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Philippines: 15 wounded in attack on Philippine mosque

29 May 2015 - 10:36pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Jolo, Philippines | AFP | Saturday 5/30/2015 - 04:28 GMT

Fifteen people including 10 police officers were wounded in an attack on a mosque at police camp on a remote Philippine island long plagued by Islamic militancy, officials said Saturday.

Successive blasts targeted the mosque inside Camp Kasim on the island of Jolo early evening Friday -- an initial grenade attack followed by a bomb explosion less than 10 minutes later that was intended to target police who rushed to the scene, local authorities said.

"It seems the (first) explosion was set up to draw responders as the target," the provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Abraham Orbita told reporters.

Rosalyn Aya-ay, a shopkeeper and policeman's wife, said she found her husband sprawled on the ground after the first explosion and took him to the camp hospital, though he was not seriously injured.

"When I returned I found my two daughters wounded by the second blast. I was scared and I had a hard time finding an ambulance to carry them," she told AFP.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred inside the sprawling provincial police headquarters in the provincial capital of Jolo, a mainly Muslim island in the south of the predominantly Catholic Asian nation.

It was the second bomb attack on Camp Kasim since 2010, when a Christmas Day blast wounded six people worshipping at a Catholic church in another section of the facility.

Jolo is a known stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, a small group of a few hundred Islamic militants founded in the 1990s with seed money from Al-Qaeda.

Police investigators combed through the scene of the blast Saturday, which was about 10 metres (33 feet) from a guarded entry gate, but would not say how the attackers had smuggled the explosives into the camp, an AFP photographer on the scene said.

The families of policemen assigned to the camp also live inside the facility.

The Abu Sayyaf gained international notoriety for some of the worst terror attacks in Philippine history including bombings and kidnappings of Christians and foreigners for ransom.

Filipino security forces have for more than a decade received counter-terrorism training assistance from the United States, which sent military advisers on short-term deployments to Jolo and other areas.

However the Philippines has struggled to contain the group, whose leader last year pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants fighting in Syria and Iraq.

str/cgm/as

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: Cash transfers are helping to rebuild resilient communities in post-Haiyan Philippines

29 May 2015 - 3:04pm
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

By Kate Marshall, IFRC

In the space of a year and a half, nearly 150,000 households across the area devastated by Typhoon Haiyan have received relief in the form of cash relief and conditional livelihood support. According to the Conditional Cash Working Group, this a record for any Red Cross Red Crescent operation.

Households have received livelihood cash grants of between 5,000 and 10,000 pesos ($110-220 US dollars). The largest number of beneficiaries received livelihood cash grants and more than 91,000 households receive emergency cash for their immediate needs.

Food and livelihoods support accounts for 25 per cent of the total spending (44.1 million Swiss francs) on Typhoon Haiyan recovery.

One of the earliest recipients was Irene Collera from Palo, Leyte. Her coastal community was hit first by the Typhoon, and then by the resulting tidal surge. Irene now runs Irene’s buko shack, a thriving coconut juice business that employs other local people. With her savings from the initial investment she has also built a new house and bought her husband a better fishing boat. She is also heads up the local stall owners’ association.

While around three-quarters of beneficiaries chose to restock and replant, a small percentage seized the opportunity to set up a small business. Some replaced ruined stock and equipment, such as weavers, cooks and carpenters, while others took the plunge by learning new skills, such as candle making, sandals, straw hats and recycled rubber pots.

By replenishing their stocks and supplies locally, beneficiaries inject much needed cash into the economy. For the first time, many can afford to feed their families regularly and also buy school supplies.

“In terms of livelihood, beneficiaries have made a lot of progress in 18 months,” said Gwen Pang, Secretary General of the Philippine Red Cross. “Their lives have been changed and their livelihoods are even more effective than before,” she said. “We did not just give people the resources to start up their livelihood, but we taught them skills and the technology on how to use the what they have and grow, so their income is better this time.”

Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon agrees. “We’re looking at reinforcing livelihoods, giving people a fresh start in life and making them stronger. All you need to do is work hard and with a bit of economic support you can start a new life, as – say – a welder, or an entrepreneur selling food or wares, as a fisherman, or a coconut pedlar,” he said.

World: Federal Budget Analysis 2015-2016

28 May 2015 - 11:44pm
Source: Australian Council for International Development Country: Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iraq, Nepal, occupied Palestinian territory, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Syrian Arab Republic, World

Budget Snapshot

Key Headlines:

  • The single biggest cut to Australia’s aid budget since the beginning of the aid program: Almost $1 billion was cut from 2015-16, representing a 20% cut for the year. The budget also confirms $2.7 billion of additional cuts in 2016-17 and 2017-18. By 2016-17, total Australian Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) as a share of Gross National Income (GNI) will fall to 0.22%. This is the lowest ever level since records began.

