Tag Archives: Tacloban

[Press Release] Workers in Region 8 demand employment, people’s participation in Yolanda rehabilitation and reconstruction plan -PM

Workers in Region 8 demand employment, people’s participation in Yolanda rehabilitation and reconstruction plan

Declaring they won’t beg and live on relief and aid forever, several associations of workers in the informal sector in Region 8 today launched a campaign demanding employment, social protection and people’s participation as bedrocks of Yolanda rehabilitation and reconstruction plan to address not just the immediate but also the long term needs of Pepe and Pilar.


The campaign came days after the government announced the US$8.17-billion or P361-B plan under the so-called Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) which will be completed in four years or by 2017.

Held in Tacloban City, the campaign launch was spearheaded by tricycle and trisikad drivers and operators (TODA’s) in Tacloban, Hilongos and Baybay, in coordination with the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

After attending a twelve noon mass at the Sto. Nino Church, TODA members held a motorcade around Tacloban City with posters bearing the call, “Make jobs a priority in Yolanda rehab”, wrapped around their trikes. A gathering and small salu-salo followed the motorcade at the Church’s Social Hall where family members and other Yolanda survivors gathered to hear the groups’ manifesto and affirm their commitment to the collective struggle of rebuilding their lives and their communities.

In a joint Manifesto signed by the Tacloban Federation of MCF Drivers and Operators (TAFEMDO), the Hilongos-based Trisikad Operators and Drivers Organization (TODO), and Partido ng Manggagawa-Region 8, the groups explained that prior to the onslaught of Yolanda (Haiyan), they already were living poor, miserable lives since transporting people around the city through motorized and non-motorized cabs for hire was their only source of income.

The Rebolustonaryong Alyansang Makabansa (RAM) in Leyte also signed the manifesto in solidarity with the workers.

“Because income is irregular in this nature of work, we earn less than what we need. This condition likewise explains why many of us, together with other poor people, live in urban poor communities where we face recurrent and extreme vulnerabilities from both man-made and natural calamities. In other words, we are poor, defenceless and were unprepared to face the strongest typhoon in history,” read the manifesto.

Jobs as priority

According to Judy Torres, regional coordinator of Partido ng Manggagawa, this was the main reason why they were urging the government and donor agencies to make jobs a priority in Yolanda rehabilitation and reconstruction plans.

“We want jobs because it is a guarantee to a person’s long-term security and a life of dignity,” said Torres, adding that while everybody was devastated it is the poor that suffered most.

“We want to rebuild our lives. We want to rebuild our communities. Hence, in the rehabilitation and rebuilding process, we do not want to just revert back to where we were before Yolanda. We want a new community – a better community,” added the manifesto.

Torres, who also chairs TAFEMDO, added that aside from providing employment, “the State must also provide victims of Yolanda a broad range of social protection to enable them to live a more secure life in the face of the ‘new normal’ and the worsening climate crisis.”

The workers’ groups also called on the government, both national and local, to put their act together in formulating a new type of rehabilitation and rebuilding plan, saying people at this point in time are not interested in squabbles and personal plans among politicians.

“What you owe us is immediate, climate-resilient, inclusive, and empowering rehabilitation and rebuilding program,” said the groups, stressing further that in the rebuilding process, direct participation by the people is far more important than private consultants and contractors.

International responsibility

The groups likewise urged donor countries and international aid agencies that once the relief and life-saving stage is over, “we enjoin you to help us build a new model community out of the ruins of Yolanda.”

They further stated: “While we clearly understand that it was Nature’s wrath that made our lives more miserable now, we are also aware that today’s extreme weather systems are the awful outcome of climate change caused by unrestrained economic activities of industrial countries. Thus, we believe that more than the humanitarian aspect, developed countries have the historical, moral, and social responsibility to come to our aid.”

Specific demands

The TODA groups in Tacloban have come up with specific demands addressed to concerned government agencies, international donors, as well as the Church and civic groups. These include:

§ Jobs for displaced TODA members and for unemployed Taclobanons.
§ Moratorium on payment of fees, specifically the renewal of business permits for FY 2014.
§ Financial assistance for motor/cab repairs or for acquisition of new units.
§ Fuel subsidy for registered TODA members.
§ Mandatory SSS and Philhealth coverage for TODA members through national government or local government sponsorship programs.
§ In-city relocation and climate-resilient socialized housing program for informal settlers.
§ Participation in the rehabilitation and rebuilding process.

Except for some specific items, the same set of demands will be pursued by workers associations in Hilongos and Baybay.

The groups said they are making this appeal not as mere victims of Yolanda but as Filipino citizens who are entitled to the broadest social protection possible from the State.

“Finally, we believe that everything is possible as long as everyone considers the task of rehabilitation and rebuilding a collective mission and the dream for a new community rising out of Yolanda ruins a common vision,” concluded the manifesto.

Partido ng Manggagawa
30 December 2013
Contact: Judy Torres
Partido ng Manggagawa Coordinator for Region 8
Chairperson, Tacloban Federation of MCH Drivers and Operators (TAFEMDO)
09262389963; 09482495848

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[In the news] Don’t let Philippines become a ‘forgotten crisis’ – UN chief -InterAksyon.com

Don’t let Philippines become a ‘forgotten crisis’ – UN chief
By Agence France-Presse
December 22, 2013

MANILA – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on donor nations Sunday to ramp up aid to typhoon-battered Philippines as it grapples with a funding shortfall on the long road to recovery.

