Ned Olney, Save the Children Philippines Country Director, said: “This
study proves that undernutrition has a cost to all of us. In just a
year, Philippines has lost almost 3 percent of its GDP in terms of
education and productivity costs due to stunting. If we add up health
costs, the likely impact would be an additional 0.05 - 1.6 percent.”
The report shows that stunting is the best predictor of productivity
and income, and that undernutrition is linked to lower human capital.
Children who are stunted in the first two years of life are more
likely to repeat grade levels, drop out of school, delay school entry
and have lower income levels when they enter the workforce.
Olney added: “If stunting rates continue to rise, it would be
difficult for families to break free from poverty. It is the poor and
neglected sectors of society that carry the burden of stunting. Any
investment in reducing childhood undernutrition will reduce suffering
and poverty, and will ultimately stimulate economic growth for all
The report found, however,
that Philippines’ investment in nutrition programs is very low at only
0.52 percent of general government expenditures compared to the global
average allocation of 2.1 percent. Citing the report findings, Save
the Children highlighted the need to invest in nutrition programs
during the child’s first 1000 days, from pregnancy up to the second
birthday, which is considered a critical period of care to avert
Olney said: “Nutrition is
the cornerstone of all development efforts. This new report tells us
that for every US$1 spent on programs to avert stunting in children
below 2 years old, the Philippines could save over 100 US dollars in
health, education, and lost productivity costs.”
“It should outrage us that
95 children will die every day because of malnutrition.”
Save the Children is raising
the alarm on the nutrition crisis, and is calling the national and
local government, private sector and the donors to end the appalling
state of malnutrition in the Philippines:
• Support the “First 1000
Days Bill” to enhance the delivery of quality nutrition interventions
in the first 1000 days of a child’s life to prevent stunting among
• Push and sustain equitable
nutrition policies and programs and ensure budgetary allocations that
address the immediate, underlying and basic causes of malnutrition.
• Ensure security of tenure
and sustained training of the community front-liners e.g. such as
barangay health workers and nutrition officers and scholars. Health
and nutrition workers are highly politicized, lack incentives and
support for trainings, have no security of tenure.
• National and local
governments provide clear and separate budget for nutrition-specific
interventions to avoid confusion between health and nutrition budgets.
• Intensify health and
nutrition-related training, research and extension support activities
to support the First 1000 Days Program through the Barangay Integrated
Development Approach for Nutrition Improvement (BIDANI) Network
Program of the Rural Poor and other relevant approaches, thereby
strengthening delivery systems in partnership with the LGUs.
• Scale up cost-effective
and affordable high-impact nutrition interventions to prevent
undernutrition that cripples the country, such as promotion of
exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, vitamin A and iron
supplementation, treatment of acute malnutrition and maternal
• Strengthen enforcement of
the Milk Code (Executive Order Number 51), and the Expanded
Breastfeeding Promotion Act (Republic Act Number 10028) to protect,
promote, and support optimal infant and young child feeding, both in
private and public facilities and spaces.
• We call for the strict and
sustained implementation of nutrition-specific interventions,
including infant and young child feeding (IYCF), micronutrient
supplementation and the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM),
which is now required to be implemented nationwide.
• Revise conditionalities
under the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to
include mandatory breastfeeding and education sessions on infant and
young child feeding.
• Align health and nutrition
programs to the priorities and directions of the Philippine Plan of
Action for Nutrition and the Strategy for Women, Infant, and Young
• Increase the focus on
water, hygiene and sanitation interventions for children by targeting
child-related behaviors and risk factors, such as safe disposal of
human waste, complementary food hygiene and handwashing and
intensifying promotion of Philippine Approach to Total Sanitation (PhATS)
program to reinvigorate our country’s progress towards the national
goals of eliminating open defecation.
Children of War
June 24, 2016
QUEZON CITY – They
are children of war, victims of a war their innocent minds cannot
comprehend. But they know injustice has been to done their parents who
did nothing wrong by helping the farmers, the workers, the poor.
Even adults cannot
comprehend why launching a fight against the causes of poverty and
unrest is a crime. And why one should be jailed for one's political
Angel Lorenzo, 8 years old,
studies at the Children of God Learning Academy; a child seemingly
forsaken by man's folly.
She remembers when the bad
guys came along, took her mother and left her with her one year old
sister and their “yaya” to complete strangers. How she cried and cried
together with her sister. Their “yaya”, terrified and confused, would
not know how to console them. They cried and cried until their
grandmother arrived to take them.
That day, July 20, 2015,
Joyce Latayan, 39, Angel's mother, has just arrived home after picking
her up from school. She noticed two men in civilian clothes inside
their compound. Then she saw other plain- clothes men went up the
second floor of their house. They later came down with bags and a box
of weapons, items which do not belong to Angel's family. They
identified themselves as members of the Criminal and Investigation
Detection Group (CIDG).
The men whisked Joyce away
on the basis of a highly questionable and faulty search warrant issued
from the Cabanatuan City Regional Trial Court and the box of weapons
they were carrying. She was charged with trumped up cases of illegal
possession of firearms and explosives, which were later dismissed by
the Prosecutor's Office in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan where they
At about the same time,
Angelika's father, Ernesto Lorenzo, 59, was nabbed at the IT Center in
Gilmore, Quezon City, by joint elements of the CIDG and members of the
military intelligence group.
Lorenzo is a peace
consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines with
JASIG ID No. ND978229 under the assumed name of "Lean Martinez".
Lorenzo's arrest was based on a warrant for destructive arson filed in
2010 in Lucena City. He was among the activists and leaders of
people's organizations in Southern Tagalog falsely charged with
criminal offenses by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Inter-Agency
Legal Action Group (IALAG). In 2007, UN Special Rapporteur on
extrajudicial killings Prof. Philip Alston had strongly recommended
abolition of the IALAG and a stop to the practice of filing fabricated
charges against activists.
Lorenzo was a youth leader
of the Methodist Youth Fellowship and had been a long time pastor of
the United Methodist Church after his studies. Later he engaged in
organizing work in the peasant communities and in socio-economic and
development work among urban poor and workers. He is currently
detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s Special
Intensive Care Area (BJMP-SICA) at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
mabuti. (Be good, study well)." This is Kennedy Bangibang's perennial
advice to his only son, Diwin Jude Kenn Monte Bangibang, 8 years old,
whenever he visits him in the confines of the Bureau of Jail
Management and Penology in Tabuk, Kalinga, Cordillera.
A full-blooded Igorot who
hails from a remote village in Cordillera, Kennedy was witness to the
plunder of foreign corporations on their ancestral land and natural
As a student activist in
1987, he had immersed with the peasant masses. He later became a
full-time activist and revolutionary leader. He was illegally arrested
on February 23, 1913 [sic] by elements of the RIU-14 of the Philippine
National Police-Intelligence Group while on board a bus at a PNP
checkpoint in Bangao Proper, Buguias, Benguet. Kennedy is a consultant
of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on Cordillera
Affairs. His arrest is a blow to the national minorities as their
concern is among the issues to be tackled in the next agenda of the
peace talks – the drafting of a Comprehensive Agreement on
Socio-Economic Reform (CASER).
Victim of a justice system
that grinds exceedingly slow, Kennedy has been languishing in jail for
the past three years and his case being transferred from one court to
another, from Kalinga to Baguio.
While Angel would bubbly
narrate the happy moments with his father as they frolic on the beach
of Pangasinan, where he used to work, Diwin would just matter-of-fact
share memories of his Papa and Mama – the walks in the parks, the
visits to the malls and the one time they went swimming in the
underground river of Palawan.
Diwin's Mama, Recca Noelle Monte, was a New People's Army (NPA)
fighter, who was killed during a military operation of the 41st
Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army on
September 4 and 5, 2014 at Guinginabang, Lacub, Abra. She was unarmed
and bore no gunshot wound indicating from the looks of her remains
that she was tortured while held captive, a clear violation of the
International Humanitarian Law.
