months remaining before his term ends, recorded his lowest net score of “moderate” plus 25 in June.

In the 17 quarterly surveys SWS conducted before December, Aquino’s net scores were under plus 50 only eight times, it said.

Across geographic areas, the President’s net satisfaction ratings went 10 ticks up in the rest of Luzon (from plus 29 to plus 39) and slightly moved in Mindanao (from plus 43 to plus 46), Metro Manila (from plus 22 to plus 23) and Visayas (from plus 43 to plus 42).

Aquino’s net score improved in urban areas as it climbed by 10 points from “moderate” plus 27 to “good” plus 37, while it remained “good” in rural areas, moving from plus 40 to plus 41.

The President’s net satisfaction rating went up among socioeconomic groups, posting double-digit increase among Class ABC (from plus 27 to plus 49), while it slightly improved among Class D (from plus 34 to plus 37) and Class E (from plus 38 to plus 45).

Aquino’s net satisfaction rating climbed 5 points both among men (from plus 31 to plus 36) and women (from plus 37 to plus 42).

The survey, conducted from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, involved face-to-face interviews with 1,800 adults and had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.–Inquirer Research with a report from Nikko Dizon


FROM THE INQUIRER

Binay: Drop in latest poll rating still good Christine O. Avendaño and DJ Yap @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:30 AM | Thursday, December 11th, 2014


Jejomar Binay Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday refused to tangle with Sen. Grace Poe over her rising popularity among voters, which makes her his potential closest rival in the 2016 presidential election.

Binay’s rating continued to dive, dropping by 5 percentage points to 26 percent in the latest voter-preference survey of Pulse Asia, but he still kept the lead.

Poe surged from 10 percent to 18 percent to land second place, overtaking Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and threatening Binay’s lead.

But Binay is nonchalant, saying the main issue is whether those running for President have the capability and experience to govern.

Poe is a first-time politician who topped the senatorial election in 2013.

Her first experience in government was heading the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), as appointed by President Aquino.

In an interview on dwIZ radio Wednesday, Binay considered his 26 percentage points still “good.”

Good, better, best

Explaining, Binay said that given the “vilification campaign” against him by his political foes, he categorized his survey ratings into good, better and best.

Good, he said, is when his numbers go down but not so much; better is when his numbers go up; and best is when his numbers remain the same.

“So what happened is that it’s good. It could’ve been bad if the number was double digit,” he said.

When asked if he saw Poe, whose ratings continue to rise, as a threat to his presidential bid, Binay declined to comment.

At one point, Binay said he was godfather to Poe’s child because Poe’s father, the late movie actor Fernando Poe Jr., had asked him.

Asked whether his closeness to the Poe family meant that the senator may eventually become his running mate in 2016, Binay said he did not want to preempt Poe by making a statement, noting that these are times of “political intrigues.”

Even so, Binay said the issue in the 2016 presidential election should be whether the candidates “have the capability and experience” to govern the country.

Capability and experience are what people are looking for in an “administrator,” he said.

Crisis management

Binay mentioned his record as mayor of Makati City for 21 years as well as his management of the “crisis” he was facing, referring to allegations of corruption leveled against him in a Senate inquiry into alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II when he was mayor of the city.

He said his way of handling the crisis was not to watch television or read newspapers.

“So your management, if you can call it a crisis, you need to have experience. You should not be a first timer easily rattled,” he said in mixed Filipino and English.

Asked to comment on the seeming Christmas ceasefire in the attacks against him, Binay disagreed that the lull had to do with the holidays.

“Ceasefire because they ran out of lies. They are still looking for other false things to say about me,” he said.

An ally of Binay in the House of Representatives played down the latest Pulse Asia survey results.

Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian of the Nationalist People’s Coalition said the Vice President remained the “presidential front-runner,” as he was still comfortably ahead of Poe.

“What is important here is that the feared free fall in VP Binay’s numbers has been arrested,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“His biggest drop was during the third quarter survey when his numbers dropped by a whopping 10 points, from 41 to 31. The VP’s 5-percent drop in the latest survey could be considered marginal,” Gatchalian said.

Still top choice

He said the survey was a strong indication that Binay was still the top choice of a majority of Filipinos to lead the country if the 2016 election were held today.

“VP Binay’s current ratings have already ‘plateaued,’ meaning that there is no way for the Vice President’s number to go but up. They have thrown everything at him, including the kitchen sink. And despite the massive negative media attacks, Binay is still the top choice for President,” Gatchalian said.

He said Binay’s “staying power” in the presidential race showed “not only his solid track record as local chief executive for 20 years but also his appeal and charisma to ordinary Filipinos in the provinces.”

“The public has a saturation point wherein an overload of information will result [in] confusion and subsequent perception that everything being thrown against VP Binay is pure political propaganda,” Gatchalian said.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino changes mind, pushes through with 2-day trip to Korea Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ INQUIRER.net 11:34 PM | Tuesday, December 9th, 2014


President Benigno Aquino III AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—To go or not to go?

President Benigno Aquino III, who shunned publicity on Tuesday because he was not feeling well, eventually decided to push through with his trip to South Korea later this week.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte on Monday announced the cancellation of his trip on December 11 to 12 because of the need to focus on government efforts after the onslaught of Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit).

Aquino’s Cabinet secretaries were supposed to represent him in the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-Republic of Korea (ROK) Commemorative Summit.

However, a day later, Valte said Aquino changed his mind because of a waning Ruby, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression, and “encouraging” reports from the ground.

Valte attributed this to the cooperation and “high level of preparedness achieved by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and affected local government units.”

“It is in light of this that President Aquino has decided to push through with the original plan to attend the 25th Asean-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit,” she added.

