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

Joint Meeting with Rotary Club of Makati Buendia (District 3830)

March 24, 2015

After attending the Alfonso Women’s Month Celebration an impromptu joint meeting was held at RIMM headquarters attended by Cavite provincial councilor Irene who also is the current president of Rotary Club of Makati Benita (District 3830) and Alfonso Municipal councilor Carol who also is our club’s honorary Rotarian.DSCF6198 (Medium)

Irene suggested further organizing and disciplining the residents of the squatter camp in barangay Gulod, Mangas II in Alfonso, Cavite, taking turns family by family to clean and sanitize the area which was started by RIMM. She said she would bring the issue to the provincial council and study what they can do, hopefully to donate (additional) separate toilets for men and women at least. A separate toilet for men and women was already donated with the help of the local Girl Scout club with the squatter camp men digging the required two holes but the situation is still inadequate for the more than 25 families using them.

In addition to discussing the conditions of the “Samar” squatter camp which have become somewhat more deplorable with the influx of more and more families many other topics were discussed such as family planning, organic farming, and self-sustainability in community service. Irene said that she would invite RIMM to join IMPACT (Innovations and Multi-Sectorial Partnerships to Achieve Control of TB). She has the same visions as RIMM that TB is still underestimated in this country and needs to be eradicated as TB spreads through the air while Rotary’s flagship project polio does not and has earned enough attention and support by now.DSCF6226 (Medium) 20150324_114350 (Medium)

RIMM BCP Casey and PE Raymund delivered a van load of bundled firewood. Municipal councilor Carol (Honorary RIMM club Rotarian Carol) had invited Cavite provincial councilor Irene (Pres. of Rotary Club of Makati Buendia in District 3830) to come along and inspect the site to provide her input on achieving long-term solutions.DSCF6223 (Medium)

Participating In Women’s Month Event of RC Santa Rosa Centro (D3820)

March 20, 2015

The Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Centro (SRC), District 3820, held an event as Women’s Month Cerebration including ligation service provided free by Marie Stopes.

*IPP Theodora Lucero (Doray) is a midwife and opens her own house as a lying-in clinic in barangay Ibaba, Santa Rosa, Laguna. RIMM members visited and observed the ligation activities.
*SRC was founded in 2001 and consists of 22 members who are all female.
*Presently SRC holds the event for ligation with Marie Stopes once a year only in the women’s month (March) but may conduct it more often in the future.
*SRC started this event with Marie Stopes in March 2014 and it was their 2nd time. Their target was indigents and SRC members spent 3 days visiting 18 barangays in Santa Rosa to announce the event.
*The ‘everything free’ event included pap smear tests and prenatal check-ups by IPP’s friends and volunteer doctors (performed in addition to ligation and vasectomy conducted by Marie Stopes).
*Anti-biotic and pain relief medication were donated by the mayor of Santa Rosa who is female and also the current president of SRC. 20150320_104818 (Medium) 20150320_110811 (Medium) 20150320_112238 (Medium)DSCF6167 (Medium)DSCF6187 (Medium)

Associating with Marie Stopes

In addition to FriendlyCare Clinic, RIMM associated with Marie Stopes (MS), an UK based organization who provides free ligation services nation-wide in the Philippines.

– MS fund source is Marie Stopes International (HQ in UK).

– MS has 9 offices in the Philippines.

  • Luzon: Pasay/Pangasinan
  • Visayas: Cebu/Tacloban/Catbalogan
  • Mindanao: Davao/Uzamis/Cagayan De Oro/Iligan

– MS has free ligation schedules almost everyday in different places. 2 or more month prior scheduling is usually required.

– MS Pasay office covers Manila/Batangas/Laguna/Quezon/Cavite/Bulacan/Marinduque/Mindoro. (Metro Manila such as Malate and Pasay are not covered as some private hospitals provide ligations and conflicts with their free service.)

– Non-Philhealth holders are accepted.

– MS works with local government unit (LGU) but private organizers can be involved including indigents who are actually their main target.

– MS has total 9 doctors in the Philippines (1 doctor/office). Their Pasay office has 2 doctors and 50 nurses & midwives. They are all paid workers.

– MS provides free IUD insertions through nurses & midwives. It is scheduled separately from ligation schedules.

– Minimum 30 qualified women per time are required for ligation. Therefore about 50-60 women need to be assembled for screening considering some disqualification.

– MS also provides vasectomy and it can be mixed with ligation operations as the same doctor performs the surgery. Marie Stopes (MS) provides P300 for vasectomized person to replenish income for the day which would work as an incentive. However, only 20 – 30 vasectomies are conducted per year in the Philippines.

– MS ligation method is “mini-laparoscopy” with local anesthesia only. According to their standard, no surgical room is required so MS often uses barangay health centers to perform it. MS has all the equipments and tools for mini-laparoscopic surgery.

– MS said they have ligated women with 97kg. Blood pressure up to 150 on systolic is acceptable. Women who have done cesarean section are not qualified but IUD can be applied.

– MS supplies post surgery medication for 7 days.

RIMM looks for an active organizer who can assemble women for free ligation. RIMM can provide transportation for indigents and lunch/snack/drinks for qualified women. Please contact us for more details.
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