Diwin could tell the state of his Mama's remains without batting an
eyelid – the traumatic injuries, crushed skull, unidentifiable face,
broken leg bones. Asked if he actually saw this, he said only from the
picture. The handsome, smooth pinkish face of the boy showed no
emotion, but admitted he is sad and lonely.
Angel was loquacious and confident as she told her stories. Her mother
said she regained her composure with the psycho-social counselling she
underwent after the trauma from her experience.
Asked about her father's work, Angel quipped, "Natulong sa farmers at
workers (helps farmers and workers)". Diwin has a similar impression
of his parents work, "they were helping the farmers and the poor."
What do the children of war aspire to be when they grow up? Angel said
she will be a heart surgeon to help the sick. Meanwhile, Diwin wants
to be a lawyer, "so I could defend Papa and Mama. I could free Papa
and give them justice."
climate action on 10th year of “An Inconvenient Truth”
By Climate Reality Project
May 24, 2016
CEBU CITY –
Commemorating the 10th anniversary of Academy award-winning film “An
Inconvenient Truth”, environment groups and climate vulnerable
communities gathered in Cebu to call for the cancellation of approved
coal-fired power plants proposals and just transition to renewable and
cleaner energy source.
The Climate Reality Project
Philippines in cooperation with the Office of Senator Loren Legarda,
Dakila, Greenpeace, Pusyon Kinaiyahan, Foundation for the Philippine
Environment and the University of San Jose de Recoletos organized an
exclusive screening of An Inconvenient Truth and a multi-sectoral
dialogue with students, the religious, and representatives from
coal-fired power plant-affected communities in cities of Naga, Toledo
and Cebu especially that of barangays Sawang Calero and Pasil.
When former Vice President
Al Gore and Participant Media released An Inconvenient Truth in 2006,
the effect was immediate and profound: people everywhere began talking
about the climate crisis – to their friends, their family, and
everyone in their lives – sparking a new kind of movement with
millions demanding action all across the planet.
For so many of us, An
Inconvenient Truth was a wakeup call. It was the moment we understood
the reality of the climate crisis devastating our planet – and it was
the moment we knew we personally had to do something. May 24 marks the
10-year anniversary of the film's release, and we want to acknowledge
and thank you for the critical role you've played in making it a
In 2006, An Inconvenient
Truth inspired millions around the world to speak up about the climate
crisis. Since then, we’ve made progress on many fronts. Just last
December, 195 countries created the historic Paris Agreement to cut
global warming pollution and accelerate the shift to clean energy.
This was a turning point but there’s still tremendous work ahead.
This is the challenge of our
time. Our work to solve the climate crisis could not be more urgent or
important. But today momentum is with us, and together we can solve
Quotes from key speakers:
Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and
former US Vice President; and Chairperson of The Climate Reality
Project (Video Message) -
When we released the “An
Inconvenient Truth” in 2006, I knew we had an important message to
share. But what I couldn’t have known was that the countless people
like you would hear that message and begin talking about the urgency
of the climate crisis in persuasive ways – to their friends, their
families, and their communities – and then, together, we would spark a
new kind of movement with millions of people calling for climate
action around the world.
So as we take a moment to
celebrate the 10-year anniversary of An Inconvenient Truth, I just
wanted to say “Thank You”. Thank you for finding the moral courage to
stand up, even when it wasn’t easy, for taking action to protect our
only home, and thank you for making a difference. We’ve made a lot of
progress together. Just think, last year, 195 nations reach the
historic Paris Agreement to cut global warming pollution and
accelerate the shift to clean energy, a true turning point, but
there’s still tremendous work ahead. And that’s why I’ll be working
with the Climate Reality Project to ensure that countries not only
stick to their commitments but make those commitments even stronger in
the years ahead. And I’m counting on you to continue helping to meet
that challenge, the challenge of our time.
Our work to solve the
climate crisis couldn’t possibly be more urgent or important. But now
the momentum is on our side. I know we can solve the climate crisis.
And I know that thanks to you we will.
Senator Loren Legarda,
Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change (Keynote
A lot has changed since that
year when An Inconvenient Truth was launched, especially on how we
perceive the climate change phenomenon. People now have a better
understanding of the climate crisis and how it is linked to our
survival. An Inconvenient Truth continues to ignite climate action.
As a developing nation, it
is understandable that the Philippines needs more power, but it cannot
be “we need power at all costs and we will develop at all costs.”
They say that coal is cheap.
I say, coal is not cheap. Coal affects our health, kills biodiversity
and the environment, affects our waters and pollutes the air we
We are a country rich in
renewable energy – the amount of sun and wind is more than enough to
power our entire country many times over.
There is no reason to
hesitate or delay action on a challenge so compelling, on a threat to
humanity so clear and present. For every second that ticks away is but
a second closer to the next calamity. We must lead the way towards
meaningful change for our children and grandchildren, for all of
humanity, for all species in the world, and for Mother Earth.
Rodne Galicha, Country
Manager of the Climate Reality Project Philippines –
Looking back at the
challenges of the film, we were reminded that our planet has all the
means to make our lives convenient through sustainable utilization of
resources within the carrying capacity nature. However, due to our
excessive search for convenience, the long-term result becomes more
inconvenient for our own species to thrive and others are in danger of
extinction. Solving this biggest crisis the world is facing needs
every individual’s commitment and collective action to shift to a
cleaner and livable future.
The Climate Reality Project
in the Philippines will continue to work with communities and partners
to collectively regain the power of the people to define the future
they want for their children's children and the planet.
Screening the film in Cebu
City after the communities’ triumph against the proposed coal-fired
power plant in Barangay Sawang Calero is both a celebration and a way
to collectively reflect on why we do what we can to combat climate
Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem,
Co-Convener of Pusyon Kinaiyahan –
Since 2006, Al Gore’s
Inconvenient Truth still echoes our planet’s cry. The most vulnerable
communities especially the poor call for justice. We are all impelled
to take drastic action to bring back balance and harmony upon all of
creation. Indeed, the cry of the earth is the cry of the poor. This is
a moral and spiritual issue, the integrity of creation.
Gideon Lasco, Environment
Champion for the Climate Reality Project Philippines –
It remains inconvenient to
live up to the implications of climate change partly because for every
inconvenient truth, there is a convenient falsehood. Today, we hear
politicians talk about “clean coal”, as if the word “clean” before
coal can exorcise the havoc coal and other fossil fuels have wrought
upon our planet (coal plants alone account for 1/3 of global carbon
emissions). Today, we hear people talk about “responsible mining”,
which, while it may indeed be a possibility in the future, detracts
from the fact that mining has been responsible for the environmental
degradation in many areas - from Semirara to Surigao.
But perhaps the most
convenient falsehood of all is the idea that we are too insignificant
to make a difference. Indeed, if there is something we can draw
inspiration from in the past ten years, it is the fact that no effort
is too small not to count in our fight to save the planet.
Reuben Muni, Climate and
Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace –
The film "An Inconvenient
Truth" tells us this truth: there is no such thing as an insignificant
act when it comes to solving the climate crisis. 10 years after Al
Gore released his film in May 2006, this wisdom still remains. Every
battle against coal is therefore a significant battle for the planet.
Cebu is one of the most important battles for climate change in the
Philippines. It is not just the country that is watching but the whole
world. Unfortunately, what happens in Cebu does not stay in Cebu. If
we allow another coal plant to be built in Cebu, then we are sending
signals to the rest of the country that it is okay to build more
Hence, Cebu is one of the
iconic fights against coal of our generation. We owe it to the next
generation to ensure that there are no more coal plants that will be
built in Cebu. This year, the people of Cebu City rejected a proposed
coal plant right in the heart of the city. And this year, we declare
that Cebu will break free from coal and other forms of dirty energy.
Ara Chawdhury, Creative
Director of Dakila’s Cebu Collective –
It is evident with An
Inconvenient Truth what the power of film can be. It can be policy
changing petition forming, mind changing. At its best, mind blowing.
At its worst, mind numbing.
