PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino 3rd’s attack against critics of the criminally slow, laggard, incompetent and inadequate administration effort to aid Yolanda/Haiyan victims and rehabilitate their communities earned him bitter retorts.
The statement of the Hustisya (Victims United for Justice) civil society organization of Samar and Leyte Filipinos began with the Waray Bisayan shout: “ Noynoy Aquino, waray puros! (“Noynoy Aquino Walang silbi! and “Noynoy Aquino Inutile!”)
The President on Friday lashed at those who continue to criticize his administration’s criminal negligence and laggard work to rebuild the hardest-hit areas in Leyte and Samar. His attack against critics were published in all the major newspapers and broadcast by radio and TV networks.
He gave the speech in Guiuan. Samar, where he went instead of attending the commemoration ceremonies in Leyte’s Tacloban City.
The People Surge Alliance for Yolanda Survivors, another Waray folk organization, gathered some 20,000 people to protest PNoy’s attack on critics of his administration’s criminal negligence and criminally inadequate and overly delayed efforts to ease the sufferings of the victims.
People Surge said, “A criminal in denial is the worst criminal of all. The government’s criminal negligence led to thousands of deaths and massive persisting damages in the aftermath of the disaster.”
“It is clear that PNoy only listens to voices in his head, and not to us Yolanda survivors who are supposedly his bosses. We have felt a year’s worth of the government’s vicious abandonment, corruption, deceit, and repression, and have seen a year’s worth of news and studies that confirm this situation,” said Dr. Efleda Bautista, chairperson of People Surge.
“Your tantrums over legitimate criticism, your claim that you have done everything you can for Yolanda survivors when your government’s total aid output is easily outstripped by a single NGO, and your unnatural fixation at our P40,000 comprehensive cash assistance demand when we have laid down our comprehensive calls for immediate and far-reaching aid solutions, reveal too much about your sheer incompetence, hubris, and complete disconnect to the situation here in Yolanda Ground Zero. You really deserve to be ousted,” Bautista asserted.
The victims vented this angry response during the second day of the People Surge’s ‘Global Surge’ protests over Aquino’s unconscionable neglect of disaster-affected communities.
The protesters grew to a mammoth crowd of 20,000 people, composed of different survivor and grassroots mutual aid groups under the Daluyong National Network of Survivors.
The survivor’s protest actions include a nationally-coordinated “survivor walk” by cultural workers across the Philippines wearing mud to symbolically represent disaster victims, and the burning of a 9-foot effigy of PNoy depicted as a vulturous monster atop a tank. This, according to People Surge, depicts state abandonment of victims and militarization of disaster-affected communities.
“We are facing so many injustices—anti-poor and pro-big business rehabilitation projects, corruption of disaster funds, militarization of dissenting survivor communities, and worsening environmental destruction and climate change. The biggest stumbling block and worst destabilizer in the post-Yolanda situation is the President himself and his cohorts. The first step to take in holding the disaster President Aquino to account is to remove him from his seat of power and submit him to mechanisms for accountability,” Bautista demanded.
People Surge and other survivors groups and people’s mutual aid movements, under the newly-formed Daluyong National Network of Disaster Survivors, are calling for the ouster of President Noynoy Aquino for his continuing disastrous criminal negligence a full year after Yolanda.
Excerpts from Hustisya statement
We demand justice, as we stand firm that the Aquino government is guilty of criminal neglect. Pres. Noynoy Aquino bragged that the government is prepared for the coming disaster, but later justified its ineptness amid the overwhelming destruction from the supertyphoon. The Aquino government declared a “state of national calamity” four days after, only when the people had become too desperate for food, water and shelter. More lives were lost and put in danger in subsequent days, while government agencies were ready making different excuses why help did not reach the people on time.
We hold the Aquino government accountable for the massive loss of lives and the absence of much-needed relief and rehabilitation. The people looked for ways to survive while enduring the pain and sudden loss. Various cause-oriented individuals and groups, both locally and internationally have set foot in the areas affected, way earlier than the government, way much earlier than Pres. Aquino himself. The national government, that should have the means, the resources and machinery for disaster response, was quick to pass the blame.