Rodgrigo Duterte, the outspoken incumbent president of the Philippines has clarified his relationship with the United State of America during a press conference in Cotobato City.
Duterte was particularly dismissive of Philip Goldberg, the former US ambassador to the Philippines. Apparently Philip Goldberg during the election starter mouthing off, giving interviews against Duterte left, right and centre. (click here for what the interviews were about) Duterte found this stunt by Goldberg inappropriate for someone who was an ambassador and a foreigner at that.
The US treats the Philippines as if it is still its lowly colony. Aids to be given are under innumerable conditions such as curtailing the war on drugs.
He liken US aid giving and its many conditions similar to dogs on leash, tethered so tightly that they can’t get to the slice of bread the master throws far enough for the dogs to keep trying but to no avail.
Filipinos do not want to be disrespected. The Americans are so free and easy with their words which is anathema to Orientals dignity and pride especially to Filipinos. Loosing face is tantamount to being slapped.
Therefore, the US can keep their aids and assistance. Duterte said that China is willing to give assistance, so does Japan. Russia invited Duterte to talk, everything the Philippines need are in Russia. He just need to come and get it.
He further advised the US to look for another country that can stomach the US treatment. Filipinos are not so starved that they are willing to have their dignities trampled over. They will survive.
If she works in any country from the west, Dinky would have been given her marching orders to vacate her plush office as secretary of social welfare and development for her sheer incompetence. In fact if she had grown in the west, she would have offered to resign!!!
Dinky, with her department, admits to tonnes of food wastage due to spoilage. The high and mighty DSWD took their time to distribute the food to the victims of the typhoon. It seems they would rather see the food spoil rather than give these away! For weeks the food donation remained in a huge bodega (warehouse). Therefore, not enough space is being freed for the deluge of more donation that were coming in. Trucks would come in and because of lack of space, they would just dump goods outside the warehouse in Tacloban. Sacks of grains were left out in the rain to rot. The reason is that Dinky and her ilks would like everything to be rewrapped in DSWD’s non-biodegrable plastic bags with their logo; thus, ensuring that every recipient would be subliminally grateful for their meagre alms from DSWD!
I think times like this, Freedom of Information would have been so useful. The madlang people could ask to see copies of receipts of how the donated monies are being spent. I am sure the UK alone sent enough hygiene kits to last a long time and other countries would have done as well. So what really happened to the billions of donated monies.
It is only right for the Philippines to be open with how they used and applied the donation as the wider world has embraced and had been more than generous to the typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda victims.
Show us the receipts, Dinky!
DSWD admits P2.8M worth of relief goods for ‘Yolanda’ survivors spoiled
MANILA, Philippines–Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman confirmed Tuesday the findings of a Commission on Audit (COA) report stating that 7,527 Family Food Packs with an approximate cost of P2,784,900.00 meant for survivors of super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) were lost to spoilage “due to improper handling.”
In an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990 AM, Soliman said that the food packs got wet because the goods were not covered while in transit from Cebu City to Tacloban City.
The COA report on “Yolanda” relief operations, which was posted on its website, revealed that 19,172 canned goods, 81 packs of noodles, and 21 sacks of rice went to waste.
Apart from spoiled food items, COA noted that bottled water procured in Manila worth P69,296,400.00 were not distributed in Tacloban City “due to lack of transport facilities”.
’90 percent of cash aid already utilized’
Soliman, said that as of August 28, the DSWD has already utilized 90 percent of total P1,121,890,457 worth of foreign and local cash donations.
“Ito pong [COA] audit na ito ay tiningnan noong November to December 2013. Hindi nila na-examine ‘yung [relief operations] ngayong 2014. As of August 28, ang atin na pong natanggap na foreign and local donations ay P1,121,890,457. At 90 percent po niyan ay amin nang na-utilize, kasama na doon ‘yung nakita nila na P780 million plus na hindi raw na-utilize,” Soliman said.
(The report only covered November to December 2013. It did not examine the relief operations this 2014. As of August 28, we have received P1,121,890,457 in foreign and local donation, 90 percent of which was already utilized, including the P780 million plus it said that we failed to utilize.)
The statement was issued by Soliman following findings of a COA report on Typhoon “Yolanda” relief operations which revealed that the department failed to utilize P782,012,090.71 worth of foreign and local cash donations.
