Calamity survivors must denounce Duterte’s corruption and wanton infra spending
The Filipino people, especially the millions of survivors of supertyphoon Odette, are outraged at the claim of Rodrigo Duterte that state funds have been depleted and that there is no money left for rehabilitation and reconstruction of devastated areas.
Duterte is clearly lying. The Commission on Audit revealed today that up to ₱1.4 trillion in government funds released to large infrastructure projects are lying idle and being wasted.
He later ordered the release of ₱4 billion from the Office of the Executive Secretary, an amount that is sorely insufficient to quickly bring millions of people back on their feet. Several billions of pesos more are needed to aid the people in reconstructing their homes and rebuilding their lives.
In the face of this disaster, billions of so-called intelligence and discriminatory funds should be immediately released. Billions set for the highly questionable spending of the NTF-Elcac must be realigned for reconstruction in the coming weeks and months. Funds for its so-called “barangay development program” must be released to the hundreds of barangays that suffered from utter devastation.
It all likelihood, Duterte and his minions have stashed away billions of pesos of government funds as preparation for next year’s elections. Duterte is known among the bureaucrat capitalist circles for hiding his loot in China leaving his minions with little to share among themselves. In the face of the recent disaster, LGUs are left to fend for themselves and depend on private donations.
Duterte has bankrupted the Philippine government by plundering the people’s money through overpriced government purchases, onerous and anomalous infrastructure projects, and squandering billion of pesos for costly military equipment and operations.
As a result, the efforts of the Duterte government amid the widespread disaster is grossly lacking. Millions of people are left with no homes or damaged houses, no electricity, no services and no telecommunication services. People are left with no jobs and no sources of income as the economic infrastructure was leveled. Agricultural fields have been wasted leaving hundreds of thousands of people at the brink of hunger.
The people who suffered the brunt of the supertyphoon are now becoming victims twice over as they are being practically abandoned by Duterte. To the disaster survivors, there is practically no government. It is a good thing that private groups and social movements are coming together to pool all possible resources to help assist the victims. But these efforts will not be enough without a major mobilization of state resources.
Survivors of the supertyphoon must get organized and make their voices be heard: not to plea for succor, but to demand the government to perform its duty amid the widespread disaster.