Last night I met the president of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III. During his two day visit to Belgium, he was invited by the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations for a conference on the theme: « Philippine relations with the European Union: Shared values and prospects for cooperation ».
Community health workers who completed the basic health skills training conducted by the Council for Health and Development (CHD) vowed to lead health campaigns and educate, organize and mobilize more people to struggle for their right to health.
While the President of the Philippines delivered his State of Nation Address (SONA), thousands of protesters gathered in the highway leading to the SONA venue, the House of Representatives. They held their own program to belie the President's claim of economic progress under his administration. Progress, according to them, is only felt by a few at the expense of many. After the SONA, the protesters attempted to symbolically topple the barricade set up by the police to prevent them to go near the venue, but they were greeted with water cannons.
Typhoon Haiyan victims are desperately resorting to borrowing from microcredit institutions as the national government continues to dilly-dally on its rehabilitation program, eight months after the typhoon. But many for-profit microcredit institutions are making the lives of the borrowers harder because they are often keener on collecting repayments rather than helping the victims rise from their impoverished condition.
Some coastal villages in Yolanda-stricken areas in Roxas City, Panay in Western Visayas Region are facing demolition due to the national government's "no-dwelling zone" policy. Under this policy, reconstruction of houses destroyed by Yolanda is prohibited in the "zones" while it allows businesses and tourism-related infrastructures. The government said the no-dwelling zone policy is aimed at reducing disaster risks in coastal areas. Affected residents are up in arms against the said policy because it is focused more on demolishing communities to give way to big businesses.
Ibon belied the Philippine government claim during the World Economic Forum that it is Asia's next miracle harping on the impressive economic growth which makes it the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia. Ibon said that the growth in the Philippine economy is artificial, unsustainable and exclusionary benefiting only multinational corporations and big local companies while the majority of the population suffer record-high poverty and unemployment rates. The research group said that the claim is pure hype meant to lure foreign businesses and clinch more public-private partnerships (PPP).
In recognition of its contribution to the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of typhoon Yolanda(Haiyan), G3W recently received a plaque of appreciation from a network of health groups, workers and professionals called Samahang Operasyong Sagip (Organization for Rescue Operations) or SOS.