Spine Board Donation to ARESCOM

On February 14, 2016, as suggested by our honorary member surgent Baurile, RIMM (Rotary International Multinational Manila) donated a handmade spine board for emergency use to the medical team in 4CDG-ARESCOM (4th Regional Community Defense Group, Army Reserve Command) at Camp Riego de Dios in Tanza, Cavite.
It was appreciated and recognized by the group commander Rommel Cabanayan and major De Sagun.

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International Medical Assistance for National Emergency

During November 2015 through January 2016, RIMM (Rotary International Multinational Manila) coordinated a non-profit & non-government organization called Japan Heart, which dispatches Japanese volunteer medical doctors and nurses to ASEAN countries, with governmental organizations in the Philippines in order to provide their medical assistance in case of national emergencies.

RIMM introduced Japan Heart to 4CDG-ARESCOM (4th Regional Community Defense Group, Army Reserve Command) and visited Colonel Pasqual at Camp Eldridge, Los Banos, Laguna. It was agreed that 4CDG-ARESCOM would facilitate land-transportation for emergency medical mission of Japan Heart in the region 4A (CALABARZON) & 4B( MIMAROPA).

20160113_094255 (Medium)20160129_100619 (Large)RIMM then set up an meeting with the Department of Health. Director Dr. Gloria Balboa of Health Emergency Management Bureau summoned Chief Health Program Officer Dr. Joel Buenaventura and Medical Specialist Dr. Ronald Law of Bureau of International Health Cooperation and had a meeting at DOH office in Santa Cruz, Manila with Japan Heart representative Ms. Mika Aono and aneurosurgeon Dr. Miki Kanaji who is a RIMM member and volunteered in Myanmar with Japan Heart.

RIMM and Japan Heart learned that after typhoon Haiyan (Filipino name: Yolanda) there was a bill constructed to deal with such National disaster emergency and PIHAC (Philippine International Humanitarian Assistance Cluster) was established, as there was no such organization before. PIHAC is authorized on behalf of the other department such as  DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) and DOH to handle and coordinate foreign voluntary organizations which come to assist in case of emergency. Basically in normal time PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) licenses are required to conduct medical services in the Philippines. However, it will be waived with pre-registration with DOH as a foreign voluntary organization.

Japan Heart confirmed to work on the application documents for pre-registration.

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District Governor Obet Visit

On January 20, 2016, the DG Obet, DGE Rudy and the other district officials visited RIMM (Rotary International Multinational Manila) headquarters in Alfonso, Cavite. All the RIMM club members including Henry Komorita from United States, Dr. Miki Kanaji from Japan, Ivan Indrisi originally from Holland and Imelda Domingo from Olongapo attended the meeting. Various topics were reported and discussed including RIMM’s flagship program of family planning, teenage pregnancy, Helping Aetas tribes, road safety, indigent support, coordination for volunteer Japanese doctors and nurses at National emergency and health concerns on tuberculosis.
Lunch was served at a cafeteria together with the overseas guests of AWH (Academy of World Healing Foundation) that provides its venue to RIMM.

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Basic Life Support Training for Rotaract Carmona

On January 9, 2016, based on the request of Carmona Rotaract Club, A.L.E.R.T (Alpha Luksuhin-Ibaba Emergency Response Team) chartered by our honorary club member Jun Baurile who also serves ARESCOM (Army Reserve Command) as a sergeant, conducted a basic life support and emergency health management training in Carmona, Cavite on a voluntary basis.

About 30 Rotaract youth members participated and learned how to use a triangle bandage to make knots and ties for support of head, arms, legs and torso on spine-board. CPR training is also provided. The training started in the morning continued on until 4pm in the afternoon.

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Bridging for Disaster Related Medical Missions

On December 6, 2015 (ST. Nikolaus Day) the ARESCOM (Army Reserve Command) of 4RCDG (4th Region Community Defense Group) of the Philippine Army (PA) sponsored a feeding program, largely for children, in Julugan, Tanza, Cavite.
Participating soldiers were volunteers and Colonel Pascual and Major De Sagun personally helped to fund the event.

Former Rotarian presidents of RIMM had been invited to the event as it was known that RIMM Rotarians (Rotary International Club Multinational Manila) had personally conducted three support tours to the disaster-stricken areas of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and that one of its members – a doctor residing in Japan – also volunteers her services to “Japan Heart“. Japan Heart, a Japanese NGO, dispatches groups of volunteer doctors and nurses to Southeast Asian countries during natural disasters and can be of great assistance in the Philippines during such destructive calamities.

