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Philippines: An Inside Look into USPACOM Response to Super Typhoon Haiyan

17 February 2015 - 10:03pm
Source: Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Country: Philippines, United States of America

Executive Summary

Many humanitarian and military leaders noted that civil-military coordination during the Haiyan response in November-December 2013 was some of the best they had seen. The United States Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the Department of Defense (DOD) United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) forces, and the US Embassy, Philippines demonstrated clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities as evidenced by their effective coordination. The United States Government (USG) response entities provided assistance reflecting their unique capabilities appropriately scaled throughout the response phase.

The USAID/ OFDA Disaster Assessment Response Team (DART) team coordinated with the humanitarian community. The team validated and transmitted requests for military assistance to the DOD responders on the ground. With the exception of a few days of water production in Tacloban, DOD mostly focused on large-scale operations using their unique capabilities to deliver “wholesale” transportation and logistics support. USAID/OFDA was one of the first donors to the World Food Program (WFP), enabling its role as the lead coordinator of the United Nations (UN) logistics and emergency telecommunications clusters and co-lead of the food security cluster with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Philippines: An inside look into USPACOM response to Super Typhoon Haiyan, February 2015

17 February 2015 - 2:01pm
Source: Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Country: Philippines

Executive Summary

Many humanitarian and military leaders noted that civil-military coordination during the Haiyan response in November-December 2013 was some of the best they had seen. The United States Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/ OFDA), the Department of Defense (DOD) United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) forces, and the US Embassy, Philippines demonstrated clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities as evidenced by their effective coordination. The United States Government (USG) response entities provided assistance reflecting their unique capabilities appropriately scaled throughout the response phase.

The USAID/ OFDA Disaster Assessment Response Team (DART) team coordinated with the humanitarian community. The team validated and transmitted requests for military assistance to the DOD responders on the ground. With the exception of a few days of water production in Tacloban, DOD mostly focused on large-scale operations using their unique capabilities to deliver “wholesale” transportation and logistics support. USAID/OFDA was one of the first donors to the World Food Program (WFP), enabling its role as the lead coordinator of the United Nations (UN) logistics and emergency telecommunications clusters and co-lead of the food security cluster with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Several communication avenues for the responders and the affected were utilized, providing many alternative ways to coordinate while major communication infrastructures were down. Mainstream media, social media, and citizen journalism played a significant role in informing responders of the appropriate courses of action for the employment of USG resources. Key lessons learned from previous disasters improved the speed and quality of overall US interagency coordination. Most notably, personnel with previous disaster response experience who had personal connections with other major players in the relief efforts considerably expedited interagency and transnational relief efforts. The informal professional networks among relief workers built during common training and exercises greatly facilitated the trust needed for effective and efficient cooperation, particularly in the early response phase.

Many noted the impressive demonstration of Haiyan lessons learned put into action in the recent response to Typhoon Hagupit that began as Category 5 before weakening into Category 3 when it hit the Philippines in December 2014. The resiliency of the Filipino spirit continues to impress domestic and foreign media. The commitment of foreign assisting actors who came to the aid of the Philippines in Haiyan clearly demonstrated the increasingly globalized nature of disaster response.

In the coming years, the challenge remains to find more innovative ways to increase investment in disaster preparedness and to better integrate and leverage local capabilities and capacities with international response.

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 11–17 February 2015

17 February 2015 - 10:41am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Snapshot 11–17 February 2015

Myanmar: Fighting between the Myanmar army and the MNDAA, an insurgent group in the Kokang area of Shan state, displaced tens of thousands of people. Some fled into central Myanmar, while between 30,000 and 50,000 are thought to have crossed into Nansan, Yunnan province, China.

Afghanistan: 32,000 undocumented Afghans have spontaneously returned from Pakistan, after security incidents in the country have led to a military crackdown; another 2,000 people have been deported to Afghanistan. This is 130% more people than returned in all of 2014.

DRC: 1,170 cases of cholera have been recorded in Katanga province so far in 2015, with 24 deaths.

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Sri Lanka: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (10 - 16 Feb 2015)

16 February 2015 - 5:46am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka

INDONESIA

On 9 - 12 Feb heavy rainfall fell on the island of Java, including the capital Jakarta. Local authorities have reported four casualties and temporary displacement of almost 7,100 people. All IDPs returned to their homes by 13 Feb. Government agencies, Indonesia Red Cross, NGOs, military and police provided search and rescue support and relief to the displaced.

4 people killed

7,100 people evacuated

PHILIPPINES

Local authorities are conducting assessments and monitoring the displacement of 5,745 people in Barangay Kabasalan, Pikit municipality in North Cotabato province caused by clashes between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on 5 Feb. The cause of the fighting remains unclear but occurred one week after an armed encounter between the Philippines National Police - Special Armed Forces, MILF and BIFF in Mamasapano municipality in Mindanao.

5745 people displaced

SRI LANKA

UNHCR continues to facilitate the voluntary repatriation programme for Sri Lankan refugees. All returning refugees are provided with a transport grant to reach their homes in a dignified manner and provided with a comprehensive package of services for reintegration including civil documentation, health and education services. UNHCR stands ready to assist potential government facilitated voluntary repatriation of Sri Lankan Refugees from India.

