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Category archive for: Philippines

Philippines 2016 at the Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies

Written by Pauline Eadie and Francis Domingo.

Thirty years ago in February 1986 the Philippines saw a bloodless revolution that ousted President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda Marcos from Malacañang Palace. This revolution was known as the EDSA Revolution and the non-violent tactics of the masses became known as ‘People Power’. These events are embedded in the political psyche of the Philippines. The Philippines has a vibrant civil society and elections are a time of celebration but also violence. The stakes are high as political office at all levels equates to power and control over a chaotic and deeply unequal society. Philippine politics runs on a bicameral system, an arrangement that is hardly surprising given its history as an American tutelage (and a Spanish colony before that). Philippine politics also tends to lack ideology (notwithstanding leftwing or feminist parties such as Bayan Muna or Gabriela respectively) and politicians frequently defect to other parties for personal gain as opposed to ideological commitment.     Continue reading Philippines 2016 at the Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies

On Disasters and the Yolanda/Haiyan Experience

Written by Jan Robert R Go.

Since 2000, natural disasters, it seems, have become a commonplace in the Philippines more than ever—not simply in terms of numbers, but also in terms of magnitude. Many studies and reports, both national and international, have already highlighted the geographical exposure of the Philippines, which makes it a disaster-prone country. A recent report of Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Resilient Communities Program notes the frequent calamities in the Philippines due to typhoons and floodings, as well as volcanic activities and earthquakes. Meanwhile the Deutsche Welle news agency has called the Philippines ‘a country prone to natural disasters’.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Belgian-based Centre on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) identified the Philippines as the fourth most disaster-prone country in the world with 274 natural disasters recorded from 1995 to 2015. In 2014 alone, Typhoons Rammasun (locally named Glenda) and Hagupit (locally named Ruby) displaced around 2.99 million and 1.82 million people, respectively. Given these figures and situation, it becomes imperative that the Philippine government, including the local levels, must have disaster prevention, preparation, mitigation, and response mechanisms. Continue reading On Disasters and the Yolanda/Haiyan Experience

Disaster, Resilience and the Importance of Community

Written by Pauline Eadie.

Super-typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013. Yolanda (international name Haiyan) devastated the Philippines. Over 6300 people were officially reported dead, although unofficially the death toll is estimated to be much higher. On 14 August 2015 the independent Filipino social research institution, Social Weather Stations (SWS), published a report entitled ‘Filipino Public Opinion on the Impact of Typhoon Yolanda: A Year After’. Statistical data in the report is drawn from surveys conducted shortly after the first anniversary of typhoon Yolanda. Survey questions were designed to gather the opinions of survivors on issues relating to both harm suffered and satisfaction with relief and rehabilitations efforts. Surveys were carried out in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. The hardest hit region was the Visayas, specifically the areas designated as ‘Region 8‘ in the report (Western Samar and Southern Leyte minus Tacloban City) and Tacloban City itself. 89% of families in Region 8 reported that they were ‘seriously harmed’ by Yolanda. The report details lost or damaged livelihoods, housing, household possessions, community resources and also the rate and source of post-disaster assistance.

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Disaster, Development and Urban Risk: a comment on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Written by Pauline Eadie.

The World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) was held in Sendai, Japan from 14-18 March 2015. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) organized the conference. The objective of the conference was to facilitate a post-2015 framework for disaster relief. The result of the WCDRR was the non-binding Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR). ‘Post-2015’ is now embedded in the lexicon of development practitioners as a signifier of the post Millennium Development Goal (MDG) era.  2015 also heralds the end of the ten-year Hyogo Framework for Action: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disaster (HFA). The HFA listed five priorities for Action that involved scaling up institutional and cultural awareness of safety, risk and resilience ‘at all levels’. A key theme was preparedness, including early warning.

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Typhoon Yolanda: One Year Later

By Pauline Eadie

Nearly a year ago, on 8 November 2013 super-typhoon Yolanda hit the Visayan region of the Philippines. Winds reached up to 200 mph with a ‘storm surge’ of over 17 feet. The storm surge was actually the height of a tsunami and the damage was catastrophic. The latest available official figures show that 6,293 individuals have been reported dead, 1,061 are missing and 28,689 are injured, vast areas of agricultural land were devastated and whole towns destroyed. The typhoon affected 591 municipalities and the total damage is estimated at US$904,680,000. The total number of people affected by this disaster in terms of livelihood, environmental and food security are approximately 16 million people. However on 6 November 2013, when the potential force of Yolanda was becoming clear, the President of the Philippines, Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino III, declared that government agencies were aiming for zero casualties.

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