InterAksyon logo2

“We must not allow this to be another forgotten crisis,” Ban told reporters a day after touring the storm-ravaged city of Tacloban.

He said the UN had only achieved 30 percent of the $791 million in aid it had appealed for to boost relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan last month.

Read full article @interaksyon.com

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[From the web] Sex, intimacy and the RH law in the time of Yolanda -RAPPLER.com

Sex, intimacy and the RH law in the time of Yolanda
By Ana P. Santos, RAPPLER.com
December 17, 2013

This is Yolanda in numbers: 4 million people displaced, 102,000 people living in evacuation centers or makeshift homes, an estimated 1.1 million homes totally or partially destroyed.


Damage to health care facilities (which includes birthing facilities and hospitals) was estimated to be 50%, in some areas 90%. This means that healthcare facilities were partially or totally destroyed in many of the typhoon affected areas which – even before Yolanda – were among the poorest provinces in the country.

Now, here’s the reality behind those numbers.

With many health facilities totally destroyed and ambulances washed away, it is the worst circumstance to deliver a baby. With many farming crops and fishing boats washed away and coconut trees torn from their roots, there are not many livelihood opportunities, it is the most undesirable time to get pregnant.

Whichever way you look at it, post Yolanda is not the best time to have a baby and or get pregnant.

Read full article @www.rappler.com

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[Video] We are the World (COVER by Filipino Artists) -YouTube

We are the World (COVER by Filipino Artists) 

Published on YouTube, Nov 22, 2013, by Chamberlain P. Guevarra
Tatsuo Productions (http://www.tatsuoproductions.com/)
Sapphire Productions
Evolution [Jerry Catarata] (https://www.facebook.com/EVolution.Du…)

For Donations:

In light of the calamity of typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that left our fellowmen in Southern Visayas helpless.Artists of different ages,genres and backgrounds gather together for one common goal. To make this video as an encouragement to people to open their hearts, lend a helping hand and to thank the nations that offered aid to our country. WE ARE FOREVER GRATEFUL.To our fellow Filipinos, STAY STRONG! United we stand! BANGON VISAYAS! WALANG IWANAN!

Antonette Maria Bajamunde,Noreen Isabel Quinamot,Kyle Lemuel Juliano,Tiffany Mae Valdegamo,Enrico Ricardo Nolan,Wilholm Ho,Joel Aba
Jeva Villamil,Lee Abapo,Charyn Ong,Hanna Nicole Tesado,Michael Kent Jugador, Vinz Villarosa,Dezirhyl Genn Ramirez,Rakhim Salatan Tahir,Giancarlo Benguechea and Reymark Seblero of The Robbee Talents Club
Earl Neil Kho and Andy Canlas of Midnasty
Onna rhea Quizo, Ian Gue, Kyra Aguilar, Hanz Vallehermoza, Earnest Hope Tinambacan, Dave Trasmonte, Von Cathlene Panot,Carla Mongado,Arnold Munez. aka Bassunni,Carla Mongado and Jerry Catarata

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[People] Recovery begins with teachers. By Benjo Basas

Recovery begins with teachers
Benjo Basas, TDC Chair
November 20, 2013

Recovery begins with teachers. Photo by TDC

Recovery begins with teachers. Photo by TDC

I remember this was the theme for World Teachers’ Day celebration in October 5, 2010, because that year, the world witnessed some of the worst natural disasters in history. For this year, that theme would still be relevant in our very own country.

File photo by petiburgis.com

File photo by petiburgis.com

Some teachers of Leyte are among those people who left the island to take temporary shelter and solicit help from relatives in Cebu, Metro Manila or other relieving places. Five of those who came to Manila are members of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) from Leyte, two from Tanauan, one from Jaro, one from MacArthur and another one from Tacloban. They travelled either via C-130 flight or a long bus ride via Maharlika highway or commercial flight from Cebu. All of them have informed me and I was able to meet them in separate instances.

The couple from Tanauan already travelled back to Leyte yesterday carrying much needed goods- medicines, food and other essentials which Sir Lino, the husband said “Para ito sa mga teacher sa lugar namin. Mga teacher kasi ang kawawa sa balyahan pag kumukuha ng relief goods, hindi natin kaya makipagsabayan eh.” He looks very weak, physically and perhaps weaker psychologically. He could not even smile and I understand his predicament, so just I asked him about the situation of my paryentes in Tanauan (because according to a Facebook status of a relative, there are more than 50 casualties from the clan alone and I’m pretty sure she included her maternal relatives in the headcount), he answered, “Masuwerte pa nga ang mga Basas dun sir kasi nasa mas mataas na baryo sila, hindi kagaya naming na nasa tabing-dagat.” He could hardly carry the bag of goods and just drag it to the bus that will travel that night to Tacloban, their trip is scheduled the following morning. It was more painful for us, because what we gave him is just enough for a day or two days consumption of his family, yet he is going to further share it to other teachers.
Another teacher, Sir Danny, the one from Jaro, Leyte left the province with his two children and his mother who needs to take dialysis treatment in Manila. They braved the long queue for 48 hours just to hitch a C-130 flight from Tacloban airport to Manila. Rain, sunlight, thirst, hunger, physical pain and the site and smell of dead bodies in the area make the agony unimaginably painful. At one time he asked his mother to act as if she is so weak so the authorities may prioritize them in which the mother replied, “Anak, hindi ko na kailangang magpanggap na mahina, dahil mahinang-mahina na talaga ako.” He cried when finally, he stepped on the platform of the plane that ensures his ride, “Akala ko nananaginip lang ako, masaya ako na hindi ko maintindihan ang nararamdaman ko.” They are now in Caloocan, in Sta. Quiteria where his relatives reside.

