TACLOBAN CITY- At least 1,000 Yolanda survivors here in the region staged their protest in the city’s downtown area as President Benigno Aquino was to deliver his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 28. Carrying placards and effigy of President Aquino, members of People Surge and other progressive groups called for his ouster for failure to implement massive reconstruction projects more than eight months after the supertyphoon devastated Eastern Visayas.
Protesters tied black and purple ribbons at their arms to dramatize in seeking justice for those who died during the massive disaster. “Last year’s typhoon is a global issue and the government should be accountable of their response,” said Marissa Cabaljao, spokesperson of People Surge. Also joining the rally were workers, students, farmers, and urban poor. Protesters set up a sound system to listen to the President’s Sona, closing half of the major road of Rizal Avenue.
The group convened at the University of the Philippines Tacloban campus for four hours in the morning of June 28 and marched to downtown area. While Aquino was praising Cabinet members and bragging about accomplishment in Yolanda response, all protesters were shouting him calling the President as “liar.” The President reported of the immediate resumption of the Leyte water district opening of first gas station, road clearing, restoration of power, food packs distribution, and debris clearing.
The People Surge criticized the President for prioritizing infrastructure. “Noynoy mentioned that we need to rebuild infra. Has he ever realized that we need recovery in agriculture?” the group asked.
Rallyists also refuted accomplishments on livelihood recovery, disaster preparedness, and weather forecasting. “If the government was prepared, how come thousands of people died? Where are the hazard maps? It could have saved lives,” Cabaljao added. Before the President ended his speech, protesters stopped listening the Sona and delivered their own version of state of the nation. The group voluntarily dispersed before dark. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)