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.

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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.]

41 Replies to “Prospects for full rehab of Leyte province dim despite Justin Bieber visit to Tacloban”

  1. 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”.

    1. jack says:
      December 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      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”.

      OMG…Watch what you’re saying!

      In the Philippines, supporters are unshaken in their belief that a “useless, talentless, ‘little boy'” can save the Philippines, so much so that they’ve even elected him to be president, whilst ignoring the far more qualified candidates out there. So, what difference does it make?!?

  2. 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.

    1. Politicians never forget, when it comes to being stung.

      The bad blood between the Marcoses and the Aquinos will truly never simmer down.

      Plus, the LP’s bet bet Bem Noel lost last elections.

    1. Reminds me of what happened during hurricane katrina in the united states, a famous artist blurted out on tv while having a telethon “Bush doesn’t care about black people”

      Like Bush, Mr. Aquino doesn’t care about the people of tacloban since he has abandoned them due to politics which should have been avoided.
      6 days is too long for any relief to get to tacloban.

  3. 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.

    1. True. He’s trying to get a few fans from that place. The unwashed, filthy, mouth-breathers would love to have Bieber there to give “hope” and “salvation”.

    2. We’ll take the money, he’ll regain the image he wants to keep.

      Really, even with Bieber being a shallow moron and all, at this point in time beggars can’t be choosers — and the guy won’t poison us with his PR drive anyway.

    1. He’s trapped like a rat.
      He’s not escaping from any criticisms this time.
      He was caught red handed yet he insists that the video was “doctored”.
      What kind of logic is that?
      “Kathniel” brand logic?

    2. The CIA can doctor any type of recording but lets face it, that video is not in the hands of anyone with the abilities of the CIA…and I would seriously doubt that they did it, LOL!

      Whatta bunch of weasels the country has for elected officials, not even Man enough to fess up when they make a mistake. The putting up with these idiots is what really gets me, they are seriously outnumbered.

  4. 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:

      1. Naku! Who would believe Stinky Dinky? Bobo lang at tanga.

        This statement coming from Dinky Soliman, who sang “If we hold on together” to Former Pres. GMA just before she stabbed her in the back the very next day by asking GMA to step down (remember Hyatt 10) is beyond unbelievable.

      2. Someone should dare the DSWD to open ALL their warehouses in Manila for public scrutiny right this very day. Punong-puno ng foreign relief goods yan.

        Dapat ASAP because this will be sold soon by these corrupt DSWD officials.

    1. OK, so now everyone knows where the stuff is….what is stopping 300,000 pissed of Filipino’s from going and taking what was supposed to be freely given to them?

      1. Kasi gutom na sila, may mga sakit na siguro..they can’t fight on an empty stomach. If you can’t won’t have enough nutrients going to your brain. If your brain starts sending false signals then..yeah…makakaisip na yang kumapit sa patalim..

        Strategy pre..ang galing ng pagkakagawa. That is how this government create living zombies.

      2. You can be sure that the people at Tacloban would have gone for it. They already ransacked warehouses because they were desperate.

        BUT THE RELIEF GOODS ARE ALL IN MANILA, no food/medicines/etc from foreign donors are available in Tacloban.

      3. And sadly, those relief goods are now slowly rotting away due to political greed so neither DSWD nor the victims can benefit from these donations.

        How ironic…

  5. 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

    1. These two idiots cannot enter Sandhurst and WestPoint. Their IQs and EWQs are too low. Both will not pass the entrance exams.

      SandHurst is the military academy of Britain. West Point is the military academy of New York, U.S.A.. It is Duty, Honor, and country, their motto.

      Aquino and Roxas, motto…myself, my family…and my bank accounts…

  6. 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 way they behave, shows the wickedness, they have in their hearts…

  7. 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 the West must prove indigence in order to get relief aid from the Western State and so too, must the Filippines in order to avoid the governing thieves to confiscate the aid and hoard it for themselves, fuckin thieving scumbags!

  8. 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!

    1. Si ABNOY, ang idol mo na ang naka-upo ngayon. Nung panahon ni Makoy, walang palpak na ganyan.

      NGAYON, PURO BLUNDERS from the abnormal person sitting at the presidential chair. ONE AFTER ANOTHER.

        1. Marcos might not be squeaky clean but he did what must be done just like GMA.

          Ang daming loser na Noytards dito. Si Makoy PATAY NA! It has been 25 years since he was ousted. Yet etong mga demonyong Aquino and their minions lagi naghahanap ng excuse for their incompetence and blunders.