Another group, lead by Mam Lyn, a teacher from MacArthur, Leyte took a temporary refuge in a public school in Taguig where the principal is a supporter of TDC and a personal friend of mine. They met in Leyte during the campaign period, both of them helped the campaign of Ating Guro Partylist. Ma’am Lyn is very friendly and accommodating. I remember when I visited Leyte last December, she fetch me from the airport and brought me to my destination, itinerary actually. She travelled with two daughters, a daughter-in-law and 3 grandchildren. When I visited her in Taguig last Monday, she looks fine despite the stories of devastation, “Masuwerte kayo at hindi kayo nabahaan,” she said why recalling the horrible sites of Leyte towns from McArthur to Tacloban. We handed her what’s left of the goods TDC members brought in our meeting last Saturday- some canned goods, instant noodles and biscuits. She checked the bags and asked “Waray bugas?” She laughs on her own remark. “Salamat Doy kay bugas na lang akong bilihin.” She said in mixed Waray and Tagalog.

Early yesterday, I received a text message from Cristy Diomaro, a master teacher and who teaches mentally gifted children at Sto. Nino SPED Center in Tacloban City. She was in Cebu airport that time and waiting to board on a flight to Manila while I was at the DepEd central office in Pasig. She came all the way from Tacloban via Ormoc and then rode a ferry to Cebu to take a commercial flight to Manila. She called me when she arrived in NAIA and I told her that I will bring her to the House Committee on Basic Education hearing where DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro and I are among the resource persons along with some DepEd officials and disaster management experts. The urgent hearing aimed to tackle the possible legislation of the Disaster Preparedness Bill for public schools initiated by Cong. Kimi Cojuanco, also the committee chair. We took our lunch at the TDC office in Barangay Central, QC, “After two weeks, ngayon lang uli nakakain ng hindi canned goods at instant noodles,” she said laughing, her niece Roxanne who travelled along with her agreed. We left their bags at the office and went all the way to Batasan.

During the hearing, Ma’am Cristy broke in tears every time the Yolanda tragedy is mentioned. She reacts in the audience seat when Sec. Luistro presented the DepEd relief and rehabilitation effort. Seemingly, she is not satisfied with the way the DepEd handle things in the area- far from what the secretary has been reported. She also said the bad politics between the national government and the local officials exacerbated the situation in Tacloban.

When Cong. Kimi Cojuangco asked me for comments, I took the opportunity to introduce Ma’am Cristy to the committee members, the chair recognized her, “We would like to acknowledge the presence of Ms. Cristy Diomaro, a teacher from Tacloban City” she said which further made Ma’am Cristy emotional.

After the meeting, officials flocked her and gave their words of sympathy and encouragement, among them DepEd Undersecretary Dina Ocampo, DepEd Assistant Secretary Lorna Dig-Dino and Bro. Armin Luistro himself. Ms. Gigi Ricafort, the committee secretary spared her little amount and a big hug, both of them and practically all the people left in the hall were crying. The teary-eyed Luistro felt the sacrifices of his teachers as he listens to the narration of Ma’am Cristy. She reiterates, “Sir we need help for us to recover. I love my students so much, matatalino silang mga bata.”

The secretary immediately planned for events, among them the tracking of teachers who left Samar and Leyte and gather them all in DepEd Central office so they could give them the immediate assistance they need. He also asked me to closely coordinate all the data we gather from the field and submit them directly to his office. He then asked me what we can do to help the immediate recovery of the people in typhoon-ravaged areas, I said “Sir we must give them hope and inspiration.” In which, the secretary replied, “Cristy will be the face of hope and inspiration.”

Ma’am Cristy’s day in the lower house ended with the words of assurance from the secretary that immediate help from the DepEd is underway which seemingly gave her a relief and strengthen her. Finally, the secretary gave her an embrace, perhaps the most relieving embrace she ever received. As she bids goodbye to her newly-found comforters, she left a strong words “I believe Tacloban will soon recover and the recovery will begin with our teachers and schools.”

