Crunching the DSWD numbers

Much has already been made, both in cyberspace and in meatspace, of the entry entitled, “Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo? (A special report from a volunteer)” by blogger Ella. If the controversial entry, which questions the efficiency of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in conducting relief operations, is more strident and more provocative than absolutely necessary, especially toward the end, when Ella speculates that the goods thus far unreleased might magically surface during campaign season or in flea markets, the fact that many people assumed the worst—and behaved at their worst, should the comments that I have read on the issue be any indication—is a clear demonstration of at least two things: first, the despair and outrage at the devastation caused by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, which have not found an outlet for sufficient expression and catharsis; and second, the low regard in which the government in general, and the present dispensation in particular, is held.

Given such, working honestly and competently in government could well be a Sisyphean task—when everyone is determined to be cynical and hostile, what point is there in trying to do, or even intend, any good? Still, DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral seems willing to take on the challenge. As she stated in an October 25 letter to Philippine Daily Inquirer editor-in-chief Leticia J. Magsanoc,  “Our Department is not perfect, but I can assure you that the overwhelming majority of us are competent at what we do and that we do our jobs with integrity.

A recent development bears this assertion out: the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) ranked the DSWD first among 109 agencies in terms of compliance to the requirements of the Integrity Development Action Plan (IDAP), the government’s anti-corruption strategy—a rank it has held since 2007. The IDAP consists of 22 different measures to address corruption, and covers four areas: prevention, education, deterrence, and strategic partnership. (Below is a presentation on the IDAP for reference.)

One of the more notable signs of the commitment of the DSWD to transparency and accountability is to allow the public access to its records of donations received and released via its official web site, a list of which follows below:

That DSWD made these records available apparently without prompting or pressure is a move worth recognizing. Cabral, in the same letter to Magsanoc quoted above, made a good point when she said, “We could have very well kept the information to ourselves and you will likely be none the wiser.”

That said, there is certainly plenty of room for improvement. On the question of rapid action, for instance, which was the main bone of contention for Ella, Manolo Quezon remarked in his column that:

The blunt answer is, the DSWD could be moving faster, and it took the public outcry caused by the blog for the government to start sounding a call for more volunteers, which sidesteps the question of whether it’s a wise or even necessary policy to rely on volunteers for a line agency to fulfill its functions. The DSWD has done a lot, as it is; so the public interest lies in figuring out how it could do better—which it can’t do, without the public participating by means of criticism and helping in problem-solving.

He also stated in his supplement to the column that, while the records as such appear to indicate that the DSWD is indeed being a responsible steward of the donations, they are rife with inconsistencies. It is therefore difficult to make any firm conclusions, though it is not from a lack of trying: one need merely take a look at the number of ways that he and a few online volunteers were able to present and re-present the data.

What follow below are my own attempts at crunching the DSWD numbers. Obviously, my findings are in no way definitive or exhaustive.

Considering that the DSWD records are Google Documents, which are meant to be easily changed and updated, I uploaded the records on which I based my study to my Scribd account: the tally of in-kind donations received here, and the tally of released donations here. The inclusive dates are September 27 to October 27.

Findings on Donations Received

(Note: The yellow columns in the spreadsheet are ones that I added to the record. Everything else either appeared as is or was rearranged for clarity.)

