Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ondoy and Uring parallelism by Emil J

Ondoy reminds me very much of Typhoon Uring 18 years ago when Ormoc was devastated by a horrendous flood that took thousands of lives and destroyed millions worth of property. Like Uring, Ondoy was estimated to be a minor typhoon that had a center wind of 55 kph, moving at the speed of 12 kph. Uring was moving at the speed of 11 kph. Pag-asa's announcement didn't create much stir because the figures were not threatening enough.

Thus, people were caught by surprised when Ondoy brought torrents of rainfall that broke records, flooding entire cities that spared no one. Rich and poor alike share similar fate. While Uring left thousands killed and wiped out entire families, Ondoy devastated properties that left hundreds of thousands homeless and nowhere to go. Its flood didn't subside until days later, and hundreds could not be rescued because the waters had not subsided. Uring's flood lasted only for 30 minutes, leaving sprawled bodies in their agonies of death.

But Uring's flood was not caused by heavy rainfall. In fact, there was only a slight drizzle in the city. The heavy rain fell in the upstream sections of the two river systems, Anilao and Malbasag rivers, cascading down to the city in a rampage that caught those living along the riverbanks swimming for dear life. In Ondoy's case, the heavy rains fell on the helpless population and on cities built near the riverbanks of Marikina, Cainta and Pasig, flooding even middle class subdivisions once thought to be immune to floods.

The cities' drainage systems simply could not cope with so much rain water. This was made worse by the clogging of water ways and esteros caused by human settlements Add in the climate change factor, a phenomenon recognized only recently, and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. The media called the event a "deluge", comparable to the Biblical Noah's great flood. It is a shocking wake-up call to the realities of climate change especially to those who treated issue as an academic one. All along, a lot of people thought that the issue was still debatable and that its impact would not reach our shores until decades later.

But Ondoy is probably just a precursor of things to come. To me the Metropolitan Manila is a disaster waiting to happen. It is simply too congested, and its infrastructures are bound to give way under extreme conditions. Millions work and live in areas unfit for human habitation - near riverbanks, under bridges, in squatter colonies in makeshift hovels, over esteros - clogging waterways with tons of wastes and plastics, so that drainage systems malfunction and flooding occurs even during slight rainfalls. All of these because factories, offices and schools are all in the big cities, attracting hordes of migrants from the country's rural areas.

I used to live in the big city for 11 years in the '70s, and even then, I thought Manila needed to decongest itself of its factories and schools. Now more than 30 years later, the congestion continues as Metropolitan Manila continues to attract job hunters and fortune seekers. I have not heard of any government policy encouraging manufacturing firms and offices to relocate themselves to the poorer, less developed but labor-rich provinces.

Maybe Ondoy is that alarm call telling our government policy makers to heed the call of nature. In the light of the climate change phenomenon, maybe government should rethink its policies. Maybe, just maybe, it's time for an exodus from the big city.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

78 dead in devastated Marikina | 09/28/2009 12:47 PM

MANILA - Mang Emilio could not stop crying as he surveyed what remained of his home in Provident Village in Marikina City.

"Walang natira sa lahat ng aking pinaghirapan (Everything I've worked for is gone)," he told ABS-CBN's Sol Aragones. He said he barely had time to escape to the roof of his home when the flood hit the village on Saturday.

He said, however, that he is thankful that he was able to bring his two in-laws to the roof before they got carried away by the flood.

Another Marikina resident, Bartolome Robias, also could not stop crying as he searched for his mother in an evacuation center and among the corpses that had been retrieved from Provident.

Robias said he last saw his mother, Leticia, when she went to Provident last Friday to iron clothes for some of the residents. Fearing that she was affected by the flood that devastated the area, Robias went to the village early Monday to see if she had been rescued.

Hours later, he finally received a call from his brother who said that Leticia had finally come home to their house in Antipolo.

Two days after tropical storm Ondoy brought the worst floods in Metro Manila, life has yet to return to normal for many residents of Marikina City. In a little over six hours, hundreds of lives were changed as the floods swept away houses, vehicles and people in the city.

One of the worst hit areas in the city was Provident Villages where most of the residents climbed on rooftops to escape the deluge. Unofficial figures received by ABS-CBN News said as many 58 people were killed in Provident and a total of 78 dead in the whole of Marikina.

Scores of overturned vehicles on mud-streaked streets paint a picture of the devastation wrought by the flood. Power lines in the area are still streaked with debris, which showed how high the flood reached on Saturday morning.

On Monday, Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando appealed for more food, water and blankets for residents staying in evacuation centers. She also appealed for more volunteers to help in the task of clearing the roads of debris and retrieving bodies in various parts of the city.

Some residents of Provident Villages have returned to their homes to clean up and guard their houses from looters. Others also lined up at a local market to buy food and get their first meal after two days.

One rescuer, Manuel, however said it will be a long time before everything returns to normal in Marikina.

"We found one corpse, a man. His hand was still clutching to a tree but his whole body was submerged in mud," he said.

