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Category: Philippines

Reproductive Health and Post-Disaster Baby Booms

Written by: Ladylyn Lim Mangada

 When Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) devastated Eastern Visayas in November 2013, pictures of death, displacement and massive damage to infrastructure and housing shocked the world.  However, behind the grief and anger over the disorganized distribution of emergency assistance was a celebration of life, particularly new lives.  The areas struck by Haiyan experienced a baby boom. The catastrophic typhoon did not delay or forego the reproductive motivations of the survivors. Haiyan took away lives but it also brought new lives.

The Continuing Resettlement Issues in Tacloban, the Philippines

Written by Jan Robert Go.

It is nearly three years since Super typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines in November 2013. Resettlement to permanent housing is an ongoing issue in Tacloban, the city that was hit hardest by Yolanda.  Resettlement plans have been dogged by inadequate infrastructure and utility provision. The Philippine government is duty bound to provide adequate housing for Yolanda survivors. However, concerned national and local agencies must also ensure that relocation sites are conducive to the normalisation and betterment of community and family life. Problems such as inadequate housing and clean water have social and political dimensions, which can be seen at household and community levels.

Post-typhoon Haiyan: Housing and Water Problems in Resettlement Areas

Written by Jan Robert R. Go.

Two years and ten months since typhoon Yolanda, the effects on the lives of the survivors are still felt. Families are still in search of stable livelihood and decent resettlement. The government has not yet addressed the major concerns of the survivors and their families. Problems on land for relocation, clean water, and drainage and sewer systems, among others, remain. With a new administration, there is a new hope that these concerns will be given attention and eventually resolved.

On 8 September 2016, the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) and Oxfam Philippines held a press conference ‘Resettling Communities, Unsettling Realities,’ which focused on the alarming situation of resettlement in Tacloban City, a typhoon Haiyan-affect area. The panel of guests includes representatives from the Council of Yolanda Survivors Association of Tacloban (CYSAT), Philippine Network of Rural Development Institutes (PhilNet-RDI), Tacloban City Community Affairs Office, PLCPD, and Oxfam. In the press conference, two major concerns were highlighted by the panellists: (1) the quality of housing facility provided by the National Housing Authority (NHA), and (2) the demand for safe and clean water for the communities.

Building Back Better? Not Yet: Tacloban nearly three years after Typhoon Yolanda

Written by Pauline Eadie.

On 8 November 2013 super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) hit the Philippines. Yolanda was the strongest typhoon ever to make landfall. The typhoon left vast areas of the Pacific facing Eastern Visayas region in complete disarray. Well over 6000 people died (the final death toll will probably never be known) and the vast landscape of the typhoon ravaged area was left looking like a war zone. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster communication was cut and survivors faced a desperate search for food, water and shelter. A significant international relief effort swung into action. Governmental and non-governmental agencies flooded the region with relief goods, medical, logistical and military personnel, rehabilitation training and goodwill.

November 2016 will mark the three-year anniversary of the typhoon. As part of the ESRC/DFID funded project, ‘Poverty Alleviation in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda’, our team has been travelling regularly to Leyte in the Eastern Visayas to monitor the progress of the reconstruction. Tacloban City, the epic centre of the disaster, has been our primary focal point.  Our first visit was nine months after the disaster in August 2014. Reconstruction work was in full swing. The air was heavy with the smell of new paint and freshly sawn wood. However, people were still living in tent cities and were only just emerging from the shock of the disaster. Yolanda brought with it a storm surge that reached nearly 20 feet in places, a tsunami by any other name, and many survivors had seen their loved ones, houses and possessions swept away. Every evening an eerie quite descended over town. Partly as a result of still limited electricity for street lighting and reduced public transport. But also because ghosts loomed large in the imagination of the locals.

Philippines’ lightning-rod president Duterte charts a surprising course

Written by Pauline Eadie.

The Philippines’ highly controversial president, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, has delivered his first State of the Nation address – and what a spectacle it turned out to be.

It was scheduled to last 38 minutes, but went on for 140. Its tone oscillated between a formal presidential address and free-spirited informality; the hashtag for it, #SONA2016, was trending worldwide for hours after it finished.

