Did you know that Guiuan Airport in Eastern Samar was originally an American air base during World War II, and that the first plane to land there was a Fairchild L-3 Cub on December 18, 1944? [Learn more here]
ABOVE: An aerial view of Guiuan Airfield sometime during the American occupation. img via
ABOVE: The historic meeting of two icons of democracy, Nelson Mandela and Cory Aquino, in Cape Town, South Africa, 1996.
The Presidential Museum and Library today commemorates the death of former South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. Rest in peace, Madiba.
On behalf of the entire Filipino people, I extend our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Mandela, the people of South Africa, and all men and women of peace and goodwill who mourn the passing of a truly great man. For today, as Nelson Mandela united his people in the spirit of compassion and inclusiveness, so too does he unite the rest of the world—not only in grief and mourning, but also in respect and admiration for a life lived with strength, courage, humility, and dignity. His memory will serve as a durable guide to humanity as we seek to bequeath to future generations a world better than we found it.
—From the statement of President Benigno S. Aquino III on the passing of Nelson Mandela [read here]
"Free Nelson Mandela": the stirring song by Special AKA.
RIP, Nelson Mandela.
I first heard this song from an American classmate in late 1985, as the world watched the Snap Election unfold, that classmate said, “You Filipinos are fighting for freedom like Mandela and his people.” A side memory is when I played it at home during the Christmas holidays and my dad started tapping his feet and then danced the Merengue to the song —the last time I saw him dance.
How everyone thrilled when Mandela was released from jail —and thus launched a peaceful revolution that ended Apartheid and brought such sweeping change to South Africa.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
DID YOU KNOW? The Andres Bonifacio Monument edition
- Did you know that the 23 figures on the Bonifacio monument are all in bronze, cast in Italy?
- Did you know that Guillermo Tolentino had Php125,000 at his disposal to construct the monument and realize his vision? In today’s money, that roughly equivalent to Php38M!
- Did you know that the cornerstone for the Bonifacio monument was ceremonially installed on November 30, 1929 (Bonifacio’s 66th birth anniversary) by Doña Aurora Quezon, the wife of then-Senate President Manuel L. Quezon?
Learn more quick facts about the Andres Bonifacio Monument here. And do visit our grand Bonifacio 2013 feature page on the Official Gazette: we have a never-before-seen timelapse video of the monument and so many beautiful detailed shots of the figures.
Twitter is a massive multiplayer role playing game where you play a character loosely based on yourself while trying to accrue followers.
Even before the Abdusalamov tragedy, it had been a difficult year for HBO Boxing, which used to be the leading boxing network. Two months ago, its rival Showtime broadcast the year’s biggest fight, and by comparison, this weekend’s Pacquiao broadcast felt small. The idea was to celebrate the emergence of Pacquiao, who is Filipino, as a pan-Asian sports star. But both Pacquiao and his much less accomplished opponent, Brandon Ríos, lost their previous fights, making this, in Lampley’s rather euphemistic judgment, “one of the most unusual pay-per-view ventures of all time.” Of course, by the time viewers heard him say that, they had already paid as much as $69.99 for the privilege of seeing Pacquiao face an opponent that just about every expert agreed was outmatched. HBO, unable to credibly promise either excellence or competitiveness, instead promised action: it would be Pacquiao, with his “blistering combinations,” against Ríos, who “walks through punches.”
Despite that, the result was something that looked a bit like one of Floyd Mayweather’s recent, lop-sided fights: Pacquiao, far quicker than Ríos, won easily but not bloodily; his performance was dominant but civilized. In the twelfth round, it seemed as if Pacquiao might be able to knock Ríos out, but he held back, and was rewarded with a near-shutout decision. (The victory revived speculation about Pacquiao fighting Mayweather, although it did nothing to change the general consensus that Mayweather would win without much trouble.) In the post-fight press conference, Pacquiao explained what had happened in the twelfth round. “I back off a little bit, and give him a chance to finish,” he said. “You know, I’m not doing that because I’m tired or anything. I’m doing that because boxing is not about killing each other. Boxing is about entertain people.” Of course he’s right, in general. But in some fights—some of the best fights—the distinction isn’t so clear.
Do you know this song and why it’s particularly auspicious to listen to it today?
from Manuel L. Quezon III
Tom Willcox of BBC interviews Patrick Fuller of ICRC re: Cebu, Panay, Coron
BBC correspondent Tim Willcox: Let’s see how the international aid agencies are viewing things here and in the area. Patrick Fuller from the International Federation of Red Cross is with me.
Now, Patrick, the focus is very much on Tacloban as far as the media is concerned. What about for people like you?
Patrick Fuller: Well, our focus is of course to reach all affected areas and that includes Cebu, Panay, and Northern Palawan. These are areas that haven’t been under the media spotlight, sure, because the damage, although very significant in some of these places –from 80 percent damage to complete devastation from the typhoon— they don’t have these sort of dramatic tsunami-type images that we’ve been seeing here in Tacloban.
So, yes we need to get out there. I mean I flew this morning by helicopter here. And the devastation just 40 kilometers inland is absolute. Small villages are completely wiped out. So the priority is ‘let’s get into these areas.’
Tim Willcox: Are we looking at the same number of dead as there are here, because there do seem to be hundreds more bodies buried under the rubble?
