APCHRP: Funds for red-tagging, vanity projects should instead be used for typhoon relief efforts
Following the string of typhoons that struck the Philippines – Typhoon Quinta, Typhoon Rolly, Typhoon Siony, and now, Typhoon Ulysees – that massive loss of homes, livelihood and life in Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, and National Capital Region, the Asia-Pacific Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (APCHRP) calls on the Philippine government to cut wasteful spending and devote freed up resources to relief and rehabilitation.
The government’s Php3.6 billion allotment for the Typhoon Rolly recovery efforts pales in comparison to the Php6 billion damage the powerful typhoon left in its wake in the Bicol region alone.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) pegged the total amount of damages caused by the super typhoon at Php11 billion in both infrastructure and agriculture loss.
This includes over 67 health facilities destroyed with most of these establishments located in rural areas and are the only sources of healthcare for these remote communities.
There was also a Php4.6 billion loss in agricultural goods recorded as a result of both Rolly and Typhoon Quinta, which battered the Philippines before it. At a time when Filipino farmers are already suffering from disadvantageous market prices brought on by unfair trade laws, such as the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) for example, the devastation worsens their plight.
As of this time, the damages by Typhoon Ulysees are yet to be determined.
The Philippines faces a state of calamity not just due to severe weather phenomena, but because of a humanitarian crisis as well. This is why we urge the Duterte administration to devote all resources to the humanitarian recovery efforts.
It makes no sense to devote Php19 billion into the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) with a track record of fake news and baseless red-tagging of activists and other civilians.
That Php19 billion encompasses the total amount of damages left by all three previous to Typhoon Ulysees. Those funds will be of better use in providing medical supplies, creating temporary evacuation centres, rebuilding transport infrastructure, and giving relief to affected farmers.
Another example of wasteful spending the Duterte government made was the Php389 million artificial “white sand” beach in Manila Bay.
This vanity project of Environment Secretary and retired military general Roy Cimatu serves no practical purpose. Had that Php389 million been spent on humanitarian efforts instead, or had been saved to aide in the typhoon relief efforts, it would have been a much better use of taxpayers’ funds.
At a time of national suffering, when so many of impoverished Filipinos have been displaced, the APCHRP calls on the Duterte government to dedicate all available resources into the relief efforts rather than to the anti-people operations of the NTF-ELCAC or useless vanity projects. ###
Reference: Sister Patricia Fox, APCHRP Spokesperson