Citing the reason for the underutilization of foreign donations, Soliman said that DSWD used government funds to finance its rehabilitation efforts during the aftermath of “Yolanda.”
Soliman also said that the department used its cash donations to finance its “Cash for Work” program, livelihood projects, emergency shelter assistance, and procurement of non-food items such as hygiene kits.
Relief aids for typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, are coming thick, fast and furious from every corner of the world, both international and national.
But despite this, the aid took time to get to the people. Some of the reasons are now coming out.
Robbing hoods from the Government are at work. They are robbing from the donors and giving the goods to the poor a la Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest!
Jejomar Binay, the second highest ranking official of the Philippines delayed distribution of some international relief because he thought he should use the opportunity to do some subliminal campaigning for the Presidential election of 2016. He ensured that people who see or receive the goods will believe (wrongly) that these came from the office of the Vice President. Binay created personalised bags for the relief goods and stickers for the bulkier items. LOL
As Sharon Cuneta, Philippine actress, host and singer, twitted “Unbelievable”.
It is unbelievable, instead of spending national monies on his personalised bags he could have given the money directly to the building funds.
The ungrateful Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the Philippines took it upon itself to cast aspersion to the benevolence of Indonesia. Apparently instead of distributing the goods with immediate effect to the sorely and perilously starving victims of Yolanda, as what countries from around the world which donated would expect, the DSWD instructed that all the bags are opened up and everything inside were scrutinised minutely, some of the items like crispy rice and crispy noodles were put aside and the rest repacked in personalised bags of DSWD. In doing so, it robbed both the victims and Indonesia of the relief aid. To add insult to injury to philanthropic Indonesia, the DSWD said that their reason was to make sure that Indonesia did not send out of date goods. LOL, the nerve of the DSWD!!!
To Indonesia, everything you donated were gratefully received by mainstream Filipinos. We can’t really speak for the Government as they have been taken over by nasty aliens from outer space! That is the only reasonable explanation of their inhumanity! 🙁 They are not human!
Repost from Toots Syled :
Just want to share a PM from one of our members, from New Jersey, USA.
“Hi tita toots. Last friday dumating kami sa Manila with my other friends. Bumisita kami sa NDRMMC and Red Cross para ma idala namin ang 10 big boxes of relief goods and Para ma sigurado na ang 5000thousand families in Tacloban ma cater ng McDonalds ngayon ang problema nagkataon Dinky Soliman was there She told us dapat idaan namin sa DSWD pero ang sabi pa nya dapat palitan ang plastics ng mg relief goods na dala namin at ang ipapalit nila is ang plastic na may pangalan ni P-noy, at pilit nilang binuksan nila ang mga boxes tapos when we refuse to agree on them di kmi binigyan ng clearance at mas malala pa may Tax pa.”
(Hi Auntie Toots. Last Friday, we arrived in Manila with our friends. We visited NDRMMC and Red Cross so we can forward 10 big boxes of relief goods and to ensure that 5000 families in Tacloban are catered by McDonalds. The problem was Dinky Soliman was there. She told us that we had to pass the relief through DSWD and we had to change all the plastic bags of the relief goods they were in and put them in a personalised bags bearing PNoy’s name. They forced open the boxes; when we refused their conditions, they did not give us clearance for our relief goods and then gravely taxed us! )
The Government of Canada is committed to helping countries affected by natural disasters. To this end, Canada has taken decisive action to provide assistance to the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013.
Canada took immediate action at the onset of the crisis to assist the Philippines, contributing $5 million in humanitarian assistance funding to provide urgent assistance to those affected.
On November 10, 2013, Canada established a mechanism through which every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians from November 9 to December 23, 2013, to registered Canadian charities responding to the impact of the typhoon, would be matched by the Government of Canada in the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund.
On April 3, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that individual Canadians contributed over $85 million in eligible donations that our Government will match through its Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund.
Of the over $85 million to be matched by the Government, $15 million was initially disbursed for emergency relief activities in November 2013 to Canada’s humanitarian partners which have the expertise and capacity to provide immediate assistance on the ground.