Past RIMM president Casey, a native of Japan, discussed his contacts with Japan Heart and followed up with arranging a person-to person meeting with Colonel Pascual and Major De Sagun in January 2016 as the representative of Japan Heart will visit the Philippines for the purpose of expanding its services to the Philippines.

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2013 – 2015 Support Trips to the Samar and Leyte Typhoon Belt Areas

Family Planning, Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Mitigation Research

The club’s flagship program is and will continue to be family planning as it not only addresses critical women and family health issues but actually all six areas of Rotary’s focus. However, because of the dire need of the poor and destitute throughout the country, humanitarian assistance resources will also always be extended to them, especially to the women and children who are the true victims of this ever-expanding whirlpool of poverty caused by the still runaway population explosion that was historically fueled by the patriarchal and agricultural-based mindset of the people. Its strong downdraft has become a vortex that sucks newborn into seemingly endless cycles of poverty.
The three “boots on the ground” support trips to the typhoon-belt-stricken areas as indicated on Map 1 largely focused on Samar and Leyte and were based on this philosophy. Immediate cash and basic needs infusion was provided with the support of overseas supporters and cooperation of local NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) and local public agencies. Basic family planning and disaster mitigation research was also conducted at the same time to gain a better understanding of the most effective ways to assist now and in the future.
We must acknowledge that the population explosion largely remains unchecked despite the efforts of the government after the passage of the Reproductive Health bill. It needs massive hands-on cooperation from everyone and science-based education focused on critical thinking to reign in this root cause of poverty, hunger, disease and despair. If successful, it will create and sustain healthy family units that guarantee the right of women for self-determination and protect children from sexual abuse inclusive of rape and incest. But it will also require proper nourishment of pregnant mothers, babies and young children during the early development stage so that they are not handicapped with mental and physical development impairments as witnessed almost everywhere.
It is a fact that during the last five years the population in the Philippines increased on an average of 1.7 million per year. If this rate would remain constant another 63 million would largely be born in extreme poverty between 2013 and 2050. Based on the latest gradual reduction in live birth over the years (presently at about 2.9%), it is expected that this can be reduced to 50 million people or hopefully less. To presently achieve this seemingly unreachable goal of putting even a dent into the rapid population explosion would require an immediate average reduction of live birth to about 1.35 million per year or to even less than 1 million per year in future years based on the present still high birth rate of 1.7 million per year. An attempt to reduce the population explosion to “just” 40 million by 2050 would require almost immediate teamwork from all sections of society. However, this was not evident anywhere and is still based largely on wishful thinking despite the dedicated efforts of individual health workers and doctors. For it to be achieved, the still-strong patriarchal social system in less developed, largely agricultural areas and religious ideologies have to become more tolerant of women and their needs.
In 1950 the Philippines had a population of about 18.6 million people. By the end of 2015 or 65 years later the population will have increased by another 90 million. Paradise lost? President Aquino already questioned after Typhoon Yolanda if the Philippines had become a nation of beggars. Even Pope Francis, who is aware of the extreme poverty in the Philippines and who probably is also aware of these stark statistics, implored Filipinos “not to reproduce like rabbits” during his farewell speech on his flight home to Rome after his January 2015 visit to the country.
Pertaining to disaster mitigation the question has not been answered as to where can people safely live? It is not a matter of life and death and body counts after a disaster but of being able to live a normal life. For the rich the answer is fairly simple. Almost everywhere if one has the financial resources to own land and build typhoon- and earthquake-safe structures, it can readily be done. For the poor and destitute and those that will be born into the seemingly ever-expanding whirlpool of poverty the answer is simple: there is no way to escape. Natural disasters and flooding are a way of life in the Philippines and will keep the country in constant poverty despite the never-ending support of the UN, overseas and local govern-ment agencies, and NGO’s.
As far as medical support is concerned it is just a fact of life that if you are poor you will die earlier, in greater pain and suffering from infirmities not being attended to. Municipal and provincial hospitals are often understaffed and in dire need of medical supplies and equipment that is largely furnished after disasters through foreign aid. Many dedicated health care professionals on the front lines attempting to carry out meaningful family planning are still often hampered by lack of support and often religious-based misrepresentation as to their meaningful aims. Among the many unsolved problems remains the exploding teenage pregnancy bred by poverty, especially in the typhoon-ravaged areas. Without a true safety net a whole new cycle of extreme poverty is being created.