  • Funding to ANGOs: ACFID recognises Government efforts to uphold to its election commitment to ‘reprioritise foreign aid allocations towards effective non-government organisations that deliver onthe-ground support for those most in need.’ ANCP is to receive a proportionately small cut of 5% in 2015-16. Funding for the Civil Society WASH Fund looks to be preserved. Funding for the Australian Africa Community Engagement Scheme has been front-ended to allow the final year of programming to proceed in 2015-16. However, the Australian Volunteers in International Development program is to be cut by 30%.

  • Breadth and depth of the aid program: Aid to Pacific Island countries was largely quarantined, as well aid to Nepal and Cambodia. Aid to Timor and PNG was also relatively untouched, with cuts of approximately 5%.

The largest cuts to bilateral aid delivered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will be felt in Sub-Saharan Africa with a substantial cut of 70%.1 Countries across East Asia have also been disproportionately hit with the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos all being cut by 40%. Post-conflict and conflict-affected countries did not escape with 40% cuts to DFAT ODA in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Palestinian Territories.

The cuts have significantly shifted our geographic aid priorities. The Pacific is now the top region for Australian aid (rather than East Asia) and PNG is now Australia’s largest bilateral aid program (previously Indonesia) followed by Indonesia, the Solomon Islands and then Afghanistan.

  • Australia’s ongoing ability to respond to humanitarian need: ACFID was pleased to see that funding to humanitarian response was largely sustained.

  • Australia’s multilateral support: Support to UN organisations (excluding emergency organisations) was predominately cut by 40% aside from UN Women. Australia has honoured replenishments to global health and education funds, though funding to Commonwealth Organisations has been cut.

Philippines: Post Yolanda assistance center on water, health issues

28 May 2015 - 10:00pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Jemin B. Guillermo

ROXAS CITY, Capiz, May 27 (PIA) – International humanitarian organizations are giving attention on water, health and hygiene (WASH) issues in the aftermath of supertyphoon Yola

The ACF International in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund is implementing programs giving priority on WASH towards disaster risk reduction.

Behavior Change and Communications Officer Leomer Lacorte of ACF-Panay disclosed that they are capacitating the people in selected supertyphoon-affected areas in Capiz and Iloilo.

He said that in Capiz, they are supporting two towns, namely Pontevedra and Pilar, particularly in 13 and 6 villages, respectively.

Lacorte also said that their WASH program implementation in Iloilo province are in Concepcion, San Dionisio, Sara, and Ajuy.

Recently, a one-day legislation workshop on WASH was conducted for barangay and municipal officials of the program beneficiary barangays and towns in Capiz and Iloilo, with the involvement of other partner agencies such as the Provincial Health Office, Department of Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Health.

Lacorte said that the WASH Disaster Risk Reduction program aims to address the WASH needs of typhoon Yolanda-affected population as a transition to developmental phase, particularly as an approach to total sanitation.

During said gathering, the issues on access to safe and clean water both for drinking and domestic use as well as effects of lack of access to it, particularly on health, sanitation and hygiene were given attention.

According to him, legislation in relation to WASH is a must in addressing the various issues relative thereto. (JCM/JBG/PIA6-Capiz)

Philippines: PhilRice responds to El Niño challenges

27 May 2015 - 11:44pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), country`s lead agency in rice research and development, continues its efforts to roll-out information materials to help the farmers cope with the onslaught of El Niño.

Said resources are available for download from the institute’s website.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recently reported in its advisory that recent analyses from global climate models suggest that the on-going El Niño condition is likely to continue until mid-2015 with chances of strengthening toward the end of the year.

Pagasa identified the provinces affected by dry spell: Luzon (Albay, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Masbate, Nueva Ecija, Sorsogon), Visayas (Biliran, Eastern Samar, Negros Oriental, Samar, Southern Leyte), and Mindanao (Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Leyte, Maguindanao, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Sarangani, Siquijor, South Cotabato, Surigao del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Surigao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur).

The materials are mostly in Filipino and produced in forms that Filipino readers can easily understand. In preparation for the wet season, PhilRice will also release an information kit to properly assist farmers.

Farmers can also contact the PhilRice Text Center (0920-911-1398) should they want to know more about El Niño and the technologies that can reduce the losses brought about by the phenomenon.

Philippines: DILG distributes patrol jeeps to boost anti-crime and disaster response in Samar

27 May 2015 - 11:37pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Department of Interior and Local Government

To intensify the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s operations against insurgencies and natural calamities, Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas will issue 23 brand new units of multi-role patrol jeeps to municipalities in Samar province on Thursday, May 28.

Roxas will ensure that these patrol jeeps will help the local police force maintain the peace and order situation in Samar against communist rebels, who often clash with government troops in the area, causing violence, damages, and disruptions to daily life of innocent civilians.

In his visit, the DILG chief will also discuss the use of the patrol jeep units in the context of disaster situations with the youth of Catbalogan, Samar, at the “Wemboree” (We in Jamboree) Assembly on Disaster Preparedness.

