Category: BALSA

“President Aquino, Stop Blaming the Poor For Their Plight!”—BAYAN-USA

Press Release
August 22, 2012

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN-USA, chair@bayanusa.org

“President Aquino, Stop Blaming the Poor For Their Plight!”—BAYAN-USA
Filipino-Americans Criticize Aquino Regime’s Insufficient Disaster Relief Effort and Anti-Poor Rhetoric

The aftermath of Typhoon Gener and a Southwest Monsoon (Habagat) that ravaged the Philippines in early August has left many Filipinos reminiscent of the disaster of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. Relief operations led by grassroots people’s organizations, including BAYAN-USA, have been activated and are underway around the world. Monetary donations have been sent directly to affiliated organizations in the Philippines that serve urban and rural poor communities, the most affected by the disaster, whose homes and crops have been damaged or lost in major floods. However, instead of also assisting these communities in rebuilding their lives, the Philippine government has targeted them in a blame game accusing them of being the root causes of the flooding disaster.

Aquino’s Anti-Poor Relief Strategy

The almost week-long rainfall from the typhoon and monsoon surpassed that of Typhoon Ondoy, leading to floods just as dangerous as in 2009. Kalikasan Green Partylist, a progressive environmental concerns partylist in the Philippines, explains that floods are solely caused by the amount of rainfall an area receives at any given time. Because rain fell steadily for several consecutive days, water basins were oversaturated, leading to major floods in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces in Luzon.

Despite this scientific explanation, President Benigno “NoyNoy” Aquino III made statements that mistakenly accused urban poor shanties built near waterways of being the major cause for floods. He reportedly ordered Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson to address the issue of informal settlers through any means, even if he must “blast” the urban poor out of such areas.

“The floods would have occurred just as they did whether or not informal settlers crowd near waterways,” said Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson of BAYAN-USA. “Aquino is pointing the finger at the victims of the flood, while he should be taking responsibility for their conditions. His administration has only neglected the basic needs of the majority of the people. It is joblessness, poverty, a lack of sustainable housing projects, and shoddy urban planning that makes people desperately build homes wherever possible, even in the path of dangerous floods.”

Aquino has ordered Singson to relocate 125,000 families along Metro Manila waterways and an additional 700,000 around Laguna Bay. However, the president has not expressed any intention to relocate wealthy private entities, such as large malls, that also surround Metro Manila waterways.

“It is clear that the Aquino regime is framing the issue this way in order to justify making way for the implementation of privatization projects,” says Ellorin. “Just as the flooding has swept away thousands of homes, Aquino plans to do the same to the poor majority.”

Filipino organizers in BAYAN-USA are skeptical of how much relief this relocation plan will actually provide as the housing budget set aside for 2013 is insufficient to fund decent housing for the 195,000 families Aquino is targeting. Instead, more funds are allocated to paying back foreign debt and promoting failed poverty alleviation programs, such as Public Private Partnership Programs (PPP) and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).

Prioritizing Sustainable Programs for the Poor

People’s organizations around the world, including BAYAN-USA, are exposing the Philippine government’s deceptive and destructive rhetoric, which ultimately blames the victims and wipes away any accountability from the government’s ineffectiveness. “At this point, the government should have learned their lesson,” exclaims Ellorin. “The only way to prevent disasters like this from repeating is by allocating sufficient funding into basic social services, such as housing, jobs, health, education, and disaster preparedness.”

BAYAN USA is calling upon anyone interested in donating directly  to the numerous victims of the massive flooding in the Philippines by making a donation to BALSA today: http://tinyurl.com/BALSAbayanihanreliefThe only way to achieve complete relief of the massive flooding is to activate our bayanihan-community effort- and giving spirit as the Philippines has been hit once again with the worst flooding since 2009.

###

BAYAN USA Activates Nation-wide Relief Efforts: IN THE SPIRIT OF BAYANIHAN

For Immediate Release
August 13, 2012

Contact: Chera Amlag-BAYAN USA Finance officer: finance@bayanusa.org

BAYAN USA Activates Nation-wide Relief Efforts: IN THE SPIRIT OF BAYANIHAN

BAYAN USA is appealing to all concerned citizens to donate $5, $10, $20 or any other amount within your capacity to help with relief efforts. There are numerous calls to donate from around the globe, however many larger donation outlets are not transparent in where their funds actually go. The organizations in BAYAN USA work directly with BAYAN Philippines and BALSA to provide 100% of your donations to the communities it serves and will reach those areas not covered by media  reaching the far barrios to provide food (more than one kilo of rice, dried fish, mongo, cooking oil, and more) and other basic needs.  The grassroots organizing efforts of BAYAN and BALSA with the communities in the Philippines will ensure that all donations given are directly contributed to the areas that need immediate assistance.

This is an urgent call to please help the victims of massive flooding in the Philippines by making a donation to BALSA today: http://tinyurl.com/BALSAbayanihanrelief and by taking a minute to help forward this email to your all potential contributors!  The only way to achieve complete relief of the massive flooding is to activate our bayanihan-community effort– and giving spirit as the Philippines has been hit once again with the worst flooding since 2009.

For the past week,  rains due to the southwest monsoon (Habagat) after typhoon Gener (international name, Saola) left the country have caused massive flooding in different parts of Luzon, especially in Metro Manila where half of the city is submerged.

Source: Ted Aljibe/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

At present, as the rains continue to pour, many have been stranded in their homes, while thousands are being relocated to various evacuation centers in their cities and municipalities. According to news reports, the rains have affected some 199,485 families (or about one million individuals based on an average of 5 per family) across 11 regions of the country. A total of 60 individuals have been reportedly killed due to the non-stop rains, flooding, and landslides. PAG-ASA, a local weather station is forecasting more rains in the next few days. This and the fact that the dams around Metro-Manila are spilling out water will worsen the flooding in days to come.

Source: Aaron Favila – Associated Press

The thousands of displaced families and communities in the Philippines need your support at this time, anything truly helps. Many thanks for your consideration!

With Gratitude & Appreciation,
BAYAN USA

For More information:
http://www.bayan.ph/site/
http://bayanusa.org/

See this video of BALSA at work during Typhoon Sendong Relief efforts just earlier this year.

Donate today to BALSA, the relief organization of BAYAN for more than a decade: http://tinyurl.com/BALSAbayanihanrelief

NEWS COVERAGE:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/world/asia/flooding-in-philippines-grows-worse-as-thousands-flee-manila-and-desperate-residents-are-trapped-on-roofs.html

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/244365/heavy-rains-paralyzeluzon-metro-manila

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Heavy-rains-submerge-Philippine-capital-killing-9-3766863.php