People Surge

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines-Survivors of Typhoon Yolanda led by People Surge alliance will launch simultaneous activities in a “people’s Calvary” both in Tacloban City and Metro Manila on April 8 to express their protests over the Aquino government’s abandonment of the calamity victims.

“We may have survived the storm, but the Aquino government made victims of us all over again by ignoring our plight and pushing an anti-people reconstruction program,” said Sr. Edita Eslopor, People Surge spokesperson.

“The leading officials of the government led by President Aquino himself, whom we dub collectively as the “Gang of Five,” who were all supposed to alleviate the people’s sufferings instead displayed corruption, incompetence and indifference.”

Sr. Eslopor said the “Gang of Five” – President Aquino, Social Welfare Sec. Corazon Soliman, Interior Sec. Manuel Roxas, Energy Sec. Jericho Petilla, Reconstruction Sec. Panfilo Lacson – were all in charge of the post-Yolanda relief and rehabilitation efforts but had shown nothing but collective cruelty and stupidity.

“The public is well-aware of the hunger, homelessness and general struggle to recover of the Yolanda survivors. But the Aquino government bungled the relief efforts to the extent of being too little, too late, and too rotten to make a difference. Other help such as the restoration of utilities, jobs and shelter have been bungled, short-lived and could not help the people tide over. The most glaring cruelty of the government is forcibly evicting hundreds of thousands of Yolanda survivors through the No-Build Zone policy. It is also inaugurating the Reconstruction Assistance for Yolanda, which is corruption-prone, biased for spending on infrastructure rebuilding while ignoring the people’s economic recovery, displaces thousands of urban and rural poor through “no-build zones,” and favors big business and foreign interests.”

The People Surge spokesperson said the “people’s Calvary” is the kind of protest that will strike a chord with the public this Holy Week in this predominantly Roman Catholic country.

“Every Catholic Filipino knows the story of Christ’s Calvary, of how foreign and local tyrants made him suffer, and mocked him before the people. This was what the Yolanda survivors also underwent, even when they to the seat of power to demand what was long overdue from the Aquino government: food, livelihood, shelter, emergency cash. But the Aquino government snubbed them, arrogantly maligned their democratic actions as communist troublemaking, tried to divide their ranks. Is this the kind of government we want in a time of distress and whom we expect to bring us progress?

“Thus on April 8 we request the public’s solidarity – let us show our collective strength through united struggle, join the protests in the streets, wear black ribbons, attend the protest mass in Quiapo, put protest slogans in out vehicles, and other expressions of support for the Yolanda survivors.”