Aquino should act and stop blaming the victims, youth link arms to provide immediate relief

The aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) left most of central Philippines in rubble and families losing their loved ones, households, and livelihood. In the midst of the tragedy, President Benigno S. Aquino III blamed the lack of preparation of Tacloban City in Leyte instead of giving immediate aid to the people.

Aquino even walked out of a disaster council meeting out of frustration which was attended by national and local officials in Tacloban City. Palace officials defended that the President just took a bathroom break.

If the Aquino administration is sincere in giving relief to the victims, it should act immediately without saying that Tacloban is ill-prepared because it’s the responsibility of the government to provide help to its people in times of calamities. It is very insensitive and immature for a President of the nation to say such things to the people. International assistance and efforts by local groups to deliver help are even more responsive than the government.

Over the past few days, the international community and media, particularly CNN and BBC, have been criticizing the failure of the Aquino government to provide relief to its people in the Visayas, considering that the government should be the first to respond in situations such as this. Recent reports also showed that Tacloban residents resorted to taking food and other necessities from stores in the city out of desperation.

CEGP sees this tragedy as the effect of rampant corruption in the government. It is a given fact that the Philippines cannot avoid natural calamities such as earthquakes and storms but the impact to our people can be reduced if the government adequately allocates funds to disaster preparedness, relief and rehabilitation.

Even that the Calamity Fund is currently under the discretion of the President under his Pork Barrel, why is it that the people of Leyte, Samar, Panay and other parts of the country affected by Yolanda are not accepting any help from the government, especially from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)? Why is it only now that stocks of rice are surfacing from DSWD stockrooms? Did the Aquino government learn anything from typhoon Pablo which hit Mindanao last year?

In this time of need, we cannot expect the government to act quickly but the Filipino people should link arms to help our fellow Filipinos. CEGP calls on the campus press and youth to help the victims by volunteering and donating through Tulong Kabataan Volunteer Network with various drop-off points in major cities nationwide.

Click here for more information on how to donate and volunteer: http://www.cegp.org/2013/11/tulong-kabataan-call-for-donations/

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