Philippines: A call for grassroots flood aid

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The flooding in the Philippines after Typhoon Ketsana has displaced hundreds of thousands. The left-wing Power of the Masses Party (PML) is calling for donations to help in relief work (see below for details).

The PML said: "Despite the billion-peso budget allocated to the Department of National Defense and the National Disaster Coordinating Council for calamity response, these agencies can only afford a meager supply of rubber boats and rescue materials.

"We are getting reports from our members that the victims, particularly in Marikina and Pasig, have to themselves brave the strong currents and rescue family members from the raging waters."

An October 5 statement from the KMU union centre said that while ordinary people "have been generous in giving material support to those affected, the government is only giving out loans".

As displaced survivors struggle for food, the government has threatened to arrest anyone who blocks food convoys.

PLM chairperson Sonny Melencio said in an October 3 statement: "The government has failed to provide food to its own people, despite support coming in from various governments abroad ... We say 'Don't arrest the people who are desperate for food! Arrest those in government who deny them their right to food!'

"What is most apparent is the absence of government. It's ordinary people, mobilized by peoples organizations, the media, NGOs and the church who have been out providing the flood survivors with assistance.

"This government, riddled by inefficiency born of corruption, is incapable of conducting an effective relief operation."

On October 7, Melencio said: "Poverty worsens the impact of disasters. Therefore effective disaster response must be pro-poor.

"Disasters can be mitigated by solving the housing problems of the poor, so that they live in well-built homes. It means providing basic services, free of care, such as health care and medicines, clean tap water and sanitation services."

To help with grassroots relief work, the PLM is requesting people donate to the Transform Asia NGO. Please indicate donations are for "flood relief". Note: all donations should be made in Australian dollars.

Donate to Transform Asia;
Account number: 3042 304 004 562;
Swift code MBTCPHMM;
Bank name Metro Bank
Address: Anonas Branch, Caly Building, Aurora Blvd cnr Castillo St, Project 4, Quezon City, Metro Manila.
Transform Asia office: 25 F Calderon St, Project 4, Q.C. Metro Manila, Philippines.