Eastern Samar. The ICRC and PRC’s rebuilding efforts,
particularly the construction of shelters, are moving at a fast
pace. As of 22 August 2014, more than 2,300 houses have been
built out of the targeted 4,500 houses in Samar island.
stresses need to resolve plight of Zamboanga displaced
August 27, 2014
MANILA – Peter
Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
concluded his first official visit to the Philippines today. During
his three-day stay, Mr. Maurer met with the Philippine president,
Benigno Simeon Aquino III, and other high-level officials to discuss
the humanitarian situation in the country, notably the challenges
faced by the thousands of people who remain displaced in Zamboanga
Mr. Maurer also visited
Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors on Samar Island in the Visayas
region, and assessed rebuilding efforts supported by the ICRC and the
Philippine Red Cross.
"I left Samar impressed by
the resilience of the people I met there. In the hardest-hit areas,
some survivors still need help to rebuild their homes and incomes," he
said. "During my meetings with government officials in Manila, I
reiterated the need for a durable solution for displaced people in
Zamboanga, who are still living in difficult conditions nearly a year
after the fighting came to an end in the city. I also underlined the
ICRC’s commitment to help communities in different parts of the
country to recover and rebuild amid long-standing cycles of violence
In the meetings, the ICRC
president also discussed an initiative launched with the national
authorities in 2007 to tackle overcrowding and improve health
conditions in prisons. With overcrowding still a serious issue in many
facilities, Mr. Maurer pledged ongoing ICRC support and urged
officials to continue their efforts.
"The relationship we have
built up with the authorities in the Philippines is very constructive
and allows for frank exchange on the issues that matter, which is
essential to our work," he said. "I am also convinced that the ICRC’s
strong operational partnership with the Philippine Red Cross will
continue to be indispensable to our efforts to respond promptly and
efficiently to disasters, whether man-made or natural."
The ICRC provides a wide
variety of humanitarian services in the Philippines, aiming for
example to improve people's access to water, their livelihoods, and
the health care available to them. In addition, ICRC delegates visit
detainees across the country, particularly those held in connection
with hostilities between the government and armed groups. The
organization has carried out humanitarian activities in the
Philippines since the Second World War and has had a permanent
presence in the country since 1982.
Eiffel tower hosts
global fashion phenomenon
Jessica Minh Anh to
transform the symbol of the fashion capital into a catwalk
August 25, 2014
Global fashion sensation
Jessica Minh Anh is set to amaze the world yet again with the first
ever fashion phenomenon atop the world famous Eiffel Tower on 31
October 2014. With a vision that goes beyond imagination, the model
and entrepreneur will transform the first floor of the famous
architectural wonder into a 150 metre long outdoor catwalk. Covering
the panoramic view of the fashion capital, the highly anticipated J
Autumn Fashion Show will present the most innovative collections from
five continents and mark Jessica’s eighth history making catwalk
around the world.
Visually pushing the
envelope, Jessica Minh Anh has designed a multi-level catwalk, which
will cover various angles of the symbolic tower and present Paris at
its best. Over 150 haute couture and dynamic designs will be
beautifully displayed and creatively captured using advanced filming
techniques. Similar to Jessica’s previous iconic catwalks on London’s
Tower Bridge, Grand Canyon Skywalk, and One World Trade Center, the
high profile event will be a combination of art, culture,
architecture, and fashion.
Jessica Minh Anh will reveal
the list of participating designers from England, France, Italy,
India, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Bahrain, Vietnam, South Africa, Japan,
and the USA in September after the official pre-show photo shoot on
the Eiffel Tower. The young director of J Model Management has
previously worked with sought after designers such as British fashion
leader Paul Costelloe, Japanese haute couture designer Yumi Katsura,
Dutch celebrity designer Addy van den Krommnacker, and Taiwanese
powerhouse Shiatzy Chen among many others.
J Autumn Fashion Show 2014
will welcome the most influential faces in various industries from
ambassadors and members of government, to business and fashion
leaders, as well as national and international press. The exclusive
guests will enjoy the historic moment in style thanks to a uniquely
designed VIP seating area.
Considering Jessica Minh
Anh’s excellent track record of globally acclaimed catwalks, it is no
surprise that the Eiffel Tower’s management has chosen her to host the
first fashion phenomenon. “I am truly honoured to be entrusted with
such a magnificent location. The Eiffel Tower represents the magic of
lights and inspires dreams. I cannot wait to turn those dreams into
reality” said Jessica. This principle seems to be consistently
reflected in Jessica Minh Anh’s many international catwalks as she
continues to achieve the impossible. Besides America’s most iconic
catwalk atop One World Trade Center and the world’s highest fashion
show on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, Jessica Minh Anh hosted fashion
phenomena on London’s Tower Bridge, PETRONAS Twin Towers’ Skybridge,
Singapore Gardens by the Bay’s Skyway, Costa Atlantica’s sundeck in
Dubai and the Seine in Paris.