MYANMAR

In the Kokang self-administered zone, northeast Shan State, fighting began between the Government of Myanmar Army and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and other armed groups on 9 Feb. There have been media reports of displacement across the border to China; however figures are not yet confirmed. The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that civilians have been displaced and assistance is being provided.
People are also displaced from Laukkai to Lashio, where they are receiving assistance from local authorities and civil society organizations.4 The majority of IDPs from Kan See arrived in Hpakan and Lone Khin after the displacement of over 1,000 people from Aung Bar Lay and surrounding areas to Kan See due to fighting that erupted on 14 Jan between the Government of Myanmar Army and the Kachin Independence Army. An estimated 50-100 displaced people remain in Kan See.

Philippines: Housing aid continues for ‘Pablo’ survivors

16 February 2015 - 1:06am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

About 1,840 families in the three Typhoon Pablo-hit areas in Davao Oriental received permanent housing units during the turnover ceremony on February 3.

Implemented under the Modified Shelter Assistance Program (MSAP), the housing project is a joint venture between the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which bankrolls the funds, and the provincial government which shoulders the acquisition of resettlement sites.

The town of Baganga received 920 shelter units; Cateel, 770; and Boston, 150.

To date, about 13,780 houses have been constructed in the province, offering disaster-resistant homes to typhoon survivors. The DSWD is targeting to build 21,382 for Pablo victims in Davao Oriental.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman explained that the strong partnership forged between the Department and the provincial government facilitated the provision of assistance to the survivors.

“The provincial government’s active role in this partnership has made this joint venture a reality,” Sec. Soliman added. Meanwhile, DSWD-Field Office XI Assistant Regional Director for Operations Rebecca Santamaria commended the resiliency shown by the people of Davao Oriental amid the hardships they have gone through in the wake of the disaster that shattered their homes and lives.

She said that people’s resiliency, coupled with the rising socio-economic activities, made the province a model in development and became one of the country’s most benchmarked provinces when it comes to disaster response and rehabilitation.

According to Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon, the downpour of support from the local and international community has made her province grow stronger and more resilient, that despite the mounting challenges, there are still people with kind and generous hearts who continue to help meet the urgent needs of ‘Pablo’ survivors.

Philippines: Deadly Clash in Philippines Jeopardizes Peace Process

12 February 2015 - 2:53pm
Source: Voice of America Country: Philippines

Simone Orendain

MANILA— Last month, a police raid in the southern Philippines targeting two internationally-wanted terrorists ended in disaster when clashes left about 70 people dead, including 44 police officers. Philippine lawmakers are now holding inquiries into the raid and suspending work on a landmark peace agreement for a self-governing area in the country’s Muslim-majority south.

Lawmakers this week were supposed to be deliberating the merits of a proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which is based on an agreement signed last March between the government and the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Instead, those talks have been indefinitely suspended while lawmakers investigate the 12-hour gun battle which took place in Mamasapano town, a marshland area on rebel turf. It was the first time in three years the cease-fire between both sides was broken. Although the raid succeeded in killing Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, a militant on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list, the execution-style killings of several police officers have enraged the public.

The congressional investigative sessions have been tense and highly emotional with lawmakers pressing for answers about the January 25 operation. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said lawmakers will not pick up deliberations on the proposed peace law known as the BBL until they finish investigating the deadly police raid.

“We had pinned our hopes on the BBL as bringing peace to Muslim Mindanao. It would seem that now the lesson that we learned is that that may not be sufficient. That maybe there are elements that we have to examine,” said Marcos.

Marcos now calls the proposed law just “one part” of what could lead to peace in the restive region. And he added that its passage by the March 20 session recess would not happen.

Since the January raid, Marcos and other lawmakers have raised questions about the peace agreement’s plan for local law enforcement and national defense.

The government’s chief peace negotiator, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, said that could lead to changes in the deal that fall short of what was discussed in the original proposal between rebels and government negotiators.

“Even more worse is that we will have a law that is very, very far from the expressed aspirations that are already embodied in the draft, or let’s say, bottom line, the aspirations that are embodied in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro,” said Ferrer.

The comprehensive agreement is the product of nearly 20 years of talks and is meant to end four decades of fighting that has left more than 120,000 dead. The rebels say it addresses their aspiration for self-determination.

But following the deadly police raid, there may be public pressure to scale back the provisions of the proposed law.

Ferrer said she prefers no law to a watered down one. Her counterpart in the MILF, chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, said in a text message to VOA that his group is still backing the original law but will “see what happens” after it is debated by Philippine lawmakers.

In his opening statement before a senate panel Thursday, Iqbal enumerated the several components of the peace pact that were signed by both sides and made a heartfelt plea for peace.

“It contains our hopes and dreams, if not for us, for our children. We have waited for this opportunity for 17 years. We promised our people that peace will be our legacy. We seek your help in making this promise possible,” said Iqbal.

