Bishop: Slow ‘Yolanda’ response appalling

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A victim of Super Typhoon Yolanda joins other survivors in a rally held near Malacañang. The group asked the government to continue providing relief goods to the typhoon victims.
PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

A Catholic bishop on Monday said he was appalled by the government’s slow response to the needs of the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda who remain homeless and without jobs three months after the record cyclone struck.

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Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez said other than the bunkhouses put up by the government and international groups, no clear project has been implemented to help the survivors rebuild their lives, especially in Samar.

Varquez, who frequently visits the victims, noted that the government has not yet provided any livelihood assistance to the Yolanda survivors.

“I have yet to see housing and livelihood projects being set up by government. I don’t know when they would start or if these projects are still in the planning stages,” he said.

On Monday, some Yolanda survivors marched to Malacañang to personally present their demand letter to President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

Sr. Editha Estoper, People Search chairman, said Yolanda survivors want the government to continue its relief operations especially in far-flung areas, stop the no-build zone policy in Tacloban and give P40,000 cash assistance to each affected household.

Under the no-build zone policy, thousands of typhoon survivors in Tacloban City and some areas in Region 8 were not allowed to rebuild their houses 40 meters from the shoreline.

Estoper said the distribution of relief goods in Yolanda-hit areas had been affected by the “cold war” between some local and national officials.

“One hundred days after the super storm, we can feel the slowness of recovery perhaps because of the discord between the local and national governments and politicians in Tacloban,” she lamented.

Urban planner architect Felino Palafox has urged the national government to make a comprehensive study in housing thousands of Yolanda survivors.

Instead of declaring a no-build zone, Palafox said the government should construct a permanent housing with a sturdy basement.

Palafox said people should not be relocated to areas that are far from their source of income.

Caritas Manila executive director Fr. Anton Pascual said the Catholic Church will continue its recovery and rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda-affected areas.

He noted that the Church has already provided P70 million for the recovery and rehabilitation program aside from P100 million for relief operations.

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3 Comments

  1. Perhaps the local churches have more credibility than the LGUs, with due respect.

    So, perhaps the local churches should band together and then work with barangays to develop a plan on how best to generate income from the people’s perspective. It maybe hard to accept and believe, bu the community is the expert when it comes to what needs to be done.

    Salamat po!

  2. What have the local governments did to alleviate the suffering of the “Yolanda” victims? They are the go-between of the local people and the Central government. They only show up when they need the people votes during election. Sad….in addtion, i believe there is MISTRUST in handling out the calamity funds both from the Administration & the Foreign countries to the local due to rampant corruption among these government agencies.