Group slams filing of criminal charges vs ‘Pablo’ survivors

HELP the helpless, don’t victimize the victim”

This was the reaction of Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of the youth group Anakbayan, to reports that the Phil. National Police will file criminal charges today against eight alleged leaders of a ‘barricade’ by survivors of typhoon ‘Pablo’ last January 16.

More than 6,000 people from the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental barricaded the national highway along Monkayo town, Compostela Valley, demanding government help which has not reached far-flung areas hit by ‘Pablo’. They also called for immediate policy changes such as the cancellation of permits for large-scale mining and logging operations in the area, as well as those of banana and pineapple plantations, which are said to be at the root of the massive flooding during the storm.

“Mr. Aquino is merely protecting the mining and logging companies in Mindanao, by shifting the wrongdoing to the people. The disaster would have been prevented had these irresponsible companies not been permitted to operate,” Crisostomo said.

“These companies and the local government should be the ones charged, not the residents who hunger for relief,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist national president Atty. Terry Ridon urged youths and students nationwide to contribute to the ‘Tulong Kabataan’ relief operation which aims to send relief to those who still have not been reached by government operations.

“While it is the State, with its vast resources, which has the ability to adequately address all the short-term and long-term needs of the typhoon victims, the youth can provide ‘first aid’ relief while we wait for President Aquino and his bumbling officials to get their act together” he said.

Reports from Kabataan volunteers on-site indicate that relief has not reached typhoon victims in Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and Davao del Norte.

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