Patrick Fuller: I think this has been exceptional and that’s primarily because of the storm surge. And I was speaking to my Red Cross colleagues from the Philippine Red Cross, and when the surge came in, I think everyone was just, they had no idea that this was going to happen and they ended up sheltering into a building, all 17 of them. Fortunately none of them died. But this is exceptional, we haven’t seen this death toll elsewhere and largely it’s just because of the typhoon winds.
Tim Willcox: The big problem though is gonna be homelessness, is it shelter for these people over many months, if not years?
Patrick Fuller: Absolutely. I mean at the moment, we are ramping up a major relief effort and the supplies are coming in day after day. They’re landing, setting up an emergency response hospital here, water sanitation units.
But for the long-term, yes, absolutely. What’s gonna happen to these people? They’re gonna need support with their livelihood. They’re gonna need support with their rebuilding. That’s gonna be incredibly costly, the shelter component, rebuilding. Hundreds of thousands of houses is enormous and that’s why we need the international community to really step up.
Tim Willcox: But in terms of the short-term aid now, briefly, is it enough?
Patrick Fuller: It is enough. I was there in Tanuan this afternoon, and trucks are coming one by one with relief. So there’s a lot of local relief coming in.
The markets are just beginning to open up again. You can see shops, people selling things on the street. It’s stabilizing.
And a week ago here, you couldn’t walk down the street with a bag of food because people, the security situation didn’t allow for that. But now, it’s far more stable. Things are much more orderly.
In light of the recent Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) which struck Visayas, Bob Couttie reminds us of a similar event which took place in October 12, 1897:
On the 12th day of this month in October, 1897, there passed over this locality (Tacloban, Leyte), a cyclone accompanied by a hurricane wave, the effects of which were so destructive that they produced a veritable hecatomb, both in this capital and in the other pueblos of the island.
Visit the Official Gazette, which has been collating updates, advisories, and situation reports on the extent of the damage, government response, and relief operations spearheaded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Our heartfelt thanks to the Tumblr staff for promoting the relief efforts for victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
- Be informed: read collated government advisories and updates on the Official Gazette.
- If you are looking for a family member or friend, Google People Finder can help locate missing persons in the area. The Philippine Red Cross has a similar service.
- Looking to donate to #ReliefPH? Click here.
- If on Twitter, follow @govph and @pcdspo.
from Manuel L. Quezon III
How to use the search function in the Official Gazette’s #YolandaPH page for finding out about casualties, or using person finder services.
Information on #ReliefPH for #YolandaPH
When I talked with colleagues on the ground and friends who have worked in the Philippines, it became clear that these reports do not reflect the Philippines they know or the situation they are confronting. Worse, these reports are amplifying the problem. Here’s why:
After a disaster, there will always be delays in the delivery of aid. While planes and helicopters can arrive in 24-48 hours after the storm clears, massive deliveries can only arrive by ship, which can take several days to sail—longer if they have to sail around a massive storm. Worse, damaged ports may take weeks to fix. With severe damage like that in Tacloban, roads may be impassible for many days or weeks, making distribution of aid difficult.
For many families digging out from the storm, this delay is too long. Any stockpiles of food and water will have been washed away or shared. Having lost everything, most lack the resources to do more than subsist for a short while. Some might forage in damaged buildings. Most communities will pool resources and help each other survive.
When television crews race large cargo ships with airplanes and helicopters, the cameras will always win. Journalists will report on the gap between supply and demand. They will show the faces of people in need of western largesse. They will turn isolated incidents of foraging and removal of goods from a truck or warehouse into a report on rampant looting.
Here is where the reports go very wrong. According to a friend who has worked in Haiti and the Philippines, “what happens when media talk up security issues is that aid agencies get worried about security of distributions, so they hold off until they have adequate security support. The velocity of distribution is dramatically slowed down. Scare mongering undermines the relief effort.” This dynamic happened in Haiti, and it’s happening here.
The people of the Philippines face a multitude of disasters every year: earthquakes, tsunami, cyclones, floods, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. The whole nation—government ministries, private sector companies, the diaspora, and civil society organizations–has learned a great deal about how to respond to a typhoon.
Ministries regularly pre-position supplies and train disaster response across all levels of government. To ensure alignment with international agencies, legislators have integrated UN cluster coordination measures into national law. The private sector also plays an active role. After Typhoon Bopha, it built more than 75% of shelters. Civil society groups are among the most active in the world and have global reach: one in ten Filipinos live abroad, and they are sending money back home at staggering rates (pre-disaster, over 8.5% of national GDP came from remittances).
What is different with Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) is the unexpected level of storm surge and flooding, combined with sustained winds that exceeded 196 mph (315 km/hr) with gusts far higher. The government is struggling to reach communities hit by one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall. Like the families I met in Staten Island after Super Storm Sandy, it seems that the water came in so fast that there was not time to flee, and the surge swelled well beyond what any city could survive. Six Filipinos broadcasters risked their lives to keep Aksyon Radyo Tacloban DYVL running in Tacloban so that their listeners would know what was happening with the storm. Water filled the radio station in 10 seconds. Only one of their bodies has been found.
When journalists focus on looting and slow aid delivery, they miss the point. Information is aid. Their reports are part of weaving the fabric of a global Filipino community back together after a typhoon tore through their hometowns. By showing communities coming together, journalists can amplify the dynamics that save lives.