Yolanda rehab waning

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda (The Philippine Star) - August 3, 2015 - 10:00am

In his comprehensive report, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Mr. Chaloka Beyani who visited the Philippines two weeks ago said “aid funding and attention given to Yolanda victims appear to be waning or inadequate.”

Similar problems beset other victims of other typhoons and floods in North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

Beyani said transition shelters provided to Yolanda victims lacked water, electricity, and sanitation. Promised job opportunities to the displaced residents of typhoon areas were discontinued after a few weeks or a few months.

Food packages have also been discontinued after three months. The promised P30,000 and P10,000 shelter aid to families whose houses have been destroyed were not distributed to some Yolanda victims, even in Tacloban and municipalities of Leyte and Eastern Samar.

Beyani reported that many are still staying in communal bunkhouses where basic services have not been provided. Of 200,000 permanent housing promised and provided, only 21 percent has been completed, most of them by private organizations and donors. Two thousand families still live in shanties and tents.

President Aquino, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Dinky Soliman, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and National Housing Authority General Manager Chito Cruz have failed to do the job.  

Following UN’s report that victims remain “vulnerable” two years after the calamity, Malacañang vowed to provide additional funds in the proposed 2016 budget to complete the rehabilitation of areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said the government was not merely trying to find new housing for those displaced by the storm but was also trying to set up permanent, safe and decent housing. The Palace will also help them to find suitable livelihood and jobs for their further recovery from the calamity. Malacañang promised the UN to speed up efforts in fulfilling its promised to victims of calamities.

Former Senator Panfilo Lacson blamed Department of Budget and Management (DBM) squarely for not releasing the P162.8 billion budget for Yolanda projects. 

In October 2013, the government secured P14.6 billion in supplemental appropriation, partly also for Yolanda’s victims and disaster assistance. DBM documents reveal that of the P14.6 billion, only P3.39 billion were released for the communities ravaged by Yolanda. The bigger balance went to all sorts of unnamed communities in the provinces by a long parade of typhoons. In December 2014, the supplemental budget was increased to P22.5 billion. But there are still reports that government still had millions of pesos of unspent disaster funds. The government did not only underspend, it also spent slowly, inappropriately and with not so good results.

Massive donations/funds from both local and foreign individuals and institutions for post-Yolanda recovery and rehabilitation efforts did not flow as promptly and the projects did not roll out as quickly as promised by the government.

Vice President update

A top aide of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Liberal Party (LP) candidate for president Secretary Mar Roxas offered the vice presidential slot to Mayor Duterte but was rejected outright by the mayor. He said its presidency or nothing for Duterte.

He also confirmed ongoing talks between Secretary Roxas and the camp of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, but the talks bogged down as President Aquino thumbed down Cayetano.

Mar is now seriously considering Governor Vilma Santos or Rep. Leni Robredo.

On the Vice President Binay side, a search committee is leaning  towards Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos as Binay’s running mate. Other probables are Senator Gringo Honasan and Senator J.V. Ejercito.

Meanwhile, Senator Serge Osmeña gave Secretary Roxas no chance of winning unless Malacañang can convince Senator Grace Poe to run as his vice president or Poe withdraws from the race and endorses Roxas.

Most political analysts take the view that with Poe running as independent, it will still be a close race between her and Vice President Binay as shown in most of the periodic surveys on presidential choices.

Osmeña said also that if Davao City Mayor Duterte decided to run, many Poe votes will transfer to Duterte, especially if Poe is disqualified as her residency status and citizenship are in question.

Crime rate soars

Despite the decrease in crime incidence in Metro Manila as claimed by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the number of crimes committed nationwide increased by about 46 percent during the first six months of the year as compared to the same period last year, from 603,085 to 885,445 cases.

The report of all crimes reported to police nationwide showed a 37.3 percent increase in the index crime rate, from 256,592 to 352,321 cases.

Homicides went up by 6,607 from 4,091 while murder cases increased from 5,004 to 7,245. Physical injury cases increased to 182,886 from 122,084 while rapes rose to 8,288 from 5,069.

Government should produce a coherent extensive term tactic to attack crime at its roots and get police visibility back on our streets.


Condolence to former Secretary Ramon “Eki” Cardenas on the death of his mother Rizalina, now lying in state at Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park.


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