Today’s aerial survey of the Yolanda-affected areas in Panay Island helped us see the implications of shelter repair kits, livelihood initiatives, and other interventions to the total work of community development and how we can help enhance what is being done.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “Some isolated people living in highland areas, especially in Panay Island and northern Negros Occidental, have received limited assistance to date. There is risk of a deteriorating food security situation in these areas.”

This report coincides with the observation of our Iloilo volunteer coordinator, Pastor Jun Ligacion, who has been guiding us as we assess the rehabilitation needs of Yolanda-affected families in Iloilo Province in Panay Island.

OCHA further reports that a total of US$609 million has been contributed to the Typhoon Haiyan response as of 6 January, according to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS). Of this total, $328 million was contributed to the Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for Haiyan — closely aligned to the Government’s Recovery Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) Plan — by over 80 entities including Member States, the Central Emergency Response Fund, multilateral institutions, private companies and individuals.

Now, can somebody please help me understand why we’re still seeing Tacloban the way it is described here?

This is Tacloban a month after Yolanda’s wrath. The people are slowly rebuilding their lives amidst the acrid smell of debris, mud and death.

Every day military trucks pass by on the Maharlika highway ferrying survivors. It seems to be the only tangible government effort felt by the people, as basic needs like electricity and water remain uncertain in many areas of Tacloban.

Tent settlements and shanties are sprouting in once-thriving communities. Men, women and children scavenge through the debris for scraps of anything that they could use to eke out a living.

I affirm this report, not only in the case of Tacloban, but also in other Haiyan/Yolanda-hit areas.

The more I get immersed in Yolanda Disaster Response, the more I see the various expressions of graft and corruption in our present system that exacerbate the suffering of our people. I, therefore, must not deviate from the necessary steps based on a big picture and long-term journey of our land and people:
1. Abolish the pork barrel system.
2. Reveal, investigate, and prosecute pork barrel scammers — past and present.
3. Pass the Freedom of Information Act.
4. Dismantle the patronage political system of the oligarchies.

We shall overcome!


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