#1 2015 3-27 Map1  (Large)Traveling through the typhoon-belt areas we were told on many occasions that the typhoons may have been a blessing in disguise because they brought in out-of-town resources that were never available before. Much greater medical support such as ambulances, equipment and supplies are available largely from overseas that provide much-needed life lines even if they often do not reach the very poor. Medical facilities, hospitals and schools are being rebuilt, also largely with the support of foreign countries or their nonprofit foundations. Solar electricity for some of the often densely populated islands is a further example. Most impressive (and perhaps the most costly reconstruction for the number of people benefiting) was the building of a whole new village in Salcedo where a fishing village was ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda’s flood surge. Located in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean and out of the reach of any flood surge or future global warming, Kinder Nothilfe, a nonprofit organization based in Germany, is building 86 new concrete homes in a more typhoon-proof setting. Each house has two bedrooms, toilet, kitchen and balcony. The construction by De La Salle University of a more storm and flood surge-proof Trinidad Elementary School in Tubabao Island, off Guiuan in Eastern Samar, elevated several feet above the surrounding terrain, is another example. It, however, will still be susceptible to extreme storm surges as well as the rising ocean brought about by climate change.
Self-help, where feasible, was also evident. For example, in Hernani some fisher folks and farmers had relocated their permanent homes in the hills out of the reach of any storm surge and flooding. However, because of the population density and the lack of property ownership, such options are available to only a few even with long-range planning by government agencies. A meaningful long-term disaster miti-gation vision must therefore factually address the ever-expanding cycle of poverty caused by the still-runaway population explosion. Local NGO’s, in cooperation with their overseas sponsors, in addition to providing emergency shelter and food, have the moral responsibility of stepping up and assisting in reigning in the population explosion, not just accepting seemingly never-ending assistance for the ever-increasing population.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA #11 1-28-2014 Guiuan, Eastern Samar DSCF4294 (Large) (Medium) #12 Liorente  1-29-2014 DSCF4430 (Large) (Medium) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Survivor Support Projects and Typhoon History

The City of Alfonso had collected and had also saved cash donations for the Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors and also had leftover presents from its annual Christmas party. Officials from the City as well as DSWD (Department of Social Welfare Development) therefore planned a trip to Samar and Leyte to interview typhoon survivors as to their needs and distribute much needed cash to the most needy parents and toys to the children.

During Multinational Manila’s Jan. 7th club meeting, also attended by a municipal councilor from the city who is also a Rotarian from Ermita, such plans were discussed. Since there were questions about safety and reluctance on the part of City officials to proceed without knowing the area Club Pres. Dr. Klaus was asked and promised to accompany representatives from the City of Alfonso and DSWD for such a trip. He was familiar with the area, having visited it during his club-supported first Typhoon victim support trip Dec. 6-14. This would also give him a chance to continue his research of typhoon damage initiated then.

The four day trip with six ladies inclusive of the treasurer of the City of Alfonso and a security guard took place Jan. 27-30 and started at 3:00am in Alfonso, Cavite. Landing in Tacloban City on Leyte Island after an early morning flight, the group was met at the airport by the prearranged driver with its Hi-Ace van who stood with the group 24-7 in order to assist it with carrying out its mission time-efficiently. It would not have been possible without his thoughtful and dedicated support. The group then immediately proceeded via the San Juanico Bridge from Leyte island to Samar Island and then along the southern part of the western coast of Samar that was also partially destroyed by the typhoon, occasionally stopping along the road to assist needy families.

Traveling along the heavily damaged coast of East Samar, the city of Guiuan, located at the southern tip of Samar, was reached in the afternoon. Guiuan is not so well known and few dignitaries stop here to provide direct typhoon publicity and aid because it has no commercial airport in contrast to Tacloban’s commercial airport. The Guiuan airport with is shorter landing strip was built by American forces during WWII and C-130 military planes fly in the much needed supplies. Fortunately the group was still able to book the last remaining rooms in a partially destroyed pension house or it would have had to sleep overnight in the van (as was necessary during Dr. Klaus’ first trip in December 2013) or travel on.

Initial settlements in Guiuan perhaps occurred largely in the mountain range that still protects parts of the city from storm furies sweeping in form the Pacific Ocean. However, since that time the city greatly expanded so that even ‘evacuation centers` were not safe and largely destroyed throughout the city.

