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Nine months after typhoon Haiyan…

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Sometimes stories can be very difficult to justify when your sources comes from the main stream. At times it can get very redundant and confusing that it losses it’s soul purpose in providing the truth.

In times like today, social media is just that, a source of main stream information. It has become part of our daily life that one can read a story, and it will come and go in a few days. Even if it is a huge disaster that will take a long time to recover, so many unfortunate events out there, it can be easily forgotten.

The big cities are still struggling to fight what is needed to be done, in essence for the forgotten ones, this has become almost a losing battle. The smaller barrios are now at the tipping point where once the shelters provided were meant to be temporary is becoming permanent. Many barrangay’s regard their schools, just like the church, a pride of the community. The centre of knowledge where their children can learn and get a better future. However, as time goes by many wonder if it will still be there.

The small villages are suffering the consequences of political debacle and egotism. Practically nowadays, politicians are worried about their credibility to be re-elected than taking action of what is necessary.

To see the faces of these children is to see the harsh reality they are still challenged with. Rain or shine they go, even if the ground is muddy or the roof is leaking. Resilience can only go for so long, but if nobody helps them soon the whole village will die. It’s their home and nobody should dictate what and where they should go.

As the 9th month anniversary draws near, we shouldn’t be seeing infrastructure that are still in poor condition anymore. A sign of progress should be evident, but the voices of these people and the children are getting silenced more so than ever before.

To us, it may mean nothing, to them it’s their future. We have the inner willingness to help others in any we can. It’s our nature to see humanity and dignity in others who have very little to hang on to.

Focus on the People.

Media has it’s way of over sensationalizing topics that can take away the focus of the real issue. This week I saw an article that made that case ever so clearly. There were a couple of headlines that made its way to the top and one if them had absolutely nothing to do with the helpless Haiyan victims. This whole Lee-Navarro subject is just a hype to avoid the governments responsibility to help the real issue with the people of Leyte. Secondly, the image that was posted on an international report caused a stir among the leyteans. Photo op is huge for many local political representatives, and their exposure is important to them, even though we know it’s not going to get them any further in the next election. As a waray-waray myself, I know exactly how my fellow people can be very sensitive to certain issues. We tend to over react to images before we can even find out exactly what the real story behind it. In fact I know this because, like many of my fellow people, I too reacted this same way because, that’s how we waray-waray are, we are very sensitive to certain issues and we conclude ourselves by either expressing with anger or with disappointment and not going any further with story.

But sometimes we must think out of the box. Some issues are far greater to be ignored or avoided especially when it affects a large community. Oftentimes, the opposing group or the medias, that prefer to be unbiased, will not address issues that perhaps we think are important to us. Locally, we want action, we want to see results, but it can only happen if we disregard what others will say. At times the media or the opposition party will likely use tactics that are thought provoking and will even try to divert attention by focusing on other issues. This is a very common practice used to divert attention to topics that we perhaps think is important to us.

We leyteans must think outside the box. We mustn’t fall into self-criticism, be it seeing in a form of an image of someone we hate, or subject that has no relation to our situation. I sympathize how you feel the anger and rage when you see a subject you don’t like, but that only fuels the discontent to ourselves. The outside world does not know that, nor cares to know what’s going on locally. They care more of the big picture, the real issue that are affecting the many.

I hope you understand this is not a rant, but rather take it as an advise that we mustn’t take away the focus of what’s the real issue here. If we are to make a real difference in this world, we must work together for the common good. We must fight for what is right to us. This is the real story, educate the whole world what’s been happening in Leyte and show them the injustice that we have all experienced since typhoon Haiyan. Real stories like the plea from Janice Dorado in MacArthur Leyte who needs helps in there school infrastructure. Amelita Flores from Tabu, Dulag whose village is in dire need of basic aid still. These are genuine stories that we all could focus on and spread the help they call out by liking FB Aid for Typhoon Haiyan Victims.

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Two Months Later…

Another year has passed and many of us were fortunate enough to celebrate the season of love and friendship with those that are near and dear to us. We unwrapped our gifts, enjoyed turkey, sweets, maybe some egg nog and alcohol and relaxed, surrounded by   image

the coziness of what we each are fortunate enough to call home. We celebrated the birth of a new year and resolved once again to be better people in the months ahead.

But for some, like the victims of Super-typhoon Haiyan, Christmas came and went without celebration as people continued to grieve their losses and line up for their rations which were meagre to start out with and had been pillage by the hands that held them first.
November 8 2013. Super-typhoon Haiyan barreled through the island of Leyte, and the town of MacArthur became one of the many that were affected by the storm’s destructive wrath.
A new life greets them in the coming year. Homes, livelihoods, and for some, friends and family, gone. Stores, schools and churches, gone. Roads blocked with debris hampers the rescue efforts and, in some of the hardest hit areas, the stench of the dead hangs as a grim reminder.

Two months later the people in these areas struggle to recover from this disaster. Christmas was celebrated in line for rations and blessings were counted by those who had lost only their homes and belongings but not their family.
Rescue and aid efforts have been very slow in coming. Aid should be meted out fairly to all in the area but in the town of MacArthur, a town too small to be newsworthy, the dispensing of aid has been less than fair.
When aid finally arrived in the town of MacArthur it was not till two weeks after the typhoon and only five times in total since then. People walk for miles because of the extreme gas prices or wait in line in the heat, hoping to receive enough rations to survive. What they get has been pillaged by the hands that delivered it. 10 kilos of rice becomes mysteriously pared down to two, canned goods arrive 2 out of a dozen. Medicine intended for the victims becomes waylaid to be sold on the black market.

Just a month after the typhoon, DSWD (Dept. of Social, Welfare, and Development), announced that aid will be cut back near the end of December. Only families with special needs, and the elderly will be receiving further supplies, and it will only be delivered to certain drop centers. Two months of sparse help. Hardly long enough to help a community whose world was erased in a few short hours to begin to live again.
In MacArthur Leyte help from the local infrastructure is slow. The town still has no electricity, thereby relying on one of the most environmentally friendly sources of energy, the sun. Solar light kits are in high demand so the price of these kits is very high. Only a few can afford them and those who can could only get one for a household. Prices for other sources of light like candles and gas are still inflated. Debris still remains on the side of the road sitting in stagnant pools of water for weeks. The rise of mosquito borne diseases like dengue fever has become prevalent. Medicines are essential to families who have gotten sick from it.

Christmas is over for us but the spirit of giving is year round. Please find it in your heart to help the so soon forgotten victims in the outlying villages like MacArthur Leyte who have bravely tried to find something to celebrate about. Perhaps we who have had so much to be thankful for this holiday season could find it in our hearts to give them a little help, a little dignity, and a perhaps, a lot of hope. Perhaps our resolution to be come better people could start right .

Thank you all for your support and please click like on our FB page to spread the word.