INQUIRER’S March 19 editorial, “Junket,” suggested that local leaders skip “costly” disaster-related conventions and, instead, just “trek to Guiuan (Eastern Samar) and learn from someone like (Mayor Christopher) Gonzales.”
This is to commend my fellow Estehanon (a Waray term for people from Eastern Samar) Christopher Gonzales, mayor of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, who was cited in the March 19 editorial for refusing to go on junket at the local government’s expense.
When Super Typhoon “Yolanda” smashed into central Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, the first town it devastated was Guiuan in Eastern Samar. Like Tacloban and other places that stood in the megahowler’s path, Guiuan was nearly wiped off the map. One week later, the Wall Street Journal reported that Guiuan “looks like the aftermath of a bombing… Miles of smashed coconut trees roll up a beach that now looks more like a garbage dump. Heaps of mangled concrete, wood and steel line every street. The only vehicles moving are motorbikes, with three-wheeled auto rickshaws and cars mostly idle for lack of fuel. People queue for hours in long lines for food, fuel and to make a free, one-minute satellite call to relatives.”
By Conrado de Quiros
That was an uplifting story we had last week about the women of Guiuan pulling themselves up by their bootstraps (Front Page, 2/27/14). Written by Danny Petilla, it told of how several women in one of the worst-hit places in Samar had refused to repose their fate in the kindness of strangers, also called relief-givers, but had banded together to form a small lending network. By means of which they have been able to support small businesses like sari-sari stores, selling fish, and making shell craft.
By Roel Joe E. Abonal
Christmas is the most awaited season of the year. “Christmas lanes” are now open. Christmas promos are plentiful in the urban shopping centers. Christmas parties are being held. Christmas presents are being given and received. Indeed, Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.”
In interviews with foreign and local media, President Aquino kept on repeating the line that in case of a calamity, it is the local government that should first respond, and only when it fails to do so will national assistance be made available.
By Neal H. Cruz
Last Monday at the Kapihan sa Manila at Diamond Hotel, the audience listened enthralled as a survivor recounted how she and her neighbors survived the fury of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
By Neal H. Cruz
(Continued from Monday) The two short stories that won in the Varsitarian literary contests were later published by This Week, the Sunday magazine of The Manila Chronicle. The Varsitarian prize money, plus the money paid to me by the magazines, paid for my tuition, books, and other expenses. The next year, I took [...]