The official pre-show
fashion spread and promotional video will be produced on 8 September
2014 on the Eiffel Tower. For more information about the show, please
visit www.jmodelmanagement.co.uk and www.facebook.com/jmodelmanagement.
A VILLAGE. (From left) HWA Project Manager Sussane Chylik, Maño
Brgy. Captain Eleazar Mahinay, Honorary Consul to Austria Julie
Vergara, HWA Managing Director Heide Burkhart, RAFI Integrated
Development Unit Executive Director Margaret Ann Gravador, and
San Remigio Mayor Mariano Martinez formally kickstarted work on
the relocation site in Barangay Maño, San Remigio through a
groundbreaking ceremony held last June 2. The project will
provide permanent homes to 300 families affected by the enforced
"no build zone" in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
RAFI, Austrian org
begin work on Yolanda village
By Ramon Aboitiz
August 21, 2014
CEBU CITY – Some 100
families who were survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda will start
helping build their homes at a relocation site in Barangay Maño
provided by Hilfswerk Austria International (HWA), Ramon Aboitiz
Foundation Inc. (RAFI), and the local government of San Remigio, Cebu
They will form the first
batch of the 300 families identified as beneficiaries of the
relocation program conceptualized following the November 8 super
typhoon, which heavily damaged northern Cebu towns, including San
Village,” a pilot project of HWA in the country, is to be completed in
December 2015, with the first 100 families expected to start living in
the 2.9-hectare site in December this year. “At the end of August, we
should know the first batch of families moving into their new houses,
and also integrate them in the process of construction in September or
October,” HWA Project Manager Sussane Chylik said.
“The site development is
advancing fast despite the rocky soil. It is nearly finished for the
first 100 houses, as well as the staking of the lots, which were
enlarged to about 56 square meters per lot,” she added.
HWA is one of Austria's
leading organizations for development cooperation and humanitarian
aid. It is guided by the principles of sustainable development and
universal human rights. Through its projects and programs, it aims to
improve the lives and perspectives of beneficiaries.
“We are happy to work
together with these two committed partners (RAFI and San Remigio town)
for the benefit of the typhoon-hit families. Forming local
partnerships is crucial for the sustainability and the beneficiaries’
approval of development assistance. Thus, HWA always tries to form
close bonds with established organizations and to integrate our
projects in already existing and functioning networks,” Chylik said.
Last March 27, RAFI, HWA,
and the local government of San Remigio signed a Memorandum of
Agreement for the construction of permanent homes for 300 families
affected by the “no-build zone” strictly imposed in the aftermath of
Less than three months
later, construction of the relocation site formally started with a
groundbreaking ceremony on June 2, which was attended by Honorary
Consul to Austria Julie Vergara, San Remigio Mayor Mariano Martinez,
HWA Managing Director Heide Burkhart, and RAFI Integrated Development
Unit Executive Director Margaret Ann Gravador.
The town, among other
responsibilities stipulated in the agreement, provided the location
for the houses. It will also provide professional training to 100 of
the beneficiaries and offer them jobs at the construction site.
The town will also provide
the heavy equipment and the plans in the construction of the houses
and the development of infrastructure.
RAFI, for its part, acts as
facilitator and evaluator of the program by monitoring the
implementation, profiling the beneficiaries, and gathering baseline
data. Aside from providing the funds for the construction of the
houses, HWA will also provide technical supervision during the
construction of houses, including the assignment of an overall project
Once the first 100 families
have been selected and informed, RAFI will closely work with them so
they can take part in the construction of their homes. This way, the
families will also develop early on a sense of ownership of their new
homes. “This kind of ‘sweat equity’ is an important contribution by
the beneficiaries to the project as they will feel responsible for
their community and give a helping hand to the activities on site,”
This will also give an
opportunity for HWA and RAFI to get to know the beneficiaries better
to identify future leaders who can lead the new community.
To ensure sustainability,
the design and construction of the permanent houses use the solid
Interlocking Compressed Earth Block (ICEB) bricks pioneered by the
University of San Carlos and RAFI, instead of non-durable materials
like plywood. A roofed production site for the ICEB production has
also been constructed on site to shield the beneficiaries from the
elements while making the blocks.
“Our intention is to reduce
the beneficiaries’ vulnerability against future disasters,” Chylik
The beneficiaries are chosen
based on the following criteria:
• The house has been
completely destroyed by the typhoon and is uninhabitable.
