Fr. SANTIAGO “Sanny” SALAS
NDFP – Eastern Visayas
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Eastern Visayas today sympathized with the more than 50,000 people victimized by heavy floods in Leyte and Southern Leyte, and furthermore held the Aquino regime accountable for its incompetence and for pursuing economic policies detrimental to the people and the environment.
“The NDFP-EV is in solidarity with the people of Leyte and Southern Leyte who have been braving the rains and floods for the past week,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDFP-EV spokesperson.
“The people in the Samar provinces are also endangered by the continuous rains and floods. The Aquino government should have been prepared for such a calamity to which the region is vulnerable based on past experiences. But the incompetence and neglect of the Aquino regime is once again highlighted by evacuations going on only at the height of the rains and floods, and the woeful unpreparedness to deal with tens of thousands of evacuees.”
Fr. Salas said the Aquino government had abandoned the people in favor of the military and the fake development program of the conditional cash transfer scheme.
“The people are up in arms already because social services including disaster preparedness have suffered budget cuts under the Aquino government. Speaking of priorities, the Aquino government can afford to neglect the people while sprucing up the military to implement all-out war under Oplan Bayanihan. The bulk of social spending is also going to the conditional cash transfer scheme, which is nothing more than a dole-out program to hoodwink and placate the people in the absence of genuine development as well as deteriorating living conditions.”
The NDFP-EV spokesperson also said the Aquino regime’s development paradigm, including a centerpiece large-scale mining program, is bound to worsen poverty and natural calamities.
“Eastern Visayas is no stranger to floods and landslides. In the past two decades, in Leyte Island alone, massive death and destruction have swept Ormoc City, Panaon Island and St. Bernard. But these are bound to recur because the Aquino government is tied to neoliberal globalization and its subjection of the economy to depending on exports of raw materials through mining, logging and cash crops. This means keeping the economy backward and the people poor in denying genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. But this also means the denudation of forests, destruction of watersheds and waterways, and soil erosion – the recipe for calamitous flooding and the long-term effects of climate change.”
Fr. Salas called on the revolutionary forces to attend to the people in need because of the calamity and for unity against large-scale mining and logging and other causes of environmental destruction and disasters.
“The NDFP-EV supports the people in their plight and calls on the Aquino government to heed the people’s legitimate demands for disaster relief and rehabilitation in lieu of militarization and the deceptive conditional cash transfer scheme.
“Furthermore, the New People’s Army in their respective areas of responsibility can mobilize the people to assist those adversely affected by the rains and floods. It is also the duty of the NPA to enforce the people’s democratic government’s banning of large-scale mining and logging, and to punish the companies and other plunderers who harm the people and the environment.
“The NDFP-EV supports the struggle of the people against large-scale mining and logging in Leyte and elsewhere in the region, and urges perseverance in the struggle for socio-economic reforms to achieve fundamental changes towards protecting the people and the environment.”