RIGHT AFTER calamities have ravaged homes and communities, the government mounts relief and rescue work with speed and vigor – and still has energy left to provide photo-op events for the media. But when it comes to the more difficult tasks of rehabilitation and recovery, or even preparing communities for when the next disaster comes – the downtime between calamities – the government takes on the character of a drunken turtle, rolling out projects and releasing funds in slow and scattered fashion.
by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
AMONG THE scores of projects launched in the wake of super typhoon Yolanda, one assisted the victims in a direct, meaningful way: the reconstitution of the civil registry records of a targeted 100,000 persons.
The project involved the civil registration and reconstitution of identity documents for the survivors of Yolanda. The free legal documentation services sought to give the survivors the necessary papers to access public services, for both the young and the old.
A FEW weeks after Super Typhoon Yolanda rampaged through Eastern Visayas in early November 2013, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) found itself caught in a swirl of controversies regarding the repacking and delivery of relief goods.
DISASTERS USUALLY bring people together, but a few weeks after Yolanda, a video that seemed to highlight a political divide amid tragedy went viral.
In particular, it showed Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas III berating a sad-sack Tacloban City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez, telling him in so many words that certain twists in political history would make helping his city a bit complicated.
FOR SOMEONE just hearing the stories, they sound like episode after episode of the “Walking Dead” TV series. But what Jermaine Bayas and other aid workers witnessed in Tacloban in the Yolanda aftermath was stark reality.
“People were walking aimlessly, their faces blank,” Bayas says of what he saw right after the super typhoon finally calmed down and for days after that. “They would pass you by. Then after a few hours or so, you would see them again, still walking. They did not seem to know what they were doing nor where they wanted to go. Were they looking for someone? Where they supposed to go somewhere?”
TACLOBAN CITY – THEY MAY or may not have suffered considerable loss when Typhoon Yolanda plowed through Tacloban City and other areas in central Philippines, but friends Trisha Torres and Vanessa Salazar look too busy to think about any tragedies. The pair happens to be freshman entrepreneurs and most of the women’s time these days is devoted to tending to their thriving burger joint.