Film is supposed to shake
you, to reel you out of your comfort zones. Advocacy filmmaking for me
fails if it preaches to the choir. We aren’t doing any favor by
creating messages only we want to hear, or by alienating anyone who
does not agree with us.
Presedent Diosdado Macapagal Agrarian Scholarship Program
scholar, Samuel Guadalquiver Jr. (extreme left), pose with the
writer, Clariza Estremera (second from left); Municipal Agrarian
Reform Program Officer Romeo Castil (third from left); and his
advisory class. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)
Destiny: The Samuel
By CLARIZA C. ESTREMERA
May 10, 2016
TACLOBAN CITY –
“There were times when my parents would tell me, I might not be able
to continue my studies next school year because the harvest is low or
the price of copra had gone down. Every time I hear this, the
uncertainty of getting a college degree dreads me. Thus, I applied for
a scholarship to finance my college education.”
These were the recollections
of Samuel Guadalquiver when we visited him before the school year
closed in Quezon Elementary School, where he is teaching for seven
Samuel, or Boboy, to his
family and friends was one of the President Diosdado Macapagal
Agrarian Scholarship Program (PDMASP) recipients in Northern Samar.
His parents, Samuel Sr. and
Amelita, are both agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) so that he
qualified for the said scholarship program.
PDMASP is a four-year
college scholarship offered by DAR to deserving dependents of ARBs
under the Program Beneficiaries Development component of the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
“It was only by accident
that I discovered the PDMASP,” Boboy said.
According to him, when he
was in his first year in college at the University of Eastern
Philippines, he applied for the Catarman Educational Scholarship
Program offered by the local government unit so he could continue with
his studies. But he was denied of the said opportunity. Or was it a
blessing in disguise?
When he returned back to
their school, Boboy read an announcement at the bulletin board about a
scholarship program being offered by DAR.
He grabbed the opportunity
and got the slot. Later, he learned that DAR just re-opened its search
to fill-in a vacated slot. Boboy must have been destined to become a
PDMASP scholar to reach his dreams. In 2008, he graduated with a
degree of Bachelor in Elementary Education Major in Social Science.
The third in a brood of nine
(two are now deceased), Boboy is the first to earn a college degree
(the second is sister, Gloria, who was also a PDMASP scholar) in their
family, and one of the handful of professionals in their village,
which is situated in the mountains of Catarman, 27 kilometers away
from the town proper.
He was the only one of the
less than 20 pupils enrolled in grade 1 in 1994 who finished college.
“He was so determined,” his parents said proudly of him.
When I asked why his other
classmates failed to continue their studies, Boboy said, it could
probably be due to lack of motivation. He disclosed that their
teachers rarely report to school then because of the distance. That is
why his parents transferred him to the town proper when he was in
Barangay Quezon is one of
Catarman’s remotest villages. There was no road at that time. People
had to walk 10 kilometers to and from Barangay Polangi by just passing
through a trail. Now, this barangay could already be reached by
motorcycles for P70. Very soon, when concreting of the road is
completed, travel will be much easier and perhaps cheaper.
Boboy, who used to help his
parents in the farm, said determination to escape from poverty pushed
him to strive and find ways to reach his dream.
After graduation he took the
licensure examination for teachers and passed it.
But why did he return to
Barangay Quezon to teach, when there were better opportunities at the
town proper or elsewhere?
Boboy humbly said he wanted
to serve his fellow residents in their community. But to us he
inspires the young and motivates them to take education seriously to
have a better future.
According to Boboy, had he
not taken his studies seriously and without the PDMASP, surely he
would have also remained a farmer until today, carrying heavy loads of
copra and other farm products.
As a teacher, his supervisor
Annie Dulay said, he is a good one, while his pupils described him as
strict when it comes to their lessons.
He taught his students to be
industrious. The once idle surrounding in their school is now planted
to pili nuts and bananas.
Presently, Boboy is planning
to take up masters degree this coming school year.
Looking at him in his
uniform and listening to his story, makes me proud to be part of DAR
which was instrumental in helping this son of ARBs free himself from
the bondage of the soil and find his destiny.
from DAR and East-West Seed Philippines harvest organically
grown pechay at the farm of Jose Dautil (right) in Barangay
Hinabay, Inopacan, Leyte. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)
By JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
April 19, 2016
TACLOBAN CITY – When we
reached Barangay Hinabay, we were led to a vegetable farm of Jose
Dautil, 54, that was ready for harvest. We picked some kilos of sweet
pepper, and pechay, and paid him the corresponding price. Then we
moved to Barangay Cabulisan to see more vegetables in other farms.
These adjacent villages nestled on top of a mountain in Inopacan,
Leyte are now known for organic vegetables.
Farmers here are now
seriously pursuing high value organic vegetable production after the
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) subjected last year the members of
two agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) to a five-month
training on high value crops production using the natural farming
Being covered by the second
phase of the Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP-II), DAR tapped
the East-West Seed Philippines for the conduct of the said training
under the Agricultural Enterprise Development to the Hinabay Upland
Farmers Association (HUFA) and the Cabulisan Multi-Purpose Upland
Farmers Association (CAMUFA).
When asked what they like
about organic vegetable production, Marissa Bisnar, 38, an agrarian
reform beneficiary (ARB) said the products are sold at a higher price
than those grown the traditional way. Even if they are a little bit
expensive, more consumers prefer to buy organic vegetables, she added.
From her last harvest,
Marissa shared that she earned P8,350 from her four plots of sweet
pepper, four plots of tomato and ampalaya, which became additional
income for her family.
Cristita Abenoja, a merchant
from Barangay Cabulisan who buys the farmers’ harvests and sell them
at the town’s market disclosed that her products are easily sold out
because consumers opt for organic vegetables.
Organic farming now becomes
the trade mark of these two barangays. When buyers learn that the
vegetables come from the said barangays, they already know that it’s
organic, Abenoja said. Further, “my customers increased,” she added,
because the information had spread to nearby towns like Hindang, Bato
and Baybay City.
For that, these farmers
living on top of the mountain, 18 kilometers away from the town proper
are thankful they were taught organic farming.
Abaca used to be the major
crop of the farmers here. But because of the bunchy top disease,
farmers ceased planting abaca, and shifted to vegetable production in
2004. Last year, with the joint effort of DAR and East-West Seed
Philippines, the natural farming system was introduced and changed the
lifestyle of the farmers here.
With this method the farmers
no longer sniff chemicals when spraying pesticides, according to
CAMAFU president Edelito Merrano Sr., 51. Likewise, they can save more
because they no longer buy fertilizers and pesticides, he added.
Instead, they use the
vermicast their association is producing. Vermi-culture and vermi-composting
have been introduced to them by DAR in 2015 as alternative sources of
CAMUFA was among the 100 ARB
organizations provided with a shredder and 30 kilos of African night
crawlers last year.
At the moment CAMUFA is also
selling vermicast at P350 per sack of 50 kilos. While African night
crawlers are being sold by the association at P500 per kilo.
450 displaced families in Surigao del Sur each received food
supplies good for one month - consisting of 50 kilograms of
rice, 2 litres of oil, 2 litres of soy sauce, 1 kilogram of
salt, and 2 kilograms of sugar - as well as a hygiene kit
containing bath soap, shampoo, detergent, feminine hygiene
products, toothbrushes and toothpaste for a family of six.
for people displaced by armed violence in Surigao del Sur
February 22, 2016
MANILA – Around 2,400
people displaced in Surigao del Sur received one-month food supplies
and hygiene items to help them cope with their displacement since
The International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC), with its primary partner the Philippine Red
Cross (PRC), distributed the relief items on February 18 to complement
the aid already given by the authorities.
"Prolonged displacement is a
challenge for both the affected families and the authorities. The
displaced depend on aid as they still fear going back home," said
Pascal Porchet, head of the ICRC delegation to the Philippines. "We
are here to fill in gaps and ensure that the families get adequate
support while they remain displaced."
