The PCIJ Research Process

Yolanda Money Trail: By the Numbers

DISASTER AID in the time of super typhoons like Yolanda has fortuitously flowed richly, quickly, and from a bounty of donors without fail to assist Filipino families and communities in need. On parallel stream, public funds devoted to relief, recovery, and reconstruction have surged just as abundantly.

But as many as 20 tropical cyclones visit most of the nation’s 7,107 islands every year. Some make a mess, many others destroy. And as the disasters follow in short succession, hopefully, too, disaster aid would come incessantly.

Now more than ever, transparency and accountability in the use, release, and impact of disaster aid resonate as legitimate public goals and goods. Through “Disaster Aid: The Money Trail,” PCIJ hopes to help document the story of disaster aid and how deficits of integrity or efficiency in the use of donations and public funds could send the victims and the survivors to even worse calamity.

This project enjoys support from Christian Aid, an international non-government organization, through its Philippine Country Office that focuses on “resilience and justice to address the persistent poverty and inequality aggravated by disasters and the risks of climate change.”

What follow are numbers and data that summarize PCIJ’s research and editorial work on “Disaster Aid: The Money Trail”:

* Research and Data-Gathering:

• 688 Research files, 626 MB
• 188 Request Letters for documents
• 39 Interviews
• 3 Focus Group Discussions, 13 participants in total
• 8 briefings/fora/dialogues covered
• More Interviews with over 20 resource persons/officials
• Over six weeks of data processing – from desktop research for validation, scanning, encoding, sorting, analysis, validation of data entries, production of data tables
• Nine PCIJ Staff members worked on research, writing, editing, and video production
• Two tech persons assisted in developing microsite

* PCIJ request letters for Information/documents (excluding scores of follow-up phone calls)

1. To NGOs, INGOs, Private Corporations: 117 letters (reports on donations)
2. To Donor Countries: 59 letters (reports on donations)
3. To Government Agencies: 12 letters (SAROs, budget documents, reports on disbursement of disaster assistance funds and status of projects, etc.)

* Field Interviews in Leyte and Samar

I. Direct beneficiaries / Victims / Survivors

• Marlene Martinez, Brgy 88, San Jose, Tacloban City
• Cancio and Abigail Macalinga, Brgy. 88
• Rolando Flores, Transitional Site Resident, New Kawayan, Tacloban City
• Dolores Lago, Transitional Site Resident, New Kawayan, Tacloban City
• Noli Sodario, Brgy Anibong, Tacloban City

II. Officials

• Emelita S. Montalba, Brgy Captain, Brgy 88, San Jose, Tacloban City
• Ma. Rosario C. Bactol, Brgy Captain, Brgy 68, Anibong, Tacloban City
• Sheilany Abadingo, DSWD Information Officer, Brgy. 95, Caibaan, Tacloban City
• Lydia Golong, Brgy 101 Transitional Site Camp Leader
• Rey Uzhmar Padit, Consultant to the Mayor of Salcedo, Samar
• Fritzie Ordon, Vice Mayor of Giporlos, Samar


• Sean Ng, Haiyan Response Programmes Director, World Vision
• Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative
• Sabyte Lacson-Paguio, Humanitarian and Policy Advocacy Coordinator, Oxfam

IV. Local Partners/CSOs

• Fr. Cesar Aculan, Social Action Center Director, Diocese of Calbayog, Samar
• Luisito Uy, Program Manager, Diocesan Social Action Center Calbayog
• Charlie R. Razo, Field Coordinator, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

V. Other Interviews/Resource Persons

• Prof. Amy Exconde, UP Tacloban
• Prof. Ladylyn Lim-Mangada, UP Tacloban
• Rev. Lope Robredillo, Guian Parish Priest
• Pat Pedrosa, Administrative Officer, Business License and Permits Division, Tacloban City
• Engr. Ricky Abriol Santos, Proprietor, Richmark Construction (Government contractor, Catbalogan City, Samar)
• Jermaine Bayas, Technical Team Leader, Oxfam
• Ma. Ruselle Dacillo, Community Organizer, Dulag, Leyte, ICCO
• Adan Omillo, Kabuhayan Microcredit Inc. (KMI) Palo, Leyte
• Trisha Torres, entrepreneur
• Vanessa Salazar, entrepreneur
• Rico Cajife, Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO)

* Interviewees in Manila

• DSWD Assistant Secretary for Protective Programs Vilma B. Cabrera, Nov,. 6 and Dec. 17, 2014
• DTI Yolanda Project Management Office, Mauro Magpili, Dec. 4, 2014
• Former PARR Secretary Panfilo Lacson, Dec. 14, 2014
• Anonymous source, Oct. 14, 2014 (phone interview)
• Assistant Secretary Gina de la Cruz, OPARR, Nov. 4, 2014
• Ateneo Dream Team relief operations, Dennis Marquez, Nov. 8, 2014
• NCCP-ACT Alliance Humanitarian Response to Haiyan Project Manager Ms. Minnie, Nov. 14, 2014
• Country Director Praveen Agrawal, Nov. 4, 2014

* Focus Group Discussions

• FGD various POs in Tacloban City (Fhabi Fajardo of Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture, Jason Garido and two others)
• FGD Fisherfolk Association in Quinapondan, Samar (Orly Tabungar, Condriano Germones, Vicente Germones, Romulo Samson, Pablo Macawili, Aquilino Gonzaga, Jr.)
• Gigolos Women’s Association (GIWA) in Giporlos, Samar (Marife Farrales, Ermita Biyo, Jevelin Bisana)

* Public forums covered

• Plan International, media dialogue, Oct. 17, 2014
• Briefing and discussion on the PMR of the Typhoon Haiyan Strategic Response Plan, Oct. 22, 2014
• Press Conference: One Year of the Typhoon Haiyan Operation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Nov. 4, 2014
• UP ASM Yolanda Forum, Nov. 7, 2014
• Oxfam Press Conference, Tacloban City, Nov. 6, 2014
• Launch of the Christian Aid’s Missed Again Report, Nov. 11, 2014
• CSO Initial Assessments and Recommendations on the Bohol and Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation Program, Social Development Complex, Ateneo de Manila University, Nov. 4, 2014,
• “One Year After Yolanda and the Way Forward” Multi-Stakeholders Policy Forum organized by OPARR, Philippine International Convention Center, CCP Complex, Manila, Nov. 10, 2014


“Christian Aid funded this project/report as our contribution to the interest of the public’s right to know how the Yolanda funds are managed and used, and that the findings and recommendations are meant to feed into the policy discourse on Republic Act No. 10121 (The Philippine Risk Reduction and Management Plan of 2010) review and the Yolanda budget process.”

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