“We have two Filipino traits -- Bayanihan, solidarity, community spirit, and Bahala na, daring, grit & luck,” said Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM). “These will guide our People’s Caravan.”
The People’s Caravan initiative is organised by the PLM (a national political party of the marginalised), the transport workers' union PMT and the Support Tado campaign (a networkt to support TV personality Tado Jimenez for elections in Marikina).
Activists drawn from various sctoris, including workers and the urban poor, women, youth, farmers and fisherfolk, barangay kapitans (roughly local council representatibes), have joined the People's Caravan.
The People's Caravan will leave Manila on November 13 and make its way to Samar and Leyte, gathering solidarity and support along the way, for the typhoon affected communities. The organisers say they have seven trucks and several cars filled with relief goods to begin with and plan to collect more support on the way. (Details on how todonate are at the bottom.)
Melencio said: “Whereever people in the affected areas want relief, we will help them, as we travel. It’s a form of ‘people’s initiative’, to mobilise those in the NCR and areas not directly affected by typhoon Yolanda.
“We believe that the only solution to bring immediate relief to the people in the affected areas and to save and protect lives, is to have a national mobilisation, for the people to step in and help out.
“We left it up to the government to respond, but we are shocked at how deficient the response has been. People still have no food and water, let alone electricity and communication.
“We know that dead bodies are rotting on the streets. Disease will spread. We have no information about the situation in some parts of Leyte outside Tacloban and Samar.
“It’s like this darkness has descended and we have no news from these areas. It seems like Malacanang is not able to respond to a disaster of this magnitude. Local government in the affected areas seem to have collapsed. The president himself has admitted this.
“So it’s now up to the people to step in and do what they can. We have to mobilise the people to help themselves. We can’t expect anyone else to do it for us.
“And these are the basic sectors that have a history of mobilising and organising. They also have the skills needed to work, manage and run all types of programs at the grassroots and barangay level.
“They know how to do this better than any government department bureaucrat sitting in Manila. We are calling on peoples organizations to pool all their skills and resources, which are plentiful, to mobilize and rally to respond to this national crisis and save lives.”
Melencio concluded that “We have more confidence in the power of our people, in our traits of bayanihan and bahala na, than a million government agencies, weakened with corruption and our corrupt political elite and institutions. Bring your own donation, affiliation, politics, whatever, basta makatulong tayo sa tao. Hang on, mga kababayan. Kaya natin ito!”
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