A total of 1,470 brand new patrol jeep units were procured by PNP, and will be distributed to all municipalities in the country.

“This is a manifestation of President Aquino’s Daang Matuwid system of governance. Kung walang kurap, higit na magagamit ang pondo ng gobyerno sa paghahatid ng serbisyo sa ating mga Boss,” Roxas said.

The issuance of patrol jeep units in Catbalogan is the continuation of the project’s first tranche distribution that happened in Bataan, Pampanga, Zambales, Sarangani, and South Cotabato earlier this month.

The procurement of new patrol jeeps is part of DILG’s anti-criminality campaign called Oplan Lambat-Sibat: a deliberate (hindi bara-bara, hindi patsamba-tsamba), programmatic (hindi kanya-kanya, hindi patse-patse), and sustained (hindi ningas-cogon, hindi photo-opp lang) approach in preventing crimes.

This approach is being cascaded to all regions, after it effectively reduced crime in National Capital Region by more than 60% since it was implemented in June 2014.

Philippines: HLA, ACF Signed MOU to Develop Case Study of Response in the Philippines

27 May 2015 - 11:17pm
Source: Action Contre la Faim Country: Philippines

The Humanitarian Leadership Academy, a global consortium of aid organizations designed to help communities become more resilient in the face of disaster and give them training and skills to respond to crises in their own countries, and ACF International (Action Against Hunger), a global organization working to save the lives of severely malnourished people worldwide, especially during and after emergency situations of conflict, war and disaster, and implement long-term solutions to hunger, signed a memorandum of understanding on May 27, 2015.

Christopher John Lane, director for global operations of HLA and Javad Amoozegar, ACF country director, in the presence of ACF disaster risk reduction referent Mark Cervantes and Sarah Dominguez, learning and development manager of HLA, held "HLA-ACF MOU Signing Ceremony" in Makati City to begin the documentation of case study on experiences, lessons and good practices of ACF in its disaster risk reduction and resilience programming in the Philippines.

The memorandum of understanding highlights the development of case studies with practical information on humanitarian response, disaster risk reduction and preparedness, climate change adaptation, recovery, resilience programming, and crisis-sensitive development, following the experiences of local community actions introduced in Arakan valley in North Cotabato by ACF through its integrated in development programming. The HLA is expected to disseminate the best practice and knowledge in vulnerable crisis affected countries and communities.

In the Philippines, ACF is implementing programs on nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), food security and livelihoods (FSL), advocacy and governance that directly result to reduced vulnerabilities and increased resilience of vulnerable people.

The HLA tapped the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), with 40 years of experience in working directly with the rural poor in developing countries to improve their lives by building their unique assets and strengths, to help develop the tools.

The cooperation agreement represents a new space for ACF to establish links with other actors, jointly with HLA, launched in London in March 2015, and IIRR, in the fields of disaster risk management and community resiliency building. #

About ACF

ACF international | Action Against Hunger is a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger and malnutrition. ACF responds to help vulnerable populations around the world through programs that empower communities to overcome the barriers standing in their way.

In the Philippines, ACF tackles the root causes of hunger, prevents outbreaks of life-threatening acute malnutrition, and helps the most vulnerable communities regain self- sufficiency through integrated programs in health and nutrition, care practices and psychosocial and care practices, food security and livelihoods; water, sanitation and hygiene; disaster risk management; good governance and advocacy while incorporating crosscutting issues such as gender, care for the environment, climate change adaptation and cultural sensitivity.

Our programs save lives and provide communities with long-term solutions to hunger and its underlying causes. We work in more than 45 countries and reach approximately eight million people annually.

For more information, please contact:

Rosa May de Guzman Maitem
Communications Manager

ACF International - Philippine Mission
Email: rmaitem@ph.acfspain.org
Tel/Fax: +63-(02) 840-1808; +63-(02) 659-3598
Cellular: + + 63-998-560-5447

Myanmar: Southeast Asia: Put Rights at Center of Boat People Summit

27 May 2015 - 6:29pm
Source: Human Rights Watch Country: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam

Demand End of Abuses in Burma, Access for Refugee Protection

(Bangkok, May 28, 2015) – Governments gathering in Bangkok on May 29, 2015, to discuss the Southeast Asia boat people crisis should reach binding agreements to save people at sea, permit them to disembark without conditions, and ensure unimpeded access for United Nations agencies to protect the rights of asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch said today.

The governments should also demand that Burma and Bangladesh take specific steps to end human rights abuses against the Rohingya that are causing them to flee on dangerous boats to escape persecution.

The Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean will include representatives from 17 countries, including Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lao PDR, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Thailand, with observers from the United States and Switzerland, and senior officials from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“Regional governments should work with the United Nations and others to agree on binding solutions to this human tragedy – not sweep it under the rug as they have done for years,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The ending of human rights abuses in the source countries of Burma and Bangladesh needs to be matched by Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, with support from other countries, taking humanitarian action to receive and protect refugees fleeing persecution.”