The majority of the
displaced have been living in the provincial sports complex in Tandag
City for over five months now, after three civilians were killed in
"We have been here since
September 1, 2015, and we still fear for our safety," said Leonila
Enriquez of Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga municipality. "We are very grateful
to the ICRC for helping us since the early part of the displacement
until today," said the mother of eight children.
While the general health
situation in the sports complex is managed well by the Provincial
Health Office, cases of stomach problems and diarrhea were reported. A
probable cause is poor hygiene and sanitation in the evacuation
Between September 2015 and
January 2016, the ICRC and the PRC already helped 3,500 displaced
persons in Surigao del Sur with food, household and medical items,
potable water supply, and construction of toilets in the evacuation
The ICRC is a neutral,
impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose mandate is
to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict and other
situations of violence. It has had an established presence in the
Philippines for over 60 years and a permanent presence in Mindanao
spiral machine used for panning in the gold exploration.
deny pay-off over the Cobarrubias’ “gold and silver exploratory work”
By GINA DEAN
February 18, 2016
CALBAYOG CITY – The
Sangguniang Bayan of Gandara finally revoked and nullified the
resolution granting Mrs. Cherry dela Cruz Cobarrubias to rehabilitate
Gandara River by means of dredging. Said resolution was approved in
2014 under the administration of Mayor Eufemio Oliva and Vice Mayor
However, the municipal
government discovered that the dredging operations funded by the
Cobarrubias, has turned out to be an exploration work of gold and
silver mineral deposits at Brgy. Gerali. Local officials were
lambasted by concerned citizens over the social media and accused of
receiving pay-off from said permittee (or holder of exploration
In a public hearing held
last February 10 at Gandara Cultural Center, Mayor Oliva denied the
bribery issue imputed against them by the people. He clarified that
the resolution was approved by the sanggunian in good faith without
receiving any favour from Don Angelo C. Cobarrubias or his mother
Cherry. The approval of the application for exploration is not under
the municipal government but under the DENR-Mines and Geosciences
Bureau Regional Office 8 after the applicant has completed all the
necessary documents required by concerned government agency.
MGB-8 OIC Regional Director
Nonita Caguida explained that Don Angelo C. Cobarrubias’ application
for Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) was filed on April
2005 covering 808 hectares of land located at Gandara and San Jorge,
Samar. In the process of application, a Notice of Posting was sent by
MGB-8 to the provincial government of Samar which was automatically
downloaded to the concerned municipalities for 30 days posting in
The purpose of posting was
to inform the public and concerned stakeholders for possible protests.
Receiving no complaint within the reglementary period prescribed by
law, the application of Cobarrubias proceeded smoothly with a
Certificate of Posting allegedly issued by each municipality.
But while in the process of
acquiring MPSA, Executive Order No. 79 or “Institutionalizing and
Implementing Reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector Providing
Policies and Guidelines to Ensure Environmental Protection and
Responsible in the Utilization of Mineral Resources” was issued in
June 2012. Pending the issuance of MPSA, the proponent amended their
application into exploration and submitted it to MGB-8 for final
validation and clearance.
Caguida clarified that all
the application documents of Cobarrubias were scrutinized; and in fact
the 808 hectares was reduced into 501 after the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources Office conducted study in the
For those who are under the
“No Gold Zone” areas (tourist and agricultural areas), it could not be
covered by the exploration work. Upon validation of application
documents, the exploration permit covering 501 hectares situated in
Gandara and San Jorge, Samar, was released by DENR’s Mines and
Geosciences Bureau Regional Office 8 on January 20, 2015 to Don Angelo
C. Cobarrubias of 2711 B-Wack-Wack, Twin Towers, Wack-wack,
Under the Mining Act of
1995, the exploration allowed the permittee to conduct exploration
work within a period of two years from its approval, and subject for
renewal on the same period up to 8 years for metallic and 6 years for
non-metallic. Based on research, gold is considered metallic mineral
while silver is a combination of different small elements which are
found in gold, lead, zinc and copper ores.
People Cry, No to Mining!
Out of 69 barangays of
Gandara, 41 have attended the public hearing with 924 registered
participants coming from the different organizations like the church,
business sector, senior citizens, youth, academe, government retirees,
concerned citizens, local PNP and municipal and barangay officials.
Citizens of said municipality were shouting as a sign of protest to
the exploration work being conducted by the Cobarrubias at Brgy.
Gerali since 2015.
The church under the Diocese
of Calbayog cited the 50 year moratorium of mining operation issued by
the government after the Bagacay Mines experience. Brgy. Gerali
according to the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer, Aida Gamba is an
agrarian reform community along with other nearby villages.
In the absence of a map,
Samar PENRO Elpidio Simon believed that the 501 hectares which was
claimed by Cherry dela Cruz Cobarrubiasas a mining zone area is under
Samar Island Natural Park. He added that the DENR have implemented the
National Greening Program (NGP) and Community-Based Forest Management
Program (CBMP) at Brgy. Gerali and nearby villages.
Who is Cherry dela Cruz
She claimed herself as a
true-blooded Gandareño who hailed from Brgy. Gerali. Established
connections in the circle and sponsored the rehabilitation of Gandara
River. Received an award from the municipal government as the “Most
Outstanding Gandareño in 2014”. In a conversation with a reliable
source, he disclosed that Cherry dela Cruz Cobarrubias’ mother was
from Matuguinao and her father was from Catbalogan, Samar. Contrary to
her claim that her family originated from Brgy. Gerali where
exploratory work is being conducted, the source revealed that Cherry’s
father used to teach at said barangay.
She had a colourful life in
the film industry as she produced “Bulaklak ng City Jail” and many
more. In the field of politics, she is still the president of Marcos
According to the source,
Gerali mineral deposits was then a long time project of Cobarrubias.
She was able to persuade millions of investment from an Australian
couple but their partnership was terminated when the couple has
detected suspicion from said operation. It was also learned that
Samar’s former Vice Governor Jesus Redaja made an investment in a
mining operation at Bagacay Mines, but the deal was cut short leaving
the latter’s equipment abandoned at the mining site.
To get Cherry Cobarrubias’
comments, the writer requested her geologist for an interview but no
feedback was received.
The National Law vs. People
Despite the strong
disapproval of the people of Gandara, Cherry Cobarrubias is confident
that the exploratory work will pursue.
MGB-8 OIC Regional Director
NonitaCaguidasaid that the documents for the acquisition of
exploratory permit have undergone a long scrutiny, and local
ordinances or resolutions with the intention of revoking such permit
cannot be allowed for it cannot supersede the national law as provided
in RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. Caguida was one of
the witnesses in the Exploration Permit issued by MGB-8 to the
Cobarrubias in January 20, 2015.
On the other hand, an
insider of the Environment of Natural Resources Office advised that a
written petition of the people may work by directly submitting the
same to the central office. The absence of a public consultation prior
to the exploration work could be one of the basis of the petition, he
report estimates coal plant emissions could kill 2,400 Filipinos per
February 3, 2016
MANILA – While coal
is king in the Philippines, a new Greenpeace Southeast Asia report has
revealed for the first time the current health impacts of existing
coal-fired power plants, as well as projected health impacts of
operating and planned power plants in the Philippines.
The report, Coal: A Public
Health Crisis. Diseases and deaths attributed to coal use in the
Philippines showed an estimated 960 premature deaths each year due to
stroke, ischemic heart disease, other cardiovascular diseases, and
respiratory diseases. If the new power plants are to be developed,
premature deaths may rise up to 2,410 – more than double the current
number of people dying from coal-related pollution in the Philippines.
“Results of the research
show that coal-fired power plants expose everyone in the Philippines
to toxic pollution, resulting in hundreds of premature deaths every
year,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, Senior Global Coal Campaigner at
Greenpeace International and also one of the authors of the research.
“Leading economies from the United States to China and Europe are
already relaying on modern, renewable energy sources for their
additional power needs, showing that this is a real option for
Philippines as well.”
