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Philippines: Palace assures water sufficiency for Metro Manila

17 April 2016 - 1:23pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, April 18 - Malacanang assured Sunday that the water supply sourced from the Angat Dam is sufficient for Metro Manila's consumption despite its high level of evaporation.

"Ayon sa National Water Resources Board na pinangungunahan ni Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary (Babes) Singson, meron naman tayong sapat na tubig para sa Metro Manila," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said in a radio interview.

He pointed out the government had already prepared to mitigate the expected low water levels based on the El Niño preparedness plan.

"Noong umpisa pa man nakapaghanda na itong National Water Resources Board ng isang El Niño preparedness plan na nakapaloob doon ang action plan on water supply for Metro Manila katuwang na sitwasyon sa Angat Dam. Ito ay pinangangasiwaan ng isang El Niño Domestic Supply Management Task Force na binubuo nitong National Water Resources Board, MWSS, National Irrigation Administration, Maynilad at Manila Water," the Secretary said.

Coloma further said the National Water Resources Board also embarked on water conservation campaigns since last year.

"Sila rin ay simula pa noong isang taon ay nagsasagawa na ng kampanya para mapaalam sa ating mga kababayan ang kahalagahan ng water conservation at nakipag-ugnayan din at patuloy na nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga Metro Manila local government units hinggil dito," he added.

For irrigation on the other hand the Palace official said the government released temporary permits to operate shallow tube well and small water impounding facilities.

"Para naman sa irigasyon, sila ay nagbigay ng mga temporary permits para sa operasyon ng mga tinatawag na shallow tube well at small water impounding facilities," he said.

Coloma also encouraged the public to practice water conservation, adding the agencies will coordinate with local government units to ensure the sufficiency of water supply.

"Tuluy-tuloy ang paghimok sa ating mga mamamayan na mag-ipon at huwag magsayang ng tubig. Tuluy-tuloy din ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga lokal na pamahalaan at iba’t ibang ahensiya para matiyak na magiging sapat ang ating suplay ng tubig lalo na ang tubig na inumin," the Secretary stressed.

The Angat Dam supplies around 90 percent of Metro Manila's water consumption. PND

Philippines: DSWD assures funds to help LGUs respond to El Nino

17 April 2016 - 1:21pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Amid escalating impact of El Nino in the country, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured that it has sufficient funds to fulfill its mandate of providing resource augmentation to local government units (LGUs) that are affected by drought.

The assurance was made following the warning of Senator Ralph Recto that a national crisis looms unless the P3.9 billion Calamity Fund and P6.7 billion Quick Response Fund (QRF) are released to help several provinces affected by El Nino.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman clarified that the P6.7 billion QRF mentioned by Sen. Recto is not a QRF but was the amount proposed by DSWD for the implementation of Cash-for-Work and livelihood assistance for families affected by El Nino.

“What we have is the P1.32 billion QRF for 2016. The Department of Budget and Management has authorized the DSWD to utilize this amount to respond to El Nino requirements,” Sec. Soliman added.

In addition to the QRF, DSWD also draws funds from the Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation (CCAM) fund to augment its support to El Nino affected local government units (LGUs).

Of the P1.32 billion, DSWD has released P384,642,494.13, as of April 10, to cover the worth of assistance for El Nino affected families nationwide through the LGUs. The amount includes the cost of food assistance and the implementation of Cash-for-Work (CFW).

Another P447,320,350 is being processed for downloading to Region XII and ARMM.

Furthermore, the Department is helping other LGUs in assessing the extent of the drought especially in regions with areas that have been declared under a state of calamity.

“Along with the rest of the government, DSWD recognizes the urgency of responding to the situation of hunger affecting the poor in many parts of the country,” Sec. Soliman ended.

