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Announcement :: Environment : International : Organizing : Social Welfare
Philippines: statements and solidarity calls after tropical storm Ondoy devastation
by Laban ng Masa, Akbayan, PLM
06 Oct 2009
We are posting below statements and solidarity calls from Philippine left forces after typhoon Ondoy devastation.
AKBAYAN Citizens Action Party
We know that our friends around the globe has a big heart to help our kababayans/fellow Filipinos after heavy rains hit the country’s capital. The typhoon brought the worst flooding in 20 years.
For your initial financial donations;please use the following bank details below.
Account Name: AKBAYAN Citizens Action Party
Bank Name: Bank of the Philippine Islands
Bank Address: Kalayaan Branch, 114 Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City
Current Account No: 1991-0031-57
Swift Code: BOPIPHMM
RELIEF OPERATIONS center: Akbayan office address: #36-B Madasalin St, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City, Philippines
AKBAYAN is organizing a relief drive for Marikina, Cainta, Malabon, Pasig, Escopa and Tatalon. The following items are badly needed:
- Ready to eat food (cooked rice, boiled egg, bread, easy to open canned goods)
- Water (bottled, or in 10-gallon containers)
- Blankets and towels
Volunteers are also needed to help pack and deliver the items.
If you wish to help, pls call or txt: +632-925-58-43/ 09175381816 (Bayantel lines down so use these numbers).
Partido Lakas ng Masa ( Power of the Masses Party - PLM)
www.masa.ph for more information.
PLM Statement on Ondoy’s Devastation:
Calamity Funds Must be Released for Immediate Relief Now!
Maximum Transparency in the Disbursement of International Relief Funds!
Stop Mining, Quarrying, Logging: Implement the Kyoto Protocol!
Tropical storm Ondoy left a devastating trail of destruction in Luzon. So far it has left possibly hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands displaced mainly in Metro Manila. Filipinos from all walks of life suffered greatly from gigantic floods of unprecedented levels that destroyed lives, homes and properties, in a matter of a few hours.
The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) is now conducting relief operations in the NCR region. PLM is the national political party of the mass organizations which include the labor organization BMP, the multisectoral organization Sanlakas, the urban poor organization KPML and ZOTO, the youth organization SDK and the rural workers and peasant organizations AMA and Makabayan. Many of our members’ homes and even the lives of their family members have been destroyed. We know that relief is needed NOW, not tomorrow or the day after – but immediately.
We note that despite the billion-peso budget allocated to the Department of National Defense and the National Disaster Coordinating Council for calamity response, these agencies can only afford a meager supply of rubber boats and rescue materials. We are getting reports from our members that the victims, particularly in Marikina and Pasig, have to themselves brave the strong currents and rescue family members from the raging waters. As of this writing, there are reports of victims stranded in still-flooded areas in Pasig waiting for rescue – boats, food and water — but to no avail.
To ensure a swifter and better response by the national government, we urgently demand that the government maximize its resources for the immediate relief of the evacuees and for the rescue of the remaining victims in the still-flooded communities.
We call on the State-funding agencies like the SSS and GSIS to expedite the calamity funds to the affected members within the next 24 hours. The government must also utilize its budget for relief operations. This means that other government funds, such as the national government’s huge intelligence funds and the funds used for the war in Mindanao, should also be shifted towards helping our people in the aftermath of Ondoy’s devastation.
Our experience so far also indicates that the figures of the numbers dead and missing are hard to come by. The reports that we are gathering from the ground indicate numbers much larger than the ones released by the NDCC. While the National Disaster Coordinating Council to date states that only 8 died in the National Capital Region, according to latest reports in Brgy. Bagong Silangan alone 36 people are dead and 28 bodies have been excavated so far. In Marikina there are reports from our organizers of around 100 deaths.
The NDCC must account for the discrepancy in the data. We have the right to be informed, with accurate and up-to-date data, of the actual state of the calamity facing us.