Ramon Casiple, head of the Manila-based Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said public trust in the peace process is now shaky. He said that loss of trust could lead to significant changes in the final law.

“The reading there among legislators [is they] would rather risk a war if the MILF wants that or an extended peace process extending to the next administration rather than approve an arrangement, which does not have the trust of the body politic,” said Casiple.

Casiple called the situation a “slow-burning fuse” and that scenarios for the future are “wide open.” He said “it will take time to calm things down.”

World: UNHCR Regional Office for South-East Asia Factsheet - September 2014

12 February 2015 - 6:27am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, World

HIGHLIGHTS

523,592 Refugees and asylumseekers
2,361 Identified unaccompanied minors
1,393,736 Stateless persons
20,000 Estimated irregular maritime departures in 2014

Population of concern

A total of 2.7 million people of concern including 1.4 million stateless and over 700,000 internally displaced.

World: UNHCR Regional Office for South-East Asia Factsheet - September 2014

12 February 2015 - 6:27am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, World

HIGHLIGHTS

523,592 Refugees and asylumseekers
2,361 Identified unaccompanied minors
1,393,736 Stateless persons
20,000 Estimated irregular maritime departures in 2014

Population of concern

A total of 2.7 million people of concern including 1.4 million stateless and over 700,000 internally displaced.

World: UNHCR Regional Office for South-East Asia Factsheet - September 2014

12 February 2015 - 6:27am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, World

HIGHLIGHTS

523,592 Refugees and asylumseekers
2,361 Identified unaccompanied minors
1,393,736 Stateless persons
20,000 Estimated irregular maritime departures in 2014

Population of concern

A total of 2.7 million people of concern including 1.4 million stateless and over 700,000 internally displaced.

Philippines: PNP, AFP affirm support for passage of Bangsamoro law

12 February 2015 - 1:53am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Expressing the apprehensions of people from Mindanao that the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be delayed or scrapped off in the wake of the unfortunate incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao House of Representatives’ Deputy Speaker and Lanao del Sur second district Representative Pangalian Balindong asked top police and military officials if they support the passage of the BBL as a way forward in achieving peace. ‎

To this, both Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director Leonardo Espina and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang responded “yes” and affirmed their support to the passage of the BBL during the HOR’s first public hearing on the Mamasapano incident that claimed lives of policemen, armed rebels and civilians.

Balindong, a Muslim, appealed that the “peace process should continue so our [referring to the people of Mindanao] hearts may be at ease.”

He urged the conduct of an “uninterrupted review of the BBL” parallel to the Congressional probe on the Mamasapano incident.

For her part, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said that the passage of the BBL is‎ really in the hands of Congress and expressed her respect to the power of the body to legislate a law that will address the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.

The passage and ratification of the BBL shall establish a Bangsamoro government that will exercise genuine autonomy, and replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The BBL is the enabling law of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, 2014. The CAB also provides a normalization process that includes decommissioning of the MILF weapons and forces, simultaneous to the establishment of the Bangsamoro.

Earlier, Espina emphasized in a very emotional manner that, “we [the PNP] are for peace, we are first and foremost your peacemakers. Whatever it takes to attain the peace, let us do it po‎.”

Implication of non-passage of BBL

In response to a question from Caloocan City second district Rep. Edgar Erice on what will be the effect on the ground if the BBL will not be passed into law, Catapang pointed out the security repercussions.

According to the AFP chief, government forces and MILF had a zero skirmish record for three years since 2012 until this year when the tragic incident in Mamasapano happened due to the ceasefire accord.

However, Catapang noted that in the past, encounters between the government and MILF forces from 2001 to 2012 resulted to: 491 deaths among AFP and PNP; 841 deaths among civilians; and 1,267 deaths among MILF members. The record for the wounded were 1,089 among AFP and PNP; 1,673 for civilians; 237 for the MILF.

Catapang expressed, “Pahihintulutan po ba natin na mangyari at maulit ito kung hindi natin itutuloy ang national endeavor na magkaroon ng kapayapaan? [Do we allow this to happen again if we do not continue the national endeavor of achieving peace?]”‎

Deles on her part said, “Your honor we already know what the situation is when there is no ceasefire. I thank Gen. Catapang for already having stated that. I think your honor it also has some implications on what we tell our people about our capacity to be able to make peace. What it tells our people about our capacity to fulfill a constitutional mandate on autonomy.”

She cited the wisdom of the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Fourteen surviving members of 1986 Constitutional Commission signed last February 9 a statement supporting the creation of the Bangsamoro, as consistent with the constitutional mandate to create an autonomous region in the south. With this Deles said, ”I think we disappoint ourselves, I think we fall down on ourselves, if we cannot show that we can rise to that [constitutional mandate].”