The secretary was impressed by Ma’am Cristy’s courage, passion for her work, resilience and survival- characters that define the teachers of Samar, Leyte and the entire country. Indeed, Tacloban and the rest of the areas devastated by Yolanda will soon rise and our schools will be the source of strength. #

For details: 

Cristy Diomaro-Gallano, Tacloban teacher, 0917-6956331/ 0939-9198894
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson- 09205740241

  • Some teachers of Leyte left the province to solicit help from relatives and friends in Metro Manila and to directly raise the concerns of the public school teachers in storm-ravaged areas
  • One of them is MS Cristy Diomari0, 48 years old and a TDC member and teacher in Sto. Nino SPED center in Tacloban City
  • Cristy brings her horrible story of catastrophe in the House Committee of Basic Education hearing on disaster preparedness last Tuesday where she also able to talk to Secretary Armin Luistro, who assured her that help for teachers is underway
  • With her courage, passion for her work, love for children, resilience and survival, even Sec. Luistro is convinced that Cristy may be the face of hope and inspiration and eventual recovery of Tacloban, Leyte and Samar
  • Attached is the an article of narrative written by Benjo Basas, TDC Chair for further reference
For details:
Cristy Diomaro-Gallano, Tacloban teacher, 0917-6956331/ 0939-9198894
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson- 09205740241

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[Blog] A call to every Filipino: Lift each other’s spirit. By Kuya Edel

A call to every Filipino: Lift each other’s spirit
By Kuya Edel

Rumor has it that Korina Sanchez had been suspended for one week in TV Patrol after commenting that a foreign reporter does not know what he is talking about, referring to the non-evidence of organized relief effort in Tacloban coming from the government. On the other hand, netizens flooded various social media sites with posts criticizing the Aquino administration for their slow, unorganized and somehow inadequate response to the disaster brought to us by Super Typhoon Yolanda. Even sincerities of the efforts of some celebrities and business institutions are being questioned. Things like these and more, sadly, will never help us get through with this hard time.


We all recognize that the impact of Super Typhoon Yolanda is beyond our expectation, unimaginable in some sense. With the catastrophe that killed thousands of people, affected million Filipinos and damaged billion worth of property, each act of kindness, big and small, is important. This is the time in modern history that everybody is called to do something.

This is not just a disaster in Leyte or in Tacloban or in Visayas Region but — of the whole country. As a nation, we are very hurt. I call on to everybody to please, let us not demolish each other’s spirit including of the government. What we need right now is encouragement over criticism.

We have lost thousands of people from our rank. And I hope we instead work together so that no one will no longer lose his or her life, or his or her dignity or even the hope that things will get better the next day.


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[Blog] Climate crime. By Rodne Galicha

Climate crime
By Rodne Galicha

Typhoon Haiyan speaks to us of climate inaction, injustice, apathy and irresponsibility.
Enough with all the suffering, enough with this madness. When will they listen? When there will be no people to listen to? When our voices are buried with the rubble left by storm surges and strong winds?

Rod Galicha2

As help from different parts of the globe arrives, we are thankful for the the sympathy – but what we need most is empathy. After global assistance has been delivered, states emitting large amount of carbon dioxide may still remain business as usual.

They must submit themselves to a legally binding commitment to reduce carbon emissions, or else we will expect more typhoons which are larger and more intense.

This is the price of carbon, but we are confused – why are we the ones paying almost every year? We continue to seek climate justice. Climate debt must be settled.

Our islands, in 2008, suffered the deluge brought by Typhoon Fengshen. In 2009, Typhoons Ketsana and Parma; followed by Megi in 2010; then, Nesat and Washi in 2011; Bopha in 2012 – and now Haiyan, with an estimated damage of about $14 billion.

Haiyan is the worst of that cluster. And, as it lashed our communities, affecting millions of innocent people, it may finally exhaust our unique Filipino resiliency.

We thank the world for their kindness but we expect developed countries to take ambitious steps to prevent more Haiyans. We have suffered enough.

For four years, since 2009, I have worked with the communities living in Manicani and Homonhon Islands off Guiuan town in Eastern Samar. I haven’t heard anything about them since Haiyan hit the islands.

I haven’t heard about our partner community in MacArthur, Leyte. I am worried and I mourn. The devastation is beyond imagination, beyond compare.

In my province of Romblon, where I decided to stay, the disaster risk reduction and management council was also hard hit by Haiyan. That’s especially so for the island of San Jose, the southern areas in Tablas Island and Sibuyan Island.

Almost 6000 households were partially damaged and around 750 families are without homes. The local government estimated the damage to around 80 million Philippine pesos ($2 million).

But there are small Philippine islands most people have never heard of that were smashed by Haiyan. So, an initiative to adopt a small island has commenced.

Our climate leaders here in the Philippines are doing all their best on how to help and assist. Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem and Father Manny Bolilia went to Tacloban City this weekend for a faith mission called “Spiritual Marines” to bless the dead and spiritually uplift the survivors. With their religious congregation, they have established the Heartanonymous campaign for relief efforts.

Now a local public official, Miguel Magalang, is starting a national initiative to re-orient a controversial pork barrel fund known locally as PDAF, to turn it into a disaster relief fund.

(Edited version of this article appeared in the newspapers The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Canberra Times. The original article was first published online by 350.org.)