Philippines: Whether Fact or Fiction, ISIS Claims Threaten Philippines Peace

17 April 2016 - 6:49am
Source: International Peace Institute Country: Philippines

by Joseph Franco

Eighteen soldiers were killed after a 10-hour clash with a faction of the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines’ Basilan province on April 9th. Observers were quick to declare it the first major Islamic State (ISIS) attack in the country. But, aside from a communique of acknowledgment from the Middle East-based group, there is little evidence of actual operational involvement by ISIS. Unfortunately, even speculation of foreign terrorist activity in the wider Mindanao region risks derailing an already stalled peace process, particularly as the Philippines heads toward a presidential election on May 9th.

The soldiers were ambushed by an estimated 100-120 Abu Sayyaf fighters in the village of Tipo-Tipo, with the clash also killing 26 of the militants. Despite their own losses, the army considered the engagement a major blow against Abu Sayyaf, which was well established in the adjoining town of Albarka. Among those killed was Moroccan national Mohammad Khattab, who was described as a jihadist preacher and bomb-maker, allegedly in the Philippines to link up local militants and international terrorist networks.

The ISIS claim of responsibility exaggerated the outcome as involving the destruction of seven troop transports and the killing of nearly 100 soldiers. The army, however, has not suppressed online images that show just three damaged vehicles, none of which suffered the catastrophic damage claimed.

Abu Sayyaf has long sought to exploit the ISIS brand and obtain the group’s formal recognition. The Basilan-based faction engaged in the recent fighting was led by Isnilon Hapilon, who gained notoriety for pledging allegiance to ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in July 2014. Hapilon’s faction reiterated its pledge on January 4 this year, and the militants have begun to operate under the moniker of Jund al Tawhid Battalion, which was speculated as being a precursor to the declaration of an ISIS wilayat, or province, in Mindanao, the restive, Muslim-heavy southern region of the Philippines.

In reality, Hapilon latching onto the ISIS brand is due more to the loss of influence his own group has suffered over the past decade or more. In 2002, United States special operations forces were deployed to Mindanao through Oplan Balikatan (“shoulder-to-shoulder”), a joint military capability-building exercise with the Philippine army. As a result of the offensives this operation launched, Abu Sayyaf’s presence in Basilan was deemed negligible by 2006. From its peak strength of around 1,200 fighters, it was estimated to have just 400 armed members by 2015.

The army casualties sustained in the recent attacks are seen by some as reflecting Abu Sayyaf’s re-energized capabilities. However, such conclusions discount the long violent history of Basilan, particularly in Albarka and Tipo-Tipo. In 2007 and 2011, Tipo-Tipo and Albarka were the site of two large skirmishes against Muslim armed groups that claimed the lives of 23 and 19 army member respectively.

The use of powerful improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the April 9th ambush gave a similarly false indication of ISIS involvement, since Abu Sayyaf has been known to use IEDs since its inception. Despite their more common association with Middle Eastern extremists, IEDs have also been commonly used by many other Filipino insurrectionists, including communist guerrillas from the New People’s Army in non-Muslim Luzon, and secessionist rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, who have long fought for autonomy for Mindanao.

In reality, Abu Sayyaf remains a relatively weak and localized militant group. Difficult terrain and the convoluted local politics of Basilan localities often pose more of a challenge to military operations against it than do the group’s own material capabilities. Local intertwined social and kinship networks also provide Abu Sayyaf with advance knowledge of military operations. All able-bodied men in these communities are expected to take part in pintakasi, or ganging up on security forces seen to be invaders. However, individuals engaged in pintakasi mostly use the violence as an opportunity to acquire spoils of war, such as firearms from military units.

Allegations of an ISIS involvement in the Basilan attacks clearly serve that group’s own propaganda purposes, as well as those of Abu Sayyaf. They come at a time when ISIS is suffering major setbacks in its Syria and Iraq territories, and its members and supporters are eager to claim any foreign violence.

Regardless, the very idea that ISIS has established a presence in Mindanao does not bode well for the ongoing peace process in the southern Philippines. Since 1997, the government has held on-and-off talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest Muslim secessionist group in the country. After protracted negotiations, the two parties signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014, which then led to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). This legislation was intended to grant meaningful political autonomy to Filipino Muslims and usher in peace in Mindanao, but unfortunately its passage has been stalled.