Philippines: PNP, AFP affirm support for passage of Bangsamoro law

12 February 2015 - 1:53am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Expressing the apprehensions of people from Mindanao that the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be delayed or scrapped off in the wake of the unfortunate incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao House of Representatives’ Deputy Speaker and Lanao del Sur second district Representative Pangalian Balindong asked top police and military officials if they support the passage of the BBL as a way forward in achieving peace. ‎

To this, both Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director Leonardo Espina and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang responded “yes” and affirmed their support to the passage of the BBL during the HOR’s first public hearing on the Mamasapano incident that claimed lives of policemen, armed rebels and civilians.

Balindong, a Muslim, appealed that the “peace process should continue so our [referring to the people of Mindanao] hearts may be at ease.”

He urged the conduct of an “uninterrupted review of the BBL” parallel to the Congressional probe on the Mamasapano incident.

For her part, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said that the passage of the BBL is‎ really in the hands of Congress and expressed her respect to the power of the body to legislate a law that will address the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.

The passage and ratification of the BBL shall establish a Bangsamoro government that will exercise genuine autonomy, and replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The BBL is the enabling law of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, 2014. The CAB also provides a normalization process that includes decommissioning of the MILF weapons and forces, simultaneous to the establishment of the Bangsamoro.

Earlier, Espina emphasized in a very emotional manner that, “we [the PNP] are for peace, we are first and foremost your peacemakers. Whatever it takes to attain the peace, let us do it po‎.”

Implication of non-passage of BBL

In response to a question from Caloocan City second district Rep. Edgar Erice on what will be the effect on the ground if the BBL will not be passed into law, Catapang pointed out the security repercussions.

According to the AFP chief, government forces and MILF had a zero skirmish record for three years since 2012 until this year when the tragic incident in Mamasapano happened due to the ceasefire accord.

However, Catapang noted that in the past, encounters between the government and MILF forces from 2001 to 2012 resulted to: 491 deaths among AFP and PNP; 841 deaths among civilians; and 1,267 deaths among MILF members. The record for the wounded were 1,089 among AFP and PNP; 1,673 for civilians; 237 for the MILF.

Catapang expressed, “Pahihintulutan po ba natin na mangyari at maulit ito kung hindi natin itutuloy ang national endeavor na magkaroon ng kapayapaan? [Do we allow this to happen again if we do not continue the national endeavor of achieving peace?]”‎

Deles on her part said, “Your honor we already know what the situation is when there is no ceasefire. I thank Gen. Catapang for already having stated that. I think your honor it also has some implications on what we tell our people about our capacity to be able to make peace. What it tells our people about our capacity to fulfill a constitutional mandate on autonomy.”

She cited the wisdom of the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Fourteen surviving members of 1986 Constitutional Commission signed last February 9 a statement supporting the creation of the Bangsamoro, as consistent with the constitutional mandate to create an autonomous region in the south. With this Deles said, ”I think we disappoint ourselves, I think we fall down on ourselves, if we cannot show that we can rise to that [constitutional mandate].”

Philippines: PNP, AFP affirm support for passage of Bangsamoro law

12 February 2015 - 1:53am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Expressing the apprehensions of people from Mindanao that the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be delayed or scrapped off in the wake of the unfortunate incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao House of Representatives’ Deputy Speaker and Lanao del Sur second district Representative Pangalian Balindong asked top police and military officials if they support the passage of the BBL as a way forward in achieving peace. ‎

To this, both Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director Leonardo Espina and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang responded “yes” and affirmed their support to the passage of the BBL during the HOR’s first public hearing on the Mamasapano incident that claimed lives of policemen, armed rebels and civilians.

Balindong, a Muslim, appealed that the “peace process should continue so our [referring to the people of Mindanao] hearts may be at ease.”

He urged the conduct of an “uninterrupted review of the BBL” parallel to the Congressional probe on the Mamasapano incident.

For her part, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said that the passage of the BBL is‎ really in the hands of Congress and expressed her respect to the power of the body to legislate a law that will address the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.

The passage and ratification of the BBL shall establish a Bangsamoro government that will exercise genuine autonomy, and replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The BBL is the enabling law of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, 2014. The CAB also provides a normalization process that includes decommissioning of the MILF weapons and forces, simultaneous to the establishment of the Bangsamoro.

Earlier, Espina emphasized in a very emotional manner that, “we [the PNP] are for peace, we are first and foremost your peacemakers. Whatever it takes to attain the peace, let us do it po‎.”

Implication of non-passage of BBL

In response to a question from Caloocan City second district Rep. Edgar Erice on what will be the effect on the ground if the BBL will not be passed into law, Catapang pointed out the security repercussions.

According to the AFP chief, government forces and MILF had a zero skirmish record for three years since 2012 until this year when the tragic incident in Mamasapano happened due to the ceasefire accord.

However, Catapang noted that in the past, encounters between the government and MILF forces from 2001 to 2012 resulted to: 491 deaths among AFP and PNP; 841 deaths among civilians; and 1,267 deaths among MILF members. The record for the wounded were 1,089 among AFP and PNP; 1,673 for civilians; 237 for the MILF.

