TACLOBAN CITY-Radio broadcaster Leo Ladan, 44, has no other words except to say thank you to Misereor, German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development Cooperation, and the World Vision International for funding “Radyo Abante,” a humanitarian radio heard in the airwaves two months after Eastern Visayas was hit by Yolanda. Ladan said that he almost lost hope to return to radio work after Yolanda completely knocked down their radio station DyDw(Radyo Diwa), a Catholic-run station in the city, on November 8,2013. “In my mind, if there is no radio would mean no work for me and I will have no other place to go,” Ladan, who has been working in the radio for over a decade, said. “Working back on the radio gives me more confidence that I can rebuild our home and bring my family back on their feet,” he added. At present, Radyo Abante has eight reporters, all victims of Yolanda whose original media outlets ceased to operate after being damaged or destroyed by Yolanda. Ledrolen Manriquez, national coordinator for the Peace and Conflict Journalism Network (Pecojon), who initiated in looking for funds and donors for establishing “Radyo Abante” as a humanitarian media project “aims to provide two way communication between humanitarian agencies and the communities and to provide temporary livelihood to journalists affected by Yolanda.” “On the question of sustainability, since it is an emergency radio project, we are only meant to operate on a short-term basis. At the moment, we have plans to operate for six more months,” Manriquez said in an interview online. She said that the funding they got for the radio was P2 million, P1.2 million of it was for the equipment. It first went into the air last January 13, 2014. “But we’re tight in budget. For rent and utilities alone, it would reached P40,000 a month,” Manriquez said. The station does not accept any advertisers like an ordinary media outlet. Fred Padernos, the station manager, described Pecojon as their “angel”, saying they “not only regain our livelihood but also our hope amid the crises we are facing in.” “They saw the information gap and they found ways to solve it by tapping local media to operate a radio station,” Padernos said, adding that the Cebu-based group also extended financial assistance to several media workers in Tacloban affected by Yolanda. Incidentally, it was Padernos who coined the name of their radio station saying that Tacloban, after being devastated by Yolanda, has no other way but to move forward (abante). Padernos said that the concept of the program is to bridge the gap on the exchange of concerns and messages between various humanitarian agencies, local and national government and the general public affected by the storm. Listeners of the program have also the chance to “relax and be destressed” through a karaoke show on the radio. (RONALD O.REYES)