Even a false specter of ISIS in the region will empower those opposed to the peace process and who instead favor pursuit of a military victory against local Islamists. The issue is also being dragged into the election campaign. The emerging narrative is on how the administration of President Benigno Aquino has ignored the purported ISIS threat. This will likely gain greater traction among opposition politicians in the run-up to the May polls.

None of the presidential candidates have laid out specific measures to address the threat of ISIS. Some candidates, such as Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, have used the issue as an argument for rejecting the BBL and establishing a federalist system of government in the Philippines. Other aspirants are even more confrontational, with Senators Grace Poe and Miriam Defensor-Santiago claiming that the BBL is “contradicting sovereignty” and a gateway to “secession.” Only Mar Roxas, a member of the Aquino administration, has expressed the need for urgency in passing the law. Whoever wins the election will need to deal with uncertainty surrounding the involvement of ISIS in the Philippines, which is currently sustaining the polarization between Muslims and non-Muslims that the extremist group craves.

Joseph Franco is an Associate Research Fellow with the Centre of Excellence for National Security, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Originally Published in the Global Observatory

Philippines: DSWD taps Pantawid Pamilya parent leaders to reach out to families in drought-hit villages

16 April 2016 - 2:22am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

As drought due to El Nino phenomenon continues to affect the country, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has mobilized the provincial and municipal links and parent leaders of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to reach out to those needing help in their areas.

“Ang DSWD ay handa, at katunayan ay tuloy-tuloy kami sa pagtulong. Kung sino pa ang hindi nakatanggap ng tulong, maaring ipagbigay-alam sa mga parent leaders ng Pantawid Pamilya sa inyong mga barangay at sitio para mapadalhan namin ng tulong (The DSWD is ready and continues to extend assistance. If there are families that have not received help, please inform the Pantawid Pamilya parent leaders in your barangays and sitios so we can send the needed assistance),” DSWD Undersecretary Vilma Cabrera said.

USec. Cabrera also cited that every family should know where to ask for help, thus, she explained the process flow of providing assistance.

She said that under the Local Government Code, the first responders are the local government units (LGUs), these include the barangay, municipal/city and provincial loca governments.

Republic Act 10121 or An Act Strengthening the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Systems, also states that it is the LGUs responsibility to immediately address the needs of their constituents in the event of disasters.

If the local government units have already exhausted their calamity fund, a request maybe submitted for augmentation to the higher level Disaster Risk Reduction Council which in turn will provide the needed assistance.

The municipal government provides the support in the event that two or more barangays are affected by disaster. The provincial government augments if two or more municipalities are affected.

The national government, through the concerned government agencies, provides augmentation support when the provincial government can no longer provide for the needs of its affected populace.

However, in anticipation of the extensive impact of the El Nino, DSWD has provided assistance to the hard hit areas in Region XII and ARMM as early as October 2015. Assistance provided includes Cash for Work and family food packs.

“We have adequate funds since we have been authorized by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to utilize our 2016 Quick Response Funds (QRF),” she added.

USec. Cabrera also said that in addition to QRF, another source of fund is the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (CCAM) for the DSWD support to El Nino affected LGUs in 2015.

To date, DSWD has provided a total of ₱609,285,277 intended for the CFW and rice assistance for the 279,965 El Niño-affected families in Region XII and ARMM.

Philippines: DILG zooms in to family-level for disaster preparedness

15 April 2016 - 8:00pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, April 16 - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is bringing disaster preparedness down to the level of families, the basic unit of society.

DILG Secretary Mel Senen S. Sarmiento said that the Listong Pamilyang Pilipino, focusing on the family and household level preparedness, is the third component of the Operation Listo, the Department’s advocacy program that strengthens the preparedness of local government units (LGUs) for disasters using the whole-of-government approach.