          The truth is, THE AQUINOS ARE THE WORST THING that happened to the Philippines.

        2. Did you actually read that article by James Warren? Did you bother to understand it?

          You are labeling Noynoy Aquino the WORST president to be elected in the Philippines and are apologising for the Marcoses. Yet the James Warren piece clearly establishes Marcos and his cronies’ culpability for “the loss of thousands of lives, as well as the extensive damage caused by typhoons.”

          Warren writes:

          “Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, these so-called natural disasters, which required mobilisation of nation-wide relief efforts, emerged out of a particular institutional and cultural setting in the Philippine context. Ferdinand Marcos’ economic reforms had brought about dramatic socio-economic and ecological changes that INCREASED THE RISKS of man-made rather than natural disasters. But the President and First Lady steadfastly refused to acknowledge the link between crony capitalism, unsustainable economic development and natural disasters in an increasingly unstable archipelago. They deliberately remained in a state of denial, except to encourage big business, overseas governments and aid agencies to provide massive injections of capital and material support for relief efforts, rather than encouraging them to support appropriate disaster-mitigation strategies.”

          And finally:

          “In the political environment of the Marcos years, the government had sometimes blocked aid for typhoon and flood victims. In the 1970s and early 1980s, there is evidence of the abrogation of international humanitarian relief norms and international legal frameworks for disaster relief under the Marcos regime in the Philippines. During those years, wilful acts of misappropriation and mismanagement of relief funds, and theft and the improper sale of relief supplies in the name of politics occurred on a regular basis in the Philippines. Consequently, adequate food, shelter and medical care for thousands of people on the other side of the political divide in the Marcos years, who were adversely affected by typhoons and floods, was never provided.”

          Marcos and his cronies not only created a humanitarian and economic disaster by failing to take the appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of the devastation of a typhoon hitting the Philippines, they made the situation worse by playing politics and denying their political opponents from receiving the necessary relief. EXACTLY THE WAY PENOY AQUINO AND MAR ROXAS HAVE HANDLED THE SITUATION IN TACLOBAN.

          How can you reconcile the evidence of Marcos’ criminal behaviour with “Marcos might not be squeaky clean but he did what must be done just like GMA?” That’s just stupid and ignorant.

        3. Why do some people keep digging into the past? Same with Mar Roxas. People are dying and he’s concerned that he’s dealing with a Romualdez?? STUPID!

          Marcos a 100% better president than this ABNOY ever will be. I do not accept this Warren person’s article as fact. Capitalism or even crony capitalism does not cause that scale of typhoons, etc. If that is the case, then why is the US and Europe NOT BATTERED TO THE GROUND ALREADY?

          Anyway, I do not know why you give me this article. Marcos has nothing to do with Abnoy and Mar Roxas’ incompetence.

        4. To begin with, Toinks, you are the one who constantly brings up the past “glory” of the Marcos administration. Did you actually live through the Marcos years? I did. It was not pretty. It was not the paradise you portray it to be.

          I do not understand your logic. “Capitalism or even crony capitalism does not cause that scale of typhoons?” When was it claimed by anyone in the discussion or the Warren article that capitalism “causes” typhoons? That assertion is ludicrous and idiotic.

          Try to understand what is being said here.

          Marcos’ so-called “enlightened” economic policies (which largely favoured his cronies and relatives) CREATED a growing population of urban poor who settled in shanty towns situated in low-lying areas of Metro Manila and along esteros. Their repercussions were manifested in widespread impoverishment throughout the archipelago. These conditions WORSENED the effects of the disasters that would be inflicted by typhoons by preventing Filipinos from developing adequate measures to address the inclement weather. As a result THOUSANDS DIED UNNECESSARILY. ALL BECAUSE MARCOS DECIDED IT WAS MORE EXPEDIENT TO STEAL FROM HIS CALAMITY FUND AND INFLICT PAIN ON HIS POLITICAL OPPONENTS. Whatever manoeuvres you accuse Aquino and Roxas of committing as part of their game of revenge politics, Marcos perfected them FIFTY years ago.

          Trying to convince you of the veracity of James Warren’s article would be pointless. You’ve already convinced yourself of the certainty of your position. There is no value in engaging with someone who insists on demagoguery and prejudice rather than fact.

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