  • With regard to donations received, the DSWD was tracking five basic variables: (a) date received; (b) donor; (c) goods/services donated; (d) quantity of units donated; and (e) monetized unit value.  Upon multiplying the latter two, a sixth variable, (f) the total monetized value of the donation, would result. Producing (f) is easy enough; with a spreadsheet program, all one has to do is copy the formula to the relevant cells. As can be seen toward the bottom of the first page, which reflects all the donations received on September 27, 2009, there are significant differences between the figures in the Reported Monetized Value (RMV) column, which appeared as is on the DSWD record, and the figures in the Actual Monetized Value (AMV) column, which were generated simply by multiplying quantity of units donated with the monetized value per unit. The DSWD received goods from the UNICEF which had monetized unit values, but were nevertheless marked “For monetization”, leading to a discrepancy of PhP396,550.00.
  • Another discrepancy lies with the Reported Total of the Day (RTD), which also appeared as is on the DSWD record. The RTD for September 27 is PhP2,369,440.00, but the figures that contributed to this specific total cannot be found. In truth, this RTD conflicts both with the Total RMV and the Total AMV. Inexplicably, there are three different totals for the same set of donations received.
  • The record for the next day, September 28, shows no difference between the Total RMV and the Total AMV, but the RTD is smaller than either by PhP804,900.00. It is only on the third day, September 29, that the RTD, the Total RMV, and the Total AMV are finally the same figure. From September 30 onwards, however, the RTD is no longer recorded.
  • On October 5, the World Food Program donated 50 kilograms of National Food Authority (NFA) rice, but the value of the donation was recorded as Php0.00.
  • On October 13, General Santos (care of Aboitiz) donated 26 boxes of noodles. Each box contained 72 packages of noodles. The unit value per package is recorded as PhP540.00. Then, the RMV for the entire donation is recorded as PhP5,400.00. Evidently, both values are suspect, but if the unit value is accepted for what it is, then the AMV of the entire donation is PhP1,010,880.00.
  • Added on October 31: Note that the immediately succeeding entry, which is also a donation of 900 packages of noodles from General Santos, has no reported value. Is this second set of noodles different from the first?
  • At the very end of the record, the Reported Grand Total of donations is PhP59,426,418.75. This figure does not seem to be based on any of the totals that could be derived from the available data.

Here is a summary that shows the discrepancies between and among the various totals:

As I note in the summary, the actual figures—when these are finally determined—should be much larger than they are, as so many donations still remain unmonetized:

I have included the UNICEF donations that arrived on September 27 because of the “For monetization” remarks.

Findings on Donations Released

  • Unlike the previous record, there seem to be no discrepancies as far as computing the value of the donations is concerned.
  • One strange thing that I did observe was that, on October 7 and 8, assorted donations were released without being monetized.
  • As the donations are also tracked by area, it might be useful to compare this record of releases to situation maps, such as the Typhoon Ondoy Situation Map, in order to determine how strategic the DSWD is in its relief operations.

As the first column of the above document indicates, I tried to come up with a broad classification system for the recipients of the donations so as to be able to get a rough picture of how the distribution went. (I assumed that “VIBES Inc.” is a charity of some kind, but I could not find any information about it.) This is the resulting chart:

A significant majority (80.89%) of the released donations went from the NROC to the various field offices of the DSWD, which should be reassuring. I do not know, however, why PhP774,528.00 worth of noodles was released to an unnamed entity—is this a clerical error?

Because Cabral vowed a “politico-proof” the distribution of relief goods, a statement that was later questioned by the Inquirer in its editorial last Sunday, it might be interesting to see the list of government officials to whom goods were released:

Here is the corresponding chart:

At the risk of sounding utterly ignorant, a question I find pertinent is: Who is Atty. Maramba, and in what capacity or under whose authority is he or she receiving donations?

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Uncoordinated disaster: The first 48 hours of Ondoy (Updated)

To say that the government, as specifically embodied in the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), missed the boat as far as the Typhoon Ondoy (also known as Ketsana) disaster is concerned would be an understatement—if popular consensus is any indication, it missed many, many important boats. The tide of recriminations, then, has only begun to build, as it should. Philippine Daily Inquirer points out in its October 4 editorial that:

If in recent weeks the nation has been united in remembrance, it is now united in grief and – we do not think it’s an exaggeration to say – anger. All of officialdom, on whichever side of the aisle, in whatever office, is in the dock. As the public demands accountability, we won’t be surprised if officials react by finger-pointing, dodging the issues, or fudging the facts. The public needs to know who did their duty, did it well, or did it badly; and what can be done, institutionally and operationally, to improve disaster response and rehabilitation efforts.

This entry represents my own attempt to think through the manner in which Ondoy was handled, particularly within the first 48 hours, which I believe was the critical period for action.

My primary sources of information have been the situation reports of the NDCC, which I have cross-referenced with other material when I thought it necessary. I focus on Situation Report Nos. 1 to 9.

Although I obviously assume that these situation reports are more or less accurate, it should be said at the outset that they fail to inspire confidence. At absolute best, they were incompetently executed. Updates in one report are still recorded as updates in succeeding reports, which means that the newer a report is, the greater the amount of padding. One possible implication of such a practice is that there was little progress worth recording.

I do not know if revisions have since been made to the documents, but I have uploaded copies of the reports I used for writing this entry to my Scribd account.

