There are two very moving celebrity ” star studded” singers and personalities, who organized a rare, special musical get-together. They gathered as one, to sing and to promote for help. The Stars, sang ” We are the World” to solicit donations, for starving victims of famine and natural disasters.
It is very touching to hear, how a big group of say 20-50 wold class singers, perform , to help these communities and nations in need. They gave their time, talent, and financial resources as donations, and rally the international family of humanity in solidarity , for a particular worthwhile cause.
With their music and song, they cried out, in harmony and rhythm, for aid , charity, and empathy, moving some of us to tears, touching our hearts to generosity, and awakening the spirit to Prayer, Action or Reflection..
It began, when sometime in 1985, Michele Jackson and Co. Sang, ” We are the Wold” for the needs of Africa. That was then, one of the worst droughts, killing by famine , thirst, and starvation, of hundreds of thousands for poor people.
“We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving..
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives…”
We are the world 1985 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoDY8ce_3zk
We are the World for Philippines (cover by Dumaguete Artists) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mst5jt8EeE
We Are The World For Philippines (cover by Stage4you Academy, who raised money for the Philippines, over 9,000 USD were donated to UNICEF Sweden and bags of clothes, toys and shoes.) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og7KnCVwZoE
The Philippines too became the center of World and Global attention with the Yolanda Tragedy. All Nations and People were shocked to see how terrible the disastrous Giant Storm Surge, Yolanda was the worst ever recorded , tropical storm, killing almost 7,000 persons, and devastating the entire Visayas Region, Particularly Samar, Leyte, Tacloban , northern Cebu, Panay island and other areas.
As a starter, I wish to ” set the tone ” and listen to these songs made in particular for touching our hearts once again.. The Michele Jackson ” We are the World” & the new version for the Philippines snag by local stars, and children.
December 30, 2013, is a Special Holiday in the Philippines . Early that morning. Our National Hero, was Shot by Firing squad. It was the Killing of Dr. JOSE RIZAL, that eventually sparked the Revolution against Spain, and in due time we won our Independence as a United Sovereign Nation.
The day of our Philippine Agency for Restoration and Reconstruction, organized a Forum, held last Dec. 30, 2013, the Day of Dr. Jose Rizal, was to my mind, very significant. It meant, so much , specially after seeing so much pain, suffering, tears, loss of lives and property.
This was, in a way , a kind of ” martyrdom”, for those who died. We know of very Heroic acts, Parents giving their lives to save their Children , or where a young boy, begged her Mother to ” let go” and save the others , as the grieving mother, sees her son give up his life , to save the other members of his family. These are but a few of extremely heroic acts of courage! The total sacrifice of self.
They are Heroes, but unknown, Saints but unseen, Patriots but not recognized. All we can do now is to Pray for them and their families, to let them know that their supreme sacrifice shall not be in vain. We must not just ” admire” or ” get inspired” but rather, we ought to have these martyrs, heroes and saints, known as Filipino exemplary models, for Love of Country, Freedom and Self-Giving..up to the ultimate sacrifice of shedding their blood for their Families, Community, and fellow Filipinos.
THE Presidential Assistance for Recovery and Rehabilitation ( PARR FORUM) : Lets get the Job done!
This very memorable event,was Conceptualized by USEC. Danny Antonio. And executed, organized, managed and implemented buy Ms. Frechie Nieva on Dec. 26 , at about 9pm, when Ms. Nieva came to visit me, bringing with her, Christmas gifts and well wishes, since i was still convalescing, from a heart attack, and resting at the Kulyawan Center in San Juan City.
It was there during her visit. that Ms. Frechie Nieva, General Manager of ACCM of the Asian Institute of Management, with a candidate for doctorate at the SURP U.P. , being a multi talented Lady, in the Arts, Music, Languages, Management , Urban Planning and Real Estate.
Well, to my embarrassment, all i could do, was to serve Ms. Nieva, a simple snack. The fast delivery came, made an hour before her arrival, was a simple meal of Shiopo, Shiomai, and Buchie. But,we discussed how the Event and Forum would be organized. Ms. Nieva was texting and talking with excitement to our mutual friend, real estate guru, Professor, USEC. Danny Antonio, for instructions . USEC . Danny Antonio was just appointed by the President of the Philippine Republic. as the Right Hand of Sec.- Senator Ping Lacson.