The Operation Listo started in 2014 with Listong Pamahalaang Lokal which institutionalized local protocols for disaster preparedness, response and monitoring. The program was strategized to be more grassroot with its second component, the Listong Pamayanan, which is a capacity development intervention that started from LGUs and cascaded to the community.

“Now, the DILG in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be launching and rolling-out the Gabay at Mapa para sa Listong Pamilyang Pilipino this year. It is a family guide to action before, during and after a disaster,” said Sarmiento.

Listong Pamilyang Pilipino, he said, also centers on family development sessions with Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) families and Family HOUR (Home Operations and Unified Response) meetings.

Moreover, he shared that for this year, the Operation Listo includes creation and follow-through activities of the national association of local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Offices (DRRMOs), development and roll-out of the community drills for tsunami or storm surge, and development and roll-out of the community-based DRRM.

The Secretary said he has enjoined all provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, DILG regional, provincial, city directors, Municipal Local Government Operations Officers (MLGOOs), chiefs of police and city and municipal fire marshalls to participate in the activities under the components of the Operation Listo.

The DILG is the Vice-Chairperson for Disaster Preparedness in the DRRM Act of 2010 or Republic Act 10121. (DILG)

World: El Niño: Preparedness and Response Situation Report – April 2016

15 April 2016 - 11:28am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: World, Botswana, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Apr 2016


The current 2015-2016 El Niño cycle has been one of the strongest on record and has had significant impacts on agricultural production and food security across the globe. At present, the agriculture, food security and nutritional status of 60 million people is affected by El Niño-related droughtsfloods and extreme hot and cold weather.

While **El Niño** is likely to decline in strength over the coming months, and forecast models indicate a return to an El Niño neutral state during the second quarter of 2016, this does not mean that the danger has passed. **Harvests** in several parts of the world have already failed and are forecast to fail in others, which will result in a dramatic increase in acute household food insecurity.

The regions most affected include the **Horn of Africa**, **southern Africa**, the Dry Corridor of Central America, **Caribbean Islands**, **southeast Asia** and **Pacific Islands**. Many countries within these regions have already declared a national state of emergency. In many of the affected countries, FAO is using early warning information to design and implement early action and response plans.

Philippines: Enhancing preparedness and response in the Philippines

15 April 2016 - 8:08am
Source: Government of the United Kingdom Country: Philippines

Support for the Philippines Department of Science and Technology, and its National Meteorological Service; the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration


The location of the Philippines means that it is subject to a range of natural hazards, including earthquakes and volcanoes. It is also situated on the typhoon belt in the north-west Pacific. This results in most of its islands experiencing periods of torrential rain, flooding, landslides, high winds, thunderstorms and related storm surges, between June and November.

Typhoons are one of the most dangerous natural hazards. They cause considerable loss of life and immense damage to property. They are also notoriously difficult to predict. The effect of these hazards was witnessed in 2011’s Typhoon Pedring (internationally known as Nesat), 2012’s Typhoon Pablo (Bopha), and the most disastrous storm of the century, Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.
The country is usually affected by around 21 cyclonic storms each year and directly struck by five to six. To make sure society is sufficiently resilient and prepared requires the development and delivery of effective weather and climate services.

Philippines: Philippines: Civilians bear brunt of fighting and dry spell in Maguindanao

15 April 2016 - 5:37am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

Around 13,000 people in Maguindanao province in central Mindanao who have been displaced for over two months, owing to the armed clashes between government forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), received half-month food rations to help them meet their needs.

The ICRC, together with its partner the Philippine Red Cross, delivered food supplies to evacuation centres in Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Datu Salibo municipalities yesterday to augment the assistance provided by the government since the hostilities began in February.

"We are concerned by the impact of the fighting on the civilian population. These communities are already scarred by armed violence that has been going on for decades. Today, they continue to bear the heavy consequences of uninterrupted conflicts, such as living in crowded shelters for a long period," said Pascal Porchet, head of the ICRC delegation in the Philippines.