Over the past 15 months, international agencies estimate that as many as 88,000 men, women, and children have traveled from Bangladesh and Burma in boats to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Many of these are Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Burma, although a significant number are also Bangladeshi nationals. Most have traveled in boats to Thailand, where they are then transported overland into jungle camps in Thailand and Malaysia. The camps are used as holding facilities in which victims are detained, extorted, and abused, with mass graves found in recent weeks on both sides of the border of Thailand and Malaysia.

Human Rights Watch urges participating governments in the special meeting to prioritize the following issues:

Emphasize urgent need for search and rescue – now and in the future. The participating governments should accept international offers to provide search and rescue support and seek ways to better coordinate search and rescue efforts, share intelligence, and pool resources. Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia should agree to take proactive efforts to mobilize their marine search and rescue operations to seek out the remaining boats possibly still at sea;

Ensure unimpeded and unconditional access by UNHCR and IOM to rescued boat people – now and in the future. Transparent, impartial, and professional assessments of individuals who arrive on land or are rescued at sea are needed to determine who is entitled to refugee protection, who should receive services as a trafficking victim, and how appropriate services should be delivered. UNHCR should be permitted to exercise its mandate in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia – none of which are parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention – to screen boat arrivals for refugee status and other protection needs. These governments should abide by UNHCR refugee status determinations and scrupulously ensure that refugees and asylum seekers are not forcibly returned to persecution or other serious harm and that no one is prevented from fleeing threats to their life or freedom. This is especially important in the case of Burma, where Rohingya have been targets of persecution for decades, and whose denial of citizenship rights makes any return impossible as long as Burma denies their national identity;

Demand that Thailand permit disembarkation of boat people, and ensure that Malaysia, Indonesia, and other countries make long-term commitments to allow disembarkation. While Malaysia and Indonesia recently agreed to allow boat people to land on their soil, the Thai government has thus far refused to allow boat people to land on Thai soil. The Thai government should commit to allow boat people to disembark in safety and dignity and grant access to UNHCR to assess their protection needs. The special meeting should reject any variation of so-called help along policies that result in stranding boat people in deadly conditions or shifting responsibilities to other countries;

Exert pressure on Burma as the main source of the problem. Call on Burmese officials to immediately end the repressive measures and denial of basic rights that have driven Rohingya to flee their native Arakan (Rakhine) state over many years. The meeting should exert pressure on Burma to admit that Rohingya should be considered citizens of Burma whose rights should be respected, and end all discriminatory policies against them. The national government’s denial of the status of the Rohingya only makes solutions harder to formulate. For instance, Zaw Htay, the spokesperson of President Thein Sein’s office, stated last week that “we will not accept the allegations made by some [governments] that Myanmar (Burma) is the source of the problem.” Burma should amend the 1982 Citizenship Act and do away with discriminatory restrictions on the right to movement, livelihoods, right to own property, right to marriage and have children, and other basic rights that all persons of Burma should enjoy; and

Exert pressure on Bangladesh to stop its pushback policy and end its persecution of Rohingya. The Bangladesh government should cease its own publicly acknowledged policy of engaging in pushbacks of Rohingya to Arakan state and recognize them as refugees deserving protection and support services. Dhaka should also agree to accept international offers of assistance, previously rejected, to provide basic health, education, and other services for Rohingya and its own citizens residing in the same border region with Burma so no one will feel compelled to get on boats. “This regional meeting will only be a success if every government commits to effective search and rescue operations, meeting the protection needs of refugees, prosecuting traffickers, and resolving the root causes that drive these desperate people onto boats,” Adams said. “International burden sharing, including resettling refugees, is also important, but will only be a lasting solution if all governments agree that human rights must be at the center of all current and future policies.”

Philippines: DepEd planning to build temporary learning centers for students of schools along fault line

27 May 2015 - 1:33pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, May 28 -- The Department of Education is planning to put up temporary learning centers for students of schools situated along the West Valley Fault, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

“Education Secretary (Armin) Luistro was saying that they will not allow any student to use buildings that have not been cleared by the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways),” Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

Valte said that once the department gets a better picture of the problem, it could either transfer the students to other schools or house them in temporary learning centers until safer structures are built.

She noted that there is enough time to build the temporary learning centers but not for the permanent structures.

“For the permanent construction, hindi sapat ang panahon because classes will open on June 1. Pero doon sa mga temporary learning centers natin, oo, may panahon pa tayo diyan dahil nag-anticipate na naman ang Department of Education para dito sa darating na pasukan,” she said.

The Department of Education has recently asked its engineers to check the structural integrity of school buildings situated along the West Valley Fault.

Philippine volcanology experts have warned that a magnitude 7.2 earthquake could occur once the fault moves.

