Government pressed to allot P 5,000 econ relief to victims of typhoon “Maring”

Government pressed to allot P 5,000 econ relief to victims of typhoon “Maring”

The fisherfolk activist federation Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday urged the national government to set aside an economic relief package amounting to P 375 million to victims of typhoon “Maring” in Central Luzon or P 5,000 per family for the 70,000 families displaced by the typhoon in 5 provinces in Central Luzon.

As of yesterday, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said Maring affected 69,509 families or 357,057 people in 305 villages in 27 towns and one city in Zambales, Bataan, Tarlac, Pampanga and Bulacan provinces.

The NDCC said floods affected at least 28 villages in Botolan, San Felipe and San Marcelino towns and Olongapo City in Zambales; 125 villages in Apalit, Guagua, Sasmuan, Floridablanca, Masantol, Lubao, Bacolor, Mexico and Arayat in Pampanga; 45 villages in Balagtas, Calumpit, Guiguinto, Marilao, Meycauayan and San Miguel in Bulacan; and 90 villages in Pilar, Morong, Hermosa, Dinalupihan, Abucay, Samal and Bagac in Bataan.

The NDCC said Maring caused P20.999 million in damages to agriculture in Pampanga, Zambales, Bataan and Tarlac. It added that rains and floods damaged bridges and roads in San Antonio and San Marcelino in Zambales; and Bacolor and Floridablanca in Pampanga.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said these villages affected by storm “Maring” are mostly farming and fishing communities, and placed the affected farmers and fisherfolk to about 52,000 families or 260,000 individuals.

“The government should address the immediate needs of the affected people, and go beyond the usual charity work and seasonal delivery of relief goods. The allocations of taxpayers’ money should go on this direction that would provide working rural people with quick economic relief and coupled with production subsidies to keep the wheel of production in the rural areas,” said Hicap.

Hicap added: “Let me remind President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that the victims of typhoon Maring are not begging alms, and she should not compel them to chase PNP trucks loaded with relief goods along the flooded waters of Central Luzon for a kilo of rice and three cans of sardines like what she did last Friday in Guaga, Pampanga.”

The Pamalakaya leader said an oversight committee or a monitoring task force composed anti-corruption watchdogs, respectable non-government organizations and people’s associations, including church people should be formed to oversee, if not monitor the implementation of the program to prevent corrupt practices and grandstanding of Malacanang and pro-Arroyo politicians.

“These public funds should benefit the public and not the ring leaders and rabid followers of the ruling gangland in Malacanang. This is one way of ensuring that these funds go the proper beneficiaries in the name of genuine service of the Filipino people,” Hicap said.

Aside from the P 5,000 economic relief package, Hicap said the government should also set aside enough funds for the rehabilitation of Central Luzon agriculture and fisheries devastated by typhoon Maring since last week.

The Pamalakaya leader aside from repair of roads and highways and other public infrastructures, rehabilitation efforts should include grants to farmers and small fisherfolk who production tools were destroyed of washed by the flashfloods that hit Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga and Bulacan. Hicap said, the grant will allow farmers and fishermen to procure farm tools and fishing gears, so they could attend to their work and resume production. #

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