The Government of Canada is pleased today to announce that a further $50 million of the $85 million to be matched by the Government is being allocated to the following experienced and trusted Canadian and international partners to help the people of the Philippines recover from the impact of the typhoon and help them rebuild their lives: Canadian Non-Governmental Organizations
Action Contre la Faim – $3.75 million to help up to 35,000 affected people in Leyte province and PanayIsland.
ADRA Canada – $2.2 million to help up to 27,000 affected people on PanayIsland.
CARE Canada – $1.3 million to help up to 24,850 affected people in Leyte, Samar and on PanayIsland.
Centre for International Studies and Cooperation – $750,000 to help up to 12,500 affected people in Leyte and Western Samar.
Christian Children’s Fund Canada – $950,000 to help up to 9,200 affected people in Leyte province.
Development and Peace – $2 million to help up to 6,840 affected people in Samar province.
Global Medic – Léger Foundation – $450,000 to help up to 15,000 affected people in Leyte province.
Handicap International Canada – $1.65 million to help up to 4,690 affected people in Capiz province.
HOPE International Development Agency – $1.5 million to help up to 31,960 affected people in Leyte province.
Humanity First Canada – $250,000 to help up to 6,250 affected people in Capiz and Iloilo provinces.
Plan Canada – $1.5 million to help up to 37,500 affected people in East and West Samar.
Save the Children Canada – $2 million to help up to 12,500 affected people on PanayIsland.
World Renew – $1.4 million to help up to 21,860 affected people on PanayIsland and in Leyte and Samar provinces.
World Vision Canada – $3.6 million to help up to 12,660 affected people in Leyte province.
International Committee for the Red Cross – $1.5 million to help up to 250,000 affected people in Samar province.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – $6 million to help up to 500,000 affected people across all typhoon-affected areas.
International Organization for Migration – $2.5 million to help up to 2.2 million displaced people (inside and outside of evacuation centres).
United Nations Children’s Fund – $3 million to help up to 1.34 million affected people (of which 558,000 are children) across all typhoon-affected areas.
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization – $6 million for the restoration of livelihoods for up to 128,600 affected households across all typhoon-affected areas.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – $2 million for protection interventions and the provision of relief items for up to 300,000 affected people across typhoon-affected areas.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – $1 million for the provision of strategic coordination, information and assessments in support of more than 110 humanitarian partners responding to Typhoon Haiyan across typhoon-affected areas.
United Nations Population Fund – $1 million for the prevention of gender-based violence and the provision of health services to up to 3.7 million women and girls of childbearing age affected by Typhoon Haiyan across typhoon-affected areas.
United Nations World Food Programme – $2.5 million for the provision of food assistance to help up to 3 million affected people across typhoon-affected areas.
World Health Organization – $1.2 million for the provision of essential health-care services by strengthening disease surveillance and referral systems in order to help up to 7 million affected people across typhoon-affected areas.
The above assistance ($50 million) in the early recovery phase over the next year will help to create durable shelter solutions and opportunities for people in the farming, fishing and services sectors to earn a living in order to meet their basic needs. This includes food and nutrition, health care, education, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, as well as protection for vulnerable groups, including women and children, and internally displaced people.
The remaining $20.59 million from the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund will be used for longer-term reconstruction and disaster risk reduction activities. Along with the Government of the Philippines and the international community, the Government of Canada is currently assessing the evolving needs in typhoon-affected areas, including longer-term rehabilitation, reconstruction and development priorities for the affected communities. Initial assessments suggest that during the reconstruction phase, the greatest needs will relate to livelihoods and permanent shelter. The Government of the Philippines has set a November 2017 end date for the reconstruction phase. Canada will assist the Philippines with reconstruction efforts during this critical period.