He added: "We weren't hit by the flood so we came here to help. This is something that will affect us for a long time to come." With a report from Sol Aragones, ABS-CBN News

as of 09/28/2009 1:45 PM

Monday, September 21, 2009



That the members of the Textile Clothing Footwear Resource Centre of Western Australia Inc. of 7 Fairbrother St, Belmont WA 6104 Australia, represented by Carol Hanlon, Manager, as an act of generosity, hereby donate the herein identified items/materials to the TCF Ormoc Community Sewing Project, through the Metro Ormoc Community Cooperative (OCCCI) in OCCCI Central Office, Arradaza St., Ormoc City, Philippines to be used solely for charitable purposes.

The donation shall consist of the following:


Cartons of Sewing items and family use items


Sewing Machines


Over lockers


Assorted part rolls of fabric




Ironing Board





Full detailed manifest are attached

We further certify that this is a free gift and that there is to be no

payment or exchange of monetary value for the shipment or distribution of

said merchandise.

Done on this 18th day of September 2009, in Belmont , WA, Australia


Carol Hanlon


Textile Clothing Footwear Resource Centre of WA Inc

Friday, September 11, 2009

Going global from

Chinese exhibitors at the recent Hong Kong Fashion Week were so keen on securing new clients, many were openly advertising they had no minimums, TCFWA manager Carol Hanlon says. She tells Ragtrader about global trends in sourcing and buying for new and emerging designers.While there is no doubt the global economic downturn has hurt the traditional TCF manufacturing giants like China and Hong Kong, there is also no doubt that they are rising to the challenge. In the recent past, many small clothing labels had a great deal of difficulty in finding offshore manufacturers prepared to do small runs in reasonable time – or small runs at all, for that matter. Now, however, even China has to present itself as more nimble, more flexible and more creative when it comes to servicing existing clients and finding new ones.

Carol Hanlon, head of the TCF Australia small business network, has recently returned from several overseas buying missions and noticed some definite trends. At Hong Kong Fashion Week in early July, Hanlon says she spotted numerous Chinese manufacturers exhibiting signs announcing “no minimums”, and it was obvious that people were very keen on meeting new contacts and clients. In India, where she took a delegation to the India International Garment Fair (IIGF) in New Delhi later in July, Australia was a prime target for government support, particularly with the Commonwealth Games being hosted in India next year. “The Indian Government targeted 23 countries to invite buyers to the [fair], with Australia being a key target,” Hanlon says. She took 10 labels with her to India, including Alison Cotton’s Joveeba, Sylma Cabrera’s Pure Soul, Battaglia, Colourspirit and Quotau.

Like many other governments eager to assist their local industries by encouraging international trade, first-time buyers were provided with free air fare and accommodation support.

In Hong Kong, where the Hong Kong Trade Development Council offers free accommodation to all first-time buyers, Hanlon accompanied 15 small and emerging Australian companies, including Assodani International, Morgan Marks, Henryetta and Carmels Designs. There, she noticed a definite trend. “Obviously it goes without saying that the downturn in the US, UK and European markets has had a huge impact on all manufacturing ex China,” she says. “But ragtraders are adaptable and can restructure, and I believe there will be an increase in fast fashion – working closer to the season in regards to stock levels required.”

There are still major problems facing small labels trying to source materials and manufacture offshore, including minimum order quantities, logistics and reliability of supply, as well as quality and timeliness. “It is also the continual sourcing of the right supplier to suit your needs, which can change from season to season depending on your ranges and direction,” she says. In terms of fashion trends, the most obvious was the continual move towards eco-friendly and organic fabrics. “Fashion trends still lean towards oriental, traditional finishes and themes,” she says. “Throughout the world, people wish to connect with the real source of manufacture and fair trade.” This is a theme Hanlon herself has been working on for many years. As well as establishing TCFWA a decade ago and more recently TCF Australia,

Hanlon has been working hard on TCF Global, which she defines as a non-profit community-based project, designed to provide an online platform to assist new and emerging Australian designers to link with global TCF industry organisations. She has set up networks in Sri Lanka, Bali, Hong Kong, India and Papua New Guinea, but perhaps the most impressive is TCF Ormoc in the Philippines. There, she has assisted 21 community sewing centres by donating sewing machines, textiles and equipment, allowing 130 men and women to set up their own small sewing businesses.

The network is also assisting a fibre project in PNG, a wool hand-weaving village project in Sri Lanka and the Seeds of Hope women’s sewing project in Afghanistan. It has also helped to buy sewing machines for women in Peru and is looking into projects in Mauritius and Tanzania. A local Perth firm is importing hand-woven plaid check fabrics and kilts from Sri Lanka for the school uniform market, and the supplier can also organise hand-woven wools in small runs for Australian designers.

TCF Global also works with a wide network of small businesses in Bali, many of which are run by Australian ex-pats, to set up village support projects aimed at young people While these are noble projects, they are not yet commercial enterprises, Hanlon says. “Village projects are about micro-enterprise empowerment at a local level, and they need to grow and develop with local ownership at their speed. These projects are not to be confused with commercial manufacturing facilities. These areas lack resources and training, and that is what the projects I assist are trying to create or build on. “Then we will try and assist the projects to develop towards commercial manufacture as time goes on.” ■

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New CLC opened

United Village Homeowners' Association Inc. (UVHAI) has its own Community Livelihood Center through the efforts of its outgoing President and CLC Coordinator Mrs. Gregoria Soria.

This CLC has 3 members and will be called UVHAI CLC.