Catapang expressed, “Pahihintulutan po ba natin na mangyari at maulit ito kung hindi natin itutuloy ang national endeavor na magkaroon ng kapayapaan? [Do we allow this to happen again if we do not continue the national endeavor of achieving peace?]”‎

Deles on her part said, “Your honor we already know what the situation is when there is no ceasefire. I thank Gen. Catapang for already having stated that. I think your honor it also has some implications on what we tell our people about our capacity to be able to make peace. What it tells our people about our capacity to fulfill a constitutional mandate on autonomy.”

She cited the wisdom of the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Fourteen surviving members of 1986 Constitutional Commission signed last February 9 a statement supporting the creation of the Bangsamoro, as consistent with the constitutional mandate to create an autonomous region in the south. With this Deles said, ”I think we disappoint ourselves, I think we fall down on ourselves, if we cannot show that we can rise to that [constitutional mandate].”

Philippines: PNP, AFP affirm support for passage of Bangsamoro law

12 February 2015 - 1:53am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Expressing the apprehensions of people from Mindanao that the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be delayed or scrapped off in the wake of the unfortunate incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao House of Representatives’ Deputy Speaker and Lanao del Sur second district Representative Pangalian Balindong asked top police and military officials if they support the passage of the BBL as a way forward in achieving peace. ‎

To this, both Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director Leonardo Espina and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang responded “yes” and affirmed their support to the passage of the BBL during the HOR’s first public hearing on the Mamasapano incident that claimed lives of policemen, armed rebels and civilians.

Balindong, a Muslim, appealed that the “peace process should continue so our [referring to the people of Mindanao] hearts may be at ease.”

He urged the conduct of an “uninterrupted review of the BBL” parallel to the Congressional probe on the Mamasapano incident.

For her part, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said that the passage of the BBL is‎ really in the hands of Congress and expressed her respect to the power of the body to legislate a law that will address the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.

The passage and ratification of the BBL shall establish a Bangsamoro government that will exercise genuine autonomy, and replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The BBL is the enabling law of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, 2014. The CAB also provides a normalization process that includes decommissioning of the MILF weapons and forces, simultaneous to the establishment of the Bangsamoro.

Earlier, Espina emphasized in a very emotional manner that, “we [the PNP] are for peace, we are first and foremost your peacemakers. Whatever it takes to attain the peace, let us do it po‎.”

Implication of non-passage of BBL

In response to a question from Caloocan City second district Rep. Edgar Erice on what will be the effect on the ground if the BBL will not be passed into law, Catapang pointed out the security repercussions.

According to the AFP chief, government forces and MILF had a zero skirmish record for three years since 2012 until this year when the tragic incident in Mamasapano happened due to the ceasefire accord.

However, Catapang noted that in the past, encounters between the government and MILF forces from 2001 to 2012 resulted to: 491 deaths among AFP and PNP; 841 deaths among civilians; and 1,267 deaths among MILF members. The record for the wounded were 1,089 among AFP and PNP; 1,673 for civilians; 237 for the MILF.

Catapang expressed, “Pahihintulutan po ba natin na mangyari at maulit ito kung hindi natin itutuloy ang national endeavor na magkaroon ng kapayapaan? [Do we allow this to happen again if we do not continue the national endeavor of achieving peace?]”‎

Deles on her part said, “Your honor we already know what the situation is when there is no ceasefire. I thank Gen. Catapang for already having stated that. I think your honor it also has some implications on what we tell our people about our capacity to be able to make peace. What it tells our people about our capacity to fulfill a constitutional mandate on autonomy.”

She cited the wisdom of the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Fourteen surviving members of 1986 Constitutional Commission signed last February 9 a statement supporting the creation of the Bangsamoro, as consistent with the constitutional mandate to create an autonomous region in the south. With this Deles said, ”I think we disappoint ourselves, I think we fall down on ourselves, if we cannot show that we can rise to that [constitutional mandate].”

Philippines: PNP, AFP affirm support for passage of Bangsamoro law

12 February 2015 - 1:53am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Expressing the apprehensions of people from Mindanao that the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be delayed or scrapped off in the wake of the unfortunate incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao House of Representatives’ Deputy Speaker and Lanao del Sur second district Representative Pangalian Balindong asked top police and military officials if they support the passage of the BBL as a way forward in achieving peace. ‎

To this, both Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director Leonardo Espina and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang responded “yes” and affirmed their support to the passage of the BBL during the HOR’s first public hearing on the Mamasapano incident that claimed lives of policemen, armed rebels and civilians.

Balindong, a Muslim, appealed that the “peace process should continue so our [referring to the people of Mindanao] hearts may be at ease.”

He urged the conduct of an “uninterrupted review of the BBL” parallel to the Congressional probe on the Mamasapano incident.

For her part, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said that the passage of the BBL is‎ really in the hands of Congress and expressed her respect to the power of the body to legislate a law that will address the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.

The passage and ratification of the BBL shall establish a Bangsamoro government that will exercise genuine autonomy, and replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The BBL is the enabling law of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, 2014. The CAB also provides a normalization process that includes decommissioning of the MILF weapons and forces, simultaneous to the establishment of the Bangsamoro.

