Communist Party of the Philippines
Over the past several months, several million workers, peasants, fisherfolk, minority peoples, low rank professionals and ordinary employees have fallen victim to one calamity after another, both natural and government-made.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and all revolutionary forces commiserate with the downtrodden masses whose lives have been devastated or otherwise gravely affected by the successive disasters:
the torrential rains of August 19-20 which inundated large parts of the Cavite and Laguna provinces, as well as the southern and western parts of Metro Manila, displaced hundreds of thousands of families, destroyed crops and private property and caused scores of deaths. A few days earlier, rains brought about by Typhoon Maring flooded parts of Cagayan and other northern Luzon provinces resulting in damage to crops and other sources of people’s livelihood.
the more than one-month long armed siege, aerial and mortar bombing launched by the Aquino regime and its armed forces on September 8 against the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City which displaced hundreds of thousands of people from their communities and sources of livelihood, endangered the lives of civilians, razed homes and resulted in a large-scale humanitarian crisis that remain unresolved close to two months since, where tens of thousands have been forced to live in an evacuation camp and prevented from returning to their lands.
the torrential rains of September 22-23 which flooded large parts of Olongapo City, as well as other towns in Bataan province, triggered landslides and mudflows. Scores were killed and an outbreak of leptospirosis has infected nearly 500 people.
the strong winds brought about by hurricane Santi which swept across Central Luzon last October 12-13 and caused widespread damage to agriculture and fisheries worth at least P3 billion, including massive damage to ricelands in Nueva Ecija, as well as public infrastructures in Aurora, Tarlac, Bulacan and other provinces.
the magnitude 7.2 earthquake which has caused massive damage to public and private infrastructure in Bohol, Cebu and other Visayas provinces, isolated entire towns, caused massive shortages in food and other daily supplies and killing at least 130 people.
Tens of thousands have also been victimized by floods and mudflows in various provinces of the country over the past several months during the rainy season.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounces the Aquino regime for its gross failure to sufficiently prepare for calamities and refusal to carry out efforts to mitigate the effects of natural disasters. Such grave incompetence has resulted in an unnecessarily large number of deaths and damage to property.
After three years in power, the Aquino regime has yet to achieve anything noteworthy in terms of disaster prevention and preparedness. It has yet to embark on any major flood-control infrastructure program in the national capital region, as it is busy renegotiating contracts for maximum kickbacks. Instead, it has allowed its big business friends to build malls and high-rise condominiums which block waterways and fill these with concrete. Experts have long put forward blueprints for flood control of the national capital as well as other cities. All these remain unacted upon.
The Aquino regime has no plan to carry out any massive environmental regeneration program to revive the forests and desilt the rivers, canals and other waterways and lakes as long-term solution to prevent massive floods, landslides and mudflows. Instead, it continues to attract mining companies by providing tax and investment incentives and allowing them greater freedom to exploit and plunder our natural resources and cause grave damage to the environment.
The Aquino regime’s allocation of P7 billion for disaster preparedness is extremely small relative to the scores and hundreds of billions of pesos allotted for pork barrel spending of its political allies, for foreign debt servicing and the unbudgeted discretionary funds controlled by Aquino, otherwise known as the presidential pork. In the face of the utter lack of preparedness, the reactionary regime under Aquino is always left gaping and unable to effectively confront the disasters.
Worse, Aquino is now justifying his presidential pork barrel by claiming the need for flexibility in disaster response, when in the first place, not enough funds have been allocated for disaster preparedness and prevention. Aquino is deviously using the thin budget slices for calamity spending to conceal the large chunks of corruption-laden pork barrel and discretionary funds.
The reactionary regime’s disaster-preparedness infrastructure is close to nil compared to the massiveness of the recent disasters as well as those bound to hit the Philippines. The Aquino regime’s concept of preparing for disasters is not much more than buying body-bags and stacking up on 2-day rations of groceries. Rescue equipment are sorely lacking. Many of these, including lifeboats, are substandard and are now decommissioned.
The Aquino government lacks the necessary transport system for emergency and post-disaster response. Almost always, Aquino fail to deliver urgently needed supplies such as food, water and temporary shelter to disaster victims. Most recently, a week after the tragic October 14 earthquake, relief supplies have yet to reach several towns of Bohol made inaccessible by damaged bridges and roads.
