After Yolanda: State of Barangay 88

Rappler.com
Some residents of a community in Tacloban feel abandoned despite the deluge of international assistance and funding

TACLOBAN, Philippines – On August 1, the office of rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson will finally submit a 169-billion-peso comprehensive rehabilitation plan for all Haiyan-affected areas.
Voltaire Tupaz reports, residents of a community in Tacloban feel abandoned despite the deluge of international assistance and funding.

BENIGNO AQUINO, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: To our friends and neighbors around the world: Your outpouring of solidarity will never be forgotten by a grateful Filipino people. Thank you.

When President Benigno Aquino III thanked the world in his State of the Nation address for helping Filipinos after Haiyan, Congress and dignitaries erupted into applause.

To date, the government has received nearly 15 billion pesos in foreign aid and more than 34 billion pesos in pledges.

In Barangay 88, the hardest hit village in Tacloban, people are as grateful, but they feel forgotten. They ask: Where did the billions go?

EMIE MONTALBAN, BARANGAY 88 CAPTAIN: Kasi alam naman nila yung naririnig nila sa news na merong billions of money na nakalaan para sa recovery ng Tacloban. Pero hinid nila maramdaman. Ang sabi nila, sana kahit maliit na halaga ibigay sa kanila.

(The people hear in the news that billions were donated, but they didn’t feel it. They say, they hope to receive even a small amount.

Crashing waves from both sides of the village claimed at least a thousand lives and destroyed more than 1600 houses.

Almost 9 months after Haiyan, at least 370 families still live in tents,
350 in bunk houses, and more than 800 in makeshift houses.
The wounds of Haiyan are still fresh for Barangay 88.
Now, they’re demanding their fair share.

EMIE MONTALBAN, BARANGAY 88 CAPTAIN: Sa aming minamahal na presidente, kayo ay ibinoto namin dahil naniniwala kami, na kayo ay magaling at mabait na presidente . Sana huwag haluan ng pulitika kasi mga tao (rin) kami. Ibigay na kung ano ang dapat para sa nasalanta ng bagyo, para yung mga tao naman hindi magkaroon ng hinanakit sa inyo.

(To our dear president, we voted for you because we believe you are a good president. Set aside politics. We are human beings, too. Today, give the affected people their due so that they will not harbor ill-feelings towards you.)

Some local officials say bureaucracy and political rivalry get in the way of recovery.

JERRY YAOKASIN, TACLOBAN VICE MAYOR: Kaya nga minsan there’s a deadlock kase gusto ng LGU kami na lang ang bahala, but at the same time the national government – they also have to be accountable to foreign donors, they cannot…If you have the national government (and) the local government working together hand-in-hand, mabilis ang proseso. But then there’s a sense of mistrust.

(That’s why there’s a deadlock, because the LGU wants to take care of the implementation, but at the same time the national government – they also have to be accountable to foreign donors – they cannot just release…if you have the national government (and) the local government working together hand-in-hand, this will hasten the process.)

In his SONA, President Aquino announces the approval of the local recovery plans that identify needs to be funded including shelter, infrastructure, and livelihood.

BENIGNO AQUINO, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Ngayong Hulyo, isinumite na sa atin, at nilagdaan na rin natin, ang LGU Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan para sa Cebu, Iloilo, Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, at Tacloban City.

(In July, the LGU rehabilitation and recovery plan for Cebu, Iloilo, Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, and Tacloban City was submitted, and I approved it.)

VOLTAIRE TUPAZ, REPORTING: Barangay 88 is a reminder of how a village was forgotten by the government after it was almost wiped out by Yolanda. People here hope that President Aquino will remember them not only in his speech but also in his deeds.

Voltaire Tupaz, Rappler, Tacloban.

– Rappler.com

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