boycotts forum on Aquino 'Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda'
By People Surge
March 20, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY – The
People Surge alliance of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors boycott
the “Yolanda Transparency Forum” in Tacloban City today, March 20, by
the Aquino government and The Asia Foundation. “We have already
studied the subject of the forum – the Aquino government's
Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) – and we reject it as
anti-people, pro-big business, debt-driven and prone to corruption,”
said Sr. Editha Eslopor, People Surge spokesperson.
“We caution fellow survivors
and friends that we should not legitimize a flawed reconstruction plan
and we should guard against those who will attempt to use us to do so.
If the Aquino government cannot even do the basics of providing relief
operations and other short-term needs of the survivors, how much more
for the long-term recovery?”
Eslopor said the forum will
be “useless chatter” because the contents of the Aquino government's
RAY were clearly against the interests of the people. “For example,
the RAY proposes about P18 billion for the recovery of agriculture in
all regions affected by Yolanda, when the agricultural damage in
Eastern Visayas alone was P65 billion. How would the majority of the
people, who depend on agriculture, be able to recover with the scant
attention paid to their main means of livelihood?
“The Aquino government also
diminishes its efforts and gives undue importance to the private
sector involved in the post-Yolanda reconstruction. But it is the
national government's responsibility to lead the reconstruction, and
in the final analysis, many private companies involved are not in
there for humanitarian reasons but for profit. While the government
abandons its responsibility, it is thus also giving opportunity for
massive corruption to arise among the high officials and the big
business friends of the government.”
Eslopor said her group would
rather rely on the movement of the people to demand accountability
rather than on any pretenses at transparency by the Aquino government.
“The accusations of corruption and the complaints by the people who
are not receiving aid continue to hound the Aquino government despite
its attempts to feign transparency. There is thus no better way for
the people except to unite and mobilize to assert their basic
interests for food, cash assistance, livelihood and social services.
The people must continue to struggle as well for the long-term
recovery that genuinely serves their interests in the face of the
betrayal by the Aquino government.”