Further Canadian Actions to Address the Impact of Typhoon Haiyan In addition to the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund, the Government of Canada:
Provided an initial allocation of $30,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to help launch relief operations (on the day the typhoon hit);
Provided $5 million in support to humanitarian organizations for emergency relief activities at the outset of the crisis, as well as deployed relief items such as tents, blankets, water purification tablets and shelter kits from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development’s emergency stockpile;
Supported the deployment of a Canadian Red Cross medical team and field hospital to provide emergency health support in the Philippines;
Deployed elements of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to support relief efforts in the region by providing clean water, medical assistance and logistical support. The DART addressed the pressing needs on PanayIsland;
Deployed eight Canadian humanitarian experts to support Red Cross and United Nations humanitarian agencies in response to the typhoon, through an existing DFATD stand-by arrangement with a Canadian NGO partner;
Deployed four Canadian disease specialists (epidemiologists) from the Public Health Agency of Canada at different stages of the crisis as part of the Global Outbreak Alert Response Network. The epidemiologists worked with the World Health Organization in the Philippines on a coordinated health response. The team assisted the Philippine’s Department of Health to identify and make recommendations on how to mitigate the risks to public health in the wake of the disaster;
Deployed two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers to the Philippines as part of the Interpol Incident Response Team. The officers assisted in the development of an Interpol disaster victim identification plan;
In addition, Canada prioritized the processing of Filipino applications on request from those who were significantly and personally affected by Typhoon Haiyan;
Officials in Ottawa and on the ground at the Embassy in Manila provided Canadian citizens with updated information about the typhoon. Consular teams went to areas affected by the typhoon to ensure the well-being of and provide assistance to Canadian citizens. The Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa responded to more than 700 calls and e-mails from concerned Canadians.
Canadian Development Assistance in the Philippines
Canada has a long track record of providing development assistance in the Philippines. In the Fiscal Year 2012-2013, Canada provided over $16 million in official development assistance to the Philippines. This funding enhanced sustainable economic growth by improving the enabling environment for investment and building economic opportunities for the poor. Longer-term development programming will continue alongside Canada’s significant response to the typhoon disaster.
Canada and the Philippines share strong and friendly bilateral relations, and Canada will continue to be a partner in reconstruction and long-term development efforts.
I must say when I first heard about the plight of YashikaBageerathi, it puzzled me immediately. How can Yashika bear to leave Mauritius, which according to those I know who visited the country, is a paradise on Earth. Apparently the place is so beautiful and just the place to get a second home and possibly retire to. And yet Yashika and her family are making it sound like Mauritius may not be the safe haven that we thought but a lawless country full of violent people and sex perverts?!!! 🙁
Please read below an article by Touria Prayag of Mauritius. She satarised the perceived quandary Yashika is supposedly embroiled in. As an aside Touria commented on the state of education in the UK where an average student from Mauritius is trampling over most of UK’s finest. LOL
Byt the way, I think the UK is right in expelling Yashika out of the country. Enough is enough. Tax-payers should not be footing the bills for anyone who abuses the system.
But having said I wish Yashika well!
JPJhermes, On Patrol
2 April 2014 Last updated at 22:22
Student Yashika Bageerathi removed from UK as legal bid fails
Yashika Bageerathi’s case sparked a petition which has 175,000 signatures
An A-Level student from north London has been removed from the country and has flown back to Mauritius after a last ditch legal challenge failed.
Earlier a High Court judge refused to grant an injunction to block the removal of Yashika Bageerathi.
The 19-year-old’s lawyers had wanted her to remain in the UK so she could take her case to the Court of Appeal.
Her cause sparked a petition which has 175,000 signatures as well as a protest through London.
The student, who has been in the UK since 2011, left on an Air Mauritius flight which took off from Heathrow Airport at 21:00 BST.
Ms Bageerathi, who was two months away from taking her A-Level exams at Oasis Academy Hadley in Enfield, told the BBC it was unfair to force her to leave.
Speaking from the immigration service van taking her to the airport, the student had said she and her family would be prepared to leave the UK for a “safe place” once she had completed her studies.
She told the BBC’s home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds it was unfair she was being forced to leave the UK.
The Home Office said it had received assurances the student would be able to complete her tuition in Mauritius.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, wrote to the Home Secretary asking her to “urgently reconsider” the “needlessly cruel” decision to deport the student.
Ms Bageerathi’s school principal Lynne Dawes said the student was “petrified”.
Ms Dawes, who said she had spoken to Ms Bageerathi at 14:00 BST, said: “I just cannot believe they would send her back six weeks from her exams.”
Speaking to BBC News, she added: “Why can’t there just be some compassion and humanity to allow her to stay and do those A-Levels?
“I know there are laws but I just cannot get why, in effect, what is a few more months. It wouldn’t hurt anyone over here, but it would make such a massive difference to her life.”
She said there was “no compassion being shown” and that she was “embarrassed to be British”.