So, It was during that visit at Kulyawan, of December 27 th, past 9p.m. , that she managed to communicate with USEC. Danny Antonio as to the How, Who, Where, When and the Logistics of inviting about 100- 150 ” stakeholders” of Planners, Architects, Builders, Doctors, LGU’s, NGO’s, Real Estate experts, Foundations, Engineers , Scientists, Geologist, Agriculturalists, Farmers , Fishermen, Religious groups, and Other Private and Public Leaders into a Forum to be held at her ACCM Conference center Manila, of the Asian Institute of Management, Makati.
Come Dec. 30, 2013, unfortunately, I arrived a bit late at 1:15pm . And the Event started on time, 1:00p.m. sharp. Led by a strong very capable Military Leader, the Senator – Secretary Ping Lacson. His presence alone, managed to put order to a Jammed packed , 3rd floor hall of ACCM – AIM . It was ” seaming” with energy, super full of Top personalities , like, Senator JV Ejercito was there, Sec. Lila Delima of PEZA, former Secretary Raffy Alunan, Human Settlements Jolly Benitez, Professor Dr. Ed Morato, , Arch, and Planning experts, like Nathaniel Von Eisiendel, Green Architect Mike Guerrero, and the original partner do USEC Danny Antonio, of LANCO , Mr. Ferdy Xerez – Burgos. There were several Experts in City Development, like Ricardo Pasua, PRC Real Estate Chairman Dr. EG Ong, my Professor, Dr. Jimmy Cura, Survivor Expert and Geo- Sustainable Farms Ed Guevarra, and one who has almost outstanding, who received overwhelming applause was Dr. Caloy Arcillia. He gave us Scientific outstanding inputs. Dr,Caloy Arcillia of Project NOHA of the DOST and Geologist of U.P. to just name a few of the outstanding number of Professionals, Experts, Technocrats , Academe, NGO’s, Foundations, Religious Groups, Associations, Developers, Contractors, And much more..
It was just amazing!
Since we arrived 15 minutes late, I found my self by the entrance, in shock..it was ” standing room only” ,
But, As usual, the ever efficient and reliable Ms. Nieva immediately came to the rescue, and escorted Dr. Caloy Arcillia , Geologist , of Project NOHA of DOST, and my self to a front table for ” VIP”s… I sat with Dr. Ramon Pedrosa a very wall known business leader , native of Polo Layte, and a victim too of the Yolanda Tragedy..having lost their Ancestral Heritage Home, and all their Agricultural Produce and Coconut plantations.
After the short Introduction of the Secretary ,and host, Sen. Ping Lacson, by Ms. Frechie Nieva, Arch. Jun Palafox , Presented a short Action Plan and with Broad Strokes, He then set the phase.. Got all of us excited, eager, and our creative juices overflowing with ideas on “what can be done” How, and Who, What, Where and How Much?Having over 450 excited participants, all fired up, eager and willing to get action done, USEC. Danny Antonio starts his brilliant spin. I was amazed! all by memory, fast, sure and to the point. DANNY ANTONIO, made his power pont presentation. Like a true Professor and Most respected guru,in a seamless way, Came up with bullet points and the Road Map, as to the way and methodology we were to get action done and achieve the PARR objectives.The Summary of his presentation are as follows:1) The PARR will be coordinating with at least 15 Departments, Government Agencies , and reports directly to the President of the Philippines.2) That this will be a Multi- Sectoral effort. All necessary Disciplines concerned will be involved and all groups if interest will take a hands on effort in doing their part with Order, Focused, and in Coordination to PARR, with a Spirit of Solidarity and Subsidiarity.3) There will be No Political Color, nor prejudice any Group, Religion, Area, etc.4) Focus will start in Building Medical Centers with new designs that will be resistant to future storm surges, or super tropical storms . The building must be at least 5 stories high with build evacuation center, and enough storage for food, water, and clothing.5) Each one , in the Private sector , willing to volunteer, commit, contribute and help Professionally, must source his own funding to cover Expenses , Costs, and Fees if necessary .6) A master budget is being done, in consultation with several government departments and agencies. With the LGU’s, and given all inputs, the particular Budget will be in placed and set for implementation . Strict Accounting principles will be introduced, independent fund Controls will be a major policy. Fund management, will be undertaken by a reputable private sector Treasurer . With independent Internal and external Auditors. Needless to say, Corporate Governance and International Best Practices will be the guiding principles. That of Transparency , Accountability , and Responsibility.7) The Objective is to lock in 20,000 hours of well budget time. Well managed, focused , coordinated and in harmony for smooth work flow and operations.8) The Monitoring of all activities will be centralized , but each group on Municipallity or City will have its own Plan of Action for Rehabilitation, set of Priorities, and Systems. The PARR will help , assist, direct, and if necessary manage the projects and program so as to archive the objective and time table set for the different tasks.9) The over 141, Municipalities or LGU’s will necessarily be on a ” hands on ” involvement, with Maximum cooperation, as to the Master Plan, and avoid conflicts of self interest, particularly in Zoning Clearances, Building Permits, Personal Land issues, Land Title Reconstitution, Land Survey, Appraisal and Valuations, Cadastral and Tax Mapping, etc.10) To fast tract Construction and Development, it is advisable that the LGU’s set up a ” one stop shop” window for any of the PARR development projects. This must be a cooperative Joint- Effort of Local Governments, National Administration , and Private initiatives.However, I also observed that There is so much self-interest being shown behind the shadows of people who volunteered to help but, clearly some of the 450 participants in the Forum were there not to volunteer and help, but instead , wanted to help themselves. I Funny, how I was approached, by some who asked me for ” donations”!