The remainder of the first day and second day were then spent in Guiuan where the typhoon first made landfall and virtually destroyed most of the buildings with great sufferings by people still visible everywhere. Exceptions were reinforced concrete structures whose roofs were blown off and the interior badly damaged by the rains unless they had flat terrace-like concrete roofs. The Church of Immaculate Conception, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and a well-known landmark, was also destroyed. In addition to cash donations, building supplies such as hammers (only six available in town) and nails of several sizes were also purchased in several hardware stores to assist the men with rebuilding. While the western part of the island facing the Leyte Gulf saw a ‘minimal’ storm surge ocean rise of ‘only’ about 5-6 feet, the eastern part facing the Pacific Ocean and the oncoming typhoon saw a tsunami-like storm surge perhaps as high as 20 feet. It destroyed nearby low-lying fishing villages such as Salcedo and Mercedes as well as fishing villages and towns such as Hernani along the coast of eastern Samar Island, reaching beyond Balangkayan. Unfortunately, the limited time and the heavy destruction within the city and surrounding barangays did not permit the group to also visit the many surrounding island villages also destroyed by the typhoon. The group then travelled during late afternoon of the second day to Mercedes and Salcedo, continuing during the evening north along the eastern Samar Coast. The next day they reversed their trip, driving down the East Samar coast during the third day and visiting heavily damaged sites such as Hernani while also stopping along the way to interview and support families in need.

Arriving at night back in Tacloban on the third day of the trip, the group was fortunate enough to be able to find accommodations again in the inexpensive and partially destroyed pension in which Dr. Klaus stood during his December 2013 trip and where power had been restored. All partially renovated hotels in Tacloban and Palo were fully booked, largely by overseas staff assisting with disaster mitigation and were also charging high prices beyond the budget of the group. The city and surrounding towns, sadly largely unprepared, were heavily damaged by the storm surge created by the typhoon and the storm itself. Situated largely at sea level and facing the bottleneck of the Leyte gulf that can bring storm surges from different directions, the area has faced such disasters before. As posted on November 19th, 2013, on the Internet by Raphael Lotilla, a former Philippine energy secretary, on October 12, 1897 a powerful typhoon took a path similar to Typhoon Yolanda’s Nov. 8, 2013 path. It first made landfall in Guiuan as well as along the lower eastern Samar coast before destroying Tacloban and its surrounding villages. The Tacloban area was described in a scientific paper published soon thereafter by Fr. Jose Algue of the Obervatorio de Manila (El Bagio de Samar y Leyte de Octubre 1897) as a ‘tongue of low-lying land wedged surrounded by mountains`. A similar strong typhoon in November 1912 again destroyed the city of Tacloban and surrounding villages before moving on through the Visayas Sea and also wrecking the sugarcane province of Capiz on Panay Island. During the Nov 8th, 2013 storm surges the entire floor of the landmark Tacloban City Convention Center that faces the ocean directly and also served as evacuation center was quickly submerged by the storm surge. Many people were caught unprepared and by surprise and subsequently drowned or were injured. Along the ocean front within the city itself entire shanty towns were also swept away along with their inhabitants.

The fourth day the group vacated their Palo hotel by 5:00am for a breakfast at a nearby eatery and set out by 6:00am to Barangay San Joaquin in the City of Palo. It had suffered the most casualties of any barangay (village) in the area with over 730 dead and many still missing. The remaining cash of ₱82,000 were distributed by the dedicated Alfonso ladies along with their remaining toys and school supplies donated to RI Multinational Manila from its overseas Japanese guests. The hundreds of small pocket mirrors distributed by the club during the trip along with combs supplied by the City of Alfonso and DSWD were most sought after by the indigent girls and ladies, many of which did not even own a comb, much less a mirror. The tiny plastic toy cars distributed from the club also delighted the small boys. Destitute women, often ‘destined` to act as baby factories, and their children are the true victims of poverty even before ‘natural’ disasters strike.

