The alliance of Yolanda survivors in Eastern Visayas said presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery Panfilo Lacson was a demolition czar and not a reconstruction czar.
Sr. Edita Eslopor, spokesperson of the People Surge, an alliance of Yolanda survivors in Tacloban, said Lacson has not rehabilitated Yolanda-ravaged areas, but “would be just restoring urban misery surrounded by the sea of countryside poverty.”
Eslopor said “Sec. Lacson makes that much, much worse by doing the coup de grace after the storm by banning the poor from returning to coastal communities, while saddling the peasants with heavier debts through micro-financing. Thus, we are compelled to say Sec. Lacson is a czar of demolition and not reconstruction.”
She further lambasted the implementation of the Reconstruction Assistance for Yolanda (RAY) since, she said, only local big businesses and foreign banks benefit from the massive spending on infrastructure.
“The RAY is patterned on the “Build Back Better” scheme in Haiti and other underdeveloped countries stricken with calamities. It is meant to perpetuate the rule of local tyrants and their foreign masters,” she said.
The People Surge claimed that Lacson failed to consult Yolanda survivors before implementing such programs, and said the “reconstruction fund goes directly to local government units and especially benefits the allies of the government who are preparing for the election.”
Eslopor declared, “there is not an iota of sense in giving funds to local government incapable of doing significant reconstruction and in light of the large-scale damage demanding a national effort.”
She pointed out that there were “other more capable administrators or council experts” than Lacson who can respect and consult the people.
“Lacson is merely a henchman for the Aquino government’s anti-people, pro-big business, debt-driven and infrastructure-led reconstruction program,” she averred.
Meanwhile, she urged the people to become vigilant and defend their rights in the face of the great reversal and not on the reconstruction.
She added that the people should also monitor the programs of the Aquino administration that will surely entrench the elite, widen the divide between the rich and the poor, and ensure the conti–nuing exploitation and oppres–sion of the people.