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'Turf war' at Villamor Air Base ceases 'Oplan Hatid' for Yolanda victims

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Oplan Hatid, a small group of volunteers helping survivors of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) being transported from the Visayas to Villamor Air Base, is ceasing operations at midnight Wednesday because of a supposed "turf war" between members of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the leadership of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

"It is with deep with deep sadness and regret that I am announcing this on my wall. The organizers of Oplan Hatid -- me, Golda, and Caryl Benjamin, James Deakin, Leah Lagmay, and my wife Cel Ocampo -- together with our close to 500 volunteer transporters, dispatchers, coordinators and marshals, will be STOPPING our service effective 12 o'clock midnight, November 20," Junep Ocampo posted in his Facebook account on Wednesday night.
 
Ocampo added: "This decision was made unanimously by the group after the DSWD and the Villamor Air Base decided to part ways -- with the DSWD packing its bags at noon tomorrow to g to Camp Aguinaldo."
 
He said that the apparent reason behind the parting of ways between the DSWD and the leadership at the air base is a "turf war'" which, he added, has been going on since Day 1 of the operations.
 
Hundreds of survivors, mostly from typhoon-ravaged Tacloban City, have been transported to the air base via C130 cargo planes.
 
"The turf war has led to confusing and arbitrary changes in rules and policies, making it difficult for volunteers and those who want to volunteer to help the survivors of typhoon Yolanda," Ocampo said.
 
"Puro sarili langnila ang iniisip nila," he added.
 
Asked to elaborate on the turf war, Ocampo said its a fight "on who will be in the limelight."
 
"The DSWD is technically the one who should be in charge, but since Villamor is the home of the Air Force, the ladies simply would not want to be overshadowed," he said.
 
By the term ladies, Ocampo may be referring to  association of wives of the ranking officials of the PAF.
 
Ocampo said that with the groups desire to help the typhoon victims, they tried to within the system.
 
"Wehavetrued our best to understand all the illogical rules that they made us follow. We only wanted to serve you," he said, addressing the victims of the super typhoon, which claimed thousands of lives and affected mire than 10 million people.
 
Ocampo ended his post with: "May God have mercy on our country."
 

AIR FORCE CAMP AGUINALDO CARYL BENJAMIN CEL OCAMPO DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT OCAMPO OPLAN HATID VILLAMOR AIR BASE
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