Aquino and his PR officials, as well as its social welfare department and local government units exhibit extreme contempt of calamity victims when they make the people line-up for hours under the heat of the sun for food and water, reducing them to beggars of government alms. In carrying-out its siege in Zamboanga City, the Aquino regime forcibly evacuated close to 120,000, razed their homes through bombardments and prevented them from returning to their sources of livelihood. The Aquino government failed to provide the people with decent temporary shelter and forced them live under makeshift tents in the middle of a field. Families were provided only with one cooked meal a day, a can of sardines and small amount of uncooked rice. Similarly in Bohol and Cebu, people are provided with no emergency shelter forcing tens of thousands of people who lost their homes in the earthquake to live in the streets.
The Filipino people seek safety from natural calamities and man-made disasters. This is a social guarantee that the broad masses of the people demand of the ruling Aquino government. In exchange for the taxes they pay, the people expect the government to guarantee their safety and welfare. Ultimately, the ruling government is responsible for the preventable calamities and disasters.
It is not perchance that millions of Filipinos become victims of disasters and calamities. The reactionary government has utterly neglected and set aside safety and environmental standards in exchange for bribes and kickbacks. It has undertaken neither short term measures such as erecting the necessary infrastructure for flood control; nor long-term measures for flood prevention.
The broad masses of workers and peasants, fisherfolk and mountain settlers, have more and more become prone to disasters as a result of the anti-people and all-out liberalization program implemented by the Aquino and all other previous regimes.
The Filipino people stand on solid and just ground in demanding the reactionary Aquino government to undertake massive flood-prevention programs including nationwide forest regeneration efforts, banning large-scale and commercial logging for export, mass reforestation, putting a stop to large-scale mining operations, desiltation of all major rivers and lakes in the country, the construction of modern canals and sewerage system and dams for flood-control, in-city relocation programs for urban poor communities, modernization of garbage disposal and collection systems and others.
The Filipino people must further demand the government to extend all-out humanitarian assistance to victims and survivors of natural and man-made disasters. They demand sufficient supplies to address their need for food, water and temporary shelter, until such a time that the victims can resume normal lives. They demand a system of distribution that guarantees their dignity and welfare, ensures the needs of the orphans, the elderly, the handicapped and single parents and rely on the mobilization of people’s organizations where they exists and the setting-up of such organizations where there are none.
In areas under the jurisdiction of the people’s democratic government, the people’s mass organizations and their revolutionary authorities carry-out programs to prepare for natural calamities. They demand a stop to mining, logging and other commercial activities that destroy and despoil the environment and their land.
Where calamities occur, the people’s organizations are among the first responders to undertake rescue and relief operations and carry out rahabilitation and reconstruction. In areas gravely hit by calamities, Red fighters of the NPA can immediately change mode and organize themselves into rescue and relief brigades to help assist the masses. This is in stark contrast to how the reactionary armed forces persist on carrying out “counter-insurgency” operations even in areas devastated by calamities and natural disasters, such as those areas devastated by typhoon Pablo in December 2012. Aid and supplies contributed by private individuals and groups, as well as by foreign aid agencies, non-government organizations and government organizations are coursed through these organizations ensuring that these directly reach the intended recipients. In contrast, aid supplies in the hands of the government often are used as props for PR-gimmicks of officials out to take advanta
The revolutionary forces fully support the demands of the Filipino people for the reactionary government to undertake large-scale disaster prevention and preparedness. The CPP support the Filipino people in raising protest against the Aquino regime that has proved itself ill-prepared, incapable and inutile. Under the Aquino regime, natural and man-made calamities have become more disastrous than ever.
The CPP calls on the Filipino people to rise up more vigorously than ever against the anti-people Aquino regime. They must protest the scarce supply of emergency supplies and oppose and denounce the scornful and contemptuous system of distribution. The CPP urges the Filipino people, whether or not they have been victims of the massive floods, earthquakes and armed siege of the AFP, to stand up and protest the Aquino regime’s inability to prevent the calamities to becoming disasters and catastrophes.