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‘Aquino bigger disaster for PH’

By Ronald Reyes | Feb. 21, 2014 at 12:01am

People Surge urges PNoy to quit, airs support pullout

SURVIVORS of super typhoon Yolanda on Thursday urged President Benigno Aquino III to resign, saying he was a bigger disaster for the country than all the recent storms and the earthquake that devastated Bohol.

“We have warned the President before that if he will not act to save the people, the people will no longer support him,” said Efleda Bautista, a storm survivor and executive vice chairperson of People Surge, an alliance of Yolanda survivors.

“He is more calamitous than typhoons Pablo, Ondoy and Yolanda as well as the Bohol earthquake,” she said, one day after President Aquino played down a petition from People Surge to give each survivor family P40,000 in financial assistance.

The alliance also warned Aquino to heed “the historical lesson” on the upcoming upcoming commemoration of the 1986 EDSA uprising.

“We will remind him on what happens to a leader no matter powerful when he is too detached from the people,” Bautista said. “We believe now the Filipino people have suffered long enough and it

is time to save ourselves from the disastrous President Aquino.”

Bautista hit Aquino for belittling the demands of the petitioners from Eastern Visayas, and “for flippantly suggesting to those criticizing government’s inaction that they can find livelihood if they have time to protest.”

“For the information of Noynoy Aquino, the demands for P40,000 cash assistance, livelihood, housing, and social services are what the government should have given right after Yolanda. The typhoon

destroyed people’s lives, houses and livelihood, destroyed the two most important cash crops in the region, abaca and coconut, as well as other staple crops. Yet such basic government responsibilities based on the people’s real needs never materialized up to now. The people have absolutely nothing and all the President is giving them is hot air. “

“If the life of the poor is too difficult for him to imagine that he won’t lift a finger, we suggest he try living in a tent or a bunkhouse, and eating porridge every day for the rest of the year like many Yolanda survivors still do,” she added.

On Monday, Aquino refused to meet representatives of the typhoon survivors who trooped to the Palace to deliver their petition.

He later took a swipe at the protestors, saying if they had the resources to fly to Manila, they ought to be able to help themselves.

“If the President cannot address the crisis caused by Yolanda as well as other issues of real concern to the people, his capability to govern is already under question. The petition signed by 17,000 Yolanda survivors was a polite reminder to the government of its shortcomings, but President Aquino virtually tore it up and laughed in the faces of the typhoon survivors. We do not deserve this, and we think the rest of the Filipino people agree with us,” Bautista said.

“Noynoy Aquino does not care about the Yolanda survivors, he does not care about what the Filipino people think of his callousness, and does not care that millions in Eastern Visayas are now entering a period of unparalleled hunger and desperation,” she said.

People Surge has also asked the government to recall its no-build zone policy near the coastline, a request that rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson has ruled out.

Aquino, in his speech during the courtesy call of San Francisco-Manila Sister City Committee Business and Cultural Mission Thursday, said the government’s campaign to build back better “continues with even more resolve.”

“We can all look forward to the time when the survivors of Yolanda can take full control over their destinies once again,” Aquino said.

Leftist lawmakers on Thursday slammed President Aquino’s harsh and insensitive remarks against survivors of super typhoon Yolanda, saying they were “brash and obtuse.”

Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz said Aquino’s remarks proved he was an insensitive father to the nation.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon also berated Aquino.

“The President doesn’t quite grasp the fact that Yolanda survivors have traveled this far despite all odds precisely because his government is not doing what it is supposed to do, and that is to provide immediate relief and rehabilitation,” Ridon said.

“The typhoon victims went to the capital not because they want to, but because you were playing deaf to their demands,” Ridon added.

Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan said Aquino was “cruel” and callous to the plight of the Yolanda Victims. She said this proved that the President lacked the neurons that enable a person to empathize with others, “especially the poor and the suffering.”

Ridon said the government had enough resources to help the victims.

“Why is Aquino telling victims that there’s no money for cash assistance? What happened to the P14.6 billion supplemental budget passed by Congress? What happened to the over P25 billion in foreign aid pledges for typhoon Yolanda?” he said.

“Instead of listening to the typhoon victims demands, Aquino brushed all of it aside and let his hubris get ahead of himself,” Ridon said.

Despite the release of billions in public funds and the outpouring of international support, Ridon said, rehabilitation and reconstruction in affected areas have moved at a very slow pace.

“More than a hundred days since the disaster and two months after the release of the government’s rehabilitation, no pertinent plan of action has been implemented to address the needs of the areas struck by typhoon Yolanda, leaving our countrymen helpless,” Ridon said.

“And to make matters worse, here we have a President issuing obtuse comments against typhoon victims, clearly portraying what kind of leader he really is,” he added.

On Wednesday, President Aquino chided the Yolanda survivors, saying: “To those who are saying that we have been slow in responding... it seems to me that if they are capable of attending to their trip to Manila, perhaps they can also attend to their livelihood.”

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