Failed asylum bid
Air Mauritius said it had refused to take her last Sunday because all of the administrative and security conditions had not been met. It said as these had now been fulfilled, it had no choice other than to fly her.
It said it regretted “this situation, but as all airline companies cannot but abide by decisions taken by relevant authorities”.
Sowbhagyawatee Bageerathi pleaded for her daughter to be released
On Tuesday, Ms Bageerathi’s mother, Sowbhagyawatee, had asked the Home Affairs Committee to release her.
In the letter to the Home Secretary, Mr Vaz said that neither a senior immigration official nor Immigration Minister James Brokenshire had offered a “compelling reason” why the student should be deported before being allowed to sit her examinations next month.
“It is a hardship enough for this young woman to be separated from her family and returned to Mauritius where she claims she fears persecution,” he wrote.
“To interrupt her education at this late stage in order to do so seems needlessly cruel.
“It is within your gift as Home Secretary to defer Yashika’s deportation and I strongly urge you to do so.”
Ms Bageerathi’s school principal: “I just cannot believe they would send her back six weeks from her exams”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We consider every claim for asylum on its individual merits and in this case the applicant was not considered to be in need of protection.
“The case has gone through the proper legal process and our decision has been supported by the courts on five separate occasions.”
Ms Bageerathi has been held in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire since 19 March.
Her school friends held a protest in Parliament Square on Saturday.
She had come to the UK with her mother and younger brother and sister from Mauritius in 2011 to escape a relative who was physically abusive.
The family claimed asylum last summer. Her mother and siblings also face removal from the UK.
Owing to Ms Bageerathi’s age, her application was considered separately and she was forced to return to Mauritius alone.
Analysis: Yashika Bageerathi and the law
Demonstrators in London’s Parliament Square highlighted the case
Why was Yashika Bageerathi sent back to Mauritius? The Home Office says the case didn’t pass the asylum test.
The law is quite clear that an asylum application must be based on the internationally-agreed criteria of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
That means an applicant needs to show that they need protection from persecution on one of the following grounds:
Race, religion or nationality
Membership of a particular social group that puts them at risk because of the particular situation in the country they are fleeing
This is where the problems started for Yashika Bageerathi. Her – and her family’s – application to stay in the UK related to the fact that they were fleeing an abusive relative. On face value, that doesn’t appear to be covered by that core of refugee law. It was not designed to end all of human misery, wherever it may be found.
But that’s not the whole story – the law is much more nuanced.
It has developed down the years as judges have dealt with specific and complex cases which have forced them to look long and hard at what we mean by asylum and humanitarian protection.
‘Social group’ testSo while each case has to fit into what appear to be basic constraints of asylum law – it all depends on how you interpret those constraints and the UK’s international obligations to care for genuine refugees.
Let’s go back to those core tests. One of them is membership of a particular “social group”.
The courts have said quite clearly that in certain specific scenarios women can constitute a social group that needs protection under refugee law.
In 1999, the Law Lords issued a landmark judgement in favour of two women from Pakistan, called Shah and Islam.
The women had escaped from terribly violent husbands and argued that if they returned to their home country, they would be accused and convicted in a local sharia court of adultery. They could face either public lashing or stoning. Critically, that court’s judgement would give more weight to the claims of their husbands simply because they were men.
The asylum claims were rejected – but the Law Lords said that was wrong.
In other words, in that specific context, domestic violence and abuse against women warranted refugee protection because the state exposed the women to persecution.
There have been many developments down the years to further expand on this concept – but none of them have ever said that anybody can just come to the UK and get protection because they have a horrible relative.
There has to be some kind of connection between the abuse and how their home country functions – or rather how it doesn’t.
Greyer legal areaNow, some cases are in an even greyer area between the letter of the law and the grim realities of a personal situation. This is where a wider and more subjective test comes into play.
The UK is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, the legal agreement between nations which have declared that they will ensure certain minimum standards of treatment towards people living within their borders.
Those minimum standards also include broadly agreeing not to despatch people to horrible fates overseas.
If a woman fleeing domestic abuse cannot find a way to fit into the refugee criteria, this has sometimes proved to be an avenue open to them.
And in practice, lawyers who work in this field have found courts to be sympathetic if the applicant can convince a judge that they face a really awful fate.
