MANILA, Philippines-Survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in People Surge alliance are marching from Quiapo to Mendiola Bridge to hold the Aquino government to account for what they dubbed as “criminal neglect.”
“The Senakulo protest today coincides with the fifth month after Typhoon Yolanda struck, dramatizing how the survivors are still suffering and face uncertainties,” said Sr. Edita Eslopor, People Surge spokesperson.
“Their entire ordeal can be summed up as the result of poor government response. This can be seen in how Aquino and other key officials collectively dubbed as the “Gang of Five” showed insensitivity, corruption, incompetence and ultimately sheer criminal neglect before and after the storm.”
Eslopor said the survivors will reenact Christ’s suffering as an expression of their own.
“The Calvary of the Yolanda survivors is the Calvary of the Filipino people. The storm survivors have been pushed to the brink that they are beginning to wonder whether there is a government at all, or whether the government is doing its best to go against the interests of the people. For five months, the survivors have sought to make ends meet while demanding emergency cash, livelihood, housing and basic social services. All these basics have not been met.
“Instead, the Aquino government has flogged the survivors with its Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda. This is merely giving opportunities to private business through the so-called Public-Private Partnership, where the Aquino government abandons its responsibilities in favor of its big business cronies. The survivors have also been denied the rebuilding of their coastal communities through the policy of “no-build zones.” Water and electricity have been cut off in these communities to make sure the inhumane conditions will drive the people away. Despite their dire conditions, the relief operations have been lacking if not rotten already.”
The People Surge spokesperson said the protest Senakulo will depict a Yolanda survivor bearing a giant yellow cross being scourged with masks representing the “Gang of Five.”
“What we call the “Gang of Five” is our term for President Aquino and his key officials in the post-Yolanda relief and reconstruction – Interior Sec. Manuel Roxas, Social Welfare Sec. Corazon Soliman, Reconstruction Sec. Panfilo Lacson and Energy Sec. Jericho Petilla. The meanness and mediocrity of the present government has been made apparent by these top officials.
“The struggle of the Yolanda survivors will not end this month, but will continue in the coming months to the first year of the calamity and beyond. We vow to hold the Aquino government accountable for its tyranny so well represented by Jesus Christ’s agony and death on the cross,” said Sr. Eslopor.