Timeline

In constructing this timeline, I have only taken the highlights from the situation reports, excluding redundant information.

As much as possible, I have quoted the reports verbatim et literatim. Occasional editorial changes are enclosed between brackets.

September 25 (Fri)

1700H

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issues an advisory saying that Ondoy has intensified into a tropical storm.

Catanduanes, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur, and Polillo Island in Quezon are placed under Storm Signal No. 2, while Albay, Burias Island, Quezon, Marinduque, Rizal, Bulacan, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, and Isabela are placed under Storm Signal No. 1.

September 26 (Sat)

1000H

According to NDCC Situation Report No. 1, the following have been accomplished:

NDCC Advisory was disseminated to regions concerned through SMS and facsimile for further dissemination to their respective local disaster coordinating councils from the provincial down to the municipal levels.

OCD Regional Centers concerned have been continuously disseminating weather advisories/bulletins to the Local Disaster Coordinating Councils and monitoring of possible effects in their respective areas of responsibilities.

1137H

GMANews.TV reports that Ondoy has made landfall somewhere on the boundary of Aurora and Quezon.

1400H

According to NDCC Situation Report No. 2, the following have been accomplished in the past four (4) hours:

NDCC-OPCEN has been continuously coordinating with AFP Command Center and emergency responders of respective areas for the conduct of immediate search and rescue operations in various flooded/critical areas in Metro Manila: Manila City, Marikina City, Malabon City, Muntinlupa City, Quezon City, Makati City, Pasay City, Pasig City, Valenzuela City and San Juan City; Central Luzon (Bulacan); and Region IV-A (Rizal Province particularly San Mateo, Cainta, Tanay, Angono, Taytay, Baras, Montalban and Antipolo City).

Requested Olongapo Rescue and SBMA Emergency Responders to assist AFP in the conduct of search and rescue operations in Metro Manila.

Major AFP units such as 48IB, 7th ID deployed and respective DRRUs to render assistance.

GHQ and HSC DRRUs lead by LtC Docil, PA (GSC) assisted stranded commuters in the vicinity of EDSA-Santolan area.

As of this report, 1,318 people, mostly from San Mateo, Rizal, have been evacuated from their homes.

1800H

According to NDCC Situation Report No. 3 the following have been accomplished in the past four (4) hours:

The Secretary of National Defense and Chairman, NDCC in a Press Briefing this afternoon, declared a State of National Calamity in the following areas in view of the extensive effects of Tropical Storm “Ondoy”:

  • The whole of National Capital Region (NCR)
  • Region I: Mt. Province, Ifugao and Ilocos Sur
  • Region II: Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya
  • Region III: Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac and Bataan
  • Region IV-A: Mindoro (Occidental and Oriental) and Marinduque
  • Region V: Catanduanes, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur

MMDA and NCRCOM emergency responders, Civil Defense Action Group, ARESCOM [have been deployed].

Activated all DOH CHD’s operations center 24 hours/7days with continuous coordination with the LGUs concerned and prepositioned drugs and medicines in all areas affected.

Assets deployed to the flooded areas in Metro Manila by AFPDRTF (HSC, SEG and MP, GHQ, PN, PMC, PAF, 525Ebde, PA and NCRRCDG); PNP; PCG; VCRC, 5IDRC, ICMOTF, 75th CG- NCRC; AFPRESCOM; PMC.

No data on persons affected/evacuated are available. A total of 5 persons are reported dead.

Later in the evening, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issues a brief message on Ondoy, exhorting everyone to “pull together and look out for each other in the finest Filipino tradition of caring and sharing”:

September 27 (Sun)

0100H

According to NDCC Situation Report No. 4, the following have been accomplished in the last five (5) hours:

Secretary of Department of National Defense and Chairman, NDCC issued an NDCC Circular to Chairmen of RDCCs I, II, III and CAR directing them to undertake necessary response measures to avoid loss of lives and destruction of properties.

NDCC established an Advance Command Post (ACP) at Katipunan Avenue cor. Araneta Boulevard, Marikina City. The over-all commander is Hon. Mayor Maridel Fernando while the Incident Commanders are Mr. Robert Nacenciano and Mr. Ramon Santiago of MMDA.

MMDA also deploys assets to the flooded areas in Metro Manila.

