U.S. Filipinos: Where did Typhoon Yolanda aid money go?

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 10, 2014

NEW YORK – It’s been a year since Super Typhoon Yolanda, internationally known as Haiyan, devastated Central Philippines and left more than 6,000 dead and tens of thousands homeless.

In New York, members of the Filipino community remember the victims and survivors of the strongest typhoon to ever made landfall in the Philippines.

Those who recently visited the Philippines through medical missions still paint a grim picture of the slow recovery.

Anne Naguit of the National Alliance For Filipino Concern (NAFCON) said, “Maraming infrastructures na hindi pa naayos, and what comes with that, are lives that are still not rebuilt, families are still not getting their basic needs fulfilled, homes are still not fully rebuilt, so marami pa pong mga homeless and a lot of them are still displaced.”

Some of these Filipinos ask, where are the millions of dollars worth of aid that poured into the Philippines in the aftermath of Yolanda?

Rogel De Asis, a native of Baybay City, Leyte, whose relatives were affected by the super storm said, “It’s kind of frustrating because you know you have non-Filipinos helping the country, how come help has not reached until now to families to those who are victims of the typhoon?”

“Masyadong mahina ang recovery efforts,” Rey Canunayon of Palo, Leyte said, “The money that should be given to the people ay hindi dumadating, parang may pera ang bayong pero yung neck ng bayong yung leeg ng bayong nakaipit ng ganun.”

Bayan USA’s Gary Labao said, “We stand in solidarity with the people of Tacloban in calling for the resignation and ouster of Aquino, primarily because yung talagang incompetent and inefficient na pag-respond sa needs of the people.”

In the Philippines, the Tacloban mayor, who claims that the problems in his area are far from over, says getting help for his city is quite frustrating.

“We need resources. We’re not getting them,” Mayor Alfred Romualdez said, “We got our first help five months after. That’s the first financial assistance we got from the national government, which focused really on rebuilding our government buildings and not even focused on shelter for the people.”

But not so fast, says rehabilitation and recovery Czar Panfilo Lacson, who claims Tacloban City has received funds from the national government.

The Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Czar said, “We keep on hearing [Romualdez] tell the media that Tacloban City has not received a single centavo… That’s a lie. We know that Tacloban City has received [among others] projects worth P6 billion pesos.”

Lacson claims that the national government has released 80 percent of the 230.7 Million pesos allotted for Tacloban.

He says the question now is what happened to the funds already deposited in the name of the City of Tacloban. The Rehab and Recovery Czar vowed that the national government will look into this.

For many Filipinos here in the East Coast, all they want is the real score for the sake of Yolanda survivors who need all the help they can get.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • kikay Pang0
    11 November 2014 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    All politicians in the Phil. have one intention only ….. to serve their pockets ….

  • david
    18 December 2014 at 2:48 am - Reply

    The families that live below me are now just getting building materials December 18 2014. Are you kidding me. 6 pcs of plywood and 3 pcs of metal roofing. They neeed 3 more pcs. of metal to cover the plywood. Money should have been given. Too easy to skim off the purchase price of said material. Maybe what they need is sealant to prevent leaks or maybe just food.