Monday, January 6, 2014

Group calls for transparency, people’s participation in Yolanda rehab plan

Yolanda bunkhouse
January 6, 2014

Amidst reports and allegations of overpriced and substandard temporary shelters for Yolanda survivors, the Region 8 chapter of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called for transparency and people’s participation in the implementation of the rehabilitation and reconstruction plan.

“We are victims of disasters not once but twice. First of climate change-spawned supertyphoon Yolanda and now of the greed-induced calamity of corruption,” said Judy Torres, PM regional coordinator and chair of the Tacloban City federation of tricycle drivers and operators associations.

Torres has seen the controversial bunkhouses since some are being built near his home and he does not believe they can cost almost a million each. He also attests to the fact that the contractors are not locals and even the laborers came from Mindanao.

He added that “Every cent of the USD 8.17 billion Reconstruction Assistance of Yolanda must be spent to meet the immediate and long-term needs of survivors. The participation of people’s organizations should be institutionalized in the plan and they can serve as watchdogs against graft and corruption.”

Torres called on the Philippine government, international aid groups and donor countries to dialogue with grassroots labor and people’s organizations. He also asked that locals be employed as workers with decent jobs as a guideline.

Led by Torres, the tricycle drivers of Tacloban are spearheading a campaign demanding decent jobs, social protection and people’s participation as bedrocks of the Yolanda rehabilitation plan. To signal the launch of the campaign, last December 30 a motorcade of a hundred tricycles garbed in posters with the message “Make jobs a priority in Yolanda rehab,” went around Tacloban and were warmly received by typhoon survivors. A representative of the International Labor Organization observed and documented the campaign launch.

In a manifesto of the tricycle and trisikad drivers in Tacloban, Hilongos and Baybay, the groups explained that prior to the onslaught of Yolanda, they already were living poor, miserable lives since transporting people through motorized and non-motorized vehicles for hire was their only source of income. The groups’ priority demand is decent jobs because it is a guarantee to a person’s long-term security and a life of dignity.

Torres declared that that since current extreme weather systems are the awful outcome of climate change caused by unrestrained economic activities of industrial countries thus more than the humanitarian aspect, developed countries have the historical, moral, and social responsibility to come to the aid of Yolanda survivors.

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