Nov 14

#RememberHaiyan Diaries: The new normal after Yolanda

As international NGOs and funding agencies rush to provide more and more temporary and “transitional” shelters across Samar, Leyte and the regional hub Tacloban City, the people are living a life that could be considered as “the new normal”.

Only about a week prior to the first anniversary of Yolanda’s epic devastation, President Aquino approved the rehabilitation plan for typhoon-stricken areas. That’s the first thing about everything in “the new normal” — the people have to patiently wait for the terribly slow pace of official rehabilitation efforts and would have to live longer in tents and in “transitional” shelters of various types. Continue reading →

Nov 14

#RememberHaiyan Diaries: ‘Build Back Better’

Day One of the Plan International Philippines (Plan) media tour brought us to Barangays 62 and 62-A in Tacloban City.

By a stroke of luck, both barangays did not sustain casualties even if a storm surge of several meters high submerged the two villages, forcing residents to cling to dear life on rooftops and go to higher ground. A number of residents  whose houses were damaged either totally or partially received aid from Plan and its partner institutions. Continue reading →

Nov 14

#RememberHaiyan Diaries: Touchdown Tacloban

Thanks to newfound friends, I was able to visit Tacloban and parts of Samar and Leyte in time for the first anniversary of epic supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

By newfound friends, I refer to folks at Plan International Philippines, who organized a media tour mostly for journalists and for this blogger. It gave me a chance to see the pace of recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts a year after the world’s strongest storm devastated our country. By design, the media tour sought to showcase Plan’s work among the good people of Eastern Visayas: The schedules and itineraries were tight, but we all took as much as we could to get a pulse of our kababayans, especially the kids and young people.

So what did I see? Continue reading →

Jul 14

Fact-checking Aquino’s SONA claims

President Aquino at the Batasan Pambansa. (Photo by: Tobias Engay, Media Relations Service-PRIB)

President Aquino at the Batasan Pambansa. (Photo by: Tobias Engay, Media Relations Service-PRIB)

In his fifth state of the nation address, President BS Aquino made many claims to prove that he deserves the public’s continued “trust” and to bolster his record as Chief Executive.

Let’s take a close look at some of those claims.

Continue reading →

Oct 13

Dear PNoy (An open letter to the President about pork)

Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom/European pressphoto agency - Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (C) greets supporters after delivering his State of the Nation Address during a joint session of the 16th Congress in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 22 July 2013. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the Philippines on 22 July to demand better jobs, more inclusive growth and the protection of human rights to coincide with President Benigno Aquino III?s state of the nation address. An effigy of Aquino was burned and eggs were thrown at police officers blocking the main road going to the House of Representatives. EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA

President Aquino shakes hands with congressmen after delivering his State of the Nation Address during a joint session of the 16th Congress in Quezon City on 22 July 2013. Photo from Yahoo! News by EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA.

Dear PNoy,

Nakakagulat naman na ang sikat at pinagkakatiwalaang presidente namin – ayon sa mga survey – ay magsasalita ngayong gabi. At sa sobrang napakaimportante pa yata, mukhang ipe-preempt ninyo ang mga paborito naming telenovela at iba pang palabas sa TV.

Sana ay worth it itong gagawin niyo. Pakisugurado pong kapani-paniwala yung mga sasabihin niyo. Sana ay di mala-telepantasya yung script na babasahin ninyo para sulit naman yung pag-preempt niyo sa mga telenovela. (Sana maging Honesto kayo at ‘wag kontrabida, ok?)

Di po namin alam kung ganoon na kayo kakabado kaya gusto niyong maging Primetime King.  Anyway, buhay po ninyo yan. Sana ay basahin niyo ito para magkalinawan. Continue reading →