Earlier, Espina emphasized in a very emotional manner that, “we [the PNP] are for peace, we are first and foremost your peacemakers. Whatever it takes to attain the peace, let us do it po‎.”

Implication of non-passage of BBL

In response to a question from Caloocan City second district Rep. Edgar Erice on what will be the effect on the ground if the BBL will not be passed into law, Catapang pointed out the security repercussions.

According to the AFP chief, government forces and MILF had a zero skirmish record for three years since 2012 until this year when the tragic incident in Mamasapano happened due to the ceasefire accord.

However, Catapang noted that in the past, encounters between the government and MILF forces from 2001 to 2012 resulted to: 491 deaths among AFP and PNP; 841 deaths among civilians; and 1,267 deaths among MILF members. The record for the wounded were 1,089 among AFP and PNP; 1,673 for civilians; 237 for the MILF.

Catapang expressed, “Pahihintulutan po ba natin na mangyari at maulit ito kung hindi natin itutuloy ang national endeavor na magkaroon ng kapayapaan? [Do we allow this to happen again if we do not continue the national endeavor of achieving peace?]”‎

Deles on her part said, “Your honor we already know what the situation is when there is no ceasefire. I thank Gen. Catapang for already having stated that. I think your honor it also has some implications on what we tell our people about our capacity to be able to make peace. What it tells our people about our capacity to fulfill a constitutional mandate on autonomy.”

She cited the wisdom of the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Fourteen surviving members of 1986 Constitutional Commission signed last February 9 a statement supporting the creation of the Bangsamoro, as consistent with the constitutional mandate to create an autonomous region in the south. With this Deles said, ”I think we disappoint ourselves, I think we fall down on ourselves, if we cannot show that we can rise to that [constitutional mandate].”

Philippines: DOST launches Mobile Disaster Communications Service in Cebu

12 February 2015 - 1:47am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Japan, Philippines

From the Department of Science and Technology, Information and Communication Technology Office

The Department of Science and Technology together with international and local partners launched and formally turned over the Moveable and Deployable ICT Resource Unit (MDRU) to the town of San Remigio, Cebu, one of the municipalities ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda. The donation of the MDRU to the Philippines happened through the efforts of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan (MIC) and the Central Visayas Information Sharing Network Foundation (CVISNet).

Research and development (R&D) on the Movable Deployable ICT Resource Unit started in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 with the support of MIC, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and other Japanese ICT organizations. It is a unit that can be quickly deployed to restore communications in communities in the aftermath of a disaster. The unit is self-reliant running on its own power source and/or is able to harness other power sources such as power generators or local active power lines.

The MDRU donated by Japan comes in two configurations, the small version is the size of a .5m x .5m box that contains the necessary equipment and software necessary to provide basic voice and data communications within a small area for up to 500 concurrent users, while the attaché case version of the MDRU can do the same for a much smaller area. The MDRU can also act as a data center, it is built in with an Evacuee Management System, that allows relief workers, using no more that smartphones or tablets to track and tabulate those who have been displaced by a disaster.

According to Ioane Koroivuki Regional Director, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, International Telecommunication Union; “The ITU acknowledges that it is absolutely crucial that in times of emergencies that communications are restored in the shortest possible time, it also recognizes that having the right tools in place to enable this. The MDRU is one such tool that enables the establishment of an ICT network and emergency communications services in the fastest time possible”.

Secretary Mario G. Montejo of the DOST commented that the MDRU is a model on how the International public and private partnership and cooperation in ICT can work to mitigate the effects of disasters. Likewise, ICT can also spur development particularly in the countryside. Through e-government, e-health, environment data through programs such as project NOAH and readily available Internet connectivity being developed through the ICT Office, our citizens can have the information they need not only to help sustain themselves but also be ready in times of calamities.

Philippines: DOST launches Mobile Disaster Communications Service in Cebu

12 February 2015 - 1:47am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Japan, Philippines

From the Department of Science and Technology, Information and Communication Technology Office

The Department of Science and Technology together with international and local partners launched and formally turned over the Moveable and Deployable ICT Resource Unit (MDRU) to the town of San Remigio, Cebu, one of the municipalities ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda. The donation of the MDRU to the Philippines happened through the efforts of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan (MIC) and the Central Visayas Information Sharing Network Foundation (CVISNet).

Research and development (R&D) on the Movable Deployable ICT Resource Unit started in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 with the support of MIC, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and other Japanese ICT organizations. It is a unit that can be quickly deployed to restore communications in communities in the aftermath of a disaster. The unit is self-reliant running on its own power source and/or is able to harness other power sources such as power generators or local active power lines.

The MDRU donated by Japan comes in two configurations, the small version is the size of a .5m x .5m box that contains the necessary equipment and software necessary to provide basic voice and data communications within a small area for up to 500 concurrent users, while the attaché case version of the MDRU can do the same for a much smaller area. The MDRU can also act as a data center, it is built in with an Evacuee Management System, that allows relief workers, using no more that smartphones or tablets to track and tabulate those who have been displaced by a disaster.