But, all went very well, excellent in fact. I was privileged to the one of the chosen few 50 people who will be part of the team , my task is to hopefully , help in undertaking Appraisals and Valuations. My plan is to determine first the ” Market Value Lost”, then with the Appraiser – Engeneers, compute the ” cost to cure” if curable , or depreciate and set a mathematical factors for obsolescence.
A good Valuation theory, for the Valuation of a New Master Plan Community or City is to Use the Development Approach, to determine the Land Value, based on the Accommodation , Floor to Area Ratio, and Best Use Plan. This is a Residual type of computation whereby the Projected income is discounted using a capitalization rate to compute the Present Value of the Land.
I am indeed very confident, with the leadership of Senator , and Now Rehab Czar Panfilo Lacson. My wish and Deam is to have a Legislation made to ” Absorb” the Philippine Reclamation Authority and incorporate it under the The Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR). Given the Crisis, we don’ t need Reclamation , instead what we must and ought to do is to REDEVELOP, REVITALIZE, And REBUILD , the Devastated Visayas Region.Its a Priority, S.O.S, and a Matter of Saving Lives.
So, why must we still waste limiter resources, funds, money, and unnecessary sinful luxury in a useless, Reclamation of Manila Bay? Only to Accommodate more Casinos, Entertainment , Recreations and a source of Graft and Corruption?We must have our Priorities in Order, its a matter of having the Sensibility, Empathy, and common sense , that there is more to life than making tons of profits, while we see other parts of the Philippines suffering the need to Restore, Redevelop, and Renew their Lives, and their Dignity as Filipinos.Therefore , even if my suggestion is very radical, i believe that with a stong Political Will, the transformation of the Phil. Reclamation Authority will be converted into the PARR Authority.
We have limited , precious time of only, 20,000 hours for rehabilitation and this will be done with the help of the private sector’s support. Developers, should get involved, and help build basic functional structures and infrastructures, by December , 2015 and complete the rehabilitation by 2016.
Undersecretary Antonio, in his presentation said the “minimum must” included 24/7 hospitals, evacuation centers with facilities, school facilities, public facilities such as local government offices, and improved livelihood and agricultural based- projects.
The Undersecretary said that PARR was created to coordinate the government agencies and the private sector.But given an Urgent Legislative Work , it will be most Beneficial, if the PARR, absorbs the useless and destructive Eco- Enviroment agency, that of the Philippine Reclamation Authority.
In my opinion, what we need is Reconstruction and rehabilitation, not ” reclamation” . There is so much to be done, so little resources , yet. In terms of Land Area, my estimate area to be coved is over a million Hectares , consisting of seven provinces hit by Yolanda — Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Negros and even Capiz, Aklan and Palawan. Unfortunately, the Original Budget set is only about 100 billion. But the Reclamation of Manila Bay , will cover only 300 hectares, and has a Budget Cost of about 500 Billion!FUNDING, FINANCING and Allocation of Scarce Resources :
Forty billion (P40) billion from the unused Priority Development Assistance Fund of lawmakers of 2013 and an additional P100 billion from the 2014 budget were pledged for the rehabilitation, which the Senator and the rest of the committee thinks is not enough.
Senator Lacson said “We are trying to put up funds managed by the private sector, there would be a Board and they would choose them,” he said.
