Thousands of Yolanda (international name Haiyan) survivors marched along the streets of Tacloban on Jan. 25 to protest the lack of government assistance they are receiving, three months after the supertyphoon hit the province.
“This is a people surge — a swelling of the people demanding justice for Yolanda victims and asserting their right to food, housing, livelihood and social services. The massive number of people is proof of their intense discontent over Aquino’s criminal negligence and utter incompetence in looking after the welfare of its people,” Sr. Edita Espolor OSB, chairperson of People Surge, an alliance of Yolanda survivors, said.
Alternative media Pinoy Weekly reported that protesters came from Tacloban and Ormoc City, Tanauan, Palo, and Carigara in Leyte, and Basey, Calbiga, Pinabacdao, Hinabangan, and Sta. Rita in Samar.
Media reports estimated that about 12,000 Yolanda survivors joined the protest action.
Espolor added that there would a series of protest action to express indignation to the lack of support the Yolanda survivors are getting.
In a statement, People Surge demanded a P40,000 ($885) financial assistance per family, scrapping of the “no-build zone” policy and the immediate reconstruction of public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and restoration of electricity and power sources.
In a Philippine Daily Inquirer report, however, Social Welfare secretary Corazon Soliman said there would be no guarantee that Yolanda survivors would need $885 to rebuild their lives, adding that it would set a “bad” precedent should another calamity hit the country.