Network calls for better mechanisms in caring for the dead

News Release

November 1, 2014

As the Filipino people remember their dead, a network of
non-government organizations involved in disaster response and
rehabilitation calls on the government to review its policies on dealing
with huge death toll during disasters.

The Climate Change Network for Community-Based Initiatives (CCNCI)
noted that thousands of the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda remain
unidentified to this day. According to a report, majority of the 2,273
buried in a mass grave in barangay Basper, Tacloban City remain
unidentified by their loved ones.

“The pain must have been so much for those who have not found the
bodies of their loved ones,” Suyin Jamoralin, convenor of CCNI, said.
“Where to light candles? Where to grieve? There is no closure.”

The CCNI said it is apparent that the government failed to establish a
quick system of identifying the victims.

The CCNI noted that the National Bureau of Investigation’s method of
identifying the bodies proved to be slow and inefficient compared to the
procedure suggested by forensic experts from the University of the
Philippines. The NBI insisted on the more detailed International
Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) procedure, which required, among
others, taking of DNA samples from each body and ignored the proposal of
UP for experts for faster, more practical procedures set by the World
Health Organization (WHO).

“If only the NBI listened to the sound advice of experts, more bodies
could have been identified and more families would have found it easier
to move on,” Jamoralin said.

As of April 2014, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
Council placed the death toll at 6,340. Over a thousand are still missing.

The CCNI called on the NBI and other government agencies concerned to
review their mechanisms in dealing with the dead. The network said
better systems should be put in place in response to future disasters.

The CCNI said that the survivors, meanwhile, find it difficult to
recover from the tragedy due to lack of government support. “In the case
of Yolanda, both the living and the dead continue to be neglected by the
government,” Jamoralin said.

The CCNI will hold a forum on November 7, 2014 to mark the first
anniversary of supertyphoon Yolanda. Its member-organizations will
present lessons for community-based initiatives in dealing with
disasters and climate change.

Suyin Jamoralin, CCNI convenor
Mobile number: 09328469330
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Climate Change Network for Community-Based Initiatives (CCNCI)

*CCNCI is composed mainly of four national networks that are engaged in
people-oriented development programs and come from varying disciplines
and expertise, the Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC), Citizens’
Disaster Response Center (CDRC), Philippine Network for Food Security
Programs (PNFSP) and the Advocates for Community Health. Regional and
provincial NGOs such as Kaduami, Center for Development Programs in the
Cordillera (CDPC), Community Empowerment Resource Network (CERNET),
Farmers Development Center (FARDEC), Tuburan, IFI Visayas-Mindanao
Regional Office for Development (IFI-VIMROD), Cordillera Women’s
Education Action Reseach Center (CWEARC) and Integrated Development
Program for Indigenous People (IDPIP) are also members of the network.

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