THE United Nations report that the Philippine government failed to improve living conditions of victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda is the grim reality that skeptics must see for themselves, according to a survivor who lost his parents at the height of the storm nearly two years ago.
“People have been apathetic since we have adjusted to the reality that the government does not really care for the survivors nor the casualties, the fact that they haven’t revealed the real number of casualties,” Aaron James Almadro told The Manila Times.
Almadro’s father, Virgilio, and mother, Guadalupe, were among the thousands killed when Yolanda slammed into Eastern Visayas on November 8, 2013. The bodies of Almadro’s parents were never found.
“They said it was in one of the mass graves there but I could no longer check,” he said.
Reacting to a report by UN Special Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani that the victims remain vulnerable to future disasters two years after Yolanda, Almadro noted that the situation now is worse than before.
“There are still hundreds, if not thousands, of Yolanda survivors living in bunkhouses. Some haven’t even received their ESA (emergency shelter allowance), which should have been given a long time ago,” he said.
Almadro disclose that the government added “more requirements to claim the ESA.”
“If we can’t comply, we cannot receive what is ours. People can’t just complain because it may worsen their situation. We are all at the mercy of the government,” he said.
Those who doubt the veracity of the UN report, Almadro added, must go to Leyte and Samar and see the truth for themselves.
“Skeptics can just come to Leyte and go to the remote barangay (villages) and bunkhouses to see the reality,” he said.
According to Almadro, he is yet to receive death assistance from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council because his parents are not included in the official list of fatalities.
“It has been frustrating,” he said.