OFWs ask, “Where is national government?”

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) all over the world are raising serious concern over reports that five days after supertyphoon Yolanda struck the Philippines, still no government relief aid has reached millions of our kababayans in badly-hit areas.

This sentiment was relayed by Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez who said that OFWs have been getting in touch with them through their Sagip Migrante hotlines and social media to simply ask, “Where is the national government?”

“They are painstakingly keeping tabs on developments, especially those who have loved ones in the badly-hit areas, and they are incredulous. They cannot fathom how days after the supertyphoon, the general situation in the devastated areas is still that of no immediate relief from government despite the influx of relief goods and support from foreign governments, NGOs, media and the general public,” Martinez said.

Martinez said that OFWs are asking where the national government is and what it is doing because it is understandable that the local governments are presently paralyzed and equally in need of immediate relief. Even local government units, he said, seem to be asking the same question.

“OFWs feel that the national government, apart from press conferences, is not doing anything on the ground. They feel that the national government is also paralyzed. While they call on fellow OFWs and citizens from their host countries to gather as much support as they can, they are in a quandary to explain to them why and how much-needed relief is not being urgently made available and accessible to those in need.”

Their questions range from, “Bakit hindi masagot ni Pangulong Noynoy kapag tinatanong ng media kung kailan darating ang relief goods?”, “Ano pala ang ginawa ni Sec. Mar Roxas doon?”, “Nasaan na si Dinky Soliman ng DSWD?”, “Saan na napunta ang malalaking halaga ng foreign aid at mga donations?”, to “Why are the dead still lying on the streets?”, “If roads are impassable, shouldn’t that be the government’s first concern so that relief goods can reach far-flung areas?”, “Why are updates from the NDRRMC coming in late, much later than foreign media reports?”, and, “Do we still have a functioning national government?”

“These are questions that need to be answered and addressed immediately. No amount of press conferences and media briefings by the national government can appease our OFWs until they see that urgent and efficient action is being done. Pres. Aquino and his government has to walk the talk. Even the seeming state of lawlessness in badly-hit areas is a result of lack of immediate relief for the victims and survivors who are in dire need of water and food. Even the foreign press and citizens of other nationalities have the impression that there seems to be no order at all,” he said.

Martinez said that OFWs all over the world have been conducting relief efforts for victims and survivors since Day 1.

“They are now exercising vigilance. They want to know how and when all resources will be made available to our kababayans. They want to know where the national government is. They want to make sure that our people are getting all the help they need. Can we blame them for raising these questions? Are they merely finger-pointing and baselessly blaming the government? No. If they could just as easily go home and conduct relief efforts themselves they would. But like many other Filipino citizens who are now helping, we are forced to rely on the government to get their acts together. This is the bigger and worse tragedy,” Martinez said. ###

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