The 100-kilometer West Valley Fault traverses 42 barangays in Marikina, Quezon City, Pasig, Makati, Taguig and Muntinlupa, as well as 30 barangays in the provinces of Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite. (PCOO/PND (ag)

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 20–27 May 2015

27 May 2015 - 8:07am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, Vanuatu, World, Yemen

Mali: Gao and Timbutku regions have been the scene of multiple clashes between the Azawad Movement Coalition and Malian forces, as well as the pro-government Gatia militia. At least 12 people have been killed, including nine civilians. About 31,500 people have been displaced from three districts in Timbuktu region. They are in urgent needs of water, food, NFIs, and shelter support, but access is limited.

Yemen: Violence increased after the ceasefire ended 17 May, and surged again after the postponement of peace talks on 25 May. Casualty numbers since the escalation of conflict in March have reached 1,870 dead and 7,580 injured. 490,000 people in Sa’ada can no longer be reached, and food items are no longer available in a number of governorates. The fuel crisis is making it even more difficult to meet basic needs.

DRC: A surge in ADF attacks in Beni territory, North Kivu, has displaced more than 15,000 people. In Orientale, 4,000 people have been displaced by an FARDC offensive. In Katanga, 400 cases of measles are being recorded per week in Malemba Nkulu territory.

Updated: 27/05/2015. Next update: 02/06/2015

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Philippines: OIC invite PH in Kuwait gab for Mindanao peace process

26 May 2015 - 11:02pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA – A three-member delegation from the Philippine government is due to attend the annual gathering of foreign ministers of Muslim countries on Wednesday.

In a letter, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani invited Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario “to attend the proceedings of the 42nd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers to be held in the state of Kuwait on 27-28 May.”

Aside from closed-door sessions and those restricted to OIC member-states only, the Philippine delegation was given access to observe the proceedings.

The delegation is composed of Undersecretary Rafael Seguis of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, and Undersecretary Jose Lorena of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

Lorena said the invitation shows that the Saudi-led OIC, which has been deeply involved in Mindanao’s peace process for years, “recognizes the efforts of the Philippine government in bringing about meaningful autonomy to Mindanao in order to resolve the conflict in southern Philippines and achieve just and lasting peace.”

“The invitation acknowledges the efforts and commitments of the present administration to finally solve the problem of Muslim Filipinos in Mindanao,” he said.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim has also been invited to deliver a speech before the OIC foreign ministers.

Senior leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who comprise the OIC-sponsored Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF) are expected to hold a meeting on the sidelines of the event in Kuwait.

The invitation to the gathering in Kuwait is an offshoot of Madani’s four-day visit to the Philippines last April, where he met President Benigno S. Aquino III to discuss ways on how the OIC can help the Bangsamoro peace process.

The April visit enabled Madani to get a comprehensive view of developments in the peace process in Mindanao, especially the progress of the peace deal between the MILF and Philippine government.

The head of the group of 57 Islamic countries extended his invitation to the Philippine government and members of BCF to meet in Kuwait to achieve a common ground amid the developments in the southern peace process.

Madani said that the BCF “provides an excellent stage for the sides to communicate and to express their views.”

During his visit here, Madani held meetings with legislators who are tackling the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Mandani made an earlier call for legislators not to dilute the proposed measure saying that the BBL is part of the continuing process in finding a political solution to address the root causes of the conflict in Mindanao.

“We hope that it will pass and it will not be diluted,” he said. (OPAPP)

Malaysia: Dengue Situation Update 465, 19 May 2015

26 May 2015 - 8:18am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Australia, Cambodia, China, French Polynesia (France), Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Viet Nam

Northern Hemisphere

China (no update)

As of 13 April, there were 66 cases of dengue reported in China for 2015. Compared with the same period of the previous of 2012 to 2014, the number of dengue cases reported in China has increased slightly in 2015 (Figure 1).

Malaysia

As of 09 May 2015, there were 41, 451 cases of dengue reported in Malaysia for 2015. This is 34.1% higher compared with the same reporting period of 2014 (n=30,921) (Figure 2). From 03 to 09 May 2015, there were 1,444 cases of dengue reported, 3.1% lower than the same period of the previous week (n=1,490).

Philippines

From 1 January to 18 April 2015, there were 21,962 cases of dengue, including 61 deaths, reported in Philippines. This is 7.28% higher compared with the same reporting period in 2014 (n=20, 472) (Figure 3).

Singapore

As of 09 May 2015, there were 2,856 cases of dengue reported in Singapore for 2015. From 03 to 09 May 2015, 135 dengue cases reported, 15 cases higher than the previous week (Figure 4).

Cambodia

As of 03 May 2015, there were 617 cases of dengue, including one death, reported in Cambodia. To date for 2015, Cambodia has experienced a relatively stable number of new cases reported each week, following the seasonal pattern seen in 2014 (Figure 5).

Lao PDR

As of 08 May, there were 238 cases of dengue and no deaths reported in Lao PDR for 2015. From 02 to 08 May 2015 (week 19), 16 cases of dengue reported in Lao. This is lower compared with the number cases reported in the week 18 (n=20) of 2015 (Figure 6).