Visit Rodne’s blog @rodgalicha.com

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[Blog] The brat prima donna, the Good Guy and the Resilience of the Filipino People. By Jose Mario De Vega

The brat prima donna, the Good Guy and the Resilience of the Filipino People

I refer to the on-going ‘controversy’ concerning a so-called “veteran newscaster” as against a world renowned and widely respected international journalist, Anderson Cooper of CNN.

Mario De Vega

This pertains to the latter’s harrowing report on the ground which is being disputed by the “veteran newscaster” who did not even (up to this day) went to the calamity site (Tacloban).

To quote a portion of the report of Gil Cabacungan, Anderson Cooper-Korina Sanchez tiff goes viral on the Internet, PDI, November 16:

“Sanchez had criticized Anderson in her radio program on Wednesday afternoon on DZMM after he reported on the government’s less than stellar response to the needs of Yolanda survivors. Said the ABS-CBN news anchor: “Itong si Anderson Cooper, sabi wala daw government presence sa Tacloban. Mukhang hindi niya alam ang sinasabi niya. (This Anderson Cooper. He said there was no government presence in Tacloban. It seems he doesn’t know what he is saying).”

“Sanchez’s remarks became a hot topic on Twitter, something that Cooper was not about to let slip by. Said the CNN journalist: “Here’s what I actually said: As for who exactly is in charge of the Philippine side of operation, that is not really clear. I am just surprised. I expected on this Day Five, I thought I may have gotten here very late, that things will be well in hand; it does not seem like that. People are desperate, they do not have any place for shelter. It’s very difficult for people to get food, neighbors are helping out neighbors, water is in short supply, it is a very very bad situation here.”

“Cooper, who arrived in Manila on Monday, took a dig at Sanchez for not being on the ground to do her reporting. “Miss Sanchez is welcome to go there (Tacloban City) and I would urge her to go there. I don’t know if she has, but her husband is the interior minister and I’m sure she can arrange a flight,” he added.”

So, here is a local newscaster who criticized a foreign journalist, except that the former is reporting at the comfort of her news network, while the latter was precisely there at the scene of the colossal tragedy of massive proportions joining the thousands of the people, victims of this unimaginable catastrophe on their everyday hardships, miseries, woes and countless struggles.

The latter has seen eye ball to eye ball the aftermath of the super typhoon; while the former has only seen the after fact, after watching or seeing the live reports of her fellow crew from the television.

Who among these two individuals are credible and believable on their respective reports?

I believe without the shadow of doubt that only a moron, worst a complete idiot of the highest order would support the contention made or the assertion claimed by that local newscaster. This creature I likened to a brat prima donna of baseless broadcasting and good for nothing reporting.

What kind of reporting is that? Reporting inside the bloody studio?

What a shame!

In the scathing and strong words of Film Icon and Director Peque Gallaga:

“What our leaders tell us is contradicted by the reports from the international commentators who are understandably more objective and growing less dispassionate as they witness the horrors around them. What our leaders tells us is also contradicted by the victims in these areas who are slowly able to give us the true picture of the realities of the situation. And the reality is that people are starving. The dead still lie on the streets even five days after the event. There are anguished souls scavenging for whatever they can survive, as well as professional looters ambushing the helpless and relief caravans. It’s a warzone out there.”

This prima donna brat of local news casting has the galls and the think face to ridicule and criticize a good man, when in fact that man has the guts and the balls to go to the bloody field and report from there live, together with the survivors.

Again to quote Director Gallga’s rant and stinging criticism:

“So I very much care now where all this help is going. I read Marvin Xanth Geronimo who was there when Yolanda struck: that TV personalities and politicians like Mar Roxas and Ted Failon going to Tacloban for the photo op. they never helped; endless tracking video shots of flattened towns with people walking clutching a plastic bottle of water with no government presence whatsoever; Korina Sanchez calling Anderson Copper “misinformed”. Copper was in Tacloban. Korina was not; the US landing 5 planes full of goods and not allowing any politicians to touch any of it. How much more do we need for us to realize that the enemy was not Yolanda? Yolanda was just a force of nature. The enemy is our leaders. And the leader of our leaders is the President.”

Rather than criticizing those good for nothing leaders, who at most are only good at alarming and frightening the people prior to the arrival of the typhoon, yet so bloody slow, as slow as the snail to come, to respond and help after the typhoon has left, the brat has instead criticized unjustly a man who is rightly and greatly doing his job.

Rather than criticizing and calling the attention of the national leadership for somehow “abandoning” the other areas that were also hit such as Eastern Samar, Antique, Capiz, Panay Islands, Palawan, Cebu’s coastal towns and other far-flung remote areas (such as Homonhon Island), this local “news caster” instead has shown her bias and prejudice by attacking Mr. Cooper for something which he did not even say in the first place.

Rather than criticizing those politicians which the United Nations has specifically named by giving strict order to the US military that those donations and the relief goods was not to be touch, the prima donna instead has directed her bullet to a good man who is doing and carrying out his duties on the field.

How on earth would it be possible that a man who is on the field of battle could be misinformed and a creature is so informed when that creature has merely staying and reporting at the four corners of her bloody office?

Well, in fairness to this creature, it was reported that she went to Ormoc; yet I am wondering why she did not bother to go to Tacloban? She did not go to that place, yet she has the galls and the thick face to question the integrity and accuracy of the people who went to the place! Wow!