More than one-third of the
energy used to generate electricity in the Philippines comes from
burning coal. Currently, the country has 17 operational coal plants,
with 29 more approved by the Department of Energy (DOE), set to begin
commercial operations by 2020.
The report is based on
research carried out at Harvard University on the impacts of emissions
coming from coal-fired power plants on the air quality of selected
countries in Asia. For the Philippine version, Greenpeace collaborated
with HealthJustice to write the report, with support from Health Care
Without Harm – Asia and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.
Coal use harms the
environment and public health at every stage of its life cycle.
Coal-fired power plants emit sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide
(NO2) and other gaseous pollutants in the air that can react
chemically to form particulate matter that is 2.5 µm in diameter.
Aside from generating
particulate matter, coal combustion also affects health indirectly by
contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change can bring
extreme heat, lead to natural disasters, and eventually increase
diseases transmitted through insects such as malaria and dengue.
The study evaluated 13
operational coal-fired power plants in the Philippines with a combined
installed capacity of 3,799.10 megawatts (MW), as well as the
potential impacts of plans to build 29 new coal-fired power plants
with a total capacity of 11,700MW, which could dramatically increase
levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and PM2.5
“This pioneering study is an
important addition to the growing body of health and scientific
research on the adverse impacts of coal-fired power plants, not only
to the environment, but to human health as well,” said Reuben Andrew
Muni, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines. “We
strongly recommend for the DOE, the DOH and other policy-makers to
read it and take heed as it presents a strong case on why the
Philippines should end its dependence on coal-generated electricity
now, not only for economic, environmental and climate change reasons,
but on public health grounds as well.”
“This new study just
confirms what we already know about the health effects of coal based
on international evidence. For the longest time, we have been ignoring
the environmental case for the phase out of coal. I hope that this
time, the public health argument will convince us that coal is not the
way to go towards a clean, sustainable and healthy energy future,”
said Dr. Renzo Guinto, Campaigner for the Healthy Energy Initiative,
Health Care Without Harm-Asia.
“New coal plants are a
lose-lose proposition for the public. Increasing dependence on coal
will consign us to dirty air for 30 or more years, as coal gets more
expensive and other countries abandon it as an energy source. There is
a way out of this vicious cycle. We must embrace renewables through a
strong, health-driven energy policy," said Atty. Ipat Luna, a Trustee
“Coal burning is a proven
nuisance to health and the climate. The more coal plants and mines are
commissioned by the government, the more people and communities are
placed in the direct path of perdition. Undoubtedly, it is a kiss of
death to host communities and vulnerable nations like the Philippines.
We thus demand for a moratorium on new coal plants, phase out of
existing ones, and for a just transition to renewable energy options”
said Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, SANLAKAS Secretary General and PMCJ Energy
Working Group Head.
Considering the Philippines’
rising population, poor health outcomes, and the scarcity of resources
needed to adapt to the worst effects of climate change, Greenpeace
recommends that the country should end its heavy dependence on coal as
an energy source and accelerate initiatives involving renewable energy
(RE) resources to meet its energy demands. RE is emerging as the
energy of choice for an increasing number of communities and local
government units (LGU). The report recommends that the government
phases out of coal and fully embrace RE sources in the Philippines
based on public health considerations.
Download the pdf version of
Coal: A Public Health Crisis. Diseases and deaths attributed to coal
use in the Philippines at
“Sole for a Soul
Project”: PAREF Rosehill goes to the peripheries
By GLECY GAMBOA, PAREF
January 20, 2016
ANTIPOLO CITY – “The
project helped me learn to fully go out of my comfort zone and open my
eyes to the needs of others, and knowing this has helped me further
understand and give meaning to our school's mantra, "I lead. I serve."
Betina Sales, PAREF Rosehill
Student Council President, together with officers, Mika and Gabrie
Cordero and teachers, Ms. Calai Clarino and Ms. Carmel Mendoza,
represented the Rosehill students who donated black school shoes to
196 students of Doña Brigida Elementary School in Tolosa, Leyte on
December 14, 2015.
Betina, Mika and Gabrie were
very happy and fulfilled when they saw the smiles on the faces of the
students as they received their early Christmas gifts. As Mika said,
“I felt really glad because we were able to share our blessings and
time with the kids.”
Each pair of shoes was
personally labelled and inside each shoe box was a letter from a
Rosehill student. One of them, Angela, wrote: “Hope you like the
shoes! Study hard to reach your dreams and never give up. Stay strong
with any problems you will encounter and take care. God bless you
always. Never forget to smile, Larabel.”
To heed Pope Francis’ call
to go to the peripheries, the PAREF Rosehill Student Council launched
its outreach project, “Sole for a Soul” in August 2015. This is one of
the school’s on-going relief efforts for Tolosa, Leyte residents who
were severely affected by Typhoon Yolanda last November 2013.
The Student Council believes
that giving a pair of school shoes to the beneficiaries will help them
feel better about going to school.
Rosehill is grateful to
parents, students and teachers who supported this project and to the
Tindog Tolosa Foundation for this opportunity to reach out to Doña
Brigida students and teachers.
Students from Grade 6 to
Fourth Year High School donated P500 and they were encouraged to raise
the money on their own.
Niki, a Grade 7 student
said, “I saved up from my allowance and I was happy that I got to help
someone who deserves much more.”
Bea, who is in Grade 6,
earned her P500 donation by playing the violin in an event. “I felt
great to be able to help in my own little way,” she said.
Indeed, it was worthwhile
saving up for that ‘soleful’ cause. As Betina said, “Seeing the smiles
on their faces and even some tears of joy upon getting the shoes
really made me realize that the best things in life are free. In the
end, it was as if the 500 pesos we each raised had a new "value" and
it was, ironically, priceless.
conditions for inmates affected by Leyte prison fire
December 2, 2015
MANILA – Access to
clean water, sanitation and overall health and living conditions have
improved for 1,800 inmates affected by the fire that struck Leyte
Regional Prison two months ago.
On October 8, the prison’s
Maximum Security Compound was completely destroyed by a fire that also
claimed the lives of 10 inmates and injured several others.
“Since it would take some
time before a permanent structure could be rebuilt, we supported the
prison authorities in taking temporary measures so the inmates may
have slightly better conditions,” said Woody Assaf, head of the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Tacloban.
On October 25, the ICRC
installed two rub halls or relocatable tent-like structures as
emergency shelters. The affected prisoners were initially moved to the
Minimum Security Compound or slept outdoors after the blaze.
“We continue to improve the
rub halls by working on its concrete flooring. Elderly prisoners and
those with ailments were prioritized to occupy the rub halls, which
also helped decongest the Minimum Security Compound, where about 750
affected prisoners remain. The authorities could partly restore the
segregation between compounds, which helps in prison management,” said
Two 10,000-liter water
tanks, distribution lines, and water points were installed by the ICRC
to increase the availability of potable water in the prison,
benefiting all inmates. Twenty-four new toilets are also being built
for their use.
Relief assistance for the
prisoners, in the form of dressing kits, medicines and medical items,
2,000 hygiene kits, and 409 sleeping mats and blankets, were provided
by the ICRC about a month ago, on top of other emergency items it
distributed with the Philippine Red Cross a day after the fire.
Support was provided to ensure that access to basic health services
Within its confidential
dialogue with the Bureau of Corrections, the ICRC shared its findings,
coordinated its response plan, and will further support the
authorities in January to develop a plan of action to restore optimum
conditions of detention.
As part of its long-term
support to the detaining authorities, the ICRC will soon complete the
construction of a new infirmary in Leyte Regional Prison to enhance
access to, and improve the quality of, medical care for the inmates.
Leyte Regional Prison is one
of the places of detention being visited in the country by the ICRC, a
neutral, impartial, and independent humanitarian organization, to
monitor the conditions of detention and the treatment of people
deprived of freedom.
most displaced people in Zamboanga City have since moved on with
their lives, recovery is progressing slowly for about 17,000 of
them living in 12 transition sites. Here, two men prepare to dry
seaweed - a source of income - in Taluksangay transition site.
