TACLOBAN CITY-For so long as the people are not consulted and are left in the dark, the government will continue to face problems on its rehabilitation program in areas hit by supertyphoon Yolanda.
Thus said Efleda Bautista, convenor of the People Surge, a coalition of different groups whose 12,000 strong members were victims of Yolanda.
Bautista said that the government “should really consult these victims, have a real assessment of the individual cases.”
“Like assess them where do they come from; maybe some of them are from other towns and they want to return there. If they are from Tacloban, assess what would be their livelihood, where they really want to stay, are they satisfied with their current place of residence. What is really the plan of the government on this?”she said.
“Bottom line, include the people on their plan,” Bautista stressed.
Ignoring the victims in drawing the rehabilitation plan could be tantamount that they “do not exist,” she said.
“They have a different picture of the new Tacloban or Eastern Visayas drawn from the comfort of their air-conditioned offices and with the advice of moneyed local and international capitalists devoid of the interests of the ordinary man, or the masses which compose the majority of the Filipino people,” Bautista added.
Bautista said that the President “junked” their petition stating their demands instead of at least studying it.
Bautista maintained that as the country observed the fifth month anniversary of the disaster which claimed over 2,000 lives in Tacloban alone, rehabilitation remains slow.
“The victims are still staying in bunk houses and in the tent city in San Jose,” she said.
According to Bautista, victims in the bunk houses also faced several problems on restriction in their areas.
“They are not allowed to hang their washed clothes, they are not allowed to cooked near their place because they have centralized cooking area where they have to line up to cook, they are not allow to sell or open a store, otherwise why will be not be included on the list for those who will be relocated plus they will not be recipient anymore of the government’s conditional cash transfer program,” Bautista said.
She also expressed her sadness that Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson branded the victims as “communist pawns.”
“If you are a victim neglected by your government, are you going to be happy on this?” the 66-year old retired educator asked.
Bautista also denied that their continuing protests are aimed to destabilize the government. (RONALD O.REYES)