• The family does not
receive adequate assistance for house repair/reconstruction.
• Current residence is
within the “no build zone.”
• The family does not own
the house they are currently living in.
• The family is willing to
• The household is headed by
• The family is taking care
of an elderly (aged 60 or above).
• The family is taking care
of people with disabilities (PWDs).
• The beneficiary is
endorsed by the LGU.
Chylik said that the
beneficiaries will also receive livelihood workshops and training “to
avoid dependence upon external aid.” “It is not just relocating them
but also leaving something behind for them (after we go)," added Ma.
Elena Carnacer, RAFI’s coordinator for the relocation project.
Groups vow to fight
Aquino’s bid for cha-cha and term extension to secure himself and his
pork barrel beyond 2016
By Bukluran ng Manggagawang
August 20, 2014
QUEZON CITY – Citing
President Noynoy Aquino’s innuendoes towards Cha-Cha and term
extension, and his declaration of intent to clip the powers of the
judiciary after the Supreme Court declared his Disbursement
Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional, progressive groups say
this clearly reveals Aquino’s dictatorial tendencies.
In a press conference held
in Quezon City, the groups Sanlakas, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino
(BMP), Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) and allied peoples organizations
vowed to take to the streets and mobilize to fight President Noynoy
Aquino schemes to change the Charter in order to extend his term in
office to secure himself in the face of recent Disbursement
Acceleration program (DAP) controversy.
“If a sitting President
flouts the Constitutional tenets on checks and balance by flagrantly
attacking the judiciary, flaunts his control over the legislative
branch, and pits this against the judiciary as well, does this not
endanger the very delicate balance of power of existing constitutional
democracy?” argued Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, national Secretary-General of
Pedrosa said that Aquino’s
recent moves against the judiciary, and calls for cha-cha and term
extension reminds us of how President Ferdinand Marcos, who in 1972
was on his last year of his Constitutionally-mandated second term made
similar innuendoes for term extension during the Constitutional
Convention to amend the 1935 Constitution. “We all know what happened
in September of 1972, Marcos usurped absolute power when he declared
martial law and ruled as a dictator for the next 13 years”.
For his part, Leody de
Guzman of BMP asserted that, “the bottom line of recent political
tumult since parts of the DAP were declared unconstitutional by the SC
is Aquino’s intent to protect himself and his partymates from the
consequence of such a resolution, and to secure himself and his party
of continued control over power beyond 2016.
The groups also decried the
refusal of Congress to recognize an impeachment complaint they filed
earlier against President Aquino on the grounds of “culpable violation
of the constitution” and “betrayal of trust”.
Sonny Melencio of Partido
Lakas ng Masa said, “Despite the general belief that impeachment in
our political system is a numbers game, and that all impeachment
complaints that are now filed and being deliberated in the House
Committee on Justice are expected to be thrown out because of Noynoy’s
and the ruling party coalition’s control over the very large majority
of the House of Representative, it is still important and significant
that we and all the groups who have done so, take a stand and file for
impeachment of President Aquino, in the effort to expose the hypocrisy
of this administration’s campaign against corruption, and the nature
of their TRAPO rule.”
Melencio added, “the fact
that we have a House of Representative that will do the behest of the
Executive in order to preserve the pork barrel system and to protect
their hold on power merely reveals the reality that what we have is a
Congress of TRAPOs and elite politicians, not a Congress truly
representative of the people, the large majority that is the toiling
The groups called on the
public “not to rely and put their lives and welfare in the hands of
the Congress of TRAPOs, but to secure the people’s welfare and
interest by setting up a People’s Congress that is representative of
the large majority, that is of the toiling masses.”
At their press conference,
the groups announced that on August 25, they will launch a
nationally-coordinated protest actions in major urban centers such as
Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Cebu City, Bacolod City, and Tacloban
City in the Visayas, Davao and Ozamis City in Mindanao.
In Metro Manila, they will
march to Mendiola in the morning to raise their call, and in the
afternoon they will join with various forces gathering in Luneta
against the Pork Barrel System.
Thereafter they vowed to
hold a series of protests in all urban centers nationwide in the
coming weeks. The activists say that these mass actions shall serve as
venues and spaces for ordinary folks to link arms and resist and fight
the Aquino government’s track of preserving their pork barrel, Cha-Cha
and Aquino’s term extension.
Once again, Chiz
By Office of Senator Chiz
August 19, 2014
PASAY CITY – Senator
Chiz Escudero once again expressed his opposition to amend the 1987
Constitution, particularly the plan to lift the six-year term that
would give President Benigno Aquino III or any sitting president a
At a media forum today,
Escudero assured the public that he will not support any move in the
Senate that will change any provision in the Charter – a position he
has maintained since he assumed public office.