"On top of this, the El Niño makes life in the evacuation centre even more difficult. It has also devastated their farms and livelihood, forcing them to depend on aid," he added.

Each displaced family received 25 kilograms of rice, 12 tins of sardines, 2 litres of cooking oil, 2 litres of soy sauce, 2 kilograms of sugar and 500 grams of salt.

In certain evacuation centres in Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Datu Salibo, displaced people have access to water for washing and bathing through 25 hand pumps installed by the ICRC in 2015; in Datu Salibo, evacuees have access to drinking water through nine hand pumps equipped with filters. Communities are also using 62 latrines that had been set up prior to the hostilities.

Through close coordination with the Maguindanao Integrated Provincial Health Office, which has been adequately addressing the health needs of the displaced, the ICRC is monitoring the conditions of displaced communities and stands ready to support their needs.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose mandate is to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. It has had an established presence in the Philippines for over 70 years and a permanent presence in Mindanao since 1982.

For further information, please contact:
Lany de la Cruz, ICRC Cotabato, tel. 0999 887 0985
Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel: 0908 868 6884
Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Manila, tel: 0918 907 2125

Philippines: New homes, renewed life for ‘Yolanda’ survivors

14 April 2016 - 10:55pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

For the 306  families from Tacloban City who suffered the brunt of Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ when it struck almost three years ago, having a new home is heaven sent.

Since March 29, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Housing Authority (NHA), and the local government unit (LGU) of Tacloban City have been moving families from the three bunkhouses located in IPI, Abucay, and NHA compound to the permanent relocation site in Ridgeview Park 1. The houses were built by NHA.

The 306 families comprised the first batch that were transferred.  The three agencies hope to finish transferring the remaining 491 families within this month.

To help the families in their new homes, DSWD-Field Office VIII provided them with Pabaon Packs that consisted of 25-kilos of rice, plastic mats, mosquito nets, blankets, and cooking pots.

The families expressed their joy for having new and safe homes and were excited to share their plans. Gina, 45, married with five children related her plans to engage in buy and sell of baked products. Another beneficiary, Mana Tale Penaranda, said that she would plant okra, ampalaya, string beans and malunggay in her backyard garden as a source of food and extra income. She expressed her appreciation for her new house saying that it is well-ventilated with high ceilings. Likewise, couple Rodrigo and Michelle Cannecer narrated that they will set up a sari-sari store as their extra source of income.

Michelle is also thankful for her family’s new home saying, “Malipay kami nga after three years may balay na kami, salamat hin madamo  (We are happy that after three years, we already have a house, thank you so much).”

Even the children are happy to have transferred to their new community.

Princess Michaela Cinco and Annjannes Separa, 12 and 13, respectively, excitedly exclaimed that Ridgeview Park is far better than the IPI bunkhouse where they stayed for two years.

“Diri na malubak it karsada, sementado na. Diri na kahoy it am balay, semento na gihap (The roads are cemented, not bumpy or rocky. Our houses are concrete).”

Edgar Salentes and wife, Rutchie, proudly showed their newly-opened sari-sari store and said, “Ginpalago gud namon an kwarta nga ginhatag ha amon han gobyerno ngan mga NGOs. Parag-pedicab la ako ngan an akon padis nag-skills training man hin cooking. An iba nga cash nga panhatag, amon gin capital hini nga sari-sari store  (We have invested here the amount given to us by the government and the NGOs. I am a pedicab driver and my wife was one of those trained in cooking. We used some of the cash given to us as capital for this sari-sari store).”

The residents said that the memories of the devastation that ‘Yolanda’ brought to their lives remains but they have to move on.

“For ‘Yolanda’-affected families, starting a new life is neither easy nor fast, but  with determination, perseverance, and hard work, they now have a chance for a better life in their new homes,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman stated.

