In the face of government neglect, Yolanda survivors clamor for continuing aid

Mar. 04, 2014

Press Statement

March 3, 2014

In the face of government neglect, Yolanda survivors clamor for continuing aid

In five days, this March 8, the Yolanda survivors will be marking the fourth month of the disaster. And genuine help from the government remains bleak. The recent news show the real state of the survivors. In one the most badly-hit areas, the municipality of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, all the survivors could do is pin their hopes on the micro-lending facilities promised by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

But why would the government need to lend money to the survivors? Why make profit out of the dire conditions of the survivors? Why won’t the governmentt simply give survivors financial capital to start their lives anew, such as in theimmediate cash assistance for the survivors that People Surge is demanding?

In Eastern Samar where 59% of the population is poor, there is too little possibility that the survivors would be able to pay the interest rates and even the capital of the credit that would be loaned to them. What is more alarming are the consequences the survivors will have to pay in case they would not be able to pay back their debts.

The President’s recent visit to the calamity-stricken areas should have shown him the depth and gravity the disaster had wrought upon the citizens, and how these conditions continue to worsen with each day that the government is not implementing genuine help for the survivors. Had he truly looked closely at the survivors, he would have realized the justness of the demands of People Surge for the distribution of the ₱40,000 immediate cash relief for every affected family, and the need for continuing relief operations.

It is of great help to the survivors that there are members of the Lower House who feel the need to support the campaign of the survivors for the said demands. The survivors hope there will be more lawmakers who will support their cause and pass the necessary bills and resolutions to directly hand over to the survivors the funds that were raised in their names. It is the survivors who know what they truly need and they have every right to claim what is theirs. And what they have long needed is sufficient government aid to get back to their feet.

The continuing help from international agencies are most welcome to the survivors. But their presence is not a valid reason for the government to be largely absent. The survivors persist in their clamor for the accountability of the Aquino government to identify and address the most immediate needs of the surivors, and strongly condemn its continuous negligence and lack of sincerity in alleviating the lives of the survivors. The President should know that the survivors will persevere in their clamor until true justice and genuine help from the government will materialize.

Reference: Dr. Efleda K. Bautista, convenor, People Surge

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