“Hindi ko papahintulutang
mangyari o maganap lalo na kung ang partikular na usapan ay term
extension o pag-aalis ng term limit,” Escudero said.
According to Escudero, any
talk of Charter change (Cha-cha) in order to pursue term extension
should have been addressed from start of an administration in order to
“Matagal ko nang posisyon
yan, na ang Cha-cha ay dapat ginagawa yan sa simula ng termino ng sino
mang pangulo para walang alinlangan, walang duda na ito’y para sa
kapakanan ng lahat, ng pangkalahatan, at hindi lamang ng iilang
pulitiko,” he said.
While Escudero believes that
Cha-cha would not happen any time soon, he also emphasized that he
will fight any move to amend the Constitution in order to weaken the
“Hindi rin po ako sang-ayon
doon dahil kung titingnan natin ang kasaysayan, pinalakas talaga ang
Korte Suprema ng Saligang Batas bugso ng naging karanasan natin sa
dating administrasyon ni Pangulong Marcos kung saan naging napakalakas,
naging napakamapang-abuso ng pangulo.”
“Kung papahinain natin ang
Korte Suprema, baka pag dumating ho iyong panahon na may mapang-abuso
tayong pangulo – at hindi yun si Pangulong Aquino – e wala na ho
tayong Korte Supremang matatakbuhan,” he added.
When asked why there was a
lot of chatter about extending Aquino’s term which is ending in 2016,
Escudero said it could be a “trial balloon” or an attempt to deflect
criticisms portraying the Chief Executive as a “lame duck” President.
“Sa tingin ko ang rason at
dahilan sa likod niyan ay para huwag muna siyang balewalain, para
hindi muna siya maituring na lame duck dahil at least hindi man totoo,
ay may usapan sa pagpapalawig ng termino,” he explained.
Knowing the President,
Escudero said, he is already counting the days to leaving Malacañang
and live a simple and normal life like everybody else.
“The President and his
family have already given their share and more to the country. He
deserves to get his own life back, and I think he is looking forward
to that day to come in 2016.”
8 ARB organizations
receive tools from FAO
By JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
August 18, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY – Eight
agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) from five Samar and
Leyte towns received farm tools from the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) on separate occasions since July 31 up to August 4
as part of the rehabilitation process in typhoon “Yolanda” affected
A total of 188 sets of farm
tools comprised of a shovel, a bolo and a hoe were distributed by
Fidel Rodriguez, FAO Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, to the
Caticugan Farmers Association, San Juan Farmers and Fishermen
Association and the Pagsulhugon Irrigators Association, all within the
San Juanico agrarian reform community (ARC) in the municipality of
Sta. Rita in the morning of July 31, and the Legaspi Farmers and
Fishermen Association and the Kauswagan han Canyoyo Consumers
Cooperative, both within the Marabut ARC in Marabut town in the
afternoon of the same day.
On August 1 he handed the
tools to the Tulusahay Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Julita,
Leyte; while on August 4 Rodriguez distributed the same to the St.
Benedict Association for Sustainable Farming and the Jaro Agrarian
Reform Cooperative of Tunga and Jaro, Leyte, respectively.
Sixty-eight sets of tools
were distributed in Sta. Rita, 33 sets were distributed to the two
ARBOs in Marabut, 12 sets were distributed in Julita, while 75 sets
were distributed to the Tunga ang Jaro ARBOs.
FAO, according to Rodriguez,
tied up with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to prioritize the
ARBOs because the latter are more organized and active compared to
other farmer organizations.
He emphasized that each set
of tools is given to a group of five members who are going to share
these farm inputs donated by the governments of Ireland and Belgium
thru the United Nations.
Rodriguez was assisted by
Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officers (MARPOs) Brenda Boller,
Chito de la Torre and Norman Diaz during the distribution in Sta.
Rita, Marabut and in the Leyte Municipalities, respectively.
Benderito Dacuno, 62,
chairman of the Legaspi Farmers and Fishermen Association in thanking
the donors said that these are what they need now because all their
tools were swept away by “Yolanda”. At the moment, they are just
borrowing tools from other villages, he added.
Earlier, FAO also
distributed 2,486 bags (40 kilogram per bag) of certified rice seeds
and equal number of urea (50 kilogram per bag) to rice farmers.
Meanwhile, Regional Director
Sheila Enciso explained that FAO is among the foreign and local
organizations who responded to DAR’s call to assist the agency in the
rehabilitation of the ARCs particularly those in Leyte, Samar and
Eastern Samar’s hardest hit areas.