Flood victims cannot accept Aquino’s excuses–CPP

Press Release
August 9, 2012

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today expressed its deepest sympathies to the hundreds of thousands of victims of the floods that inundated wide swathes of the National Capital Region and residential and commercial areas and agricultural lands in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog and caused grave hardships to millions of people in areas as far as Northern Luzon.

“A great majority of the victims are residents of urban poor, middle- and lower-middle class communities and relocation sites whose homes and properties were swept away by floods resulting from several days of torrential rains,” said the CPP. “At least 200,000 people were forced to move to ill-equipped and ill-prepared evacuation centers, typically, public school buildings and gymnasiums.”

“CPP branches and broad progressive and democratic mass organizations exist in a big number of these communities,” said the CPP. “Party cadres and mass activists carried out rescue efforts and organized community evacuation efforts. In Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog, units of the New People’s Army (NPA) were immediately mobilized to provide assistance to the flood victims.”

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“Despite several days of inclement weather and rising flood waters, both national and local government agencies were largely unable to mobilize enough resources to carry out expeditious rescue operations and provide sufficient accomodations for flood victims,” said the CPP.

“Yesterday, Benigno Aquino III and his senatorial candidates for the 2013 elections, distatesfully displayed crass politicking when they lined themselves up to distribute bags of food and water amidst widespread desperation,” said the CPP. “He could only offer lame excuses such as claiming that weather forecasts and flood alert warnings are too technical and could not be understood by ordinary people. Behind the criticism of weather forecasts, he wanted, in fact, to blame the victims for not seeking higher ground despite the flood warnings.”

“These excuses are simply not acceptable to the Filipino people and victims of floods whose sufferings are worsened by the gross inability of the Aquino government to prepare and mobilize the people in the face of impending and ongoing calamities, as well at its failure to carry out the necessary measures to prevent such great floods,” added the CPP.

The CPP cited “clear proofs of the failure of the Aquino regime to prioritize efforts to prevent and prepare for widespread disasters.” Among others, it said:

(1) Preparing for disasters is not among the priorities of the Aquino regime, as shown by its failure to organize the safe evacuation of the people and grave lack of facilities to provide comfort to the flood victims. In a statement issued by Aquino last December, he dissuaded government agencies “against using the Calamity Fund for pre-disaster activities, such as the preparation of relocation sites or facilities, and the training of personnel directly involved in disaster management.”

(2) Since the 2009 Ondoy floods, the reactionary government now headed by Aquino has failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the repeat of such destruction. Among others, it has failed to put a stop to the greedy practice of hydroelectric companies to accumulate water to dangerous levels (which lowers their costs of production of electricity), only to open the flood gates at the last moment and release large volumes of water that floods rivers and waterways.

(3) The Aquino regime has failed to carry out significant efforts at reforestation as this runs contrary to its priority of attracting foreign companies to undertake mining operations in denuded mountainous areas.

(4) Despite longstanding demands by the people of Laguna and Metro Manila, the reactionary government has yet to take the first step to desilt Laguna Bay as it seems to be more concerned with ensuring its kickbacks in the project contracts.

(5) The Aquino regime has yet to undertake any large-scale efforts to desilt other major riverways and rehabilitate or construct waste disposal systems, canals and floodways, as these are not attractive profit-making projects that would entice foreign investors to join its Public-Partnership Program.

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