(By NC-ND / ICRC /R. Ang)
Moving on in
November 30, 2015
MANILA – Zamboanga City, in Western Mindanao, is buzzing with life
again, two years after armed fighting disrupted many lives.
Around 120,000 people were displaced by clashes in Zamboanga in
September 2013. Thousands of structures, including many houses, were
damaged or destroyed, making life extremely difficult for the affected
Though most displaced people have since moved on with their lives,
recovery is progressing slowly for about 17,000 of them living in 12
transition sites. Although these sites offer slightly better
conditions than evacuation centers, access to clean water, sanitation,
and livelihood opportunities remains a concern.
"Civilians unfortunately bear the heaviest consequences of conflict,
and the situation in Zamboanga was no exception," said Marcel
Goyeneche, head of the ICRC office in Zamboanga. "Thousands of
displaced families had lost their homes and jobs. The slow pace of the
response and the recovery had us extend our operations several times
to a total of 26 months."
After providing assistance in the immediate aftermath of the siege,
the ICRC together with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) extended their
support to speed up the recovery of the affected population. Below is
a glimpse of how these programs helped the displaced from January to
Ensuring clean water and proper sanitation
Due to water-supply issues generally affecting Zamboanga City, the
ICRC and the PRC trucked 36,000 liters of water daily to four
transition sites from February until August 2015. The ICRC still
supports the city government and the Zamboanga Water District in
providing water storage to displaced people in Masepla 1, 2, and 3 and
in Rio Hondo through the installation of six 10,000-liter stainless
steel tanks. Upon the request of city authorities, the ICRC also
installed a 10,000-liter bladder in Lupa-lupa.
In Taluksangay, the ICRC helped provide a longer-term solution by
building a permanent water supply system at the transition site to
serve both the displaced and resident populations. Water started
flowing in September, and eventually the project was handed over to
the community's water association, which was formed to operate and
maintain the project. More than 4,000 people, around 900 of whom are
displaced, from Purok 4 of Taluksangay now have regular access to
"We used to struggle every day to find safe drinking water. But now
we've seen how the water supply here in Taluksangay normalized," said
Jurraiya Abdurajik, 37, who was displaced from Rio Hondo. "Our family
now feels protected from waterborne illnesses."
Four hand pumps will also be installed in the Masepla 3 transition
site, where around 7,700 displaced people will benefit upon the
project's completion in December. In addition, rainwater drainage will
improve the road access to Masepla 1.
To improve sanitation, the 102 latrines built in the Joaquin Enriquez
stadium and in the Rio Hondo site were regularly emptied until August.
Complementary to these projects, informative sessions on the
importance of hygiene were held, benefiting 13,300 displaced persons;
and around 1,500 hygiene kits were given to children in transitory
Rebuilding livelihoods' and communities
With livelihoods disrupted by the conflict, helping displaced people
stand on their own feet was part of the ICRC's efforts. From January
to October 2015, cash-for-work activities not only generated income
for at least 820 of them but also benefited 14 community projects
including desilting of canals and improving drainage systems,
beautification and gardening, repairing chapels, mangrove planting,
and coastal clean-up.
Conditional cash grants, meanwhile, have also helped displaced
families to achieve a more sustainable form of livelihood. Some 840
families in seven transition sites received P10,000 grants each that
were used to restock sari-sari stores, build boats, buy fishing gear
and inputs for planting seaweed, procure sewing machines and
tricycles, among others.
"I used the cash incentives to start my hairdressing business. Now
life has become easier because my income can sustain my daily needs,"
said Borhan Vivio, 35, of the Kasanyangan transition site.
In Layag Layag, a 50-member cooperative benefited from a cash grant
and training to help them plant and commercialize seaweed. This
included the construction of a boat and a storage facility to support
the members of the cooperative. Two concrete solar stilt driers were
also built through cash-for-work thus providing a facility for the
community's use, and providing income for 120 seaweed farmers.
Improving health care and nutrition
Access to health care could also be difficult for those living in
transition sites. At the Masepla transition site, where a new health
station was built and handed over to the City Health Office (CHO) in
April 2015, displaced people no longer have to travel 2 kilometers to
the health centre in Barangay Mampang to avail of primary health care
In addition, to ensure their preparedness for emergencies and other
health issues, 40 displaced people from different sites underwent
Community-based First Aid Training, also in April, so they could serve
as their communities' focal points.
The ICRC also continues to support local authorities and
infrastructure in their nutrition and health programs for the
An example is the feeding program that started in 2014 but has been
turned over to the City Health Office as of June 2015 due to the
improvement in malnutrition rates. The ICRC provides supplies to the
CHO for both severely and moderately malnourished children in
transition sites and in barangays with a high number of malnourished
An estimated 661 children with moderate to severe malnourishment
benefited from this program from January to September 2015.
The Zamboanga City Medical Center has also received support from the
ICRC since 2014 in the form of essential medicines for the treatment
of displaced and other vulnerable people. This quarterly support will
continue in 2016.
After more than two years, the ICRC will be phasing out its assistance
program to the displaced population in Zamboanga by January 2016, as
local authorities address the remaining needs.
"Although we are concluding our support to people displaced in 2013,
we will pursue a dialogue with authorities to find safe and dignified
solutions for the displaced," said Goyeneche. "Their move to permanent
shelters must also be addressed quite soon."
The ICRC remains close to the population through its office in
Zamboanga, and stands ready to assist in humanitarian emergencies
together with the PRC.
The ICRC, which has been visiting people detained in relation to the
internal armed conflicts, will carry on its work to ensure the
inmates' dignified treatment and that they maintain links with their
families. It will also continue promoting awareness of and respect for
international humanitarian law among weapon bearers.
LIVELIHOODS. Local farmers in Brgy. Inangatan, Tabango, Leyte
receive proper training on farming preparations.
Super typhoon Yolanda’s
PBSP celebrates the resilience of survivors and the power of
November 6, 2015
MANILA – Two years after
super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) ravaged the Visayas region, many of the
survivors are still picking up the pieces of their lives which were
severely disrupted by one of the world’s strongest tropical cyclones.
But there are also a number
of them that have recovered significantly through local and
international aid. With the continuous assistance from development
agencies and NGOs like Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP),
other survivors even feel that their situation is now better than
In A Better State
Take the case of Merle
Tabornal and Gina Ciudad of Brgy. Tubogan in Ajuy, Iloilo, for
instance, who used to walk seven kilometers (equivalent to three
barangays) just to receive free pre-natal care at the only barangay
health station (BHS) in the municipality. A BHS was built in Tubogan
in 2008 but only to be damaged by the typhoon five years after. Months
after the typhoon, their community of 739 rice and corn farmers
continued to rely on the run-down BHS and struggled to make its
operations normal despite the challenges.
Now, they are enjoying the
benefits of improved healthcare services and a better health station
which has a new roof, newly-painted walls, a sturdier ceiling, and a
complete set of windows, gutters, and doors. Through this project of
Asalus Corporation and PBSP, barangay health workers were also trained
on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness which equipped them to
better manage diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses of children.
The community is now working together to upgrade their BHS into a
Panalaron Central Elementary
School (PCES) was among the severely damaged schools in Tacloban City,
Leyte which was badly hit by typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 8, 2013. Most of
its students lost their drive to attend classes because they did not
have classrooms, facilities and even school supplies. Grade 4 student Ranzelle Ann Sombrero could not attend her classes regularly because
of poor health, family problems, and lack of food. Nine-year-old
Marivic Balais also suffered the same problems.
Fortunately, their situation
changed when Mondelez Philippines, together with PBSP, stepped in and
chose PCES as its 6th adopted school under its Joy Schools Program.
Mondelez Philippines improved the nutrition and academic performance
of the students through the rehabilitation of 18 classrooms,
playground and canteen, regular feeding sessions of 150 severely
wasted students for one year, construction of library and reading
corners, provision of school equipment such as overhead projectors,
DVD players and speakers.
