MANILA,Philippines–Victims and supporters of typhoon “Yolanda” in Tacloban city have demand “immediate and prompt action” on their petition demanding P 40,000 monetary relief from Pres. Benigno Aquino III.
“We clamor for our right to food, housing, livelihood and adequate social services. The government should listen, take action and end its apparent effort to confuse and calculatedly misconstrue our petition in order for the government to put forward its shameless, if not, heartless maneuver to shortchange us,” said Patrick Escalona, typhoon survivor and community leader of Alliance of Typhoon Yolanda Victims in Tacloban (ABBAT).
ABBAT is a member of People Surge – Alliance for Yolanda (Haiyan) Victims.
In an emailed statement to Manila Channel, Escalona stressed that “any form of deception, in words and in deed, that the Aquino administration uses only worsens our condition and fuels the growing discontentment among us typhoon victims.”
“The Aquino government should not ignore our urgent call and our grief, much less belittle our anger.”
Escalona’s statement also came in response to reports that Malacanang Palace is reconsidering the petitioners’ demand for cash relief, and that instead they will be given “reconstruction support.”
“The petition we have initiated has already gained support from fellow victims and supporters. The initial 10,000 petitioners do not only represent Tacloban City but also victims in other municipalities in Eastern Visayas.”
“ To put it forward, the P40,000 immediate financial assistance falls within the context of relief and not in any way a substitute for reconstruction. Even so, the said amount is only crumbs compared to our urgent need for food, housing, livelihood, adequate education and health services,” added Escalona.
Also Escalona has maintained that “government’s relief distribution has been insufficient ever since.”
“ Our status as victims worsens because of the Aquino government’s dilly-dallying in addressing our welfare and because of his incompetence in delivering prompt and adequate relief and services for more than two months now. The government had been so slow, inefficient, incompetent and negligent to respond promptly to our needs.”
According to Escalona, the demand for a P40,000 immediate financial relief seeks to cover every affected family of supertyphoon Yolanda not only in Tacloban City or Eastern Visayas but also in other regions.
“This amount is equivalent to two months of decent living for a family of six in the Eastern Visayas Region prior to the typhoon but with soaring prices that this government cannot control, this amount can provide for one month of relief only.”
“We are suffering day by day. Our fellow victims are either homeless, jobless, hungry or sick. Our children cannot go to school yet. No amount of money can certainly compensate for the lives of our friends and loved ones whom we have lost.”
The devastation wrought by super typhoon Yolanda was terrible yet we do not forget this government’s negligence in ensuring our welfare, Escalona added.
Meanwhile, as the government’s response to typhoon survivors in Leyte is apparently slow, many of the victims rely on the assistance coming from international groups.
Aljim Denver Arcueno, a working student in Tacloban, said he has been longing for any help from the government after the November 8, 2013 typhoon.
As this is yet to happen, Arcueno and his family have also looked into different foreign organizations in Tacloban who are conducting relief operations.
One of the noted groups now making a big contribution in terms of relief works in Tacloban is the Taiwan-based Tzu Chi Foundation.
The group is extending a cash-for-work program and other financial relief assistance ranging from P8,000 to P15,000 per household, depending on the number of family members, and whom the beneficiaries are very thankful.