Viet Nam

As of 10 May 2015, there were 10,892 cases of dengue including 10 deaths reported in Viet Nam for 2015. Compared with the same reporting period of last year, the number of reported cases increased by 21.3%, and number of deaths increased by 5 cases. From 04 to 10 May 2015, there were 334 cases of dengue reported from 32 out of 63 provinces including one death. Compared with previous week (n=280 cases, no death), number of cases increased by 19.3% including 1 death (Figure 7).

Southern Hemisphere

Australia (no update)

As of 30 April, 831 laboratory-confirmed dengue cases have been reported in Australia for 2015. Compared with the same reporting period of last year (n=816), the number of reported cases is slightly higher, but is consistent with previous seasonal trends (Figure 8).

French Polynesia

From 27 April to 10 May 2015, 25 confirmed dengue cases were reported in French Polynesia (Figure 9). There were 16 hospitalisations in April 2015.

Philippines: Phl Red Cross continues preps for the “Big One”

25 May 2015 - 9:59pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, 26 May (PIA) – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is continuously up scaling its preparations to ensure efficient response should this dreaded “Big One” occur.

This, after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology’s (PHIVOLCS) recent warning about a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could be generated by the West Valley Fault.

According to PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon, the humanitarian organization has been preparing for an earthquake of such magnitude since the Metropolitan Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) came out some years back by upgrading its resources and assets to be able to extend the necessary assistance during such a mass casualty event.

“For a long time, the PRC has been continuously preparing for emergency responses. When the MMEIRS came out several years ago, the Red Cross has started its preparations,” Gordon said.

He added that PRC has started building an armory of vehicles, equipment, and others that could be deployed in response to the mass casualty incident that an earthquake of such magnitude would cause.

The PRC has acquired vehicles that can be used in responding to large-scale disasters such as ambulances, rescue trucks, Blood Mobile, fire trucks, Fork Lifts, Pay loaders, Humvees, water tanker, among others.

It also has various equipment that would be useful should a strong earthquake hit Metro Manila such as generators, tower lights, water bladder, satellite phones, tents for temporary shelters, portable comfort rooms. PRC has also medical tents and Emergency Filed Hospitals that can cater those who could no longer be accommodated in the hospitals.

The PRC chief also assured that PRC has highly-trained and skilled staff and volunteers who can operate the different rescue vehicles and function as crew for them. He added the Red Cross 143 also strengthens the organization’s disaster management and risk reduction capacity. (PRC/RJB/JEG/PIA-NCR)

Philippines: Taguig City to revise safety measures for quake preps

25 May 2015 - 9:57pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

TAGUIG CITY, 26 May (PIA) – The city government of Taguig welcomes the issuance of the Valley Fault System (VFS) Atlas by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) to caution local government units (LGUs) of places dangerously sitting on top of the West Valley Fault.

Mayor Lani Cayetano vowed to revise the city’s safety plan and measures based on the new atlas of PHIVOLCS.

Cayetano said that they will use the VFS Atlas as guide in crafting updated contingency plans that will prepare the city in case the West Valley Fault delivers a devastating earthquake.

The city’s Rescue Team and the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council is reviewing the latest atlas in order to assess where to refocus its attention and readjust its capability in places located in Taguig that were identified in the atlas.

According to the VFS, areas in Taguig that are situated over the West Valley Fault include: Bagumbayan, Bagong Tanyag, Upper Bicutan, Central Bicutan, Lower Bicutan, Maharlika Village, Pinagsama, North Signal Village, Central Signal Village, South Signal Village, Ususan and south Daang Hari.

Likewise, the city has asked PHIVOLCS's assistance to specifically identify and mark the most vulnerable and affected sites in these areas.

Meanwhile, to cushion the impact in case earthquake happens, the city plans, among others, to disseminate information in the communities affected by the fault line, inspect and ensure the structural integrity of buildings and establishments, modify or prohibit construction and development in the areas and lay down contingency plans which include trainings and drills for the identified communities. (TAGUIG/RJB/JEG/PIA-NCR)

Philippines: PH, Japan inks grant for community development in Mindanao

25 May 2015 - 9:32pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Japan, Philippines

MANILA – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) led the Philippine government in signing the grant agreement for community development in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan and Noriaki Niwa, Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Philippine Office, signed the grant agreement in May 25, 2015 on behalf of the Philippine and Japanese Governments, respectively.

As one of Japan’s major development partners, the Philippines will receive a grant amounting to JPY1.117 billion or almost PhP500 million to facilitate the rehabilitation and construction of farm-to-market roads in Mindanao, particularly in Bumbaran in Lanao del Sur, Datu Paglas in Maguindanao, and Alamada in North Cotabato.

“Through linking target farm villages to major highways, the project is expected to enhance the welfare of farmers that rely largely in crop production as their main source of livelihood,” said Balisacan in his statement during the signing.

