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Yolanda three years after

Filed under: Editorial |

Typhoon Yolanda victims

Traces of devastation three years after the worst nightmare that has befallen on the country can hardly be seen now with the rise of new infrastructures, business opportunities and the influx of so many rehabilitation programs rendered by local and foreign aid agencies.

At the surface, Tacloban, for instance, even looks better now than it was before Yolanda. But deep in the hearts of every survivor, the pain etched by the catastrophe remains inconsolable. It will take a long time for the scars to finally settle. But beyond the destruction due to the natural calamity, these scars will remain a mute witness to government’s neglect, lies, cover-up and politicking especially for those who, three years after, are still lodged in temporary shelters and those thousands who have never benefitted any government aid until today.

The destruction brought about by Yolanda was unbearable enough. But the wanton neglect, corruption and the politization by the government in both the relief and rehabilitation work made it doubly so. The government has received millions of dollars in donation from foreign governments and aid institutions for the victims of typhoon Yolanda. Until now those donations have not all been put to good use. It was good that aid agencies both local and international came to the rescue. These aid agencies projected that in three years rehabilitation work in Yolanda areas would be concluded. Until today rehabilitation is not yet complete and many of these agencies are continuing the rehabilitation work.

Responding to the clamor of typhoon victims and non-government organizations, such as Kusog sang Pumuluyo of Iloilo, the current Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has recently submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte a report on the irregularities in government aid for Yolanda victims. In said report, Taguiwalo indicated that around 200,000 people from Regions 6 and 8 have not received any assistance from the government. She said in a press briefing that “The money has gone to the people but these are cases of irregularities or non-compliance…The exclusion of emergency shelter assistance is widespread.”

During the 3rd year anniversary observance on November 8, 2016, President Duterte was in Tacloban. He promised the Yolanda survivors that their permanent housing will be done by December this year. People are hoping the president will deliver.

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