The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas commiserates with the millions of people who suffered losses of lives and properties in the region and elsewhere in the country due to Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last 08 November. We condemn the gross incompetence and unreadiness of the Aquino government even though weather forecasts had already warned days in advance of the category 4 superstorm and the expected massive flooding from the storm surge. The Aquino government only made token announcements and evacuations, did not stock food and water, and did not prepare emergency services.
Rather than passing the buck to the local government, it should have been the responsibility of the national governmment to ensure the safety and well-being of the people because of the scale and scope of the calamity.
It is simply untrue that the New People’s Army has been harassing relief operations to the people, and that the NPA is sowing disorder after the storm. In reality, the NPA, along with other revolutionary forces and the People’s Democratic Government, has been striving to aid the stricken people, and working to ensure the speedy delivery of humanitarian assistance. The Communist Party of the Philippines also showed concern for the people by declaring a unilateral ceasefire from 14 to 24 November in the areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
It is in fact the Aquino regime that is antagonizing the people by garrisoning Tacloban City, the hardest hit area, with police and military troops who impose a virtual martial law. It is the Aquino regime that is causing disorder and anarchy because of its slothful and disorganized relief operations.
Thousands are believed to have been killed especially in Tacloban and Ormoc cities in Leyte, as well as Basey and Guiuan towns on Samar island, among other areas. After the storm, the people had to fend for themselves as the Aquino government’s relief efforts were virtually nonexistent. Indeed, more than a week after the storm, food and water have yet to reach Guiuan and other areas, and many of the dead have yet to be buried.
The presence of Aquino and other top governmment officials in the region after the storm were nothing more than publicity gimmicks. They were posing for the media while outside, the people whose homes had been destroyed were living on the streets and dying of thirst and starvation.
In the crucial days after the storm, the people had to commandeer food, water, medicine and other supplies because there was absolutely nothing coming from the government. Displaying utter heartlessness and contempt to the people despite their plight, instead of emergency supplies, Aquino sent in armored cars and armed troops as a “show of force” to “stop the looting”. What little food and water arrived the people had to walk several kilometers to go to, and had to form long lines under the rain and under the heat of the sun.
The Aquino regime is surely adept in stealing from the people through the pork barrel scam and patronage system, but lazy and despicable when the people desperately need help.
The Philippine and US governments make much of the psywar gimmick of some US troops participating in relief and rehabilitation, and there is talk of additional foreign troops. Do they have other, ulterior motives in doing so? In fact, there are more than 10,000 military and police troops in Eastern Visayas, but the Aquino regime is loath to shift them away from “counterinsurgency” operations and make them actually useful to the people by clearing roads, building shelters, repairing infrastructure, and restoring agricultural production. But the main concern of the military troops is to watch the people in the name of “peace and order” and to provide security for the publicity gimmicks of politicians, who take advantage of the people’s miseries to bolster their political ambitions. We condemn the Aquino government for putting more importance into its war against the NDFP, rather than in alleviating the people’s sufferings.
The damage to the region and elsewhere from Typhoon Yolanda may take years of social recovery. The natural calamity underscored the man-made calamity that is the Aquino regime. Having suffered for so long under the rotten semifeudal and semicolonial ruling system, the people surely resent the added ordeal the Aquino government made them undergo aside from the natural calamity and the long years of uncertainty ahead.
In the face of the plight of the many victims of calamity, the NDFP-EV is appealing to the people’s organizations in the Philippines and abroad to help the people of Eastern Visayas. The NDFP-EV is also calling on the New People’s Army, the revolutionary mass organizations and the People’s Democratic Government to persevere in the relief operations they are already undertaking, and to participate in the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. There can be a unity of efforts to ensure that aid and supplies contributed by private individuals and groups, as well as by foreign aid agencies, non-government organizations and government organizations can directly and speedily reach the intended recipients.
The NDFP-EV also calls on the people to rise up and protest the scarcity of emergency supplies, and the arrogant and callous method of distribution. The calamity victims and the people must also join hands and bring the Aquino regime to account for its incompetence and ill-preparedness, and demand as a matter of social justice the appropriate rehabilitation and recovery after the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda.