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Day of solidarity held for Yolanda victims as groups press gov’t for swift action

Posted on 13 November 2013 by admin

News Release

November 13, 2013

Different groups today held assemblies and gatherings in schools, work places and public areas to raise resources for the victims of typhoon Yolanda, even as they pressed the Aquino government to increase its efforts to provide relief and rehabilitation for the millions affected by the storm.

Umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan has undertaken its Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA) and is working with its member organizations here and abroad as well as with progressive partylist groups under the Makabayan Coalition. Its members based in Luzon and Mindanao are now undertaking relief operations for the affected provinces in the Visayas. Filipino communities abroad are also being mobilized to raise funds for the typhoon victims.

“The devastation from the storm appears to be far greater than what the national government is officially reporting. Looting is being highlighted while acute shortage of supplies, widespread hunger and the government’s failure to deliver relief goods to the victims are being downplayed. The claim of the national government during Aquino’s November 7 televised speech that relief goods are already prepositioned and that air and naval assets are on standby now appears untrue” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The people of Eastern Visayas are victims three times over now. First from poverty and underdevelopment brought about by unequal socio-economic relations. Second, from the systematic looting of public funds by politicians, as shown in the pork barrel scam. And third, from the devastating effects of Yolanda aggravated by slow and grossly inadequate government response,” Reyes said.

Bayan also pointed out that in his November 7 speech, Aquino seemed to be already laying the blame for whatever tragedy that may happen on the people themselves.

“Marami na po tayong pinagdaanan sa taong ito; tulungan na po sana natin at huwag nang pahirapan ang ating mga Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils at kanilang mga personnel,” Aquino said in his televised speech. Aquino also noted a day after the typhoon that Tacloban did not seem prepared for the storm surge brought by Yolanda.

However, a report from CNN quoited local officials who complained that the warning from the national government was not enough and that the concept of a storm surge was not immediately understood by the local authorities.

Bayan reiterated its call for the suspension of foreign debt payments and for the

rechanneling of all known pork barrel funds towards relief and rehabilitation of typhoon affected areas. The group also wants the realigned and rebranded PDAF in the 2014 budget to be taken out of the hands of the politicians and the General Appropriations Act. ###

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