Prospects for full rehab of Leyte province dim despite Justin Bieber visit to Tacloban

There has been no shortage of good intentions and resources to match these as far as efforts to get people residing in the disaster areas left by super-typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda) back up on their feet. The question that has become more pressing in recent days has been whether a recovery can be sustained and whether or not it will be fuelled from within Philippine society. Bekele Geleta secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross socieities, however, warned against “aid dependency” even as the United Nations stepped up efforts to solicit aid funds for Haiyan’s victims in the Philippines.

“There are still needs and gaps in delivery of food and emergency shelter materials to some areas, but we must look towards gradually reducing people’s dependency on food aid,” [Geleta] said in a statement a day after completing a 72-hour visit to the disaster zone.

Can Justin Bieber save the Philippines?
Can Justin Bieber save the Philippines?
Recall an original UN estimate that more than $300-million was required to fund relief and recovery over a six-month period. The bill to rebuild the disaster area is now expected to be closer to $800-million. “The original plan was really urgent life-saving assistance with a relatively short timeline. Now we are looking at longer-term projects into rehabilitation and reconstruction,” UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesman Jens Laerke reports to the media.

Sourcing of funds notwithstanding, a more pressing issue is how — and if — these funds are being allocated and used. It has come to light, that even as vast sums of money and resources came pouring in to aid the relief effort, the astounding inefficiency of the Philippine bureaucracy was all but fatal so much so as to bring to serious question the recovery prospects of Tacloban City and other affected areas observes Kevin H.R. Villanueva, a university research scholar in international politics and human rights at the University of Leeds…

The money pledges and relief supplies of food and water worldwide have been heartening. And yet they were, until recently, stuck in Manila, or in the case of cash donations, much has prudently been held in banks until plans for reconstruction come to light. Driven by the images of despair and desperation, people have themselves made haste to come to the aid of the survivors of Yolanda.

The argument to be made here is that there has been no single point person to whom accountability for immediate relief and the eventual task of rebuilding has been bestowed. The Filipino people will survive because it is in their character to counter and rise above adversity. But if we are all to genuinely learn and understand the lessons of this disaster, the question must be given a future perfect thought: Who will be in charge, if Tacloban and its people are to rise from the rubble?

Indeed, there are reports that even foreign relief teams have started wondering where the their Filipino counterparts are and whether Filipinos will ever step up to match the scale and intensity of relief efforts so far delivered by foreigners…

Foreign aid-givers, the Koreans and teams from a score of other countries, including U.S. Marines and Air Force people, U.N. experts and NGO’s, are visible everywhere. You wonder, though, why so few Filipinos.

The World Tribune report from which the above excerpt was taken continues, observing that “[Tacloban City mayor] Alfred Romualdez, wonders too. Specifically, he wants to know why Philippine soldiers aren’t all over the city, joining in the search for bodies, cleaning up the trash and aiding in reconstruction.” And the answer to that, yet again, is as expected: politics.

The problem, though, is a problem within a problem. Romualdez, successor to his father as mayor, is a member of the family of Imelda Marcos, widow of Ferdinand Marcos, overthrown in the People Power Revolution of 1986.

The woman who took over from Marcos was the late Corazon Aquino, widow of Benigno Aquino Jr., gunned down as he returned to the Philippines from the U.S. in August 1983 to challenge the Marcos dictatorship. Their son, Benigno Aquino III, now president, nurses the family wounds.

A categorical validation of this astute analysis came from no less than Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas who, in a meeting with Romualdez, explained why the national government remains reluctant to provide much-needed support and resources to the on-going relief effort in Leyte province — the most hard-hit of the disaster zones left by Haiyan. “You’re a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino. We just want to legalize this. If it’s not legalized then, ok, you’re in charge… Bahala kayo sa buhay niyo [you all can go take care of yourselves],” Roxas explains.


You gotta hand it to Sec. Mar Roxas. Never before has so much been explained using so few words.

[Photo of Justin Bieber in Tacloban courtesy Justin Biebz Spanish Fans.]


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41 Comments on "Prospects for full rehab of Leyte province dim despite Justin Bieber visit to Tacloban"

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Can Justin Bieber save the Philippines? Whomever is asking this question has to be kidding. Bieber is nothing less than a useless, talentless “little boy”.


I have no qualms about Justin Bieber helping our country in any way, what I’m concerned about is the fact that the relief goods and funds for the reconstruction of Tacloban are still being withheld to the majority of the victims.

I was expecting that the tensions between the Romualdezes and the Aquinos were way over before the typhoon – instead, looks like someone wanted to open those wounds again; wounds that will affect the future of Tacloban.


I dont think speaking of pinoy society will tacloban rise. Happy faces belied of slaughterhouse fates.

Jerry Lynch

So why does aid need to be “legalized” at any time? What a stupid thing to say to the mayor of a decimated city!


The current government doesn’t give a damn about its people at all. What a surprise.


Justin Bieber just finished a tour in Australia where he proved that he is a shallow moron. I get the sarcasm, but am a bit pissed. Biebers visit isn’t about the Philippines, it’s about Bieber. Just an orchestrated PR exercise to polish his tarnishing image. Then again, why not do it in a place where image is everything.


News flash: Mar Roxas says that the video with the dialogue, “…you’re a Romualdez and the preseident is an Aquino” was “doctored.”

Huli na nga sa akto, pa-deny pa ang loko.


No need to wonder where all the foreign donations went. DSWD warehouses in Manila are stacked floor to ceiling with them. These are being hoarded by greedy and corrupt DSWD officials so they can later profit from it.

They have so much relief goods from foreign countries/agencies, that they started renting AN ENTIRE BASKETBALL ARENA to store additional goods. This is beyond evil:


if philanderer mar roxas was caught on video with his dick in a young girl he would say ‘ he slipped’
the low l8fe has no integrity.
roxas and aquino should spend a year at sandhurst or west point and understand what honor is all about. ( sandhurst is better), rather than being cheap lying cowards. not an ounce of leadership or officer material in either pnoy aquino or mar roxas

Hyden Toro
I would like to give a kick on the ass of this idiot, Mar Roxas and Mr. Aquino. they are playing politics, amidst the lives of those suffering people. We are all Filipinos. We are all paying taxes. Mr. Aquino and Mr. Roxas are two stupid clowns, playing politics. The foreign aid workers are really wondering why this is happening to the suffering people. Let us, who are against Roxas and Aquino , will not pay our taxes. The same way, they withold the aid, and do their work. The same way, we will withhold, in paying our taxes. The… Read more »
OK, let me get this straight…because Aquino’s Father was shot by a relative of the Mayor of Tacloban, their will be no National response? Where are the Filippine Officials in charge of co-ordinating the relief effort? Where in the fuck are all the supplies that are supposed to go to the needy? I say the Fail-ippines should be made to expend every centavo in the National Treasury before they get US Dollar numero Uno, or Euro, to ensure that they too have a stake in seeing to it that the funds get to the right places! After-all, a citizen in… Read more »
john c. jacinto

sana tumulong na rin si madame imelda, bongbong, imee at mga kaanak nila para makabangon na agad ang tacloban city. kahit 1/10 lang ng ninakaw ng pamilyang marcos-romualdez, malaking impact na yun. at malapit na rin ang pasko. merry christmas po, madame meldy and family!

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