MANILA -- A group of survivors of super typhoon "Yolanda" on Thursday slammed President Benigno Aquino III for rejecting calls to give them P40,000 worth of financial assistance.
Speaking to radio dzMM on Thursday, People Surge Movement chairperson Sister Editha Eslopor said they were "very very disappointed" with Aquino's statement that cash would not last long to address the needs of the calamity victims.
"Ano ba ang magiging pangmatagalan na solusyon ng 40,000 na yan? So yon hindi ko nakita... Gaano katagal kaya nila mapapangtustos yon sa kanilang pamilya. Maitatayo kaya nila yung pamamahay nila?" Aquino told reporters on Wednesday.
According to Eslopor, they were not expecting that the President would deliver such statement.
"Para bang yung pagpunta namin wala nang kabuluhan. Pinahirapan kami nang pumunta kami sa Malacañang, hindi kami tinanggap, pinagpasa-pasa kami. Tapos ito lang yung magiging response niya?" she said.
"Naghirap mag-ambag-ambag ang mga tao para lang makapunta ang representatives tapos yun lang pala ang sasabihin niya, na hindi niya maibibigay," she added.
She also expressed dismay over Aquino's snide remarks against the typhoon victims who recently staged a protest action in Mendiola to complain about the alleged slow pace of government's reconstruction efforts.
Aquino had said, "Baka dapat huwag na lang akong magkomentaryo dahil tila naasikaso nilang pumunta dito, pwede naman sigurong maasikaso yung pangkabuhayan nila doon."
'We can't just wait til we die of hunger'
Eslopor said the People Surge Movement, which consisted of around 12,000 Yolanda survivors, did what they had to do to let the President know their suffering.
"Kung sila ay hindi nagbibingi-bingihan, nagbubulag-bulagan sa mga kapatid nilang naghihirap, hindi na siguro kami pupunta sa Manila. Pero sa ginagawa nila na hindi nila pinapakinggan...marami na po ang nagugutom."
"Anong gagawin? Hindi pwedeng maghintay ka na lang na mamatay sa gutom, mamatay sa kahirapan. Kailangang kumilos din," she said.
Eslopor, who lost her brother-in-law during the typhoon's onslaught in November last year, said many calamity victims in far-flung areas in Leyte have yet to receive aid until now.
She questioned why the administration is not willing to provide them cash assistance, noting that the country has received large amounts of donations from foreign countries and international organizations.
"Kung hindi makikinig ang administration, tuluy-tuloy ang mass action... Kasi alam po namin na marami silang (foreign countries and international organizations) ibinigay na tulong. Bakit hindi nakakarating sa malalayong lugar?" she said.
PNoy 'arrogant, insensitive, brat'
Meanwhile, Anakbayan defended the calamity victims and said all their demands to the Aquino administration are "just."
The group described Aquino as an "arrogant, insensitive, haciendero brat-turned president" and said the Presidert's failure to provide the victim's needs was an insult to all the Filipinos as well as the international community which helped in relief operations.
"We would like to remind the president that the relief fund for the Yolanda victims is not his money. The victims and the people should be the ones to decide where the money should be spent and how, not his gang of pork and kurakot friends in the Palace," Anakbayan said.
"We support the victims of Yolanda in as they rise up in protest and demand accountability, justice," it added.
Anakbayan also challenged Aquino, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, and Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Ping Lacson to live without food and water in the substandard bunkhouses the government built in typhoon-ravaged Eastern Visayas.