PCG, KN, SOG and CGETC teams rescued 200 residents in Brgy Hagonoy, Taguig near Laguna Lake. At St. Peter, MH Amoranto, Quezon City, more than 20 persons have been rescued from rooftops. Afterward, some teams proceeded to Araneta and Del Monte, Quezon City.

One (1) SOG team on board MRT with rubber boat and another SOG team which just finished operations in Parañaque now en route to Marikina.

Six (6) more teams with rubber boats and trucks formed with PBRC to proceed Marikina shortly after logistical fill-up and four (4) more rubber boats are expected to arrive from Subic early tomorrow morning for dispatch to other flooded areas to be assigned by NDCC.

MMDA rescued 60 stranded commuters and 40 stalled vehicles at EDSA Santolan Northbound; 80 persons in Marikina were brought to higher grounds.

SBMA – 15 personnel of SBMA Fire Department and SWAT (IED) proceeded to PNRC National headquarters to augment rescue operations in the flooded areas in Metro Manila with one (10 rescue van, 1 rubber boat and 2 dump trucks.

NOLCOM 503rd conducted rescue and retrieval operations in the landslide areas.

Donations Received

Dr. Rafael Rodriguez of Medical Plaza donated 1 unit rubber boat to NDCC which was turned over to the AFP.

Aileen Lawigan, friends of Executive Secretary Ermita donated ready-to-eat food packs for stranded passengers.

As of this report, the partial total of people affected in Metro Manila, Bulacan, and Pampanga is 21,896 families (106,180 persons), while the partial total of evacuees is 624 families (3,114 persons) in 12 evacuation centers. There are also 15 casualties, 21 missing, and 3 injured.

0110H

GMANews.TV reports that Ondoy has begun to move out of Philippine territory.

Zambales remains under Storm Signal No. 2, while Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Bataan, Rizal, Cavite, and Lubang Island are under Storm Signal No. 1.

0500H

According to NDCC Situation Report No. 5, the following have been accomplished in the last four (4) hours:

DSWD’s on-going interventions are activation of the Quick Response and Social Welfare and Disaster (QR/SWAD) teams to provide technical assistance to the disaster-affected local government units (LGUs) on disaster operations; provided PhP635,056.00 worth of relief goods consisting of food and non-food commodities to the affected families; and prepositioned stand-by funds, family food packs and stockpile of relief commodities composed of food and non-food amounting to PhP19,981,158.35 by the field offices concerned along the typhoon path, ready for additional augmentation/assistance whenever necessary

PNRC rescued 282 persons and provided relief assistance to the victims.

National Grid Corporation of the Philippines is conducting power restoration in various damaged sub-stations (S/S) in Region III (Botolan, Zambales (77.18%), Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija (79.51%), Concepcion, Tarlac (12:66%), Cruz na Daan. Bulacan (0%) and Limay, Bataan (40;0%); Region I (Labrador, Pangasinan (48.48%) power restored.

DSWD will start massive relief operations to augment local capacities in Metro Manila.

The NDCC facilitated the release of 1,300 sacks of rice to the PDCCs of Cavite (200), Laguna (200), Batangas (200), Rizal (200); Quezon (100); CDCC Calamba, Laguna (200); and CDCC Sta. Rosa, Laguna (200).

Donations Received

CEISSAFP coordinated with SMART Telecom re: Installation of GSM900 repeater at NDCC Operation Center to enhance smart mobile phone signal inside the OPCEN building.

As of this report, the partial total of people affected in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Batangas, Laguna, Rizal, and Camarines Sur is 54,891 families (279,763 persons), while the partial total of evacuees is 8,388 families (41,205 persons) in 92 evacuation centers. There are also 51 casualties, 21 missing, and 3 injured.

1100H

PAGASA cancels all storm signals in the country, saying that Ondoy has moved out of the Philippine area of responsibility. More rains are expected, however.

1200H

According to NDCC Situation Report No. 6, the following have been accomplished in the last seven (7) hours:

The NDCC Technical Working Group met on September 26, 2009 to map out available resources for rescue operations and to prioritize the heavily flooded areas for rescue operations.

Another meeting was held at the NDMC Conference Room to determine the immediate needs and requirements in the flood-stricken areas in terms of Water, Sanitation, and Health (WASH), medicines and medical supplies, food and non-food items.

