November 8, 2013.
The most powerful storm to make landfall in history.
1, 473, 251 families affected.
6, 300 dead.
It has already been three years since the destructive typhoon hit our shores and yet majority of those affected are still reeling from its effects. Most of our fellow Filipinos struggle on a day-to-day to pick up the pieces and they have done so over the past three years. They have tried to rebuild their lives on their own or with very minimal assistance from OUR previous government.
I remember at the height of this year’s election when Mar Roxas gallantly paraded that 93% of Yolanda rehabilitation projects under the DILG has been completed (http://news.abs-cbn.com/halalan2016/focus/03/20/16/fact-check-93-of-dilg-projects-for-yolanda-completed). This includes evacuation centers, municipal halls, public markets, and multi-purpose halls. His claim may be partly true as stated in a fact-check done by ABS-CBN. He claims that by this virtue alone, he has done what he can do in his capacity. That is true.
However during a recent inspection by Vice President Robredo, she called for an audit of the Yolanda’s government housing project after discovering that only 1% have been completed (http://www.philstar.com/nation/2016/09/18/1624843/robredo-only-1-houses-yolanda-victims-completed). Her frustration can be felt when she said “I am disappointed because it is called emergency shelter response, but three years after Yolanda, it is still not there.” It is frustrating that out of the 205, 000 families who needed it the most, we only had a measly 2, 500 families who had proper shelter as of September 18, 2016.
If you still do not get it, let me put it bluntly. What is the use of having a municipal hall or a public market when the basic RIGHT for shelter is not even there for the Yolanda victims?
The point is simple – the previous administration failed the Yolanda victims dramatically when it came to providing a decent home for every family. The very slow action on housing, compounded by other issues on poor execution, spoiled relief goods, and politicking, is no match to what was supposedly done. It was more prudent to admit that the PNoy government was not able to properly manage the post-Yolanda rehabilitation. Yes, they could claim that they have done what they could in their capacity but, the bottom line, they failed considering the financial outpouring of support both locally and internationally.
But you know what I find more disturbing, I do not hear any clamor for accountability on this issue despite the glaring revelations that are being presented. I do not see any human rights activists, political groups, concerned citizens, or even millennials calling out those who are responsible for this post-Yolanda tragedy. I am bothered by the deafening silence of the supposed “concerned” Filipinos.
What I cannot comprehend is that how can the previous administration could have let the basic right for shelter be trampled on despite the glaring need for it to be addressed for the past three years. It is interesting to seek accountability on this issue considering that we received a huge amount in assistance for the very purpose of addressing these pressing needs of our fellow Filipinos affected by Yolanda.
So what is my point?
Where is your voice on this issue?
I have seen people raise up their arms, raise their voices, use their power on social media, abuse the “share” buttons on Facebook, and share their thoughts on supposed human rights violation at these times, and even to a dead man, BUT I do not see their supposed voices on this particular issue. Why turn the blind eye on this one and the many other cases of failures that we need previous administration to be accountable for? Why?
I was actually surprised that VP Leni Robredo even raised the issue and even gallantly stated that she will be asking for a government audit. Why am I surprised? Mainly because I did not expect her to go against her political affiliations. But at the time that she made the announcement, I was relieved that it was her own way of showing that she was working for the “laylayan ng lipunan”. But almost two months after the announcement, what happened then? There was complete silence on her end. I think we deserve to know what happened to your findings, VP Leni. I mean, she cannot speak about the “laylayan”, a promise that she branded during the election, and yet turn a blind eye now because of her affiliation. There was no update on this issue even on her achievements as HUDCC head that circulated after she resigned. Don’t you think that this would have made a bigger impact on your achievements more than the meetings that you attended, which I heard was just one by the way. I just hope that this is not one of those issues where you intentionally set aside the “laylayan” because it will have a tremendous effect on the people that you are affiliated to – the very reason why I made a last minute vote switch against you during the last election.
Again, where are the “cool” statement placards on this issue?
When I see people on my timeline or in the news re-posting articles that demand accountability from former Philippine Presidents and even to the alleged EJKs, I excitedly anticipate their stand when issues come up that involve the previous administration. Interestingly, these very same people seem to have a knack to skip the last 6 years in their demand for accountability. I reckon that they either turn a blind eye on it making then accomplices of the previous administration or they were all hibernating somewhere in the past 6 years.
It is the same case that I see in the Yolanda Housing Issue, most of these “concerned and principled” Filipinos, as their claim, stay silent on the issue. I do not see the statement placards. I do not see them re-posting and stating their demand from the Aquino Administration’s accountability. I do not see them going to the streets to demand drivers to make “beep beep” their horns for the victims of Yolanda. They remain silent.
They remain silent despite of the fact that our fellow Filipinos in Leyte were left on their own for the past three years as shown in the housing problem that they face. The problem is glaring at us at the moment and one that you cannot deny.
If you claim to fight for human rights then you have got to do it across all administrations. You cannot demand accountability from one and yet turn a blind eye on another. That is not what you call principles. It is called political partisan.
Such a tragedy after a tragedy, to think that we have not yet talked about where the financial aid that the Philippines received went to.
“Nakakabingi ang katahimikan ninyo.”