World: WHO Zika Virus, Microcephaly and Guillain-Barré Syndrome Situation Report, 14 April 2016

14 April 2016 - 3:09pm
Source: World Health Organization Country: American Samoa, Argentina, Aruba (The Netherlands), Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (The Netherlands), Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao (The Netherlands), Dominica, Dominican Republic, Easter Island (Chile), Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, France, French Guiana (France), French Polynesia (France), Gabon, Guadeloupe (France), Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Malaysia, Maldives, Martinique (France), Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), New Caledonia (France), New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Puerto Rico (The United States of America), Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (France), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sint Maarten (The Netherlands), Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, United States Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World


From 1 January 2007 to 13 April 2016, Zika virus transmission was documented in a total of 64 countries and territories.

Mosquito-borne transmission:

 42 countries are experiencing a first outbreak of Zika virus since 2015, with no previous evidence of circulation, and with ongoing transmission by mosquitos.  17 countries have reported evidence of Zika virus transmission prior to 2015, with or without ongoing transmission or have reported an outbreak since 2015 that is now over.

Person-to-person transmission: 

Six countries have now reported evidence of person-to-person transmission of Zika virus, other than mosquito-borne transmission (Argentina, Chile, France,
Italy, New Zealand and the United States of America).

In the week to the 13 April, two additional countries have reported mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission: Belize and Saint Lucia.

Microcephaly and other fetal malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection or suggestive of congenital infection have been reported in six countries (Brazil,
Cabo Verde, Colombia, French Polynesia, Martinique and Panama). Two additional cases, each linked to a stay in Brazil, were detected in Slovenia and the United States of America.

In the context of Zika virus circulation, 13 countries and territories worldwide have reported an increased incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and/or laboratory confirmation of a Zika virus infection among GBS cases.

Based on a growing body of research, there is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and GBS.

The global prevention and control strategy launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Strategic Response Framework encompasses surveillance, response activities and research. This situation report is organized under those headings.

World: Countries Affected by 2015 - 2016 El Nino -13 April 2016

14 April 2016 - 5:25am
Source: Logistics Cluster Country: World, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Cambodia, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe

Philippines: Moderate quake shakes southern Philippines

13 April 2016 - 5:15pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Manila, Philippines | AFP | Wednesday 4/13/2016 - 20:43 GMT

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of southern Philippines early Thursday, seismologists said, with no damage or casualties immediately reported and no tsunami warning issued.

The quake occurred at 2:21 am (1821 GMT Wednesday) off Mindanao island with its epicentre about 28 kilometres (17 miles) northwest of the mountainous town of Siocon at a depth of about 12 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

It struck more than 750 kilometres south of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

A USGS map recorded moderate-strong shaking on coastal areas near the quake's epicentre, but said the risk of damage was not high.

Local authorities said there was no tsunami risk and that they had not received reports of casualties or damage, but warned that some buildings could be affected.

"Quakes of this magnitude can cause damage on poorly built structures," state seismologist Dante Soneja of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology told AFP.

The institute's own instruments measured the quake's magnitude at 5.7 with a depth of 15 kilometres, Soneja added.

The Philippines is regularly hit by quakes due to its location along the so-called chain of fire of islands of the Pacific Ocean that were created by volcanic activity.


© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

World: 2015-2016 El Niño: WFP and FAO Overview (As of 13 April 2016)

13 April 2016 - 11:29am
Source: World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization Country: World, Botswana, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Globally, millions of vulnerable people are experiencing increased hunger and poverty due to droughts and floods as a result of a climatic occurrence: El Niño. This phenomenon is not an individual weather event but a climate pattern which occurs every two to seven years and lasts 9-12 months. This particular occurrence is one of the most severe in a half-century and the strongest El Niño since 1997/1998 which killed some 21,000 people and caused damage to infrastructure worth US$ 36 billion. According to the World Bank, agriculture prices are projected to decline 1.4 percent across almost all commodities groups despite fears of El Niño disruptions, though there are impacts on local commodity prices in many countries throughout Latin America and Southern Africa. The negative consequences of El Niño are foreseen to continue for months to come, particularly in Southern Africa. Food Security Cluster partners have put preparedness actions in place and have responded globally. The global Food Security Cluster is providing support to WFP, FAO, and food security partners through continual monitoring of information, and dissemination of such data to stakeholders for El Niño affected countries, ensuring that country level coordination mechanisms are well equipped to employ preparedness actions and responses, advocating for additional resources to affected countries, and support to country level clusters.