“Experience will tell us that in government, are slow, there’s inefficiency, there’s red tape. The private sector has own auditing rules. I’m excited to find out how much they are willing to donate,” Lacson admitted.
The statement of Senator Lacson elicited different reactions from the crowd who was then given 30 minutes by Undersecretary Antonio to ask their questions before a workshop on suggestions and pledges of support was very encouraging.
Most of the questions ask were mostly similar including transparency, proper implementation, coordination among LGU’s and other government agencies, Various Zoning Changes, the need to develop a design among other things.
But what struck most were the comments of Engineer Pedrosa and officials from the eco-groups. Mr. Pedrosa ask strongly “Where was the government after the calamity. This is a mess”. If they were not present during those hard times, what is their ability to reconstruct and rehabilitate the much affected regions of Visayas?
Other Environmental groups asked about concerns like Human Rehabilitation, Medical Care, and Restoration of Mangroves.
An international representative from Malaysia also supported Mr. Pedrosa’s comment as they pledge support, but not giving money to the government, to avoid possible questions and ” mishandling of funds”.
Dr. Caloy Arcilla, also hit the bulls-eye when he said the government was warned about the storm surge with Project Noah. When asked if how come the storm surge was not properly tracked, Dr. Arcilla said that “3 congressmen dropped the ax” and denied his request to buy the much needed rainfall tracking equipment for the DOST. Now we see that results are now fatal. we hold these congressmen responsible, especially Congressman Edsel Lagman the Anti- Life promoter.
I, personally agree, to Dr. Pedrosa’s last tirade when he said “we need a good leader yet you have the problem in your hands. Do it properly and you might end up being Mr. President in the future.
We need a strong leader in this project. Equipped with an iron-fist and clear conscience to handle both the government bureaucracy and different business sectors.
After given various groups a chance to air their questions, a workshop commenced with 32 tables combined to 16 groups to discuss their proposals on how should the rehabilitation and most importantly what they can do with the necessary pledges.
It is during these times that my staff, researcher and writer? Bert Cabrera mingle through coffee and sandwiches, had the chance to meet several people and made brief interviews.
A group, who ask to be anonymous, headed by a former Mayor of Samar, Leyte, said the PARR and Business Groups should coordinate with the “LGU’s” since they have the mandate, authority and familiarity with the local people. Confusion will be lessened if other government sectors will be involved in the rehabilitation.
Mr. Carmelito TatlongHari, the founding member of the Green AA Architecture, a certified LEED and Green, Sustainability consultant, together with co-founder and current Chairman, Mr. Edgar V. Reformado, stressed the importance of the proper Energy, Environmental Designs and Green architecture in the rehabilitation of the affected Visayas region. Both said, the proposals of other groups are good and well meant but are hitting the main target.
Also interviewed was Mr. Oscar Torralba, President of SolarFarmers. A leader in solar energy services and technology, the SolarFarmers group is delivering more than 24,000 gigawatts of clean green solar power per year. He said, the Visayas region because of its location is a good area to use solar energy as the main source of power. Since most the islands there complain of the high cost yet low abundance of electricity, having a solar-powered house, building or city as a whole is very economical and convenient.
Among the people, my staff had the chance to interview two important people who had same and somewhat different perceptions on how to rehabilitate cities of typhoon Yolanda.
Former Air Force Colonel Alejandro Teves Escano and current head of different organizations including MFI Foudation Inc. said the devastation of Taclobana and other parts of Visayas should be seen with your own eyes, because the pictures shown in the internet is not enough to show the real situation. He related how he use two helicopters and plane to visit and give quick relief goods, after two days of the disaster.
When asked about the probability of developing a smart city, he strongly said, Tacloban, Leyte and Samar are not the best candidate but…”Dumaguete City”.
My staff also had the chance to shake hands with famous Architect Jun Palafox and when ask with the simple question of whether a smart city should be done in the said provinces? The answer was a big “Yes”.
The workshop ensued and all 16 groups gave their suggestions and pledges for the rehabilitation. Build pre-fab house by Vasbuilt, Solar Power, Greening were among the common suggestions given by the group however a question remain unanswered for the groups present.
If the PARR is the coordinating body for the reconstruction and rehabilitation, where is their legislative power? It was a common consensus that if they are not granted such power then the PARR would be rendered useless or incapacitated, and these is what the business groups and even LGU heads are worrying .