Anakbayan Toronto joins Haiyan survivors in seeking justice and BS Aquino accountable

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As Autumn weather creeps into the bones of us living in Ontario and our lifestyle keeping us busy, it can be easy to forget what had happened 365 days ago when the strongest tropical typhoon ever recorded hits the Philippines.

One year after the disaster much still needs to be done. The slow recovery has left massive landlessness leaving people without permanent housing and lack of land to till. Price surge of basic needs for daily living are difficult to attain as the immediate local economy suffers. State accountability has been constantly put forward to Aquino and his government’s response getting lost in its bureaucratic process that does not lead to genuine relief and recovery.

The shock of its impact used to cover TV news reports, newspapers, and radio shows, keeping us on the loop of the disaster. Great loss, devastation, and feelings of helplessness used to overcome us. Much of the media, even recently, have been focused on how terrible the tragedy was through photos of piled up wreckage, death tolls rising while more are displaced. However, much needs to be said about the current situation of those who survived.

President Aquino’s government has failed to adequately and swiftly look after the needs of his fellow Filipinos’ suffering. These abandonment and lack of understanding of effective relief and rebuilding efforts have driven communities into the streets calling injustice for the way many government officials handled – is handling the situation.

While local and international humanitarian organizations and aid are still the more reliable source of rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts, their full and lasting effect have not been felt by all communities as many families are still living in temporary bunkhouses, which are meant to give them shelter in times of emergency.

History proves that trying to resist the political force of the masses is useless. The disaster that is the BS Aquino government which deny justice to the survivors of super typhoon Haiyan, especially in terms of housing and livelihood, prompts us to look at the alternatives beyond the Malacanang Palace’s claim of meeting international standards.

More people are now convinced that to find the solution is to ask the right question first. How are we to adapt to the effects of climate change? Forms of resilience may not be encompassed by current market structures.

Major typhoons have made landfall in areas deemed to be low risk in the past two years which made their impact more devastating due to the lack of preparation and experience. Remember the destruction left by tropical cyclone Bopha in Compostela Valley, Mindanao in 2012 and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol just three weeks after Haiyan. It is the Philippine government and its organizing bodies’ responsibility to develop effective and sustainable evacuation strategies. This has been one of the longstanding call of the population who have been left to rebuild their lives several times annually because of natural calamities.

Something also needs to be said about the collective global responsibility of climate change. Many of us in the West have been made aware of changing climate conditions around the globe through the media. These changing climate patterns are real and they are getting worst. Action is the answer to prevent more human losses and alleviate its effects to our living environment.

Anakbayan-Toronto has been calling for the accountability of President Aquino III and his government to be more transparent on where the flow of local and foreign cash donations and relief goods are going. Have they been used effectively to rebuild and rehabilitate the affected areas?

It is becoming clear that the monies received are going to local officials’ cash coffers under the name of “future developments” or Pork Barrel. The Philippine government have been making a business out of its citizens’ money instead of allotting it for basic social services and emergency disaster response. The Filipino people deserve better treatment from their own government.

We join Haiyan survivors, we urge our Filipino youth in Canada and allies in their inquiry and action for justice. We take courage to confront the fear of turbulent climate crisis as we fight back for the values we hold dear. One year after Super Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall in the Philippines, we commemorate the lives lost and acknowledge the strength of those who have survived.

Justice for the victims and survivors of Typhoon Haiyan!

Down with bureaucrat capitalism!

Oust BS Aquino III!

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