In Region IV-A, no power in the following Districts of Quezon: 4th District except Gumaca and 3rd District except Unisan, Agdangan, and Padre Burgos both due to Quezelco 1 problem, 1st District except Lucban and Infanta breaker 51FY4 Famy Infanta 69kV line under patrol and Tayabas, Sampaloc and Pagbilao Meco portion lateral Line cut-out still open, subject for patrol by MECO and 2nd District has power except in the municipalitis of Tiaong and San Antonio but MECO portion lateral Line cut-out still open, subject for patrol by MECO.

Acceptance of Relief Goods (Drop Points):

  • DSWD Dromic: Batasan Complex, Quezon City / Tel. Nos. 951-7119 / 0918-421-9780
  • DSWD National Capital Region (NCR): 389 San Rafael corner Legarda, Quiapo, Manila / Tel. Nos. 734-8635 / 0915-291-3722
  • DSWD National Relief Operations Center (NROC): Chapel Road, NAIA, Pasay City (back of ATO) / Tel. Nos. 852-8081 / 734-8622
  • PETRON Corp (All Stations)

The NDCC facilitated the release of 1,800 sacks of rice to the PDCCs of Cavite (200), Laguna (200), Batangas (200), Rizal (200); Quezon (100); PDCC Bulacan (500); CDCC Calamba, Laguna (200); and CDCC Sta. Rosa, Laguna (200).

Donations Received

Globe Telecom temporarily lent four (4) hotlines at NDCC OPCEN to augment the communication capability of NDCC in providing emergency calls in the calamity areas during the entire TS “Ondoy” Operations, with the following hotline numbers: 0917334193, 0917334256, 0917334263, and 09155316719.

As of this report, the partial total of people affected in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Batangas, Laguna, Rizal, and Camarines Sur is 59,241 families (294,555 persons), while the partial total of evacuees is 9,601 families (47,261 persons) in 101 evacuation centers. There are also 52 casualties, 23 missing, and 4 injured.

1800H

According to NDCC Situation Report No. 7, the following have been accomplished in the past six (6) hours:

Cluster meeting among cluster leads with IASC representative was conducted to address the gaps and needs in the affected areas.

DSWD established donations drop-off points as follows:

  • National Resource Operations Center, Chapel Road, Pasay City | Francia Favian: 852 8081/0918 930 2356
  • Disaster Resource Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC), DSWD Central Office, Quezon City | Rey Martija or Imee Rose Castillo: 951 7119/951 2435 | Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera: 0918 9345625
  • DSWD-NCR Office, San Rafael corner Legarda Streets, Quiapo, Manila | Director Thelsa P. Biolna or Director Delia Bauan: 734 8622/734 8642

NDCC established additional Advance Command Posts (ACP) in various strategic areas in Metro Manila:

  • Alpha base 8th Floor, Pasig City Hall with telephone number 643-0000. the over-all commander is Mayor Roberto Eusebio.
  • Club House, City Hall of Cainta City headed by Mayor Ramon Ilagan, with telephone numbers 0927-2204744 and 665-0846
  • Department of Public Order Safety Hall Quezon City. The over-all commander is Mayor Sonny Belmonte while the incident Commanders is Ms. Teresa Amarillo with telephone number 0921-6555262

Issued NDCC MEMO Order [No. 18] on the suspension of classes at all levels in Metro Manila [and Rizal] on 28 September 2008.

BFP’s emergency responders were dispatched to the flooded areas along the thoroughfares of Metro Manila areas covering Districts I, II, III, IV and V.

DPWH conducted damage assessment in all affected areas. Based on assessment, all are passable except Cabagan Sta Maria Concrete Overflow due to swollen river. Deployed 1 unit dump truck to Pasay City.

DepEd reported that 15 schools were damaged: 7 elementary schools 1 high school and 8 secondary schools were damaged in Regions CAR, NCR Regions III and IV-A amounting to PhP6,520,000.00. There are 36 school buildings used as evacuation centers occupying 1,650 families and 1,366 individuals.

The NDCC facilitated the release of 4,400 sacks of rice to the following:

  • Region IV-A – PDCC Cavite (200), PDCC Laguna (200), PDCC Batangas (200), 1st District Batangas (1,000); PDCC Rizal (200); PDCC Quezon (100); CDCC Calamba, Laguna (200); and CDCC Sta. Rosa, Laguna (200)
  • Region III – 1st District Bulacan (100) and PDCC Bulacan (1,000)
  • NCR – CDCC Taguig (1,000)

PNP dispatched various SAR equipment such as: NCR SRU Van, Squad EMS-NHQ, SOD-NHQ, engines, water tanker, mini-pumper rubber boats, jaguar, fire trucks and others for SAR operations in Regions I, III, IV-A and Metro Manila.

