We are typhoon survivors, volunteers, responders, and residents of Leyte (https://www.facebook.com/kusogtacloban). Wherever we may be living now, we will always call Tacloban and Leyte “home.” But as news reports now show, the potential for corruption that seems endemic in rebuilding and rehabilitation creates frustration and despair among us. We are afraid for the place we call home. Corruption leads to substandard, unsafe, undignified, and unsustainable solutions to very pressing problems. This can have the effect of further victimizing us all, especially the residents of the hardest-hit regions in the Philippines.
We are calling on all foreign governments that have so kindly given funds for the rebuilding and rehabilitation of our home province in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. We are appealing to the Ambassadors of the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Israel, France, Italy, China, Malaysia, and all the other countries that so kindly and speedily sent help when we needed it most.
We need a mechanism that we can use as a basis to monitor the proper use of these funds by the Philippine government and its contractors. You, the foreign governments that have committed much to our rebuilding, can help us do this by posting prominently on your Embassy websites a dedicated section that gives information on:
(1) aid amounts for Yolanda-stricken areas, allocated by project
(2) project plans (objectives, project sites, target beneficiaries, expected outputs/outcomes and implementation timelines)
(3) agencies/organizations accountable for implementing these projects
(4) regular project updates on progress and performance
We recognize and are grateful for all the help you gave to our province and to others that were also affected by the very deadly and destructive typhoon. Your help saved us. Your help gives us hope that our towns and cities, and our people, can stand up again. We know that every cent that comes to us comes from hard-earned money. Whether the money came directly from individuals or from governments using their citizens’ tax money, or from corporations. We want to show our gratitude to all who helped us, by assuring that all the aid funds intended for us are going to where they ought to. That they are managed responsibly and address real needs. This is something we all want, whether we are the giver or the receiver of aid.
Full transparency from you, the governments providing the aid, will enable us, watchdog groups, and concerned citizens, to hold government and private contractors to account in the difficult and long task of rehabilitation and rebuilding after Super Typhoon Yolanda. So we hope you, the foreign governments, continue to help us—please help us to monitor the rebuilding of our home.