The deputy spokesperson said the decision was in accordance with the country’s commitment to Korea, which is considered a “staunch ally” of the Philippines.

“This trip will afford the President the opportunity to articulate the Philippine position on issues of both national and global importance, including those connected to climate risk and disaster preparedness, and the dangers posed by the Ebola virus,” she explained.

Valte assured the public that Aquino will continue to monitor the condition of typhoon-hit areas despite pushing through with his visit to Busan.

“He has full trust and confidence in the members of the Cabinet who have been on the ground since before Ruby made landfall, as well as in the NDRRMC, local government units, and other government personnel who are engaged in the task of relief and recovery,” Valte said.

On Tuesday morning, Aquino was forced to skip a morning engagement because he was unwell.

Valte denied it was the same reason why the President decided to initially cancel his trip to Korea.


FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Tab for PNoy South Korea trip: P11.2M by Genalyn Kabiling December 11, 2014 Share this: The government is spending P11.2 million for the two-day visit of President Aquino in South Korea.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said the funds will cover expenses for transportation, accommodations, food, equipment and other requirements of the President and his 48-member delegation.

The President left for Busan, South Korea via chartered flight attend the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea commemorative summit from December 11 to 12.

The President’s delegation includes Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Andrea Abad, and Presidential Protocol Chief Celia Anna Feria.


FROM PHILSTAR

Palace ensures smooth flow of relief operations in Visayas By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 11, 2014 - 12:00am 2 114 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The government has assured the public that relief operations in areas in the Visayas affected by Typhoon Ruby are picking up, with all national roads now passable and a “human conveyor belt” formed to manually pass food packs.

In a statement yesterday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the National Government Frontline Team continued to work with national agencies, local government units, humanitarian organizations and volunteers in helping rehabilitate the affected towns.

“Owing to these coordinated efforts, all national roads in Eastern Samar are now passable. Personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have arrived to repair the damaged San Julian Bridge,” Lacierda said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II organized the formation of a human conveyor belt to manually pass food packs to towns across the bridge.

“Relief goods continue to be delivered all across the province. (Yesterday), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is expecting eight runs of a C-130 plane carrying food packs. These will in turn be delivered to all affected residents, not just to those in evacuation centers, thereby reaching a total of 95,417 families in Eastern Samar,” Lacierda said.

Aid, sympathy from Japan, Spain

Yesterday, the Japanese government announced that it is providing emergency relief goods worth P8.2 million to the Philippines. The assistance, extended through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, is based on the request from the Philippine government.

The Spanish government also expressed sympathy and sorrow for the typhoon victims. In a statement, Spain also commended the Philippine government for the “timely” evacuation that helped minimize casualties.

The International Labor Organization estimates that 800,000 people lost their livelihoods as a result of the typhoon.

To boost security in typhoon-affected areas, additional Philippine National Police personnel arrived from Manila to augment the forces manning major supply routes and providing manpower assistance.

“Thanks to their vigilance, there have been no reports of untoward incidents,” Lacierda said.

He also said that the signal of Globe telecom was restored Tuesday, while Smart Communications would finish the complete rehabilitation of their power lines in a few days’ time.

“As normalcy resumes in the area, evacuees have started returning to their homes. Stores have also been reopening, and accordingly the Department of Trade and Industry has been at work to prevent price manipulation,” Lacierda said. – With Pia Lee-Brago, Sheila Crisostomo, Jose Katigbak (Washington bureau)


FROM THE INQUIRER

Give Mar Roxas a break, Palace asks netizens Christian V. Esguerra @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer
2:53 AM | Tuesday, December 9th, 2014


Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Monday came to the defense of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas whose widely circulated photo showing him falling off a motorcycle in Eastern Samar province was ridiculed on social media.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte asked the public not to put “color” into Roxas’ decision to take a motorcycle, which he used to go around the province hit by Tropical Storm “Ruby.”

Roxas, the administration’s presumptive standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential election, was previously ridiculed online for taking the Metro Rail Transit and carrying a sack of feeds during an inspection on separate occasions. Critics saw them as publicity stunts intended to increase Roxas’ chances in 2016.

Valte said other government officials had to take alternative modes of transportation in Samar because streets were blocked by debris.

“Let’s not put color [into the ride]. It was unfortunate that he fell and we should be thankful—at least we are thankful—that Secretary Mar was not hurt,” she said.

“Our other colleagues there were forced to ride motorcycles just to reach Dolores [town] …. Let us focus on the job that needs to be done by our ground team and others here in Manila.”

Roxas was in Samar as head of the National Government Frontline Team coordinating efforts in preparation for the typhoon.

Critics, defenders

Online critics noticed that he was not wearing a helmet when he was photographed falling off a motorcycle.

Motorcycle riders were often reminded by the government to wear helmets following the spate of accidents, particularly in Metro Manila.

“The helmet law is a law effected by the people and as a representative and as a leader, he should lead by example,” said Facebook user Marlon Lagahit.

Chris Alcala (@chrisalcala_md) said that what Roxas did was “unacceptable, no matter what the situation is … or especially in situations like this.”

Others defended Roxas. Noel Basco asked the public not to focus on Roxas not wearing a helmet. “Mar was responding to an emergency and he put his life in danger to help those who are in harm’s way. He didn’t think about his own safety and this is what he [gets] from you?”

Amelia Gonzales Brillantes echoed Basco’s reaction: “Instead of criticizing Roxas, we have to appreciate what he is doing.”

Gilbert Alcasid (@bluadio) said that despite the situation, Roxas did his best, even putting himself at risk. Alcasid asked the public to “give him (Roxas) a break.”—With a report from Paul Balois, Inquirer Social Media


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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