Critics slam Aquino for sending Mar to Pablo hit areas

PLEASE do not send traditional politicians to disaster hit areas.

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s instruction for interior and local government secretary Mar Roxas to check on the extent of devastation in Mindanao and oversee the government’s response to disaster brought by super typhoon Pablo is politically incorrect and grossly immoral, saying it is always bad to see a traditional politician exploiting the sorry situation of the people for political agenda.

” Secretary Mar Roxas is not the face of genuine public service. For us he is a traditional politician being prepared by the Liberal Party for the 2016 presidential elections. This is Jurassic politics at work,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France upon learning last night that Malacanang had tapped Roxas to lead the government response to calamity stricken areas.

The Pamalakaya official said there are other government officials in the Aquino government who have no senatorial or presidential ambition who can lead the government in addressing the situation and the urgent needs of calamity stricken areas. “There are other people in the Aquino government who can do the job. Please spare the victims of Pablo for political advertisement of presidential wannabes like Roxas,” added France.

President Aquino said some P 8- billion sourced from the sale of Food Terminal Incorporated (FTI) in Taguig City will be made available anytime to augment funds for relief and rehabilitation efforts.

” We hope the President will not use the occasion as another photo shoot and media stint for himself and his most favored senatorial candidates in the Liberal Party just like what he and his senatorial candidates did at the height of Habagat. Please don’t take advantage of the people’s sufferings in the name of Malacanang’s narrow agenda,” France added.

Earlier, Tte failure of the national government and local government units in Mindanao and other areas affected by super typhoon Pablo to provide enough evacuation centers  for flood and disaster victims prompted Pamalakaya to appeal to the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to open their churches and parishes to accommodate tens of thousands of flood and disaster victims who need temporary shelter at the moment.

The fisherfolk group in particular requested the opening of churches and other church-based establishments in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Sibugay, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Palawan, Bohol, siquijor, Iloilo, Guimaras, Antique, Aklan and Capiz.

As of Wednesday, the National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that 42 were killed and 24 were still missing due to flash floods. Most of the deaths were in New Bataan in Compostela Valley. The NDRRMC also said about 200,000 people were affected by flash floods in areas hit by typhoon Pablo and total damage to infrastructure in Mindanao, mostly roads had reached P 170 million.

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) claimed that initial reports showed that 8,400 families were evacuated to safer ground in Davao Oriental,  Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro City, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Leyte.  Reports also said about 3,430 passengers of 93 interisland vessels were stranded in 16 major sea ports, including those in Manila and parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

For twelve straight days, ordinary and poor people are living in life threatening condition and we hope this situation merits the attention of the CBCP leadership. This appeal is meant to decongest these poorly designated evacuation centers of the government,” the fisherfolk leader added.

While the Pamalakaya leader appealed for help from CBCP, it slammed  the President for not releasing a substantial portion of his unprogrammed funds for 2012. Pamalakaya and noted that President Aquino only ordered the release of P 6 billion from his P 21.7 B calamity funds allocated by Congress this year.

“Aquino is keeping in his vault some P 15 billion in total taxpayers’ money. It belongs to the people courtesy of hard work and therefore should be given back to the people in the form of relief and production subsidy grants for free,” the groups said.

The militant groups said President Aquino should ready the calamity funds upon the request of people’s associations and local government units in Pablo devastated areas.


“The people fully deserve any appropriate assistance. The remaining P 15-B calamity fund for 2012 belongs to them and not to Aquino and his financial keepers,” the groups added. Pamalakaya revealed of the P 21.7 B disaster fund under the Office of the President, about  P 7.5 B is alloted for calamity funds and P 14.2 billion is set aside for unprogrammed disaster risk and management activities.


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