Philippines: Humanitarian funding analysis: Drought, the Philippines

13 April 2016 - 9:34am
Source: Global Humanitarian Assistance programme (Development Initiatives), Start Network Country: Philippines

Key Points

  • According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS), donors have committed/contributed US$5.1 million of humanitarian assistance to the Philippines since the start of 2016.
  • The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is currently the largest humanitarian donor to the Philippines in 2016, with reported commitments of US$2.6 million.
  • In 2015 a total of US$30.2 million of humanitarian assistance was reported as committed/contributed to the Philippines.
  • The three largest humanitarian donors in 2015 were the United States (US; US$9.8 million), New Zealand (US$3.1 million) and Sweden (US$2.3 million).
  • There has been no Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) funding to the Philippines so far in 2016.
  • There are no country‐based pooled funds for the Philippines and no UN co‐ordinated appeals.

Philippines: ACAPS Briefing Note - Philippines: Drought, 12 April 2016

13 April 2016 - 7:56am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Philippines

Crisis Overview

The Philippines has been affected by a strong El Niño-related dry spell since December 2015, which has hit food production. El Niño peaked between December and February, and drought affected 40% of the country, and is expected to persist in 2015.

The most drought-affected area is the island of Mindanao in the south, which is the country's poorest area and where more than half of the population is reliant on agriculture. According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, 676,465 people have been affected by drought in the following areas of Mindanao: Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat in Soccsksargenand Maguindanao in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Zamboanga peninsula in Mindanao has been facing severe water shortages.

Philippines: Haiyan Shelter Recovery Programme: A story of hope and resilience

13 April 2016 - 7:37am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

By Mary Joy Evalarosa, IFRC

Ever since the construction of her new shelter began two weeks ago, Jennylind Arsollon would stand by the door of her brother-in-law’s house with her one-year-old son, Manuel, in one arm, and watch while the carpenters work.

The last two years have been rough on the 33-year-old and her family. She was taking care of her brother-in-law’s house when typhoon Haiyan struck their town in Pastrana, Leyte, in November 2013. The family was forced to seek shelter in the basement as the house fell apart.

“It was a scary experience for our family, especially for the kids,” she said. “We huddled in the basement for hours and watched as the water began to pour in from the windows.”

When the water in the basement continued to rise, they clambered out and huddled in her brother-in-law’s living room. Once the storm subsided, the kids helped to bail water out from the basement and discarded everything that was damaged by the storm.

But the ordeal took a toll on her then 60-year-old husband, Ruben, who caught pneumonia a few weeks later. They lived in the damp house for more than two years, with Jennylind making ends meet from the 5 US dollars she earned by selling ‘bananacue’ from a government cash-for-work project. Life took a turn for the better for Jennylind and her family when they were approached by Philippine Red Cross volunteers conducting a survey under the Haiyan shelter recovery programme.

“One of the things that made this shelter different is that the latrine is located at the front of the house,” said Herbert Origenes, one of the Philippine Red Cross shelter team leaders in Leyte. “The participants informed us during the initial survey that the back part of the house is prone to water retention during heavy rains, so we took steps to avoid that.”

Over the past two years, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has made significant progress in its recovery program, reaching more than tens of thousands of people with shelter, livelihood cash and health and education programmes.

As it nears the end of its three-year operation, the Philippine Red Cross’ Haiyan Recovery program, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and partner national societies, has so far built or repaired more than 72,000 homes in 9 affected provinces, reaching more than 90 percent of the shelter target since the programme started in 2014.