The grant assistance was made possible through the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development. The community development project, to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture, was endorsed through diplomatic channels on September 17, 2014.

“We look forward to the attainment of full benefits from this undertaking and eventually to the enjoyment of ‘dividends of peace’ in Mindanao through the implementation of various peace and development programs in the area,” the Cabinet official said.(NEDA)

Philippines: P1.13-B fund to rebuild 5,055 classrooms

25 May 2015 - 11:40am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

With families and students buckling up for the coming school year, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced the release of P1.13 billion to the Department of Education (DepEd) for the repair and rehabilitation of 5,055 classrooms damaged by typhoons Glenda and Yolanda and the Zamboanga siege.

Charged under Continuing Appropriations from the FY 2014 DepEd Budget, the latest release is part of the P2.85-billion appropriation for the repair, rehabilitation, and renovation of kindergarten, elementary, and secondary school buildings as well as repair of water and sanitation facilities. The P2.85 appropriation is part of the DepEd’s built-in allocation for the Provision and Maintenance of Basic Education Facilities (BEF), which amounts to P44.6 billion.

“The government continues to work at restoring normalcy in areas affected by various crises in previous years. Rehabilitating schools damaged by these disasters is especially important, given that school buildings also double as temporary shelters when disaster strikes,” Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said.

“The good news is that the Aquino administration has committed enough funds to repair these damaged schools. Our aim is to give students and teachers a school environment that’s conducive to learning,” Abad said.

The top three regions with the highest allocations are: Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) with P595 million, Region V (Bicol Region) with P150 million, and Region VII (Central Visayas) with P139 million.

The two regions in the Visayas that were heavily affected by Typhoon Yolanda in 2014—Region VIII and Region VII—will be getting the bulk of the appropriation. Region V was heavily damaged by Typhoon Glenda also last year, while the 2013 Zamboanga siege affected Zamboanga City in Region IX.

“Strengthening basic education is a major part of our inclusive growth campaign, whether it’s allocating P367 billion in this year’s budget or funding programs that will improve people’s access to quality education. But these should also go hand-in-hand with creating more resilient and disaster-proof school facilities. This is all in line with the Aquino administration’s goal to ‘Build-Back-Better’,” Abad said.

The amount of P1.13 billion is part of the scheduled releases to DepEd this year for the provision of basic facilities for education, with P1.72 billion remaining for the rest of 2015.

Philippines: Philippines: The uncertainty of displacement

25 May 2015 - 7:17am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

In central Mindanao, thousands of people have been living precariously due to recurrent fighting. Pockets of skirmishes often erupt that result in civilian displacement.

The hostilities between armed groups in February resulted in around 4,000 families fleeing to safety in evacuation centers in Pagalungan, Maguindanao and in Pikit, North Cotabato.

At the height of the fighting, affected civilians managed to bring only few belongings with them and limited supplies of food.

For over three weeks, 74-year-old Sadiya Makayaw stayed with her relatives in a cramped makeshift shelter in the village of Gligli, Pikit. She recalled that before the fighting began in early February, all her neighbors left at dawn when armed men were sighted near their village.

"We heard loud gunfire. We didn't have a choice but to leave," she said in Maguindanaoan, the local dialect.

Sadiya had been living alone in her home in the village of Kabasalan, also in Pikit, after her husband and two children passed away more than a decade ago.

Grabbing what she could, Sadiya joined her neighbors to "bakwit" (evacuate), unsure of when they would return. She was left with nothing – even the clothes she wears now are borrowed.

Providing life-saving assistance

Together with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the ICRC assisted 2,335 families in Pikit and 1,732 in Pagalungan who have been in evacuation centers for close to a month.

Displaced people were given food rations (enough for two weeks), hygiene items and tarpaulins. Potable water was also delivered daily from 27 February to 5 March to the two largest evacuation camps in Pagalungan, in order to help safeguard the health and sanitation needs of the communities.

"Our support supplements the help being provided by the authorities. The violent situation and lack of security hamper already vulnerable communities from going back to their homes. As such, they were forced to stay in evacuation centers for quite some time," explained Maria Carmen Echezarreta Inurritegui, ICRC head of office in Cotabato.

The majority of people living in the areas affected by conflict live in poverty, relying heavily on farming and fishing as their main sources of income. Due to the volatile situation and the presence of improvised explosive devices, evacuees couldn't go back to tend their farms. The difficulty thus increases each day for displaced families as they have to put food on the table to survive.

Fortunately, Sadiya's family received assistance in Pikit. The support, however, is not enough to put her worries to rest, as she fears nothing will be left of her belongings when she finally returns to her village.

At the evacuation center, Sadiya heard stories of damaged houses. She hopes the small farm where she grows corn will be spared.

"I can no longer count how many times I have evacuated. It is something I do not want to keep doing now that I'm old," says Sadiya, with a weak smile on her face.

