Philippines: Gov't fails the people, the people must step in

People's Caravan taking aid to those in need, initated by the PLM and other grassroots groups.

The statement below was released by the Party of the Labouring Masses, a Filipino party of the marginalised and poor. You can donate to the grassroots relief efforts the PLM is part of organising.

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Local governance in affected areas has all but collapsed, buried beneath the gargantuan rubble of devastation in areas hardest hit by super typhoon Yolanda. The national government in Manila has resorted finger-pointing, dilly-dallying and press releases to appease the brewing national sentiment of frustration and exasperation on government’s inaction and ineffectiveness.

Malacanang’s initial response had been to send in armed troops to re-establish "authority" -- that is, to protect the property of the rich and business interests. Tonnes of relief goods and billions of dollars of aid have been sent by the international community, but these all sit in warehouses and relief stations and have not been delivered to the people.

Almost a week since the unprecedented calamity hit the central Philippines on November 8, almost nothing has been done by government to ease the suffering of our people.

The corrupt system of elite governance in the country has proven its incapacity to lead the Filipino people. The traditional politicians, the political dynasties of elite clans, these rent-seeking rulers who exist and persist parasitically on the gangrene of poverty and underdevelopment have proven themselves unworthy of continued leadership in our country.

More than the natural calamity itself, this failure of governance is tantamount to a national disaster. It is time they all move over and move out. It is time the masses of the people themselves take over.

The PLM calls on the Filipino nation for a people’s response to this "national disaster". Let us take it upon ourselves, we, the people’s volunteers -- workers, students, teachers and counsellors, engineers, medics and first aid workers, humanitarian aid professionals, everyone with a heart and mind for the good of our people -- let us mobilise our collective resources and take the "open roads" from Manila and nearby provinces to Samar-Leyte and to all areas that took the brunt of the tempest Yolanda, in a "People’s Caravan" of relief, rehabilitation and rebuilding.

We must act now and act fast. Our countrymen need us.

The People’s Caravan initiated by the PLM, a national political party of the marginalised, is but a start, a miniscule gesture of expressing our compassion for our countrymen. But more than that, it is an expression of our disgust.

As we now trek the roads leading to Samar-Leyte, more groups have already expressed desire, with some already organising contingents, to join follow up sorties of relief convoys of the People’s Caravan.

We will not stop here. More than relief goods, we bring hope for a new paradigm of people’s governance sans the parasitic and corrupt elite, the trapos, the rent-seekers, the landlords, the warlords, all oppressors of our people.

We will not fail the Filipino people.

Donations can be sent to: Transform Asia Gender and Labor Institute
Account No. 304-2-304004562
Swift Code: MBTCPHMM
Metrobank, Anonas Branch Aurora Blvd., Project 4
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Email: transform.asia1@gmail.com
Mobile/cell No. +63(0)9088877702
PayPal donations can be made here: http://transform-asia.org/

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