Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) calls on the Filipino people, especially the millions of victims of the recent disaster to rise up, protest and indict Benigno Aquino III for the criminal incompetence of his government which has resulted in the deaths of thousands last 8 November when supertyphoon Yolanda barrelled through the Philippines, and caused widespread devastation. The Filipino people demand justice.
They must protest the Aquino regime’s failure to provide and extend emergency relief and services resulting in the grave suffering of hundreds of thousands who continue to seek food, water and emergency supply, a full week hence.
The Aquino regime has been displaying such gross and criminal incompetence in the face of the terrible calamity which has resulted in an unnecessarily large number of deaths and injuries. There was no government presence in Tacloban City more than 48 hours after the supertyphoon struck and completely devastated the city. The local government was completely wiped out. It was apparent that the national government did not bother to look into the situation in the typhoon struck towns despite the fact that communication lines were completely cut off in these areas. It only started to take measures after local and foreign journalists fed images on primetime television of the widepread devastation in Leyte 36 hours after the typhoon.
Chaos began to erupt on the second day of the calamity as a result of the lack of food and water. Instead of rushing in emergency supply, the Aquino government deployed thousands of armed soldiers and police personnel in an effort to quell the mass discontent. Immediately, the Aquino regime’s incompetence reared its ugly head.
Aquino’s security and military officials irresponsibly engaged in spreading false information. A press release of the Armed Forces of the Philippines claimed that a military truck supposedly carrying Red Cross supplies in Sorsogon was ambushed by the New People’s Army. They have also circulated rumors that NPA members are involved in the armed looting around Tacloban city and are indiscriminately firing their weapons in Palo, Abucay, and other places, in order to justify the setting up of checkpoints and establishing outright military rule.
Clearly, the AFP is more interested in projecting power and imposing its armed authority rather than ensuring the provision of food, other basic commodities and emergency supply to the people.
Aquino has gone berserk in his blaming spree and PR campaign to downplay the tragedy and devastation. Speaking to international media, Aquino insisted that the number of deaths will not go beyond 2,500 instead of the earlier estimates of 10,000. Aquino will be rebuked a couple of days later, when the United Nations revealed its independent estimate of deaths at 4,460. In an utterly tasteless twist, Aquino’s tourism officials declared that the Philippines “is still fun” to visit even as the entire world continue to watch desperately as the poeple in Tacloban beg for help amidst the grossly incompetent response of the Aquino government.
A week into the tragedy, thousands of people still have no access to emergency medical care. Food and drinking water remain scarce. Government has yet to provide emergency shelter to several thousand homeless people. Despite the outpouring of local and international support for the calamity victims, hundreds of thousands of victims have yet to be reached by emergency supply. The United Nations, international relief workers, and the media are utterly dismayed that the help they have already extended to the Philippines has yet to reach the disaster victims almost a week into the tragedy.
Aquino only declared a “state of national calamity” FOUR days after the widespread devastation. It took him and his officials FIVE days to realize that the transportation of emergency supplies to Tacloban and elsewhere will be the “largest logistical effort” yet to be undertaken by the government. Still, the Aquino regime has failed to effect the massive mobilization of ships and other sea transport despite the fact that the Tacloban port is only a few hours away from the central commercial port of Cebu and less than 24 hours from Metro Manila. Ormoc City, which is one hour away from Tacloban by land, is a mere two hours away from Cebu via high-speed ships. The Aquino regime has also failed to foresee the need to supplement the roll-on-roll-off transport ships in the Matnog port in Sorsogon resulting in a long queue of trucks and other land vehicles carrying emergency food and medical supply and personnel from Metro Manila.
The government’s failed response is so blatant, leading some people to think that Aquino is deliberately displaying incompetence in order to make the US military forces look like the heroes, and thus justify the presence of a giant US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, at least six other warships, nearly 10,000 troops, and Osprey helicopters in various parts of the Philippines, and allow these to take over facilities and the transport and distribution of emergency supply.
Tacloban City, as well as other cities, have become practically uninhabitable, and will remain to be so for the next few weeks or months. Yet government has made no effort to bring people en masse to other places where they can be provided electricity, health care, shelter, food and temporary livelihood.
The Filipino people must take the Aquino regime to account for its failure to carry out emergency evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people who were at the path of the supertyphoon. In its “Typhoon Haiyan Brief Technical Report” issued a day before Typhoon Yolanda made landfall, the Manila Observatory stated that “Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 8 to 16 km of the shoreline may be required.”
Despite such warnings, the Aquino government made no significant effort to mobilize enough resources to carry out such required evacuation. Instead, Aquino found it sufficient to go on primetime television on the eve of Yolanda’s landfall and issue a weather forecast. In comparison, the government of Vietnam mobilized all resources to evacuate 600,000 at least two days before Typhoon Haiyan reached Vietnam’s coasts. The population of Tacloban City, in contrast, is around 200,000.
The Filipino people should rise up in mass protest against the gross incompetence of the Aquino regime. They must cast aside the appeals by Aquino’s loyalists to stop blaming the Aquino government and instead unite. Indeed, they must indict Benigno Aquino III for the deaths of thousands resulting from his personal and his government’s criminal incompetence.
The Filipino people must demand justice for the plight of hundreds of thousands of disaster victims. They must make the Aquino regime pay for the grave tragedy that has befallen them that is a result not so much of the supertyphoon, but of the gross failure of the Aquino regime to carry-out appropriate preventive action and post-calamity emergency relief.
They must also indict Aquino for the failure of his government to secure the people against the destruction of their property. They must demand that the Aquino regime provide immediate emergency relief fund (not loans!) to resume their livelihood, emergency employment and pensions, reparation, and the cancellation of all debts to government agencies.
They must denounce the Aquino regime for allocating a measly P7 billion to the calamity budget, resulting in its inability to build the necessary infrastructure for emergency response. Aquino is content to allocate money from his unprogrammed funds in order to justify bloating the President’s Social Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
On the other hand, the Aquino regime is not keen on carrying out a massive environmental regeneration program to desilt the rivers and other critical water systems and undertake massive reforestation, and instead is bent on bringing in foreign mining companies to continue plundering the environment.