Even way back on the 24th October this year, Ibon Foundation had already highlighted in a report the unimpressive performance of the Philippine government in the rehabilitation of the disaster zones left by Haiyan. The report quotes numbers from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) which show that the region is “still in the relief phase and barely starting to recover almost a year after the typhoon struck. Typhoon Yolanda affected 1.5 million families of whom 918,261 families were outright displaced.”
The most damning metrics can be found in what has (not) been achieved in the rebuilding of critical infrastructure vital to resuscitating the economy of the region…
Hundreds of thousands of people remain without homes and lead a precarious existence in temporary shelters most of which were constructed to substandard quality.
Kids have no school facilities to go to, adding another layer to the poverty trap many of Haiyan’s victims already find themselves in.
The cost of basic goods and services which had skyrocketed following the disaster will likely remain high as vital land transport links remain decrepit and neglected.
Other critical infrastructure facilities needed to support the region’s enormous population languish in disrepair owing to the all-too-familiar paralysis the Philippine government had exhibited over the last 12 months.
It is, indeed, not surprising that the international community which had contributed huge amounts of resources to the rescue and relief effort last year is now highly critical and utterly disappointed with the dismal results the Philippines and its government led by President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III has shown thus far…
The Aquino administration is reeling from criticism that it has bungled the recovery work in the Haiyan-affected towns. Even the Commission on Audit has released a scathing report which questioned the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s “inefficient” utilization and distribution of funds and donations intended for typhoon survivors. Critics also pointed out that the government’s comprehensive rehabilitation plan was only signed by Aquino on October 29, or a few days before the first anniversary of the Haiyan disaster. This means that relief and recovery efforts in the past months have been undertaken by various agencies without a master plan to guide the activities.
With Christmas fast approaching, it remains to be seen if Filipinos will take the cue from this big reality check on the sincerity and seriousness they claim they apply with regard to the plight of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and be a bit more circumspect in the appalling consumerism they exhibit every time the Silly Season rolls in.
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.[Photo courtesy The Australian.]
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