Liceo del Verbo Divino, Tacloban City—People Surge, the biggest alliance of disaster survivors in the Philippines, is hosting the region-wide Disaster Survivors’ Conference that aims to shed light on the real state of disaster survivors two years since Yolanda.
“No less than the Yolanda survivors themselves can describe our real state two years since our most horrible nightmare. Definitely not DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, not Liberal Party Presidential bet Mar Roxas, and certainly not our ‘disaster president’ Benigno Aquino,” Marissa Cabaljao, People Surge Secretary-General said.
The conference gathers disaster survivors from different sectors in the region, including farmers, urban poor, workers and students.
“The Aquino administration said two years is not enough to recover from Yolanda. This, for us, is a concession of their failure to deliver what ought to be delivered to the Yolanda survivors,” she said.
“But this, certainly, is not a genuine concession but an act of stubbornness on Aquino’s part. Aquino is conscious of the demands of Yolanda survivors but he chose not to act on them. He is conscious of how slow the rehabilitation program is going but does nothing to expedite the process,” she added.
Cabaljao noted that much could have been done in the span of two years if only Aquino has sufficient political will to do so.
“It took one year for Aquino to release the rehabilitation master plan. Instead of helping the survivors, he focused on politicking disaster aid and prioritized how he could save face from the disaster survivors’ legitimate dissent.”
Cabaljao noted that Aquino could have fast-tracked the rehabilitation process by disbursing the Php923 million disaster funds which remain idle in banks. “But Aquino seems to be reserving this money for only God knows what,” she said.
“The disaster survivors’ testimonies are real. We speak from our concrete experiences on the grassroots and not from the ivory tower of Malacanang,” Cabaljao ended.
People Surge Alliance for Disaster Survivors in the Philippines