• Cash-for-work program in Tacloban starts

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    President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Sunday said that the government has started its         cash-for-work and food-for-work programs for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

    The President assured the affected residents that the government has enough resources to help them.

    “We have resources, other countries are extending their help, and we as survivors should also work on our own,” he added

    According to Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, the cash-for-work and food-for-work programs are being implemented

    in the city of Tacloban, one of the hardest hit areas.

    “We’ve also started the food-for-work in conjunction with the City of Tacloban, and that means we will be able to clean up a significant

    portion of the astrodome, which is the biggest evacuation center so far,” Soliman said.

    The Department of Social Welfare and Development will continue the program for the rest of the coming days, she added.

    Government workers have also stepped up efforts to retrieve cadavers from various parts of Tacloban City. The Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and Department of Health are working together to have the bodies identified and buried.

    A team of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) led by Chairman Francis Tolentino is working round the clock to clear the roads debris.

    Tolentino, who said that more equipment for the clean-up drive will arrive today from Manila, stressed that “the clearing operations will take two weeks since we have a huge volume of debris to be collected.”

    The MMDA has also identified temporary dumpsites and an impounding area for the debris and damaged vehicles. On the other hand, welders, carpenters, and electricians will replace rescue teams earlier sent by the agency.

    People from various local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila are likewise helping in the clearing operations, Tolentino added.

    Besides Tolentino, Health Secretary Enrique Ona and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla have also flown to Tacloban City to join Roxas and Soliman in directing relief and rehabilitation efforts.

    Meanwhile, China expressed its willingness to extend more humanitarian and medical assistance to the typhoon victims.

    In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Manila said that its government is “paying close attention” to the situation in eastern Visayas, so that it can provide assistance based from the “actual needs” of the typhoon-ravaged areas.

    The Blue Sky Rescue Team affiliated with the Red Cross Society of China and other non-governmental rescue teams “have also expressed their willingness to join disaster relief efforts in the Philippines,” the embassy said.

    “The Chinese side has maintained communications with the Philippine side on the medical assistance, and Chinese doctors and rescuers will set off for the disaster-hit areas immediately once conditions permit,” it added.

    Aside from the Chinese government, several Chinese companies such as the China National Grid and Huawei Co. have already been assisting in the worst-hit areas “to help restore the facilities of power and communications.”

    WITH REPORTS FROM JING VILLAMENTE, RITCHIE A. HORARIO AND BERNICE CAMILLE BAUZON

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