According to Ioane Koroivuki Regional Director, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, International Telecommunication Union; “The ITU acknowledges that it is absolutely crucial that in times of emergencies that communications are restored in the shortest possible time, it also recognizes that having the right tools in place to enable this. The MDRU is one such tool that enables the establishment of an ICT network and emergency communications services in the fastest time possible”.

Secretary Mario G. Montejo of the DOST commented that the MDRU is a model on how the International public and private partnership and cooperation in ICT can work to mitigate the effects of disasters. Likewise, ICT can also spur development particularly in the countryside. Through e-government, e-health, environment data through programs such as project NOAH and readily available Internet connectivity being developed through the ICT Office, our citizens can have the information they need not only to help sustain themselves but also be ready in times of calamities.

Philippines: Aquino admin to boost peace in 2015 with P9.94-B budget

11 February 2015 - 9:58pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, Feb. 12 -- The National Government is seeking the peaceful settlement of armed conflict in the country, not just by focusing on national defense and security but by also restoring the provision of essential government services in areas affected by conflict. That’s why government programs that strengthen peace-building, reconstruction, and development activities are a top priority in the 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA), receiving a budget of P9.94 billion.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said, “Ensuring inclusive growth means creating an environment of stability in different parts of the country. It’s true that the process of peace-building is a delicate and complex one, requiring much work and cooperation from both sides. But President Aquino’s administration is prepared to support both the communities in need and our national security forces to ensure greater security across the country.”

PROGRAM-FOCUS/PROGRAM AMOUNT

Bangsamoro peace process P2.69B

Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan(PAMANA) P7.25B

TOTAL P9.94B

To bolster the peace process in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and in support of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the National Government is allocating a budget of P2.69 billion for social services to help communities in areas made vulnerable by violence.

The amount can be broken down to the following government agencies and their programs:

DEPARTMENT/AGENCY PROGRAMS AMOUNT

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 1 Immediate Assistance (Reinsertion Package) 2 Auxiliary Social Services for PWD Combatants 3 Sustainable Livelihood Program 4 Cash for Work/Cash for Training 5 Construction & Renovation of Community-based Infrastructure P950 M

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Transformation of MILF Camps: CHED Scholarship Program P15.5M

Department of Education (DepEd) Livelihood Development: Literacy Program (Alternative Learning System) P231M

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Technical Vocational Training P335M

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

(OPAPP) Implementation of Annex on Normalization P228M

Department of Agriculture (DA) Agri-enterprise P880M

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) Philhealth Insurance Cards P50.4M

TOTAL P2.69B

On the other hand, the National Government’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program will get an allocation of P7.25 billion to help foster peace and development in conflict-torn areas throughout the country (including the ARMM), via the delivery of various government programs and services.

The amount can be broken down to the following government agencies and their programs:

DEPARTMENT/AGENCY PROGRAMS AMOUNT

Department of Energy (DOE) Solar electrification P3.32M

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Road construction P519M

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Community support P760M

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Study grants P9.0M

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Support to indigenous people P47.2M

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Community infrastructure and support P3.11B

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Community Driven-Development (CDD) P656M

Department of Agriculture (DA) Community Driven-Development (CDD) P1.80B

National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Irrigation P2.59M

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Reforestation P200M

National Electrification Administration (NEA) Sitio-electrification and barangay line enhancement projects P100M

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) Health insurance premiums P47.8M

TOTAL P7.25B

Abad said, “We have to remember the National Government’s options for conflict-resolution is not limited to reinforcing our military and police strength. Following President Aquino’s message of leaving no one—especially the poor and the vulnerable—behind, we aim to transform the communities in affected areas to become resilient and self-reliant. From this, we can elevate the quality of life of the people living there even as we intensify our drive to reduce poverty. Only then can we ensure peace and development in these conflict-torn areas.”

Philippines: PhilHealth, DOH and UNICEF launch pioneering primary health care package to benefit 11 million children

11 February 2015 - 4:35am
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Philippines

MANILA, 11 February 2015 – Tomorrow the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is set to unveil a pioneering package to deliver quality health care for children, especially children living in the lowest socio-economic strata.

In partnership with Department of Health (DOH), UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank, the PhilHealth has designed a Primary Health Care package to support health care to protect infants and children from the leading causes of childhood illnesses and death.

The initial roll out of the Primary Health Care packages will reach the bottom 40 per cent of the population – 34 million of which 11 million are children. The coverage includes health profiling, diagnostic tests and medicines for children under 5. A separate package is currently being tailored for premature newborns.

“UNICEF is pleased to work with PhilHealth and DOH to reach out to children in the poorest and most vulnerable communities so they have access to responsive primary healthcare benefit packages,” said UNICEF Representative Lotta Sylwander.

Families living in poverty inadvertently delay seeking health care due to their inability to pay the expenses. This often causes conditions to become worse and to require hospitalization. When cases get complex, families are compelled to seek more expensive care in private facilities.

“Prohibitive out-of-pocket expenditures for families causes to perpetuate the vicious cycle of ill health and poverty. Offering affordable primary health care packages can have a significant positive impact on health and economy,” Sylwander added.

