MILITANT peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Monday called on the media not to be swayed with government propaganda describing what transpired in Tacloban City as “looting.”
“What transpired in Tacloban is not looting. What we saw was a clear demonstration of the peoples struggle for survival in the face of the Aquino government’s failure to respond and provide immediate relief to the victims and survivors. It is the Aquino government who looted, in fact, plundered the taxpayer’s money in the billions that’s why it is totally helpless in times of calamity,” Antonio Flores, the group’s secretary general, said in a statement.
The group said President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s openness to declare martial law in the super typhoon ravaged Tacloban City bares his “fascist mindset.”
“Martial law will never address the immediate needs of the victims and survivors of super typhoon Yolanda. It is only aimed to cover up the Aquino government’s lack of preparedness and ineptitude to address the humanitarian crisis in Tacloban City and in all areas devastated by the super typhoon,” Flores said.
“Declaring martial law will not restore order in Tacloban but will instead escalate and lead to the organized resistance of the survivors against an incompetent government,” he added.
Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) also condemned the deployment of soldiers and policemen in Tacloban City in reaction to the reported looting at the Gaisano Mall in the city.
The Aquino government, the group said, should instead speed up and expand the delivery of relief goods to the typhoon survivors who are already suffering from hunger, thirst and lack of medicines.
“It is disgusting that the Aquino government is planning on using violence against survivors of Yolanda. There is looting because the government’s relief operations are too slow and give out too little,” Elmer Labog, the group’s chairman, said in a separate statement.
The labor leader said looting will most likely stop the moment sufficient relief goods reach Yolanda survivors in the soonest possible time.
He also said the Aquino government should release all remaining pork funds and disaster-related funds in order to speed up relief operations and expand the latter’s scope.
“People are thirsty and hungry and need medication. They just lost their homes and loved ones. The government should release all pork funds to help them as soon as possible,” Labog said.
KMU also condemned the Social Security System leadership for offering, yet again, loans for members in the calamity-hit areas in the form of its Calamity Relief Package.
The SSS recently announced that it is offering members a long period to apply for salary loans and preferential terms in the said loans.
“This is the height of insensitivity. It is most likely that our fellow Filipinos will have a hard time recovering from the super typhoon’s effects. They need financial aid, not loans,” Labog said. NEIL A. ALCOBER