Public urged to monitor Yolanda aid

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

SEVERAL organizations on Thursday called on the public to remain vigilant and monitor the aid from all over the world for the restoration and rehabilitation of typhoon-hit areas in Eastern Visayas.

In a discussion called “Watching where the Aid Goes," several media groups, netizens and disaster risk reduction advocates initiated actions to monitor the funds and goods donated for the victims of the typhoon.

“It’s our moral obligation to help ensure things don’t go missing, get stolen or wasted. We have to make sure aids either cash or non-cash are being utilized well,” Rorie Fajardo, program manager of Citizen Action Network for Accountability (CANA) said.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported received money amounting to P531,099,624.85 intended for the victims of the killer Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and for the restoration and rehabilitation of the affected areas particularly the Visayas region.

The DBM under the directive of President Benigno Aquino III launched a web-based project Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (Faith), a program which shows transparency of the aids coming internationally.

Detailed information of the aids such as where the aid came from, if it is cash or non-cash (non-cash refers to amount of medicines, manpower etc.), where the fund is intended depending on the sender's choice (either for the victims or for restoration of the area), if the money was already received or pledged, on what agency a certain amount of money goes, and reports from the implementing agency on how the money was used.

“Ninety-nine percent ang accuracy the program na ito since we are directly working doon sa mga nagpapadala ng tulong,” Ivygail Ong, Project officer of FAiTH said.

The DBM encouraged the netizens to visit, check the information given and leave a comment if ever they noticed inconsistencies.

However, they are still currently working to get connected with the companies or agencies locally sending their help for the typhoon victims.

Meanwhile, Blogwatch co-founder Noemi Lardizabal-Dado said that her group immediately used social media tools to track aid flows for Yolanda-affected communities following increasing demand from netizens and for more accessible data.

“Through hashtag #AidMonitorPH, we want to ensure that the current outpouring of financial aid translates to immediate relief on the ground,” she said.

Malu Cagay Disaster Risk Reduction Net Philippines convernor said that the most important thing about rehabilitation is not just restoring the present available resources but producing a new one which will help the affected community be out of risk zone.

“Recovery is not about bringing back people to the same high risk situation they were in before disaster. It is bouncing back higher, it’s about spreading hope,” she said.

The group asks everyone for cooperation in monitoring the aids for the affected individuals and communities.

“Kailangan magtulungan tayo, hindi lang ngayon dahil alam natin na marami pang dadating na ganito para hindi matulad sa PDAF na kung saan-saan napunta ang pera,” Dr. Leonor Briones of Social Watch Philippines said.

Yolanda, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the land, ravaged Eastern Visayas on November 8. As of December 5, the death toll based on the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is at 5,759 while the cost of damage to infrastructure and agriculture is at P35 billion. (Sunnex)

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