As Duterte went on, he visibly relaxed and increasingly wandered off-script with his comments. At times he stumbled over words – but this only added to the impression that he was speaking from the heart. Duterte used the speech to address many of the criticisms against him, particularly his relationship with the rule of law and human rights.

New Administration, New Future: Reducing Disaster and Risk in the Philippines

Written by Maria Ela L. Atienza

When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte officially assumed office last week, disaster preparedness was the one of the issues he addressed during the first official Cabinet meeting of his administration. The President talked about his experience when he brought a rescue team from Davao to Tacloban in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Based on this experience, the President cited the need to pre-position equipment in disaster-prone areas to enable the government to provide aid to affected residents.

This development is a promising sign that the new administration will look closely into improving disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) in a country that is prone to natural and human-made disasters. The new government will definitely consult experts and practitioners in the field of DRRM to improve the existing framework and to prevent high loss of lives and property and minimize vulnerabilities of people and communities in future calamities. These experts and practitioners will probably advise the administration to focus not just on relief and rehabilitation but more importantly, on disaster risk reduction. However, the Duterte administration could also spend some time listening to what young people think about DRRM and other issues facing the country. After all, the Philippines has a large young population. The overall youth literacy rate is about 97% and the country’s median age is 24.4 years.     

Survey Fatigue and the Search for ‘Good’ Data: post-disaster strategies

Written by Claire L. Berja.

Leyte in the Eastern Visayas of the Philippines was one of the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Tacloban, the city that became the ‘poster town’ of the disaster, is located in Leyte facing the Pacific Ocean at the head of the Leyte Gulf. Leyte is one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. There is a high incidence of poverty and many people also move in and out of poverty (transient poverty) due to a high degree of vulnerability to shocks.

Typhoon Yolanda left many people devastated. It did not discriminate by class. In the aftermath of disasters the wealthy tend to be able to rehabilitate themselves more quickly, as they may have savings or extended family support to fall back on. However in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda the devastation was total in many areas. In the longer term the disaster increased poverty overall.

Philippine Election Blog 2016 – The End

Written by Francis Domingo and Pauline Eadie.

In late 2015 we started musing over the idea of running a series of articles about the Philippine Elections in 2016 for Ballots and Bullets, a blog run by the School of Politics and International Relations at The University of Nottingham. We knew that the official campaign would be three months long and that this task would be a big commitment. After canvassing a number of friends and colleagues on whether they would write for us we decided to go ahead. When the election campaign started on 9 February so did our blog.

Philippines 2016: How ‘Dutertismo’ can make a difference

Written by Roland G. Simbulan.

The clear mandate given by the Filipino electorate for Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte as the next president of the Philippines in the 2016 elections is a clear signal that the nation urgently seeks meaningful social change. The Commission on Elections estimates that 84% of voters participated in the 2016 elections, making it the largest turnout in Philippine electoral history. It was an election that gave a landslide victory to a provincial mayor from Davao, a city that was once the bloody battleground between New People’s Army guerrillas and government security forces. The military and police forces then also organized the Alsa Masa, a dreaded paramilitary group that assassinated even sympathizers of the armed and unarmed Left. It is to the credit of Duterte that Davao is now considered one of the safest places in the country to live in. The mayor from Davao is also known to be on speaking terms with the outlawed New People’s Army (NPA) who have occasionally turned over policemen and soldiers to him who had been captured as prisoners of war (POW). He is also known to be a supporter of indigenous peoples’ rights, Moro people’s rights, in general for the poor and underserved in Mindanao, though in a controversial speech during the campaign he threatened labour unions with annihilation should they disturb industrial peace under his administration.

Top 5 Things to Expect of a Duterte Presidency

Written by Vladimir Guevarra.

Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency is upon us. The stance of the tough-talking mayor of Davao city on crime and corruption is pretty clear, but his policies on the economy are less so. Here’s the outlook for the Philippines under Duterte over the next six years:

#1 On Society – Expect more discipline

Right after Duterte’s mammoth miting de avance at the Quirino Grandstand, social media was gushing over how hundreds of thousands of supporters picked up their trash and left the park clean and orderly – something nearly unheard of in the Philippines. You can call it the “Davao effect”– in which people became more conscious about their conduct in public. Already, Duterte is proposing restrictions on the sale of liquor as well as a curfew past 10p.m. for minors.