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  1. Tacloban misspent nearly P1B in Yolanda funds If thousands of survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Tacloban City have yet to feel the benefits of millions of pesos in rehabilitation funds, it is because irregularities marked a variety of projects, state auditors found. The irregularities involved a total of P907.56 million meant for infrastructure, aquaculture, and emergency shelter assistance projects, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in its 2015 audit report on the city government. The report was released on Wednesday, July 27. The funds were given to the city government by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. A total of 31 infrastructure projects, covering the construction or repair of barangay halls and mini-gymnasiums, have not been completed as of February 3, 2016. The contractors for the projects worth P100.23 million, under the Recovery Assistance for Yolanda (RAY), have yet to face penalties under the Government Procurement Reform Act, the report said. Meanwhile, 19 additional projects worth P46.53 million were suspended after the contracts were awarded, due to a variety of reasons, ranging from revisions of the plans to the project being within "no-build zones." Auditors also found out that missed deadlines and poor planning plagued the P32.55 million Mariculture Park Rehabilitation Program, which aimed to supply fishermen with fish cages and bangus (milk fish) fingerlings. Out of 150 planned fish cages, each worth P160,000, only 95 were delivered to eligible recipients. This was because, auditors found out, the beneficiaries needed to cough up P216,000 per cage to feed one cropping of bangus. In addition, a supplier failed to deliver even a single fingerling to the beneficiaries on time under a contract worth P8.5 million. Violations COA auditors also found out that one out of 5 beneficiaries of the million-peso Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) program of the city's social welfare office were not eligible. The report said: "For CY 2015, the City Government of Tacloban disbursed a total amount of P728,260,000 for the DSWD Emergency Shelter Program for 138 barangays. The [City Social Welfare and Development Office, CSWDO] did not follow some of the program implementation guidelines." These included giving assistance to families with monthly incomes of P15,000 or higher, and lack of physical inspections of the recipients' homes. The auditors also found out that there was wide disparity in the amounts distributed to the recipients, which were not commensurate to the damage their homes incurred due to the typhoon. The CSWDO head told the auditors that the affected families did not give "true information" during their assessment. At the same time, the official said all residents of Tacloban should be considered eligible, since the city was the most devastated area post-Yolanda. COA, however, said the city government should stick to the rules in selecting the beneficiaries of the program. The auditing agency also said fund disbursements that violated the rules will be issued Notices of Suspension and Disallowance, which will compel those liable to submit proof of eligibility, or else they will be required to reimburse the government of the entire amount given to them. SOURCE– Rappler.com
  2. I was having lunch today with a college and the subject of Overseas Aid came up He is a Rotarian and was saying how relief goods destined for victims of Typhoon Yolanda where being held up in the Port of Cebu. He wasn’t sure of all the facts and it was just in general conversation. When I got home it was still in my head so I did a little research of my own and found this. While on the face of it, there are faults on all sides, but Why can not commonsense come into play? It’s as though they are all playing. “Mine Is Bigger Than Yours” game Anyway, for what its worth, here it is. Set free the relief goods There’s no more time to lose in liberating 21 container vans of donations from Belgian citizens intended for typhoon Yolanda victims. After arriving in the Port of Cebu port sometime in January, the cargo sits in the pier useless to the people who need them the most. After the blunder of consigning the shipments to Rotary International, which has no accreditation by the Philippine government as a relief agency or charity to receive tax-free donations, well-meaning donors in that side of Europe would think twice about being so generous again. They didn’t want to deal with the government in the first place, which is why they addressed the goods to the Rotary in Cebu City. That reluctance is proof itself of the lowly trust placed by private citizens of Belgium in the Philippine bureaucracy. That mindset isn’t limited to this small wealthy kingdom. Even overseas Filipinos in other countries hold back and prefer to send their donations home through private commercial couriers. So imagine what they think of the Philippine government right now. It’s water under the bridge to say the senders didn’t abide by donation rules in the Tariff and Customs Code and Department of Finance. We can’t simply “return to sender” the container vans that are racking up daily costs of demurrage for staying behind the time allowed for unloading the cargo in the Cebu International Port. Quiet negotiations were going on for months to break the impasse only to have Cebu businessman Philip Tan, district secretary of Rotary International District 3860, throw up his hands in March and name someone else, a Belgian living in Manila, to find a solution. With so much time lost, no one wants to settle the bill anymore. A pity, because the contents of the vans may include perishable items like food. A simple solution would be for the Bureau of Customs to declare the entire cargo “abandoned”. Then the vans would be forfeited in favor of the government, and the DSWD would have to take charge of distributing the goods to storm victims in Ormoc and Tacloban City — which was the whole point in the first place. Ideally, the distribution was to be done by private volunteers, which can still be done by special arrangement with the agency. Shipping costs to Leyte could be covered by the Navy. Cebu Deputy Collector Paul Alcazaren said his office was reluctant to jump in and declare the 21 vans “abandoned”, opting to give the Belgian donors more time to fix the papers. But that’s an unacceptable waste of more time during a calamity, in this case, seven months after “Haiyan” disaster. As long as relief goods reach the people who need them most in a timely and transparent manner, no one has to assign blame or continue to gripe about red tape. And while we’re trying to get the Belgian donations released, how many other container vans of humanitarian relief aid have gotten stuck in the Port of Cebu? – See more at: http://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/2014/06/06/set-free-the-relief-goods/#sthash.9huuO0Iq.dpuf
  3. There is no area specific thread for these locations yet, the international community needs to start hearing about our friends to the north of Cebu. Please post what you can for information regarding Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda in Cebu Provinces worst hit.
  4. If anyone has a bit of time to donate to the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, there is a massive effort repacking food being held at the CICC (Cebu International Conference Center) across from Parkmall. Efforts are going on 24 hours a day, until further notice.
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