From a public health perspective, hospitalization further drains already resource-constrained public hospitals.

Alexander A. Padilla, Chief Executive Officer of PhilHealth said, “The expanded Primary Care Benefit of PhilHealth is a new paradigm in attaining universal health care coverage. The key in keeping our population healthy by promoting health care and making preventive services affordable. We appreciate UNICEF’s assistance in developing the benefit and in orienting our health care providers.”

Dr. Willibald Zeck, UNICEF’s Chief of Health & Nutrition said, “Recognizing the gaps in health insurance coverage for children, UNICEF positively responded to PhilHealth’s request for support in designing a comprehensive benefit packages for newborns and children up to the age of 5.”

The new package, developed under the umbrella program of Tamang Serbisyo para sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya (Tsekap), redefines Philhealth’s existing Primary Care Benefits Package by expanding the coverage of Primary Health Care services – designed to address the most common health problems found at the Barangay level. The selected interventions for common health conditions are cost effective and contribute to better health outcomes.

Malaysia: Dengue Situation Update 458, 10 February 2015

11 February 2015 - 2:21am
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

The cumulative number of reported dengue cases in 2014 was 47,331. This is about ten times and eighty times higher compared with the number in 2013 and 2012 respectively due to the dengue outbreak in Guangdong in end of 2014. In December 2014, 180 dengue cases were reported. Although this number is lower compared to the previous month (November 2014), it is still higher than in the same period in 2013 and 2012 (Figure 1).

Malaysia

As of 8 February 2015, the total number of dengue cases reported in Malaysia in 2015 is higher than for the same period in the previous year (59% increase compared to 2014) (Figure 2).

Philippines (No new update)

As of 31 December 2014, the total number of cases reported in the Philippines follows seasonal pattern, showing a decreasing trend since week 33 2014. The number of reported cases is 45% lower than for the same period last year. (Figure 3)

Singapore

The total number of reported dengue cases shows a marked seasonal pattern. The number of cases increased slightly during the past 3 weeks but was below the same period in 2014. (Figure 4)

Mekong area

Cambodia (No new update)

Cambodia has experienced a relatively stable number of new cases reported per week as of week 3 2015, (Figure 5). Cambodia continues to experience much lower number of cases since 2008 (data for 2012 are excluded). As of the week 3 2015, cumulative cases and deaths are as below.

Lao PDR

The total number of notifications for week 5 2015 (24 Jan 2015 - 30 Jan 2015) is 6 cases (Figure 6).

Viet Nam

There were 4,420 dengue cases and no death in December 2014. As of 31 December, there have been reported 31,848 cases and 20 deaths. In comparison with 2013, dengue cases decreased by 52% (66,138 cases in 2013), and also deaths decreased by 52% (42 in 2013). (Figure 7)

Southern Hemisphere

Australia

As of September 2014, the monthly number of cases reported in Australia has shown a decreasing trend since January. However since October 2014, the number of cases has fluctuated with a slight increase. (Figure 8)

Pacific Islands

French Polynesia

The weekly number of reported cases fluctuated during the past 4 weeks, with 8 confirmed cases in week 4 2015, and laboratory confirmed diagnosis in 2 cases with positive PCR for DENV1 (Figure 9). To date, the number of hospitalizations reported in December 2014 is 7, including 1 severe case.

World: Asia-Pacific Humanitarian Bulletin July - December 2014

11 February 2015 - 12:23am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, World

NATURAL DISASTERS AND CONFLICTS IN ASIA-PACIFIC

FEWER LIVES LOST

In 2014, Asia and the Pacific experienced 126 natural disasters, which affected a total of 85 million people. Significantly, casualties were a quarter of what they were in 2013, with nearly 4,000 people killed by disasters in the region. Floods and landslides were the primary causes of death according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).

There were fewer large-scale disaster events in Asia and the Pacific in 2014. Although hazards including floods and approaching storms put people at risk, the absence of severe catastrophes meant that loss of life from natural disasters were much lower. In many places, improved preparedness measures and early warning systems, as well as larger evacuations, consistently moved people to safety and reduced the number of casualties.

Overall, China, India and the Philippines experienced the greatest number of disasters in 2014 with a large amount of people exposed to a variety of hazards. Cyclone Hudhud struck India’s east coast as a Category 4 storm in early October with wind speeds of over 190 km/h. Despite its destructive force, early evacuations of around half a million people kept the number of casualties at a comparatively low 84. Similarly, one of the largest peace-time evacuations of people from Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines prevented major losses with a total of 18 deaths. The typhoon made landfall as a Category 3 storm, weaker than Super Typhoon Haiyan that killed more than 6,000 people the year before. A total of nine typhoons hit the Philippines in 2014.

Although 2014 saw fewer incidences, the overall disaster risk situation has not changed. Major floods in India, particularly around Jammu and Kashmir, China and Indonesia once again affected almost 23 million people. Large landslides in Nepal caused 484 deaths and affected more than 185,000 people. At the same time, China experienced a major drought that affected 27.5 million people.