“We should watch out for
corruption on emergency funds,” group said
Submitted by Admin on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 08:38.
The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of
the Philippines) warned of corruption in government raking up funds that
should be used for relief and rehabilitation of victims of typhoon Ondoy.
It has also been reported that the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that
the P800 million emergency fund that should have been used for
disaster-preparedness was used by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on her
“We should all watch out for corruption by the Arroyo government as it has
already been reported that the P800 million emergency fund was used for
her trips abroad. Also, we have futile experience with the Dept. of
Agriculture (DA) when we asked them of support for our members who became
victims of typhoon Frank on June 18, 2008,” said KMP Secretary-General
Danilo Ramos in a press statement.
Last year, typhoon Frank hit worst the region of Panay, where it submerged
about 80% of Iloilo City, caused the death of 200 and 162 missing. Also
the floods affected about 0.25 million individuals or 50,000 families,
adding destruction of crops and infrastructure estimated to reach P500
million in Iloilo and P1 billion in the region.
“Because our members were badly hit by the typhoon, especially our
regional chapter PAMANGGAS (KMP Panay Chapter), we gambled in inquiring
with the Dept. of Agriculture to avail of any emergency resources. DA
officials said that the funds were already at their regional field units,
but when our members inquired at their offices, they said the funds were
still not released,” Ramos said.
In the long run, no member of KMP and of other rural-based group benefited
of the said fund.
The DA reported that P95 million worth of agricultural crops in CALABARZON
were destroyed where P85 million were rice.
“We believe the damage is bigger for the Filipino farmers. The crops such
as rice, vegetables, fruits and more, of our members at Tungkong Mangga,
San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan were totally destroyed. Also, crops cultivated
by our members were destroyed at Sitio Wawa, Bgy. San Rafael, Rodriguez,
Rizal,” said Ramos.
KMP also said that the government has “all-excuses” on their approach of
rescue operations. Amidst numerous reports on radio since morning, there
was still no visible government mobilization and victims were already
asking for help, particularly the use of “rubber boats.” Radio announcers
of succeeding programs have always tried to contact National Disaster
Coordinating Council (NDCC), but failed as lines were busy. About noon,
the situation is already life-threatening to the victims of the flood.
Dept. of National Defense Sec. and NDCC Chair Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. was
quoted on Saturday afternoon telling people to ride the MRT to avoid being
stranded. On early evening, Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte advised
people to “self-rescue” or use their common sense. On late afternoon, it
was reported that the NDCC held their meeting and by dark reported to have
deployed 13 rubber boats for 26 areas of Luzon.
“We see that we are all unprepared for Ondoy. We are on regular monitoring
on PAGASA reports prior, but they only warned of a Signal No. 1 typhoon
and no qualitative report about the rainfall. Also, the government who has
all the resources, where P800 million emergency fund were used by Arroyo
on her trips, acted late,” Ramos said.
“The ordinary people who acted courageously to help others are admirable
and we sympathize to those who lost their loved ones. The lost of lives
should be enough justification for the government and other entities to
look further into the slow reaction for rescue operations. Also, we should
be vigilant of the corruption that would rake funds that should be used
for relief and rehabilitating areas hit by Ondoy,” Ramos called.#