Two years after Yolanda

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LEGACY of neglect. REP. Terry Ridon used these most eloquent and damning words about the failure of the Aquino Administration to do much more than the little it has done to help rebuild the lives of the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which ravaged Leyte and other parts of the Visayas exactly two years ago today (November 8)

Yolanda killed thousands of our fellow Filipinos in the Visayas–up to 15,000 or even more of them, according to expert estimates, including that of the Red Cross. But the government agencies stopped counting the dead at less than 3,000 because an unreasonably and unjustly enraged President B. S. Aquino berated the local and national government officials giving the body counts. That incident further bolstered the image of a quirky Philippine president who hates to hear bad news even if it is his duty to do something about it.

Speaking yesterday, former Budget Secretary and UP Economic Professor Benjamin Diokno and Aaron James Almadro, who lost both his parents at the height of Yolanda’s fury, both claimed that a Commission on Audit (COA) report about unused disaster relief funds displayed government apathy toward the plight of victims.

Epic incompetence and callousness
“Epic incompetence and callousness. The failure to address the needs of disaster victims after two years is unacceptable,” Diokno said.


It is undeniable that thousands rendered homeless by Yolanda two years ago still live in smelly and unsanitary tents and bunkhouses where children as well as adults are exposed to diseases and the risk of contaminating each other. Some of these have no access to potable water.

Congressman Ridon also said, “Any reasonable person will be enraged by the fact that our countrymen in Eastern Visayas suffered hunger in the aftermath of Yolanda, while millions worth of relief goods just spoil in DSWD’s storehouses. While many typhoon victims have yet to recover from the disaster, now we find out that DSWD is withholding even the release of cash donations both from domestic and international sources.”

He asked that those responsible for the relief fiasco be held accountable.

“The only legacy that the Aquino administration is bound to leave to Yolanda victims is the legacy of longstanding neglect. This is the legacy that will continue to haunt Aquino and his chosen heir Mar Roxas in the months to come,” he said.

A few good things
A few good things have happened though. Most of these the work of private sector and civil society groups.

One of these cheerful events is in the Leyte town of Tolosa, which Yolanda nearly totally ravaged and whose fishing industry was laid to waste.

The civil society group Tindog Tolosa (Visayan language for “Rise up, Tolosa”), run by Makati-based professionals was inspired by Pope Francis’ call to help the poor, and the teachings of St. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei. Tindog Tolosa has done wonders in that Leyte town, carrying out three main projects–helping victims construct their new homes not with doles but by providing them volunteer workers (“voluntourists from Metro Manila and abroad) as well as financing that they must however pay for at extremely light rates.

Tindog Tolosa has also arranged for the fishing industry to come back to life by organizing fiberglass-boat donations to Tolosa fishermen.

It has also formed a consumer cooperative for the people of Tolosa through which they could raise funds from profits made from their production so they can pay for reconstruction work and finance new business ventures.

And of course Tindog Tolosa has also paid attention to rebuilding schools and providing books.

This is the kind of aid for disaster victims that manages to raise the social development of victims while helping them to recover.

May there be more civil society groups like Tindog Tolosa.

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10 Comments

  1. Well at the risk of sounding like a broken record !

    There is much to be looked at —

    where the world rushed to the aid -;and companies individuals even school children

    where countries donate huge amounts in food and resources…Still not to see an appreciable difference a after two years.
    ,
    .

    …Does not the world have the right to know where this aid has gone ..?

    We see officials rush to be the ones to have the say as to the distribution of all this aid

    ..Then we see how outraged they get when they are not made the ones in charge ..

    It is a sad fact that here in the Philippines we have a collection of high officials; that see every disaster a bonanza for themselves …

    .They see an opportunity to be able to direct this flow of goosd;money etc–into a more worthy cause —that being themselves and their families …

    It is a sad fact that they are able to do this so easily–It is even sadder that they get away with it –But what is s sad is there is no remorse ..

    They will come out swinging how dare you etc etc –You question our integrity..Attack being the best form of defense ..