Ministerial discretionIn Yashika Bageerathi’s case, judges were not convinced.
There was one final issue in this case: why was the Home Office removing her from the country ahead of her exams?
The Home Office’s guidance states that children who are in school and coming to exams should not face removal at that point – even if they may be sent to their home country in the future. Yashika Bageerathi is not a child – she is 19 years old – so the guidance doesn’t apply.
And that’s why the teenager’s supporters put pressure on ministers. They had the discretion to intervene and stop an immigration removal. It was ultimately their decision.
175,000 signatures and counting, thousands of people up in arms, hundreds on the streets, a headmistress who is either gullible or cynical, two MPs who might benefit by looking up Mauritius on the world map, wannabe-celebrities who have found a great opportunity to achieve their dream and a government which fought hard to resist pressure, the Yashika Bageerathi polemic is a phenomenon which the human mind cannot explain.
Here’s the story which hundreds of thousands of people bought into. The girl ran away from Rapeland and sought protection from the UK authorities as she had been threatened with rape and the rapists-cum-drug addicts were waiting for her at the airport to rape her as soon as she got back. This science fiction scenario takes place – believe it or not – in Mauritius and this is the story which has been unblinkingly strewn all over the place, including the broadsheets.
Worried about the image this cock-and-bull story gave of Mauritius? Relax! It is not that bad, actually, thank you Yashika. We have been portrayed as an island where our rapists are not the beasts they tend to be in other countries. Over there, they pounce on innocent, unsuspecting people, drag them somewhere by force and commit their hideous crime. Here, our rapists are choosy and civilised. They first spotted little Yashika but let her off with a threat of rape. Then they gave her a chance to go and sort out a visa and book a plane ticket to the UK. This kind-hearted gesture must have been highly appreciated by the girl as she reciprocated by giving them a chance too: not a single entry at the police station and not a word to her relatives. I mean one has to have a sense of fair play in all circumstances, you know? Once the girl got away, the rapists started camping at the airport, observing an act of abstinence rapists in other countries could learn from. Their only hope was that the cruel British one day abandon the girl to her fate.
It is perhaps worth mentioning that, because these rapists set up camp at the airport, the government has secretly built another airport. So, while the bad guys are waiting for their prey at the old terminal, women of all ages, shapes and sizes have been safely landing in this country and taking off. So, when Yashika landed back in Rapeland this morning, the dangerous outlaws did not even see her as they were wasting their time at the wrong airport.
175,000 signatures?! I honestly suggest a little course in geopolitics so that the energy of the signatories is diverted towards the thousands of genuine asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, the Congo, the Central African Republic, Syria etc. who would never be able to secure the kind of publicity Yashika is getting because their stories lack the Hollywood ingredients that she offered, sprinkled with a large dose of strong spices: a rather average pupil here, according to those of her teachers who remember her, she was depicted as an exceptionally bright ‘straight As’ pupil who has had a clutch of offers from top universities!
Well, damn it Mauritius, look at the positive side: we now have a brand new airport and our average students are beating the best pupils in the UK to top universities!
In the meantime, please join me in welcoming Yashika back to Rapeland and Shhhh! Don’t let the rapists in on this. Let them continue waiting at the old terminal. Everybody is safe that way.
The above photo shows two British officers on board of HMS Illustrious which was about to set sail into the sunset. The warship which arrived in the Philippines on 25th November 2013 to join in the emergency response to the cataclysmic after-effect of Haiyan to victims from Tacloban and surrounding areas is to depart the Philippines tomorrow, Thursday.
But while in the Philippines, I hope the Brits and other responders enjoyed the sunset at Manila Bay. Best in the world.
Thank you UK, thanks to the people of UK for giving most generously to the victims of Haiyan/Yolanda.
Congratulations and very well done to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Those poor people, ignored!!! Can you imagine watching trucks after trucks passing in convoy knowing they contain food and other relief goods that you sorely need and yet they would just vanish into the horizon, not knowing if they would ever remember or care to stop in your area at all! It is the worst kind of unprovoked punishment. 🙁
It was so wicked in the extreme!
It has been weeks and the Government relief agency has not really gotten its act together.
It was lucky that a couple of journalists deigned to stop and inquire! Otherwise a whole town would have starved to death knowing and thinking that they were marginalised and deemed unimportant that relief agency ignored their obvious pleas!