After a year under the
feeding program, Sombrero has not only improved her health but is now
an honor student. For Balais, the feeding program has helped
contribute to her total development and resulted in her getting
accelerated to the third grade. These interventions had a similar
effect on many other students in PCES which is fast transforming into
an ideal school for the Taclobanons.
Patrocinia Oftana of Sitio
Matab-ang in Madridejos, Cebu, used to spend at least P50 a day just
for water supply. She would pay a man to fetch her two 1.5 liters of
water in the nearest dug well which was three kilometers from her
home. She used the water for bathing, washing clothes and dishes, and
for gardening. For her family’s drinking water, she pays the same man
to purchase five gallons of water for their monthly consumption.
Sometimes, she does not take a bath for days just to save water.
For years, this has been the
situation of 6,000 families in 14 barangays on Bantayan island who
relied on the 200 remote dug wells for their water usage. When the
typhoon hit the island and made distribution from deep wells even
scarcer, they had to go back to the man-made dug wells despite threats
of water-borne diseases.
But their plight improved
when Mercury Drug Foundation, in partnership with PBSP, installed
level 2 and 3 potable water systems to 772 households. The project
provided materials and labor needed by the barangays to connect the
Madridejos Community Waterworks System’s main lines to three interior
and waterless barangays.
Oftana and several of her
fellow residents can now access water anytime they want through their
own faucets, and only pay a monthly fee of P100 for 10 cubic meters of
Farmer Romulo dela Peza has
been depending on the coconut plantations in Brgy. Inangatan, Leyte to
support his family. But when the farm where he worked was destroyed by
Typhoon Yolanda, the now 66-year-old copra producer was left out of
work and without a house.
Out of the 10,000 coconut
trees on the plantation where dela Peza works, 7,000 were lost and the
rest were left in an unproductive state. Some trees eventually died
even after initially showing signs of recovery. It all seemed hopeless
until Cargill Philippines and PBSP extended a helping hand to recover
and rehabilitate the damaged coconut plantations.
Through intercropping, his
participation in the Cash for Work program, and his work as the lead
in the rehabilitation of the coconut plantation, dela Peza does not
only have a new house, he also earns as much as P8,000 a month – so
much more than the meager P1,000 that he got before the storm. He is
just among the 204 other household farmers who greatly benefited from
the coconut recovery and rehabilitation project.
A Disaster of Huge Proportions
Typhoon Yolanda affected 14
million people in the Visayas region. Of this, 5.9 million workers
lost their jobs, resulting to an income loss of up to 70 percent in
the affected communities. According to the Department of Education,
close to 4,600 classrooms were totally destroyed. Poultry and
livestock perished. Agricultural lands were turned into wastelands as
crops were heavily damaged. Basic necessities such as water and health
services were also interrupted, leaving survivors helpless and
PBSP raised an initial P18.3
million from its own network of corporations, individual sponsors and
international funding groups for relief missions. It distributed
relief goods, hygiene kits, comfort bundles, kitchen utensils, and
shelter repair materials to more than 20,000 households in 14
municipalities in Cebu, Samar and Leyte.
Project New Dawn
But the damages wrought by
the typhoon continued to pose bigger challenges for the affected
communities. Hence, PBSP launched Project New Dawn in June 2014 to
provide long-term rehabilitation interventions focused on health,
education, environment and livelihood and enterprise development.
It raised P293 million from
its member-companies, partners and donors for the implementation of
many projects in the affected communities. Of this, P160 million had
been spent for projects in the least assisted towns in Bantayan,
Madridejos, Santa Fe, and Daanbantayan in Northern Cebu. After several
months, PND expanded its assistance to Iloilo, Samar, and Leyte.
Asalus Corporation rebuilt
three rural health stations in Ajuy, loilo and Daanbantayan, Cebu.
PBSP had also built 31 disaster-resilient school buildings with help
from the following donors: Ace Foundation International, Coca-Cola
Foundation Philippines, CTBC Bank (Philippines) Corporation, Deloitte
Philippines Outreach, Inc., Epson Precision Philippines, Inc., Insular
Life Foundation, Intel Foundation, L’Oreal Philippines, Inc., Telus
International Philippines, Inc. and Mondelez Philippines. The
buildings now provide a better and safer learning haven for the
Mondelez Philippines, Fluor
Daniel, Inc.-Philippines and Lear Corporation also conducted
supplemental feeding programs and provided uniforms and starter kits
Donors from online platform
Global Giving with member-company Parity Values, Inc. helped plant
480,000 mangroves in 48 hectares in Northern Cebu. This project aims
to secure a brighter future for fishermen in the coming years.
The potable water system
projects of Mercury Drug Corporation and Dow Chemical through United
Way Worldwide helped bring safe drinking water directly to 1,582
households in 17 barangays.
PBSP helped families regain
their income and become more self-sufficient through livelihood
projects. First, the basic tools were provided: boats and fishing
gears for fishermen; farming tools, livestock and seeds for farmers;
and loans and retail items for sari-sari store (small retail store)
With the International
Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency
(ADRA), PBSP has helped establish sustainable ways of fishing in Panay
and Iloilo by setting up 23 local fish-enhancing devices and
installing 1,600 artificial reefs. Workers were hired in the various
construction requirements of livelihood projects so they can earn more
income. Mothers were provided with bio-intensive garden kits
containing basic vegetables, fertilizers and tools so they can get
additional food from their own backyards.
Local economies in Leyte
were also revitalized. PBSP and Hapinoy’s Project Bagong Araw enabled
79 sari-sari store owners to receive capital loans, store makeovers
and trainings on business skills.
Building Partnerships for Collective Action
While many have already
rebuilt their lives, PBSP recognizes the urgent need to scale up its
impact, especially in the least assisted communities.
It plans to continue
providing complementary interventions for recovery, rehabilitation,
and resiliency in the towns of San Remegio and Medellin in Northern
Cebu in the next five years.
For livelihood, PBSP intends
to promote inclusive business in seaweed and hybrid corn production
and dried fish processing. Livelihood interventions on swine
production and bio-intensive gardening will also continue. Livelihood
champion stakeholders in government will also be tapped to push for
the welfare of the people.
PBSP will also conduct Safe
Motherhood Caravans (SMC) to educate 4,600 women on life-saving
Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) practices
and help them access these health services from local health
providers. The SMC program supports the United Nation’s goal to reduce
maternal mortalities in severely depressed areas.
It is also looking at
improving the tourism industry of Bantayan island.
PBSP seeks to harness the
collective power of the business sector, and its partner development
agencies in ensuring a better future for the affected communities.
the Children has reached nearly 900,000 people in its
comprehensive response. The children’s agency has vowed to
continue its rehabilitation assistance to some of the worst-hit
children and families.
Two years after
Yolanda, Save the Children says ‘job is not yet over’
By Save the Children
November 6, 2015
Humanitarian agency vows continued rehabilitation support to children
and their families.
MAKATI CITY – Two years
after super typhoon Yolanda, Save the Children says ‘job is not yet
over’ and vows to continue its rehabilitation assistance to some of
the worst-affected children and families who are still reeling from
heavy loss of property and livelihoods. The super typhoon, which
struck on November 8, 2013, affected more than 14 million people,
including at least 5 million children, and left nearly 8,000 dead or
Save the Children Director, Ned Olney, said: “Clearly, the job is not
yet over. We knew from the start that this was going to be a long
process of rehabilitation. The world has not seen this kind of damage
from any typhoon in recent history. No media coverage can fully
describe what happened that harrowing day.”
Olney added: “Although tremendous effort has been put in to help
survivors, continued support is critical at this stage to ensure
Yolanda won’t leave a devastating legacy for thousands of families and
their children. Our worry is that families may no longer be able to
send their children to school and provide for their families once the
assistance stops. Improving livelihoods is essential for long term
Two years into the response, Save the Children has reached nearly
900,000 people, including half a million children in partnership with
communities, civil society, donors and the government. The children’s
agency has distributed families food and water; provided medicines and
primary health services through our mobile health clinics; repaired
classrooms, health facilities and water systems; and provided shelter
and livelihood assistance to farmers, fishermen and out-of-school
youth to help them provide for their families.