The 51st Engineering Brigade, PA organized and dispatched a Disaster, Rescue and Relief Operations team composed of 6 Officers and 60 enlisted personnel led by Commander Simoy with 2 loaders, 2 dump trucks, 3 Canter Elf and 1 backhoe loader.

The US Contingent: 1 Officer and 17 EPs, with night capability equipment, 2 rubber boats and 1 chopper (Bell 214) arrived this afternoon at NDCC OpCen to support SAR operations. Six persons have been rescued from Ever Gotesco, Cainta and two hundred packs of assorted goods (five kilos each) were distributed to the affected families.

Donations Received

The Manila and Subic Yacht Clubs lent rubber boats to the NDCC for use of response teams in the conduct rescue operations.

San Miguel Corporation and Petron Corporation donated 20 pieces 2.7 kg cylinder with gasoline lamps for use in the evacuation areas.

PHAP Cares Foundation thru Executive Director Glecy C. Cuenco donated 5 boxes of assorted medicines.

Ms. Cynthia Rodriguez and Family of Corinthian Gardens, QC provided relief goods such as: 5 boxes noodles, 8 packages skyflakes crackers; 4 bottles Coco Jam, 5 cans pork & beans, assorted clothing, blankets and 16 cups noodles.

As of this report, the partial total of people affected is 69,513 families (337,216 persons), while the the partial total of evacuees is 11,967 families (59,521 persons) in 118 evacuation centers. There are also 73 casualties, 23 missing, and 4 injured.

September 28 (Mon)

0600H

According to NDCC Situation Report No. 8, the following have been accomplished in the past twelve (12) hours:

DOH Donations Drop Off Point: MMD-DOH Central Office | Engr. Dave Masiado: 0917-816-3400.

DOH has provided initial 50 pieces of cadaver bags and six (6) boxes of assorted drugs and medicines.

All NGCP transmission lines are on normal operation; waiting for normalization of load systems from distribution utilities (Meralco for Metro Manila area) and electric cooperatives.

Philippine Coast Guard has rescued 2,784 persons in San Juan, Manila, Quezon City, Marikina City, Pasig City, Taguig City, Parañaque City, Rizal and Laguna.

The NDCC facilitated the release of 3,900 sacks of rice to the following:

  • Region IV-A – Cavite, Laguna Batangas, 1st District Batangas; PDCC Rizal; PDCC Quezon; CDCC Calamba, Laguna; and CDCC Sta. Rosa, Laguna (a total of 2,300 sacks of rice)
  • Region III – 1st District Bulacan, and PDCC Bulacan for a total of 600 sacks of rice
  • NCR – CDCC Taguig (1,000)
  • A total of PhP2,108,041.60 assistance was provided by DSWD (PhP1.4 M) and LGUs (PhP0.670 M)

Summary of assets deployed: 12 ambulance, 33 M35 trucks, 59 rubber boats and 112 other vehicles, 6 officers, 5 companies, 137 EPS and 13 platoons, 20 US Servicemen, 2 US watercraft, 1 US Chopper, 8 Island Cruise.

DSWD had distributed the following items at the Rosario Sports Complex: 5 big boxes of doughnuts, 146 small boxes of doughnuts, 52 bags of hotmeal, 4 boxes of bottled water, 12 bags of used clothes, and 2 bags of blankets.

As of this report, the partial total of people affected is 86,313 families (435,646 persons), while the partial total of evacuees is 23,126 families (115,898 persons) in 204 evacuation centers. There are also 86 casualties, 32 missing, and 5 injured.

0639H

U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, along with representatives from the U.S. contingent that arrived yesterday, appears on Unang Hirit. Kenney says she sees no need to duplicate relief efforts already underway. Instead, she plans to divert resources already in the Philippines to hard-hit areas. She is also coordinating with the U.S. Marines to move up a military exercise slated for next month in Clark. Ideally, the troops and the equipment should arrive by the night of September 30 (Wednesday).

