Ping tags protesting Yolanda victims as ‘communist pawns’

REHABILITATION czar Panfilo Lacson on Thursday dismissed protesting survivors of typhoon Yolanda as pawns of communist agitators out to destabilize the government.

“It is becoming obvious that their agenda is destabilization and not the welfare of the Yolanda survivors,” Lacson said in an interview, questioning the motives of People Surge, which he said is being used by leftist groups to destabilize the government.

Turnover. Presidential Assistant for
Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson
walks past the Balangiga Church after the
turnover of the town hall that was rebuilt with
the help of private partners Peregrine
Development International Inc. and Global
Gateway Development Corp.

“Based on intelligence reports, the super typhoon also affected the cadre infrastructure of the New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas. So they are now using the survivors to rebuild their network,” said Lacson a former senator and police chief.

Lacson said one of the groups that supports People Surge is the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, which he described as a “legal front” of the communist group.

“If we did not know that Bayan is supporting the group, we can say that they are making these calls out of their bleeding hearts. But why are they suddenly calling for the President to step down? That sounds like destabilization to me,” Lacson said.

“They have made popular demands that would endear them to the people and earn them sympathy even if they know these are impossible to give--- why ask for P40,000 when the government is ready to give them homes and why ask for the lifting of the no-build zones when you know this would endanger people?” he added.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government would not be distracted from its plans to rehabilitate the calamity-stricken areas.

Lacierda dismissed the comments by People Surge leaders as political statements and said the government would not be cowed by them.

“We will not be deterred by those political statements. Our responsibility is to bring them back on their feet. There will always be criticisms but our determination will never diminish, will not wane, because that is our responsibility,” he told reporters in a press briefing at the Palace.

“The government’s responsibility is to restore them, to bring them back to build back better. Our resiliency comes not only from the people but from the government itself,” he added.

The administration is committed to tackle reconstruction of the typhoon Yolanda-devastated areas and it will always be a priority for the government, Lacierda said.

But Lacierda also said normalization will not happen overnight and the government expects reconstruction and rehabilitation work to take several years.

The good thing is that the government is doing everything and the private sector is also extending assistance, the Palace official said.

Quoting Lacson, Lacierda said the private sector has already made commitments in a number of initiatives.

“On the part of government, we have all the necessary resources of government to respond to the needs of the typhoon Yolanda victims. It’s for you to decide but whether you agree or not, our decision is to continue to help the people affected by typhoon Yolanda,” Lacierda said.

President Benigno S. Aquino III is scheduled to tour calamity-affected areas in the country next week to see the progress of the government’s rehabilitation initiatives.

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