Arroyo Placed Philippines in Company of War-Torn, Aid-Dependent Countries

Bayan Muna
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We congratulate President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for placing the Philippines in the blighted company of war-torn, aid-dependent countries like Sudan and Somalia.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer recently reported that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will soon start providing rice rations amounting to 8,160 metric tons to thousands of war-displaced people in Mindanao. Meanwhile, Amnesty International recently reported that the war in Mindanao as “having the highest number of new internally displaced persons worldwide with more than 750,000 people forced out of their homes in the last 17 months of the conflict.

What is appalling is how little the Arroyo administration has done to alleviate the plight of internal refugees generated by its war in Mindanao.

With great fanfare, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro inaugurated his own version of a soup kitchen for the refugees. He further devalued his own propaganda by saying that it is experimental in nature and limited in scope.

As if to rub salt into the wounds of the conflict, Amnesty International reports that the Manila government in June went to the extent of discouraging aid agencies “from giving large quantities of food to displaced persons, in an effort to prevent food from being diverted to the hands of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) or sold to traders.”

We have a government that is creating the largest growing population of internally displaced persons in the world, with no provisions for their food while it lavishes its top officials in million-peso meals abroad!

This is the same callous and insensitive government that showcases noodle soup kitchens while international food donations are being limited, if not totally blocked. (Posted by Bulatlat)

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