13 November 2020
To hide the Duterte regime’s inutility in delivering prompt response to disaster-stricken areas, NTF ELCAC resorted yet again to terrorist-tagging to undermine genuine bayanihan efforts by Filipino migrant communities now mobilizing to extend assistance to their kababayans. Migrante chapters and member organizations abroad have been raising funds to help gather goods and resources for relief operations in the Philippines. We will continue to contribute in every way possible because this is not only an exercise of our democratic right but an affirmation of our duty towards our fellow human beings. Through terror-tagging, the regime is suppressing volunteerism and humanitarian action among Filipinos not only locally but even abroad.
Out of almost 200 countries in the world, the Philippines is right in the top 10 of the World Risk Index indicating that inhabitants of the country are among the world’s most vulnerable to disasters and natural hazards. Despite this, the Duterte regime axed the budget for disaster response by 4 billion, allocating only 16 Billion this year. This is way lower than the 38.9 Billion pesos earmarked by the Aquino regime in 2016. Meanwhile, Duterte is itching to hand over a blank check of Php 19.1 Billion to NTF ELCAC as a pork barrel chest for his military cronies.
In terms of ensuring recovery and rehabilitation, the Duterte regime proves to be even more contemptible as what we have seen in its neglect of OFWs and their families displaced by the pandemic. A look at Marawi bears witness that the Duterte regime is a total sluggard in responding to the needs of Filipinos reeling from havoc and destruction. Duterte is always nowhere to be found in the direst hours as if he’s really intending to make Filipinos get accustomed to his late post-typhoon appearances.
Unwanted government disaster response like blaming the public and exploiting Filipino resilience will never bring recovery and amelioration to damaged communities mired in their loss and misery. Duterte is just adding insult to injury by deliberately confusing the clamour for concrete action with swimming for recreation. Nobody is asking him to miraculously stop the typhoon and swim in the floodwaters. He is being obliged to oversee real time government response and put forward a comprehensive rehabilitation program because that is what is expected of him being the country’s highest government official.
Migrante International will carry on with its relief efforts as we continue to demand better disaster response from the national government. Filipino migrant communities want to see and hear specific mitigation measures and government plans for rehabilitation. Stop red tagging and suppressing Filipino organizations undertaking real bayanihan at this period of our people’s adversities.