We also note that funds are starting to come in from international agencies and governments. We must ensure that these funds are used strictly for relief efforts and fear that these funds may be depleted through corruption. We demand maximum transparency in the collection and disbursement of international relief funds.
Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that this ordeal must now be a wake-up call to all the authorities to take the necessary and proactive steps in protecting our environment. We strongly demand that the government immediately put a halt to all mining, quarrying, and logging activities in the mountainous regions. With denuded forests and damaged mountains, flooding and mudslides will torment lowland communities lying in the mountain basins, such as in Marikina and Pasig Cities, and the lowlands of Rizal Province.
We call on the Philippine Government to strictly implement the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol with regard to greenhouse gas emissions and toxic wastes cuts as the latter distorts the normalcy of the atmosphere, resulting in much stronger storms and droughts worldwide.
The Philippine Government must address these demands NOW as we expect more disasters to come. Only through concrete measures and strong political will to implement pro-people and pro-environment measures can we prevent a humanitarian crisis of this scale in the future.
We are appealing for donations from our overseas friends and networks to assist with our relief operations Please send donations to the following NGO associated with our networks.
Account Number: 3042304004562
Swift Code: MBTCPHMM
Bank Name: Metro Bank
Address: Anonas Branch, Caly Building, Aurora Blvd cnr Castillo St, Project 4, Quezon City, Metro Manila
The office address for Transform Asia is 25 F Calderon St, Project 4, Q.C. Metro Manila, Philippines.
Please indicate that this is for ’Flood Relief’
Partido Lakas ng Masa
Statement from Laban ng Masa on the disaster brought by Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines
By Francisco Nemenzo
02 October 2009
Solidarity and united action in this time of disaster, but systems change is the enduring response
ALMOST 300 people were killed in the worst flood brought by Typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana). Damage to agriculture and public and private infrastructures has been extensive. Now tens of thousands are homeless, living in packed temporary shelters, dependent on food donations, and with vague ideas of what their future would be, as two more typhoons threaten the Philippines.
Disasters of this magnitude call for a collective response, a demonstration of national solidarity. We in Laban ng Masa (Struggle of the Masses) therefore join the other organizations, schools, religious groups, government agencies, and concerned individuals in helping the survivors. Let us turn this colossal tragedy into an opportunity to unite and thus emerge a stronger nation.
But in the first place, this calamity would not have reached this enormity if the right social system were in place. There would be no shanties on river banks, there would be no housing subdivisions on natural catch basins. There would be adequate shelter for all, there would be comprehensive disaster response plans (given that we are on the path of tropical depressions and are within the so-called Ring of Fire prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions). There would be sufficient social protection to also encompass such natural tragedies, which the human-created social system made more tragic. Because even before this calamity, half of the 90 million Filipinos were already languishing below the poverty line. And the recent devastation is bound to worsen our economic situation.
As we bury our dead, repair the damage, rebuild our homes, pick up our lives, and prepare for the impending typhoons, we also express our deepest sympathy for the peoples of Vietnam, Indonesia, Samoa, and Tonga who have been similarly struck by natural calamities.
We are, of course, aware that these calamities are not entirely of natural causes. They are, to some extent, nature’s revenge against a social system that encourages greed, disrespects nature, and disregards people’s general welfare. Logging, urban congestion, discharge of industrial waste into rivers, clogging esteros, and brazen disregard of land-use plans by the so-called development companies have made Metro Manila and surrounding towns utterly vulnerable to typhoons and floods.
At the heart of it is a government unable to enforce environmental laws and regulate private enterprise. Despite our nation’s location and history with such natural calamities, the government has built no adequate institutional mechanisms for environmental protection and disaster response. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo—and the system she represents—is obsessed with creating an attractive climate for investments while remaining insensitive to the basic needs of our people.
This tragedy should thus push all of us to seriously commit to the realization of a society that is just, equitable, and sustainable. A society that does not allow people to go without decent work or livelihood, without adequate food and shelter, and other social protection measures, especially in these earth-shaking times. A society where people live with dignity, disaster or no disaster.
This work is in the public domain