In March, a month-long armed fighting between government forces and armed groups occurred and caused further displacement in several areas of Maguindanao.

"The prolonged dry season is affecting the health of displaced families and reducing their incomes. Each day in these temporary sites is a major struggle for them, and the future remains unclear," said Pascal Mauchle, head of the ICRC in the Philippines.

Remaining responsive to the needs of the displaced, the ICRC and the PRC currently provide clean water every day to approximately 24,000 people in 24 evacuation centers, in the municipalities of Datu Salibo and Mamasapano. We are preparing to launch targeted food distributions in May.

Philippines: DILG bolsters Sarangani Police security efforts and disaster preparedness with new patrol jeeps

25 May 2015 - 6:49am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas is confident that the seven patrol jeeps turned over to Sarangani will not only address the province’s security concerns but will also help boost tourism and investment in the area.

After a simple turnover ceremony on Friday of the vehicles to each of the seven municipalities in Sarangani, Roxas placed his high hopes for faster growth and development brought about by a safe and secure environment.

“Kung maaayos natin ang seguridad dito, dadaloy din ang mabilis na kaunlaran,” Roxas explained.

He also reminded Sarangan local and police officials that the government has never forgotten about their plight.

“Don’t ever think na nakalimutan na kayo dahil nasa laylayan kayo ng Mindanao. Hindi ko kayo malilimutan,” he stressed.

The patrol jeeps are just seven out of the 1,470 vehicles recently purchased by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to strengthen the mobile capacity of the police not only in responding to crime situations, but also in addressing disaster and other emergency situations.

He emphasized that all municipalities in the country will receive their patrol car within two to three months, as part of a deliberate (hindi bara-bara), programmatic (hindi kanya-kanya), and sustained (hindi ningas-cogon) approach in combatting crimes.

Afterwards, Sarangani Governor Steve Solon thanked Roxas for the patrol jeeps.

“These are the things that we really need as some of our vehicles are as old as late ‘90s,” Solon explained.

“Ang mga patrol jeeps namin mahigit 20 years na. Sira-sira na at malaki na ang nagagastos namin sa maintenance,” Malapatan Mayor Alfonso Singcoy said.

World: State of the use of mobile technologies for disaster preparedness in South East Asia

25 May 2015 - 12:16am
Source: Nanyang Technological Univ. Country: Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Viet Nam, World

Executive Summary

This project is conducted in response to Global Disaster Preparedness Center’s (GDPC) initiative of developing flood hazard preparedness mobile apps in the four target countries (Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam). In particular, this project aims to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Establish effective ways of using mobile technologies to raise public awareness, especially reaching vulnerable population groups, about disaster risks and preparedness, both in terms of the delivery mechanisms and the content of the messages;

  2. Identify mechanisms of how to effectively incorporate mobile technologies in disseminating early warnings of impending danger, especially to vulnerable groups, both in terms of the delivery and the content of the messages;

  3. Provide solutions on how to use mobile technologies to build an integrated and openaccess system which allows the public, especially the vulnerable groups, to engage in protective behaviors such as obtaining information about location and availability of preparedness services;

  4. Develop community-specific and country-specific parameters in designing and implementing mobile-enabled awareness and preparedness programs;

  5. Inform the feasible approaches and strategies for the humanitarian sector to develop and leverage the flood hazard preparedness apps in Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Incorporating different dimensions of vulnerability based on geographical and demographic variations, this study selected two vulnerable population groups for data collection: individuals living in the relatively remote rural areas and individuals living in the highly populated urban areas. A multi-country survey was conducted with a purposive sample of approximately 200 people from each type of vulnerable groups in each of the target countries (see Table 1 for details). The results identified the current state of mobile technology use and information behaviors related to disaster preparedness in these four countries

Philippines: CL’s first permanent evacuation center opens

23 May 2015 - 6:57pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, May 23 (PIA) -- Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman and Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda led Friday the inauguration of Central Luzon’s first permanent evacuation center in barangay San Isidro Resettlement Center in Magalang town.

“DSWD allotted P10 million for its construction in a 3.9 hectare property of the provincial government. In turn, we provided P3.5 million as counterpart for the construction and P4.9M for fencing,” Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Angie Blanco said.

The lot was purchased from National Housing Authority (NHA) in the amount of P5.9 million wherein three hectares was utilized for the actual evacuation center while the remainder was used as relocation for the 106 informal settler families that previously resided in the site of the structure.

Moreover, NHA gave P9.7 million for the development of the relocation area.

“This can accommodate around 660 persons during calamities and has separate comfort rooms for males and females, a communal cooking area, wash area, breastfeeding area, medical services room, and psychosocial services room,” Blanco added.

Meanwhile, the provincial government eyes the construction of temporary evacuation centers in a 2.6 hectare property in barangay Malusac, Sasmuan which can accommodate 840 persons and 2 hectare lot in barangay Sta. Catalina, Lubao which can cater up to 200 persons. (CLJD-PIA 3)