Felipe Malinao, 35, received assistance from Save the Children’s
livelihood program in Kananga, Leyte after the typhoon damaged his
crops and killed his livestock. Felipe used the livelihoods cash grant
to buy a carabao and three goats which he can use for farming and
selling. Felipe said: “I can use my carabao to plow and cultivate a
bigger area to plant my crops. When the time is ripe, I can barter the
male carabao I bought with a female so it could produce offspring that
I could share to my children.” Felipe shares that he hopes to use his
income to buy food and send his kids to school.
The children’s agency has provided skills training for out-of-school
youth so that they could find job or start up their own business.
Geovelyn, 21, enrolled in Save the Children funded welding program in
Tacloban after she quit school when her mother, 3 sisters and
relatives died during Yolanda. Jovelyn said: “I had to quit school to
be close to my family. I felt so guilty that I wasn’t able to do
anything for them since I was in another town that time.” After
finishing the program, Geovelyn got a job as staff at the same
Moreover, Save the Children says that rehabilitation should not stop
at building homes and restoring livelihoods. To ensure welfare of
children in times of disaster, Save the Children is renewing the call
for the Congress and Senate to immediately pass the “Children’s
Emergency Relief and Protection Act” which calls for a comprehensive
plan to protect children’s rights before, during and after a disaster.
Olney said: “Children are always the most vulnerable when disasters
strike. If there is anything ‘Yolanda’ taught us all, it is that
improving protection for children before during and after emergencies
is essential to saving lives. Passing the child protection in
emergencies bill ensures that we learn from our experience to mitigate
the impact of future emergencies on children.”
Asid, whose displaced family now lives in the transition site in
Barangay Taluksangay, Zamboanga City, says the new tap stands
around their community – just like the one behind him – relieve
them from traveling to a remote area to fetch clean water.
NC-ND / ICRC / R. Ang)
Clean water for
4,000 people in Zamboanga
November 5, 2015
MANILA – A
community-based water-supply system providing potable water to over
4,000 people, including displaced families, was officially inaugurated
today in Barangay Taluksangay, Zamboanga City.
The project, supported by
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the village
and city authorities, is a long-term solution to the shortage of water
in this barangay (village), which hosts about 900 people displaced by
the armed fighting in 2013.
“Water was really scarce
here in Taluksangay. It was difficult. Now our lives are better –
people in the community no longer fight to get first in line. We can
easily get water. We don’t have to ride our banca (boat) anymore
because the water source is near,” said Alawi Asid, whose family was
displaced from Layag-Layag.
Clean water started flowing
from nine communal tap stands in September, reaching a total of 4,000
people in Taluksangay transition site, the nearby relocation site, and
the host community. More people stand to benefit as the water system
has the ability to cover additional localities in the barangay. Only
half of the capacity of the water source has been used so far.
The project was built by 80
displaced people who were employed in a cash-for-work programme, with
the ICRC providing materials and technical expertise. It was recently
handed over to the Taluksangay Water and Sanitation Association (TAWASA),
which was formed with ICRC support, and which will operate and
maintain the project. To help the TAWASA sustain the project, the ICRC
gave them tools, spare parts and office supplies.
“The ICRC went beyond the
engineering works, focusing also on community organization and
empowerment. The community took ownership of the project, and the
system is self-sustaining, making it able to last for years to come,”
explained Marcel Goyeneche, who heads the ICRC office in Zamboanga.
Since the armed clashes in
2013, the ICRC has stayed on with the Philippine Red Cross to support
thousands of displaced people in Zamboanga in speeding up their
recovery and improving their health and living conditions.
livestock training: "We discovered a lot of ways to take good
care of our swine especially when they are infected with
diseases or when they are pregnant or lactating," says a
beneficiary from Barangay Hagbay in San Jose de Buan, Samar. (By
NC-ND / ICRC / R. Calera)
Improving lives in
October 30, 2015
MANILA – In parts of Luzon and the Visayas, communities suffer from
the effects of a protracted armed conflict between government security
forces and the New People’s Army. Often living in remote and far-flung
areas, these communities also struggle with poverty, making everyday
life a challenge for them.
“Economic growth is often stunted in these communities, which also
suffer from the insecurity caused by sporadic clashes. Because of
this, they have limited access to income opportunities and, at times,
basic services too,” said Oualid Bech, head of the ICRC subdelegation
in Luzon and the Visayas.
As support to people suffering from the chronic effects of conflict
and poverty, the ICRC carries out programs that aim to help the most
vulnerable barangays (villages) and communities stand on their own
feet and become more resilient.
These programs employ a participatory approach wherein the
beneficiaries identify their own needs. A series of consultations and
discussions with the ICRC is therefore held to determine what kind
projects are suitable, and how to effectively implement and sustain
All projects are monitored and evaluated through field visits by ICRC
staff with the support of volunteers from the Philippine Red Cross,
the ICRC’s primary partner in the country.
In the mountainous area of Guihulngan in Negros Oriental province,
corn is the staple food and main source of livelihood of the
communities. The farmers, however, had to travel to a distant town to
have their corn milled, spending considerable effort and money.
The farming community identified this as a challenge, and when the
ICRC stepped in to support, they proposed building a corn-milling
facility. In March, the corn mill began operating, and it has already
benefited farmers from seven barangays and improved the quality of
It has also opened up business and employment opportunities, as the
local association earns from every milling session and uses the income
to employ people to maintain the corn mill.
The association has earned over P65,000 since March 2015. The project
has also encouraged small farmers to utilize portions of their lots
for corn farming.
“When we heard that a corn mill would be built in our barangay, we
(residents) were very happy. Manual grinding is insufficient and
cannot accommodate us all. It also takes more than an hour to manually
grind 2.5 kg of corn, while machine-operated milling takes only 15
minutes,” recalled Segondo Cañafuego, a 53-year-old farmer and
resident of Barangay Planas in Guihulngan.
He added: “I am now planning to cover my farmland with corn because of
the machine operated mill here.”
Meanwhile in Negros Occidental, also in the Western Visayas, rice
farming is the primary source of livelihood. In 2015, the ICRC
supported local farmers’ associations in lowland barangays in Sipalay
with hand tractors and rice threshers, which increased the efficiency
of rice production. Like the corn mill in Guihulngan, these farm
machines provide extra income to their operators and the local
For Lope de Vega, a fourth-class municipality in Northern Samar, the
devastation of abaca farms by bunchy top virus had a severe impact on
farmers’ livelihoods. Abaca is considered an important “cash crop” or
one that can easily be sold for its fiber. After assessing this need
with the community, the ICRC provided virus-resistant seedlings so the
residents could earn income from abaca again.
Helping themselves and the community
With the cash-for-work scheme, those identified as most vulnerable due
to lack of stable income – such as landless laborers and seasonal
farmers – will find temporary means to earn by working on projects
that also directly benefit their communities.
Unskilled workers are paid at least P250 a day, while skilled ones
receive slightly higher amounts. They usually have the opportunity to
work for 10-15 days.
These projects, which are chosen by the communities according to their
needs, are not labor-intensive and can thus involve women and the
elderly. In the municipalities of Juban and Gubat, Sorsogon, which
have interior or upland barangays where access can be difficult,
especially during rainy season, projects such as the clearing and/or
widening of barangay roads and building concrete pathways to water
sources were selected by communities through focus group discussions.
Other projects include vegetable gardens that benefit feeding programs
for children, repair of churches, construction of school fences,
barangay meeting places, and compost pits. In the majority of these
projects, the barangays provide the materials and play key roles in
overseeing their implementation.
Though temporary, the cash-for-work program provided income to 616
people in 11 barangays in Juban and Gubat in July and October.
These programs show that, by using an approach that engages the
community, its people become more resilient and better equipped to
rise to future challenges.