When asked how many Marines would be arriving, Kenney dodges the question, saying that the medical team will consist of 30 persons, who will then team up with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Philippine Daily Inquirer will later report that five heavy trucks, five Humvees, one bulldozer, two forklifts and 30 US medical personnel had already arrived in the country to help in flood relief. Kenney will still be unwilling or unable to state the number of personnel arriving.

0818H

ABS-CBN reports Secretary of National Defense and NDCC Chairman Gilbert Teodoro as having asked for international humanitarian assistance: “We’re appealing for more donations of food, water and warm clothes.”

1116H

Anthony Golez, officer-in-charge for the Office of Civil Defense, is quoted as saying that “the system is overwhelmed, local government units are overwhelmed…Our assets and people are spread too thinly.”

1200H

According to NDCC Situation Report No. 9, the following have been accomplished in the past six (6) hours:

NDCC on-site coordination has been established at the Incident Command Post in Ever Gotesco, Ortigas to support relief efforts.

DOH activated all DOH CHD’s operations center 24 hours/7days with continuous coordination with theLGUs concerned and prepositioned drugs and medicines in all affected areas; has provided 150 pieces of cadaver bags and six (6) boxes of assorted drugs and medicines. DOH-HEMS augmented 350 boxes of bottled water (8,400 bottles) for NCR and same quantity for CHD IV-A.

National Grid Corporation of the Philippines conducted power restoration in various damaged sub-stations (S/S). All lines are on normal operation except San Jose, Bulacan and CND-San Miguel (Bacnotan, San Miguel, La Union).

The NDCC facilitated the release of 3,900 sacks of rice to the following:

  • Region IV-A – Cavite, Laguna Batangas, 1st District Batangas; PDCC Rizal; PDCC Quezon; CDCC Calamba, Laguna; and CDCC Sta. Rosa, Laguna (a total of 2,300 sacks of rice)
  • Region III – 1st District Bulacan, and PDCC Bulacan for a total of 600 sacks of rice
  • A total of PhP4,005,832.80 assistance was provided by DSWD (PhP2,068,685.50) and LGUs (PhP1,937,148.30)

PGMA Sagip-Tulong Activities by PAGCOR:

  • 1000H 27 September 2009, deployed three (3) teams and distributed bread and water to various evacuation centers in Malanday, Marikina and at Brgy. Tatalon, Quezon City
  • Set-up of a medical mission with eleven (11) doctors and distributed medicines, bread and water at the Santolan Elementary School, Pasig City and Brgy. Tañong, Marikina City
  • Deployment of PGMA/PAGCOR buses to bring evacuees and stranded to people to various evacuation centers
  • Continuously coordinating with PNP and AFP for the transport and distribution of relief goods
  • Distributed Five Hundred (500) packs of rice and additional ten (10) cavans of rice for the three (3) evacuation centers in Marikina and four (4) in Pasig City
  • Continuous distribution of relief goods to evacuation centers

Two (2) DRRUs with two (2) units rubber boats from Philippine Navy – Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union proceeded to Bulacan to augment the rescue operations.

Donations Received

28 September 2009, donation of three (3) motorized rubber boats to NDCC, [courtesy of PGMA Sagip-Tulong].

As of this report, the partial total of people affected is 89,953 families (451,683 persons), while the partial total of evacuees is 23,147 families (115,990 persons) in 205 evacuation centers. There are also 100 casualties, 32 missing, and 5 injured.

NDCC Assets Deployed

Each NDCC situation report came with a table showing the assets that had been deployed for rescue operations. As previously stated, however, the reports tended to be padded, and thus confusing to read. In seeking to understand what the movements of the NDCC were, therefore, I decided to put together the following table, which I hope clarifies matters:

The units deployed came from the Armed Forces of the Philippines  (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Fire Department and SWAT. There was also a small contingent of U.S. troops.

Where details were not given, I placed a question mark in between parentheses. Otherwise, the data is practically unchanged.

A caveat regarding the PCG: As of SR No. 3, the PCG had deployed four units, while as of SR No. 4,  the PCG had deployed six units. Of the six units in SR No. 4, however, four are deployed to exactly the same areas as the four units in SR No. 3. Also, it is only the latter six units that are recorded in succeeding reports. Therefore, it is possible that the PCG only deployed an additional two units, rather than six. I have decided to give the PCG the benefit of the doubt.

Here is a map approximating the deployment of units. Please note that the reports lack location details, so the map merely provides a very rough idea of the deployment.

