Education International
Education International

Philippines: EI affiliates assess post-typhoon needs

published 16 April 2014 updated 21 May 2014

EI’s national affiliate, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the Federation of Free Workers – Trade Federation VII (FFW), the National Alliance of Teachers and Office Workers (SMP-NATOW), and the Teachers’ Organisation of the Philippine Public Sector (TOPPS) conducted the EI Post Haiyan (Yolanda) Rehabilitation Initiative from 3-7 March in Estancia, Ilo-Ilo City.

During inspections, the team discovered the extent of the devastation caused by the typhoon Haiyan. Ninety five per cent  of properties, including schools, and commercial centres were severely damaged during the typhoon. Due to an inadequate supply of foods and other basic commodities, looting was rampant. Maintaining calm and public order was a major problem. As of now, only 30 per cent of power and water supplies are ensured. Families’ main sources of income were greatly affected. Unfortunately, concrete help from different agencies has been slow to materialise.

Slow reactions

The Botongon Elementary School buildings, which catered for almost 700 pupils, were demolished by huge waves, and the location was subsequently declared “a no build zone”. Educators and learners now use tents and makeshift structures for their school activities. The Aquino administration has moved slowly, according to the inspectors, and no immediate support for Haiyan’s victims has been forthcoming from the Department of Education.

After a week spent gathering data, assessing stress, debriefing, conducting interviews, and sharing ideas, the investigative team submitted its reports, findings, and recommendations to EI.

EI solidarity

“EI and its affiliates globally stand behind Filippino colleagues and students affected by the typhoon,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “We will contribute as much as possible to the quick and sound recovery of the education system in the Philippines. Psychological aid should also be provided for teachers who are survivors ofHaiyan, so they recover from the tragedy and return to providing quality education.”