Storm victims during their  protest rally in Tacloban city. Photo courtesy of Tudla Productions
Storm victims during their protest rally in Tacloban city. Photo courtesy of Tudla Productions

 

With the situation getting worst for the people of Eastern Visayas, Super Typhoon Yolanda victims and their supporters are stepping up their indignation against deprivation and hunger in the Metro Manila streets.

Sister Edita Eslopor, chairperson of People Surge, an alliance for Yolanda victims, survivors and their supporters insisted that President Aquino is criminally liable for his slow and insensitive action on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of typhoon-stricken areas.

“We abhor the heartlessly callous government of Pnoy who, instead of prioritizing and consulting the victims of Typhoon Yolanda on what they actually need, has appointed a blood-stained military man to take charge of its coldhearted efforts of reconstruction that focuses on graft-ridden infrastructure for its business allies instead of social support to the farmer and urban poor who have no opportunity to get back on its feet immediately.”

“We also strongly denounce the no- build zone policy declared by the national and local government units as this only reinforces the land-grabbing of the business elites and landlords against the people who has been injured by this social set-up built centuries ago.”

She further said that Yolanda victims have all the just reasons to criticize the Aquino government. Despite the billions of pesos in donations and after three months after Yolanda struck, calamity victims are still suffering, they have no food to eat, no shelter under their heads and no livelihood to help them survive. This government has apparently forgotten and forsaken them.”

“Adding twist to his unremorseful insensitivity, his Government claims that it has done the best to satisfy the public of its inaction during after Storm Yolanda hit the region, he has further bragged that everything in Eastern Visayas is now normal and back to business as usual mode in spite of its own data that shows 100 percent of the agriculture in the region in which 80 percent of its population are dependent on has been damaged”, said Sister Edita Eslopor.

“Certainly, one of the poorest regions in the country with almost all agricultural sources practically burnt down by Yolanda, a social volcano is in the offing after Aquino government did not expeditiously dispense real rehabilitation here in Eastern Visayas. Adding insult to injury, this government has turned rehabilitation into a racket with substandard and overpriced infrastructures like bunk houses and tents. This is the true picture of ‘daang matuwid’, she said.

Based on a study conducted by the People Surge, more than 2 million farmers and fisher folks in Eastern Visayas alone were affected. The total damage of  more than P64 billion in agriculture consists of coconut production losses valued at P41.958 billion, P6.428 billion damage on the fishing industry, P5.695 billion damage on banana plantation, P 3.462 B damage on palay (unhusked rice), and P6.5 billion damages on livestock and root crops, abaca, corn and vegetables. Eighty percent of the population in the Eastern Visayas region rely on agriculture. Yet, the government intends to infuse capital on the rehabilitation of infrastructure.

“They should not be fooling the people. The pledges from foreign donors have amounted to billions of pesos. This government is heartless in its claims that there is no more fund for Yolanda victims and its avarice and corruption is daily killing its own people in Eastern Visayas. That’s why in the coming days, we will surge in Metro Manila streets, she concluded.”

Three weeks ago under the banner of People Surge, 12,000 strong ‘Yolanda’ survivors thronged to the regional capital of Tacloban in a protest directed against the Aquino administration.(PR)