Different groups commemorate Yolanda, demand justice for disaster victims


November 8, 2014

Environmental advocates, climate activists, bikers, breastfeeding advocates, and artists led by environmental group Kalikasan PNE, held the Manila Surge activities in Quezon City to commemorate the first year after the Yolanda disaster that affected millions of people in the Visayas regions and Palawan province.

Different biking groups from Metro Manila started the activity with an early morning bike-run around Quezon City Memorial Circle (QCMC).

“This is our little way of being in solidarity with the million victims of Typhoon Yolanda. We know they continue to suffer from the impacts of the devastation. Lack of livelihood and hunger persist in many communities in Tacloban City and Samar provinces,” says Ryan Murillo, one of the bikers and member of cultural group Sining Bugkos.

After the bike run, the group also held a face-painting, story- telling, and cultural performance. Stories of sufferings, survival, and recovery during and after disasters were told to the audience comprised mostly of children and their mothers.

Joanna Almodal, a mother and breastfeeding advocate said that “Mothers and children compose most of the 800,000 reported typhoon victims suffering from psychological trauma and depression. Yet in spite of the tens of billions of pesos allocated for the recovery of the disaster victims, the Aquino government has not provided any psychological support or mental health help program to address this depressing situation. Yolanda and disaster victims need financial, livelihood, health, and psychological support in order to overcome the hardship and trauma Yolanda brought.”

Manila Surge is part of the international event, Global Day of Solidarity for Yolanda Victims. From Tacloban City, Metro Manila, New York, and San Francisco to London, Filipino solidarity groups conducted different activities to commemorate the Yolanda tragedy. In Tacloban City, People Surge held a protest mobilization which was attended by almost 20,000 disaster victims.

“We still remember. Weeks after Yolanda struck Tacloban City and Samar provinces, the world witnessed not only the destruction the typhoon wrought but also the incompetence of the Aquino government in giving immediate relief. Now, a year after, we continue to see how the government fails to provide adequate support to the victims and rehabilitate the Yolanda-affected areas,” explained Clemente Bautista of environmental group Kalikasan PNE.

“President Aquino you are not doing the right thing. One year after Yolanda and tens of billions of pesos fund expended your government only built an insignificant 0.002% of the total houses needed, tens of thousands of victims lives in evacuation centers, majority of those killed have not yet properly identified, hundreds of thousands more are suffering from depression, and people are living with less than $1 a day in affected areas. We are not just cursing you for not doing the right rehabilitation and recovery efforts; we are demanding accountability from your pathetic government!”

“We don’t want to experience another Yolanda tragedy. We must demand accountability from the Aquino government for abandoning its responsibility to prepare people for disasters, rehabilitate communities after the destruction, and help people to recover from tragedies. We must serve justice to the victims of Yolanda,” Bautista ended. ###

Reference: Clemente Bautista, 09228449787

Reference: Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: +63 (2) 924 8756 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net