PHILIPPINES: Yolanda survivors slam Dinky, beautification for Pope

Sunday 12 October 2014

Date: 12 October 2014

Type: News

Source: ABS-CBN

Keywords: Haiyan survivors

MANILA — A group of Yolanda survivors called anew on Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman to resign amid the alleged anomalies in the relief efforts.

“We share the people’s anger over the so-called ‘emergency shelter assistance,’ the unaccounted ₱700 million donated for the survivors, and the rotting of ₱40 million worth of relief goods,” said Dr. Efleda Bautista, People Surge spokesperson.

“The responsibility for this never-ending dismal scenario of the Aquino government’s criminal neglect of the Yolanda survivors falls on Social Welfare Sec. Dinky Soliman.”

Amid all these, the government is busy doing a “beautification frenzy” in preparation for the arrival of Pope Francis, the group noted.

The group fears that 7,000 urban families in Tacloban may be displaced because of road widening projects, as well as the expansion of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport.

“The Aquino government is already under fire for its criminal neglect of the Yolanda survivors. Now these more than 7,000 families are set to lose their homes again, this time due to the man-made calamity known as the Aquino government. This is on top of tens of thousands of other urban poor families who survived Yolanda are also slated to be dislocated in Tacloban and other calamity-stricken areas because of the ‘no-build zone’ and ‘no-dwelling zone’ policies of the Aquino government to make way for big business interests,” said Marissa Cabaljao, another spokesperson of People Surge.

The group accysed President Benigno Aquino III of acting like former first lady Imelda Marcos, who tried to eliminate the supposed “eyesores” during the visit of Pope John Paul II.

The group said it will seek an audience with Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giusseppe Pinto over the matter.

“We will send a message to the Papal Nuncio and seek an audience to express our sadness at the lack of social justice for the Filipino poor shown by the Aquino government,” the group said.

Meanwhile, the local government of Palo also said it would transfer Yolanda survivors to a permanent housing site ahead of Pope Francis’ visit.

“I had a meeting with Palo LGU officials, and they informed me that the deadline for the relocation of Yolanda survivors is due in November,” Fr. Rex Ramirez of the Archdiocese of Palo told CBCP News.

Soliman said the relocation is part of an established government plan for those still living in tents.

Manila Auxillary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo said he is not against the relocation, but slammed the underlying message behind it.

Radio Veritas quoted Pabillo as saying: “Of course, Yolanda survivors are not supposed to live in bunkhouses forever. They must have something they can permanently call their own. If their leaders’ motive in resettling them somewhere else is to give them all these things, so much the better. But if it is to their own self-interests, it will be wrong for politicians to hide survivors just so the Pope can’t see them still making do with bunkhouses a year after Yolanda.”###

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