According to Philippine Red Cross Chairman, Richard Gordon, the shelter recovery program ensures that families have adequate, appropriate and safe shelter, supporting them from the transition phase to making more permanent and durable housing. “We also prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable and ensure their participation and access to basic services to provide them with a life of dignity,” said Gordon.

Philippines: FAO Philippines Newsletter - 2016 Issue 1

12 April 2016 - 10:31am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Philippines

Featured Stories

  • FAO and DA take agriculture disaster risk reduction to the next level

  • Restoring livelihoods of typhoon-hit farmers in Central Luzon

  • Pikit farmers acquire livelihood and disaster risk reduction skills

  • Regional food security initiatives gain momentum in the Philippines

  • Fisheries Improvement Plans adopted by 11 coastal communities

  • FAO’s Typhoon Haiyan experience: Building back better means addressing the root causes of poverty, food insecurity and vulnerability to disasters

Philippines: DSWD ready to provide more support for drought-hit LGUs

12 April 2016 - 8:12am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

The different Field Offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) nationwide are currently conducting assessment activities at the provincial and municipal levels to determine further additional requirements for food assistance and implementation of Cash-for-Work (CFW) in drought-stricken areas.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman reiterated that the Department has adequate funds to augment the resources of local government units (LGUs) in responding to the needs of affected families.

To date, DSWD has provided a total of P1,270,615,194.13 worth of assistance to 1,172,260 affected families nationwide. The amount includes the cost of food assistance and the implementation of CFW funded under the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and Quick Response Funds of the Department for 2015-2016.

Currently, the highest number of beneficiaries came from Region XII and the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with 330,060 and 338,314 families, respectively.

World: Regional Consultative Group on Humanitarian Civil Military Coordination for Asia and the Pacific - Newsletter Issue 1, April 2016

12 April 2016 - 5:21am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, World

Welcome to the First Edition of the Regional Consultative Group (RCG) on Humanitarian CivilMilitary Coordination for Asia and the Pacific Newsletter. This Newsletter will be published every two months to provide an update on the RCG work as well as to inform the UN-CMCoord community about upcoming UN-CMCoord events in the Asia-Pacific region.

For this edition, as chair of the RCG for 2016, the Government of the Philippines would like to share with RCG members the following updates:

  1. Consultative Group on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination Annual Meeting outcomes;

  2. Updates on the implementation of the RCG 2016 Work Plan;

  3. Invitation to RCG members to join the Advisory Group on common humanitarian civil-military coordination standards.

World: Prevention and Treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition in East Asia and the Pacific - Report of a Regional Consultation - Bangkok, Thailand, June 24-26, 2015

11 April 2016 - 11:43pm
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Cambodia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, World
Executive Summary

Rationale and objectives of the meeting

In the East Asia and the Pacific Region (EAPR), despite economic growth and achievements in health and nutrition indicators, maternal and child undernutrition rates and burden remain extremely high. The annual estimated number of cases of severe wasting in EAPR countries is over six million, but the indirect coverage of the treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is less than 2%. Prevention and management of acute malnutrition is therefore a large unfinished agenda in this region.

As part of a broader effort by UNICEF and partners to raise awareness and promote commitment to the issue, the “Regional Consultation on Prevention and Treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition in East Asia and the Pacific” was held in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 24-26, 2015. The meeting was organised by the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO). Participants included government representatives, UNICEF staff from headquarters, regional offices and EAPRO country offices, staff from other United Nations (UN) agencies such as the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), such as Save the Children, Action Against Hunger (ACF-UK) and Alive & Thrive (Vietnam), Institute de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), academia (University of Louvain) and donors.

The objectives of the consultation were to:

(1) discuss the latest evidence on nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive delivery platforms and models for the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition, with a special focus on SAM;

(2) examine the strengths and challenges of the currently implemented approaches in the region, with a focus on SAM management;

(3) identify the importance of acute malnutrition within the larger nutrition operating environment, and the integration into national systems and existing coordination mechanisms at country level.