Preliminary Findings

While I have yet to come to any conclusions, these findings may serve as starting points for further dialogue or investigation.

Reportorial errors

Personal finickiness could well be the informing spirit here, but the following errors are significant if the reports served to drive actions and decisions:

  • The Globe hotlines in SR No. 6 are mistyped, and thus could have exacerbated communication problems. The first three numbers each lack one digit, while the last number should be 09175366719, at least starting from SR No. 8. A total 18 hours may have elapsed before corrections were made to the report.
  • A discrepancy of 500 sacks of rice becomes apparent upon comparing SR Nos. 7 and 8. Per SR No. 7, a total of 1,100 sacks were released to Region III, with 100 going to the first district of Bulacan, and the rest going to the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council. Per SR No. 8, however, only a total of 600 sacks were released to Region III.

Time mismanagement

  • There appears to be a significant gap—up to 17 hours—between the establishment of the first Advance Command Post (ACP) in Marikina (see SR No. 4) and the establishment of the other ACPs in Pasig, Cainta, and Quezon City (see SR No. 7).
  • Per SR No. 6, a meeting was held to “determine the immediate needs and requirements in the flood-stricken areas in terms of Water, Sanitation, and Health (WASH), medicines and medical supplies, food and non-food items”. If this objective is taken at face value, should it be inferred that the NDCC is not aware of what flood victims need? Or, if the allocation of supplies was the purpose of the meeting, what does it say about the actual state of coordination when data regarding evacuees was available as early as 0100H?

Questionable moves

  • About an hour and half before Ondoy made landfall, all the NDCC had done was monitor developments and send advisories.
  • There is little evidence that the NDCC and its member agencies were communicating or coordinating with each other efficiently.
  • While the DSWD had begun accepting donations as of SR No. 6, it is only in SR No. 7 that specific persons are identified and made accountable for any donations that come in. How donations that arrived in the interim were handled cannot be determined from the reports.
  • The deployment of assets over the critical 48-hour period seems merely sporadic rather than strategic. There are entire blocks of time in which there was very little deployment or, per SR No. 9, no deployment at all.
  • The initial number of rubber boats sent out was a paltry 12. It seems the majority of the rubber boats used for rescue only became available after the Manila and Subic Yacht Clubs lent an unspecified quantity to the NDCC on the afternoon or evening of September 27 (see SR No. 7). On a related note, it has been claimed that certain government agencies were unmindful of proper maintenance and storage for such boats.
  • The Philippine National Police (PNP) was recorded as having mobilized significantly only on September 28. Why was it not able to do so earlier, despite its apparently significant resources? Consider, for instance, that the Special Action Force (SAF) of the PNP was scheduled to move to a 368-hectare camp in Baras, Rizal from Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig to the tune of PhP100 million. And whether the SAF has moved or not, that it was recorded as having arrived on the scene only on the morning of September 28, per SR No.8, is curious.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s latest directives (English translation)

For the benefit of non-Filipino donors, what follows below is my own translation of the latest directives of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regarding the Typhoon Ondoy (International Code Name: Ketsana) disaster.

The most important thing to take note of: Donations must be addressed to or coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) so that they will not be taxed or confiscated.

PGMA’s Latest Directives
Bahay Pangarap, Malacañang Park
29 September 2009

My fellow Filipinos, thank you very much for your generosity and good will toward the victims of Typhoon Ondoy.

In order to ensure the continuous and orderly flow of aid to those in need, please be informed that your government is taking the following steps:

First, a price control task force has been set up to prevent and penalize the overpricing of medicines. This exploitative practice is strictly prohibited.

Second, those involved in anomalous or fraudulent transactions for donations coursed through banks will be caught and punished.

Third, donations of food and other goods from abroad will not be taxed or confiscated by the Bureau of Customs, provided these are consigned to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Fourth, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has instructed all embassies and consulates to expedite the processing of documents required for donations coming from abroad, provided these are consigned to the DSWD.

Fifth, remittance service providers are requested to waive transaction fees for cash donations that are coursed to the DSWD through them.

It is only fitting that the government facilitate the delivery of aid to those in need, as well as ensure that they suffer no further. Anyone who seeks to impede such actions will be subject to severe punishment, including imprisonment.

Thank you once again to all who are helping.

An alternative translation may be found on Filipino Voices.