Subject: NZ Solidarity Groups to PH Govt: BUILD BACK BETTER FOR POOR VICTIMS, NOT JUST BUSINESS

Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2015 19:52:15 +1300

From: CAFCA

Reply-To: cafca@chch.planet.org.nz

Organisation: CAFCA

To: PSNA*

Dear Friends

We wish to thank you again for supporting the People Surge Speaking
Tour last week. We are sharing with you below our statement with
highlights of Efleda Bautista’s meetings.

Some people kindly asked how to support People Surge. We welcome
donations to support People Surge’s campaigns marking the second
anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan. The commemorations will co-incide with
protests against the APEC summit and TPPA in Manila. Around 1,500
victims-survivors are gearing up for the Caravan – March protest all
the way from Eastern Visayas to the Office of the President. Any
amount would be very useful to help them cover transportation and food
costs.

Our account details are as follows:
Account Name: Philippine Solidarity
Account Number: 02-0208-0062905-001
BNZ Onehunga, Auckland branch
Please put in reference: People Surge.

Thanks and regards,
Cameron Walker
Auckland Philippines Solidarity

2 Years After Haiyan:
NZ Solidarity Groups Ask Aquino: BUILD BACK BETTER FOR POOR VICTIMS,
NOT JUST BUSINESS

On 12-17 October 2015, New Zealand Solidarity groups hosted Dr. Efleda
Bautista in a Speaking Tour in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland
dubbed “In the Eye of the Storm: Disaster Politics and Climate Change
in the Philippines.” Bautista, Chairman of People Surge, the alliance
of disaster survivors in the Philippines, highlighted the following
updates in the Haiyan-devastated regions:

. “If you hear about the ‘Build Back Better’ project, clearly the big
business were able to build back better but the poor victims’ need for
housing and livelihood assistance remain neglected. Almost two years
on, many have yet to avail of ‘Emergency Shelter Assistance.’ Aside
from reports of spoiled food packs and expired medicines while in
storage, the Commission on Audit’s report that millions of Haiyan
relief donations are sleeping in banks tells us that the government
sees no urgency in delivering much-needed aid for the people.”

. “Shopping malls were quickly rebuilt while thousands of poor victims
remained in tents and bunkhouses that were supposed to be temporary
shelters. Due to lack of electricity in the “tent cities,” one family
died from fire as they had to use a lamp for light. Only 13 health
facilities have been rebuilt and only 213 classrooms have been
repaired out of the target 19,648 classrooms. The poor live in hand to
mouth existence while waiting for government to deliver long-term
rehabilitation.”

. “While the Aquino government stopped counting the dead at 6,340,
skeletons are still being found until recently. The total requested
number of 30,000 body bags and accounts of 2-3 bodies placed in one
body bag tell us that the number of fatalities is much higher. Such
casualties could have been avoided if the government did its job to
protect the people. Days before Haiyan, government authorities knew
about the coming storm surge but warnings and preparations for such
massive calamity were lacking.”

In Christchurch, Dr. Bautista met with Christchurch city Councillors
and grassroots earthquake and community activists. It was a very
interesting exchange on First World and Third World experience of
massive disasters, and the two governments’ effective and ineffective
responses. She also met some of the Filipino workers recruited to help
rebuild Christchurch, many of whom, sadly, are exploited in the
process.

In Wellington, Dr. Bautista addressed the General Assembly of New
Zealand Council of Trade Unions, forging solidarity links with union
leaders from both the public and private sector. She also met with
Members of Parliament (MPs), from the Green Party, Labour Party and NZ
First.

“MPs from the Greens, New Zealand First and the Labour Party asked
Efleda what we can do in this country to help with this appalling
situation. Efleda asked for us to do our best to reduce carbon
emissions so her country is not subjected to more extreme climate
change-related events, and to ask the Government how our aid money to
Philippines was spent. The second anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan is the
first week of November and we want to remind people that climate
change is an issue of justice. As it unfolds, those without political
and economic power who – organise for their own survival – are at huge
risk. We need to stand with them and show respect for indomitable
organisers like Efleda and for organisations like People Surge,” Green
MP Catherine Delahunty noted.

In Auckland, Dr. Bautista spoke at the Filipino community meeting
jointly organised by Migrante Aotearoa and the Leyte-Samar NZ
Solidarity Foundation Inc. whose members had families affected by
Haiyan. She also addressed a forum at the University of Auckland Law
School, calling on New Zealand law students and activists to build
solidarity links with People Surge.

People Surge is now at the forefront of campaigns for justice for
victims of Haiyan and all disasters. Dr. Bautista stressed the urgency
of supporting the Filipino people especially the Lumad indigenous
people’s struggles to defend Philippine land and waters from plunder
through large-scale mining and logging in order to mitigate the impact
of climate change. We stand with the Lumad as we acknowledge: “The
climate fight will never win without them. The Indigenous People’s
right to land and self- determination is parallel to the preservation
of our ecological frontiers that are helping mitigate the impacts of
climate change. They are fighting for their ancestral domains- our
survival. They are fighting for their lives- our existence. What they
will lose, we will lose. What they nurture, we all benefit.” (From the
26 October Call to Action: “People Over Profits: Stop Lumad Killings)

In November, Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS), Philippines
Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) and Wellington Kiwi Pinoy (WKP)
will be joining the victims-survivors in spirit as they converge on a
Day of Rage Against Neglect to mark the second year of Haiyan tragedy.
We join them in demanding the Aquino government to implement
pro-people rehabilitation instead of allowing disaster capitalism and
politics to deny them opportunities to rise up from Haiyan devastation
and the continuing challenges of climate crisis.

Murray Horton
Secretary, Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA)
Box 2258, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
cafca@chch.planet.org.nz

Cameron Walker
Spokesperson, Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS)
ph.solidarity@gmail.com

Edward Miller
Coordinator, Wellington Kiwi Pinoy
edwardcrmiller@gmail.com