The ladies from the City of Alfonso continued interviewing destitute families and listened to their heart-breaking stories of often endless suffering. What can one say to the woman who woke up bruised and banged up in the hills above Palo several kilometers from her home after the storm surge swept over her village. Walking back in a daze searching for her home and family she was confronted by total destruction with virtually everyone missing or dead. Now she rests at the makeshift graveyard looking at the many crosses of her family members inclusive her two sons for whom she had sacrificed everything in supporting them to attain a high school diploma. To her money is meaningless anymore. In the meantime Dr. Klaus, in order to mitigate such future suffering as per the club’s mandate, continued the visits of municipal health centers such as Palo to review the Philippine Department of Health family planning mandate, provide contraceptive lady pills if in short supply, and pledge further support as needed as long as the club’s fund last that have been earmarked for this purpose while additional donations are sought.

A quick tour of core devastated areas of the City of Tacloban finished the heart-breaking journey along with further research carried out by Dr. Klaus on building construction. After accompanying the group back on their safe flight to Manila Klaus continued on to Panay Island and the Roxas City area in support of a relocation project for fisher folk families from storm-devastated intertidal small islands in the vicinity of Pontevedra that RI Multinational Manila had initiated during his first trip there in December 2013.

At the request of the City of Alfonso travel arrangements for the tour, inclusive of airfare, had been done by RI Multinational Manila. Window seats were always booked if available so that everyone could see and appreciate the fragile beauty of their country from the air. Seeing destroyed Palo, adjacent Tacloban, the San Juanico Bridge, parts of the west and east coasts of Samar as well as the inspiring Mayon Volcano on the island of Luzon from the air before landing in Manila with its many depressing ‘slum cities` and taking photographs from above were also truly unforgettable memories.

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Club Meeting – Jan 7, 2014

Multinational Manila’s Jan. 7th, 2014 club meeting was attended by a municipal councilor from the City of Alfonso who is also a visiting Rotarian from Ermita. She reported that the City of Alfonso had collected and also saved cash donations and toys for direct distribution to Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors. However, city officials were reluctant to proceed because of safety and security concerns. Pres. Dr. Klaus was asked and promised to accompany representatives from the City of Alfonso and DSWD for such a trip at his own expense and provide security. He was familiar with the area, having visited it during his club-supported first Typhoon victim support trip Dec. 6-14, 2013. Club members assisted immediately with drawing up an itinerary and making travel arrangements.

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Surviving Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

11:00am – 3:00pm November 8th, 2013

This is the life-changing story of one group of fishermen and their families.

Barangay Hall - Roxas CityAfter having made landfall for the fifth time weakened Typhoon Yolanda sweeps across the northern part of Panay Island at low tide. Most of the fishermen and their families living on the many small intertidal islands north of Roxas City that barely reach out of the sea at high tide do not evacuate. They have seen many typhoons moving across the area during their lifetime, causing little damage.

Barangay Hall - Roxas CityThis time it is different. By 11:00am the storm is very strong, destroying many of the nippa hut style homes in its path while the sea rises quickly above their low-lying island. Heading stooped-over into the strong wind they grab their children as well as some chicken coops and labor across the flooded basketball court to the only concrete structure on the island: their unfinished, open, dilapidated barangay hall. They place the chicken coups along the rear steal rebar-enforced wall so that their children can stand on them as the water rises and stand in front of them. The still standing, also steel-reinforced side wall facing the oncoming storm protects them from being blown away. For the next four hours they cling to each other, trapped by the water swirling around them and the strong winds buffeting what remains of the concrete structure. Fortunately the roof does not collapse on them.

Barangay Hall - Roxas CityAll are able to barely escape with their lives as the sea recedes by 3:00pm, thanks to the coincidences of a quick moving, weakened typhoon sweeping across their island at low tide. If the typhoon would have hit their island at high tide most would have drowned or would have been swept away as the side wall was slowly weakening and could have been blown out by the force of the rising water.

Women Empowerment

0700 Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Roxas City01Six tough women pose proudly for a photo with work clothes supplied by UNDP (United Nations Development Program) before going to work cleaning up their typhoon-ravaged small islands located a few feet above sea level in the intertidal zones just north of Roxas City. Most of these women delivered their babies on their own even without the help of a midwife.

 

Roxas City02Such clean-up work is supported by a short-term work program grant from UNDP that champions the poor and disadvantaged. Locally administered by DSWD (Department of Social Welfare Development), it pays them P287/day. UN relief teams in the area also provided hygene supplies and contraceptive knowledge and needs that are virtually unavailable to the country’s poor and disadvantaged. It gives them a glimmer of hope for the future. Don’t let it die.

 

Roxas City03Typhoon-damaged homes on a small island in the intertidal zone.