Holding her two toddlers as she stood on the national highway, vainly trying to catch the attention of the relief convoys going to Tacloban City, Rosalia Ansuas managed to flag down this reporter and his companion in Barangay (village) San Pedro, Santa Rita, Samar province, last Tuesday.
She let the journalists go with the promise that the story of her village would reach the proper authorities in Tacloban City.
Ansuas barely survived with her family when a ferocious storm surge brought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” submerged the entire village of 211 households.
Miraculously, only one villager, Simeon Tonedo, 63, who could not run fast enough, died as San Pedro residents sprinted for higher ground, which was either the nearest hill or the roofs of their houses.
Facing another calamity
They may have survived the storm that killed at least 5,000 people in Eastern Visayas but Ansuas and the families in her village now face yet another calamity— hunger.
Last Tuesday, the Inquirer discovered this small farming community along the national highway near San Juanico Bridge, which connects Tacloban City in Leyte province to the municipality of Sta. Rita in Samar.
From the bridge, Sta. Rita leads to the Samar town of Basey, one of the hardest-hit towns that President Aquino had visited that day.
Ansuas and a few of her neighbors put up messages scrawled on sackcloth asking for food, water and medicines from passing relief convoys but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
After covering the presidential visit, this reporter hitched a ride with another Manila-based television reporter.
Upon seeing the SOS message, the two reporters decided to pull over and chatted with the residents, who had quickly surrounded them.
Ansuas said she had decided to put up the SOS message because they had grown tired of seeing truckloads of relief items coming to and from Tacloban City for a whole week.
Not a single delivery truck or van bothered to stop in Barangay San Pedro.
“I made a poster so that they would take notice of us. Many relief [caravans] just passed by. So I thought of a way to get their attention,”she said.
The SOS message had been up for about a week but not one of the hundreds of 10-wheelers, delivery vans and buses carrying relief items from Luzon, which pass through San Pedro each day, took any notice of it.
At the time, 11 days after the monster typhoon, the villagers said they had not received any relief from the national government and that they were barely subsisting on what little the local government of
Sta. Rita had given them so far: 2 to 3 kilograms of rice, two cans of sardines and one pack of noodles for every household.
With food supplies running dangerously low, parents devised an ingenious way of keeping everyone fed: At least three households would cook and eat together the pot of congee they prepared for their children.
They also said their supply of potable water was running low, as the wells had been contaminated with the seawater that came with the storm surge.
Before leaving, the two reporters promised to relay their situation to the authorities in Tacloban.
Ansuas and her neighbor, Roslyn Panganud, who had also put up her own SOS message, tried to fight off tears as they told this reporter they didn’t know whom to turn to anymore.
“Please help us and our children. You’re our only bridge to [those who can help],”said Paganud.
“Sir, please come back. The people are happy that you stopped,” said one mother.
“Sir, bulig (help), sir,” said an old woman.
Back in Tacloban City, the Inquirer team immediately contacted a staffer of Inquirer president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, who was in Tacloban City to set up an operations center for Tabang Visayas, the relief arm of a group of private corporations, including the Inquirer.
In no time, the Inquirer team was on board two helicopters. The team had an idea of where to go but had no advance party on the ground to scout for a suitable landing site and secure the helicopters from the expected surge of hungry survivors.
The team first went to the municipality of Basey. The two helicopters were mobbed by hungry survivors. Asking the survivors to queue up was next to impossible, forcing the Inquirer team to seek the intervention of barangay captain Arnolfo Marcha and Cpl. Danilo Academia, who just happened to be at the site.
After returning to Tacloban City to get more supplies, the team flew to Sta. Rita, a kilometer away from San Juanico Bridge, where the SOS message scrawled on sackcloth and cardboard could be seen from the air, as were the villagers waving from the ground.
Shock and awe
And when the helicopters did finally land on their damaged rice fields beside the highway, the stunned residents couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
Malou Ada, a former barangay official, later told the Inquirer the villagers didn’t expect that the response would be so quick. The Inquirer team had returned within two hours.
“We haven’t seen one truck pull over and now we are seeing two helicopters full of relief goods descending on us; impossible, impossible!” said a “very happy” Ansuas.