That is the heights of absurdity and the greatest mockery of all time! Shame! Bloody shame!

In criticizing a good man, in such a vulgar and baseless manner, this idiota has shown the whole world how idiotic and pathetic she is. She completely made a fool out of her foolish self!

I wonder what would be her reaction to the following observations and field reports of the other foreign press/journalists.

Consider the pronouncements/observations of the following members of the international media:

“There does not seem to be an effective operation to get help to those in need.” — Jon Donnison, BBC

“It is certainly not organized.” — Paula Hancocks, CNN

“There is no real evidence of organized recovery or relief.” — Anderson Cooper, CNN

“Minimal amounts of aid have reached the worst-hit areas”. — Tania Branigan, The Guardian

Is there a reasonable ground to believe, it possible that all of them are misinformed, too?

How about the sister of the President himself, Ms. Kris Aquino who also believes that the government is quite slow responding to the needs of the victim, will that brat newscaster also lambast her as “misinformed”?

The Resilience of the Filipino People

I overwhelmingly concur with the report of Luigene Yanoria of the Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom, November 15th, “International media laud Filipino reliance amid ‘worst disaster’ Yolanda”:

“When the world looks at the Philippines, they won’t remember the worst typhoon to hit the earth—they will recall how strong Filipinos are, too.

“Seven days on, the world’s eye remains on the Yolanda-battered nation as international media like CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, NBC, ABC, and CBS—dispatch their topnotch journalists to deliver updates on the record-breaking typhoon.

“Leading the pack of foreign journalists on the ground is CNN’s Anderson Cooper who’s been ironically making headlines of himself due to a report where he mentioned the lack of national government support in the badly-hit Tacloban City.

“But for the veteran journalist who has so far covered the world’s biggest disasters, Filipinos show incredible strength even when aid seems bleak.”

As Anderson Cooper said in the November 15 broadcast of AC360:

“The Filipino people–the people of Tacloban, and Samar and Cebu and all these places where so many have died—they’re strong not just to survive the storm; but they are strong to have survived the aftermath of the storm…

“They have survived for a week now often with very little food, with very little water, with very little medical attention…”

Response to President Benigno Aquino III’s comment

The President appealed to the (practically the international) media for them “to use your role to uplift the spirits of the Filipino people — to find stories of resilience, hope and faith, and show the world just how strong the Filipino people are” and to observe accuracy in reporting. Mr. Cooper underscored that that is also what they strive for as well.

As he stated categorically: “Accuracy is what we care most about here at CNN.”

The Question of Accuracy, Credibility and the Truth

Mr. Cooper said in narrating the horrendous aftermath and also highlighting the resilience of the Filipinos:

“They have survived for a week now, often with very little food, with very little water, with very little medical attention.

“Can you imagine the strength it takes to be living in shock, to be living, sleeping on the streets next to the body of your dead children? Can you imagine that strength? I can’t. And I’ve seen that strength day in and day out here in the Philippines. And we honor them with every broadcast that we do…”

The brat prima donna meanwhile has yet to even set foot on Tacloban and smell the stench of death on the air.


Again, to reiterate the point: who do you believe between these two individuals?

Mr. Cooper is a foreigner, but after what he did, doing a fine job and that is reporting the truth, no matter how painful it is, no matter how inconvenient and uncomfortable it is to the powers that be, I, on behalf of the Filipino people is hereby adopting him, now as a part and as a member of the Filipino people!

Mr. Cooper, maraming-maraming salamat po! Mabuhay po kayo!!!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy lecturer
College of Arts and Letters
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

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[People] The lost orphans of Yolanda. By Fr. Shay Cullen

The lost orphans of Yolanda
By Fr. Shay Cullen
November 12,2013

Besides the thousands that have been killed, injured, and made homeless by the most devastating typhoon known to humankind, the orphaned children are the most vulnerable. Their towns and villages and homes are no more and their parents are dead. They are threatened by malnutrition, kidnapping, and abduction. Horrible as this prospect is, it has been a deadly reality in times of natural disasters. These children need our special attention and direct intervention to save them from child traffickers and pedophiles. Under the pretext of saving the children, traffickers can abduct them and sell them as “brides” to pedophiles or earn hundreds of thousands of pounds or euros by providing these children for illegal adoption and even worse, sexual abuse and exploitation.


The Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has called for urgent vigilance by aid workers to this form of child trafficking in the areas devastated by the most powerful typhoon in history to hit land. Called Haiyan or by its local name “Yolanda”, it has devastated and flattened entire towns, villages, and killed scores of people in the central Philippines and their children will be known as the lost children of Yolanda. Driven by winds up to 315 kilometers an hour, brutal ordeal will scar the people of the Visayan region for a generation. We too will be judged by how we responded or when we did not.

The television reports show the extent of the devastation and the hardship, hunger and homelessness will last many months. The approaching of yet another rain storm, a tropical depression named “Zoraida” will be lashing the country by the time you read this or will be leaving more destruction to a country already reeling in shock.