    Even in the west we see studies emerging ..showing that in most charities the person who is supposed to be the recipient of money donated –Is lucky to get ten cents in the dollar

    …This is all explained away in costs for administration etc ..

    Sadly the Philippines has a history of corruption …So in the case of Yolanda.

    .If there where an in depth investigation we would no doubt find where most of the resources went …

    But as Einstein said “if we do the same thing-in the same way -and expect different results its a form of madness ”

    I remain yours
    faithfully
    David M Meyer (PhD Psych}

  2. Patawarin sana ang mga kaluluwa ng mga taong responsable sa walang awa tumulong sa mga naapektuhan sa Yolanda.

  3. francoalminolibre on

    in record time, bsaquino was able to remove chief justice corona who started a case without any eidece, but he cannot do anything about his patently wayward friends like abaya. hell, yolanda survivors should not expect help from him much less from his anointed successor in the near future. daang manhid!

  4. The worst President & government we have had in the entire history. This should open the eyes of those supporting Aquino and his minions that the Filipino people deserve better than empty slogans and apathy. I call on our OFWs to zero the Liberal Party and all politicians endorsed by PNoy and that party. May I respectfully endorse Santiago-Marcos for 2016!

    • Maribel A. Calanda on

      These duo are more reliable, compassionate, hardworking and competent leaders of our time. Sure, I will vote for the two of them.

  5. Ok na sana umpisa ng article eh. Pero nung nag-promote na ng “Tindog Tolosa” at pagpapautang nito, biglang nasira! The problem with self-rightious groups is that to help build themselves up, they use the very people they are supposed to serve.

    Like the religious groups who promotes bigotry and sects using donations from gullible donors. Lending donated money from victims of tragedies is the worst tragedy. Ang masama pa, this Bigots sugarcoats their evil ways by using words like “not liking dole outs” as if people in their target areas are suckers and don’t know what to do with their lives should they have the money they need.

    This is also exactly what the government is doing lending from SSS, and Pag-Ibig funds, the life and death needs of a desperate people, and then preaching its politics.

    In the private sector case, it’s the company’s promotion. For the NGO’s, its “relevance” and organizational sustainability. Like the ABS-CBN Foundation and similar media institution. They received donations from concern donors only to promote themselves for the ratings, and profits from advertisement, using victims and their daily ordeals or sufferings as instruments.

    What is more appalling is they lend donated money from people expecting these donations to reach its intended beneficiaries in the quickest possible time because it is an emergency situation. Slicing donated funds for the upkeep of their “volunteers”, and financially sustaining the bureaucracy of their Foundation in the process. Kumita na yung ABS-CBN ng mga Lopezes, ang popogi pa nila! And this goes with the GMA7 Foundation of the Gozons, Duavit et al, and Manny Pangilinan’s TV5, and government stations with their owned politically determined “NGOs”. No woder despite the massive international and local outpouring of support from victims of Yolanda and other calamities, napipinsala pa at nangangamatay pa rin sa trahedya ang ating mga kababayan! Ang daming kumikita sa trahedya, even some international donors of various kinds! God save our people from evil!

  6. May God have mercy on us Filipinos. May He give us more people like those in the Tindog Tolosa group. And may he smite down the bad people–like the lazy, self-indulgent and corrupt hypocrites in the BS Aquino government.

  7. Ang sabi nga ni Mar Rexas “remember you are Romualdes (Marcos) and the president is Abnoy” kaya yung Leyte pinabayaan ng gobyerno Aquino. Ano ang kinalalaman ng Leytenos sa Aquino and Romualdes. Itong si Mar Rexas TAKLESA. Ito ba ang magiging presidente natin . Katulad ng Amo nya na BENGADOR.

  8. Without the NGU’s both domestic and abroad helping all Yolanda victims, more would have perished not because of the calamity but because of government neglect. Yes, the government concerns must be held accountable after this miserable administration is done, namely, PNoy, Abad, Dinky and Boy driver Mar.