VARIOUS militant groups, including thousands of victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, have staged protest actions in at least five areas to mark the first anniversary (November 8) of the disaster.
In a statement, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Friday said the protests began on Friday and will end on Saturday in Tacloban City (Leyte), northern Iloilo, Aklan, Roxas City (Capiz) and Metro Manila.
“Bayan salutes the courageous and just struggle of the survivors of Yolanda/Haiyan as they stage mass protest actions to mark the first anniversary of the storm . . . The Aquino regime is scared of the rising wave of protests against government’s criminal neglect of the storm victims,” Renato Reyes Jr., Bayan secretary general, said.
Haiyan is Yolanda’s international codename.
The group earlier criticized President Benigno Aquino 3rd for dropping his plans to visit Tacloban City where at least 2,000 people perished in the aftermath of the typhoon.
Aquino, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd and other government officials instead visited the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar, where Yolanda first made landfall.
Roxas, in a statement, also on Friday said Guiuan managed to plan ahead of the disaster and the local government unit there reacted timely, leading to a death toll of only around a hundred.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. welcomed the mounting protests as he gave the assurance that Malacañang will continue to work with all stakeholders in rebuilding the lives of the victims.
”Government is determined to ‘build back better’ and more resilient communities in all Yolanda-affected areas. Now that the CRRP [Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan] has been completed, government is prepared to work with civil society and all the stakeholders in enabling those who were affected rebuild their lives,” he said in a text message.
But Bayan and the group People Surge, which boasts of about 20,000 members, said Aquino skipped Tacloban City to evade the people’s outrage. The city was among the worst-hit by the typhoon despite the presence of top national government officials there on the day the disaster struck last year.
“The regime has come up with all sorts of excuses for Aquino not going to Tacloban on November 8, including the upcoming APEC [Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation] meet. In truth, the President does not want to face the people’s outrage. Let the world know that one year after Haiyan, the survivors are fighting for their rights, welfare and dignity against a corrupt and hopelessly inept government,” Reyes said.