As many as ten thousand and more people could have been killed. No one could predict that it would be such a killer cyclone and now the people have nothing. They are totally dependent on the generosity of donors and the ability of the government to deliver relief aid in the shortest time possible. A time will come when they will be able to pick up the strength and recover and become self-sufficient and self-reliant. But now as in all disasters, help is needed and we are called up to provide it and give back and share with those that need it most.

There are problems getting the relief to the people as roads and bridges have collapsed or buried under landslides. Bodies are decomposing under the rubble, some have been buried in mass graves. This will go on for several weeks more as rescuers and aid workers reach the remote villages

But this tragic event brings with it another kind of danger, the danger to the homeless, lost and orphaned children. With as many as fifteen thousand dead, many children will be orphaned, vulnerable to malnutrition and the worst of all, vulnerable to abduction, kidnapping, and trafficking into illegal adoptions or sexual exploitation.

Many people don’t want to read or think about such harsh and painful realities but it happens and we have to do all we can to prevent this. Preda children’s charity is appealing for donations and help to send trained social workers into the devastated area to provide a child feeding station and help find and protect these lost, homeless, abandoned children before they are abducted.

With such challenges before us, we have to summon up the spiritual strength to meet them and overcome them. The Filipino people are a very resilient people and suffer up to twenty typhoons a year and one or two strong earthquakes. Sitting on the pacific ring of fire, it is expected and when there is no exploding volcano to cope with, there are plenty of other natural disasters.

In the past 44 years that I have been a missionary in the Philippines with the people who are poor and needy, I have come through many natural disaster, super storms, floods, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and rivers of volcanic mud and “lahar” destroying all before them.

The Filipino people have shown the remarkable spiritual strength and resilience and are capable of coping with a sense of humor and smiling at cameras and even laughing at their own predicament. Not this time though, it’s harder than ever before. Yet their will to live and survive is the driving strength of the Filipino people and they do it with courage and resourcefulness and are a people who get on with the task of recovering, rebuilding and planting and harvesting year after year.

These are a people who live in hope and have a great ability to overcome all kinds of disasters and hardship. The people need food, water and shelter. The children need protection, nutrition and the good will of the world community. All need help to get them through this most terrible time in their lives. They believe in a loving God who lives in all people of faith, love and good will and this eternal force of goodness will reach out to the needy through the love of others.

Donations for the orphans of Yolanda to Fr. Cullen, St. Columban‘s, Widney Manor Road, Solihull B93 9AB or Dalgan Park Navan, Co. Meath or any TSB bank Preda – Ireland, sort code 990 604, account number 30001836. (Email shaycullen@preda.org)

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[Blog] A storm is a product of nature. A tragedy is man-made. By CJ Chanco

A storm is a product of nature. A tragedy is man-made.

Suggestions by some quarters to crack down on “looters” are completely out of place. We need the military to deliver aid, not clamp down on the typhoon victims. We need paratroopers to fly in relief goods – not a police state.

CJ Chanco

Again, it isn’t looting if local sari-sari stores are giving away fresh vegetables to desperately hungry families because it’s pointless to sell anything when there’s nothing to buy, and money is practically worthless on the ground. I’ve heard this happen time and again. I’m sure there is more in Tacloban than complete desolation, Red Cross-stealing hooligans, and survival-of-the-fittest. While we in Manila consider ourselves their heroes, people are already acting on their own accord to piece together the fragments of their lives — for the most part, without the government’s aid.

This is the sort of resilience the media should be focusing on. Whatever happened, after all, to the much-vaunted “Filipino spirit”?

On the other hand, what some see as anarchy others see as survival. Crime and “hooliganism” – where they occur (which happens to be few and far between, despite PNP press statements) – are completely natural responses to human scarcity.

This does not in any way distract from the gravity of the situation. Because it *is* disturbing. This is the sort of thing we will increasingly see from communities neglected by the government for so long (with or without these disasters), if we choose to continue along this path.

Indeed, it can happen in Manila and New York and Paris just as easily as it is now happening in Tacloban. It’s the sort of Hunger Games-Planet Z-do-or-die epic we will increasingly see as governments everywhere clamp down ever harder on people already stripped of all the essentials of life.

Crises like these won’t be solved by replacing civilian officials in the province of Imelda Marcos – or anywhere else – with a military force to “control” the situation there. They won’t be solved by sending 500-men military battalions to crush “unrest” and further disempower local communities.

On this score, Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin, there is a world of a difference between declaring a state of emergency and declaring martial law

Peace and order will be restored only when people rebuild their own lives and above all start to question why all of this is being allowed to happen in the first place. There is politics involved in all this whether we like it or not. The very causes of the disaster – from climate change to corruption and poor preparation – have deep political roots.

Haiyan made landfall just as the Warsaw UN Climate Summit was about to begin. If there ever was a sign from god, this is it.

But Western governments’ statements of solidarity with the Philippines are a bit laughable considering their shameful role in stifling all attempts at cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions in the ongoing negotiations:


Of course, any sort of “aid”, from any government, granted with no strings attached, is more than welcome at a time like this. But no amount of charity or “aid” is every going to make up for these countries’ investments on our own shores that are wreaking havoc on the environment. No amount of “aid” is ever going to cut the greenhouse emissions of the world’s multinationals and the fossil fuel industry (including our own coal-fired plants) that are rising by the day. Last minute pork barrel-infusions won’t help either, for so long as the system stays in place: a system eating away at the very heart of the planet while leaving millions vulnerable to future calamities like this one.

Our inaction today is what generations ahead will pay for in existential debt, plus interest.

Real solidarity with the people of Leyte, Samar, and the rest of the country cannot and will not stop at donating and packing relief goods. Joining people as they organize and mobilize *around the world* to move toward a genuinely sustainable and socially just future – yes, it’s a cliche – should be part of our efforts. It’s time to connect the dots.

Haiyan is a symptom of a problem rooted in a society that is swallowing itself alive on a global scale. It is not the result of an impending rapture, a media cover-up, or a US military experiment. These are the facts. It’s time to wake up.

There are also other ways of delivering aid to flood victims without depending on largesse from Malacanang or Pnoy’s PDAF, or on charity from big relief agencies, from crowd-sourced funding online to grassroots community networks. At any rate, Oxfam, the Red Cross, Unicef, Balsa, the small churches and people’s organizations we’re now helping out – and yes, guerillas in the countryside (whatever their politics) – are doing a far better job at it than our own government.

There are already deep rifts within the Pnoy administration. The disaster has caught everyone off guard: http://www.rappler.com/…

We really do need all the help we can get, and we can’t depend on the government alone for it. Please remember how long it took for its agencies to get its act together to help the victims of Typhoon Pablo — a much smaller storm.

This is my last uber-long post for the day/month- I promise. The longer we spend on the social networks, I think, the less is done on the ground.

#ReliefPH: Victims of Typhoon Yolanda need your help


#YolandaPH #ClimateJustice


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[Photoblog] Magtulungan tayong harapin ang pinsalang iniwan ni #Yolanda, manalangin at kumilos

The following photos are compiled and posted by Bro. Martin Francisco in his facebook account.

“…lahat ng pics dito (his FB) e mula ito sa ibat-ibang sources na hindi ko nagawang alamin dahil sa kagustuhang mas maipaabot agad sa marami ang kalagayan ng ating mga kababayang napinsala. We have to thank yung maraming unknown owner ng mga pics na ito.” -Bro. Martin Francisco.

Ilalathala po natin ang mga larawan sa layuning makatulong sa pagpapaabot ng impormasyon ng kalagayan ng ating mga kababayang sinalanta ng supertyphoon #Yolanda sa ating mga mambabasa.  Hindi po inaari ng HRonlinePH.com at maging ni Bro. Martin Francisco ang mga larawang ito.  Maraming salamat sa mga “unknown sources/owners”.

Maari ring matagpuan ang iba pang larawan sa FB ni Bro. Martin Francisco https://www.facebook.com/bromartin.francisco

Magtulungan tayong harapin ang Yolanda with prayer













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[In the news] P128-M disbursed for state anti-poverty program beneficiaries – www.sunstar.com.ph

P128-M disbursed for state anti-poverty program beneficiaries

TACLOBAN CITY – Over P128 million in conditional cash grant was disbursed to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Leyte for January to December 2010.

At least P7 million have already been released to indigent families in the province for the period of January-April 2011.

Have something to report? Tell us in text, photos or videos.

In the recent 4Ps provincial committee meeting attended by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-8) Regional Director Letecia Diokno and Leyte Governor Jericho Petilla, the Leyte 4Ps team reported the status of releases for the conditional cash grant in Leyte.

The province tallies a total of 66, 692 registered beneficiaries from various municipalities.

The recent meeting also discussed updates on the implementation of the program and the improved database system for 4Ps by the regional social welfare office.

The DSWD reports over 8,000 beneficiaries have been de-listed from about 168,000 families identified under the program.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Release researcher, militants ask gov’t – INQUIRER.net

Release researcher, militants ask gov’t.

File photo source: allecoallende.wordpress.com

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines— A militant group in Eastern Visayas continued to press for the release of a researcher who was arrested and detained by the military on suspicion that he was a communist guerrilla.

Ericson Acosta, researcher for two nongovernment organizations in Samar, was arrested in San Jorge, Samar, on Feb. 14 by soldiers from the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion based in the same town.

Rogelio Berino, secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Eastern Visayas, said the continued detention of Acosta was a violation of his rights.

Berino said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday that Bayan was demanding the release of Acosta “if the military truly knows and recognizes human rights in its true sense.”

Contrary to claims made by the military, Berino said Acosta was not a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Acosta, Berino said, was connected with the Alliance of Concerned Samareños and the farmers’ group Kapawa, both based in Samar.

The military, said Berino, fabricated charges against Acosta.

Col. Niceforo Diaz, information officer of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, said Acosta was no longer in military custody since a case against him for illegal possession of firearms and explosives is now at the Regional Trial Court Branch 41 in Gandara, Samar.

Soldiers claimed they seized communist documents, a hand grenade, a mobile phone and P4,000 in cash from Acosta.

“We have a basis for his arrest,” said Diaz in a phone interview on Wednesday. Acosta, said Diaz, is currently detained at the police jail in Gandara, Samar.