UN told: Don’t channel relief aid to Malacanang
By Billy Javier Reyes and Bb. Joyce Cabral
The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday appealed the United Nations (UN)to channel funds for Ondoy victims to the respected and highly trusted people’s organizations and non-government organizations in the Philippines and not to the Macapagal-Arroyo government, asserting that global people’s hard earned money in the form of financial aid and economic relief will be put into extreme danger if it is placed in the hands of the present government.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap was referring to the $75-million flash drive to victims of tropical storm Ondoy.
“In the name of truth, justice and accountability, please do not put or expose the world people’s money in extreme danger by giving these funds for Ondoy victims to the corrupt government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Everybody knows the checkered history and oustanding record of the present Palace occupant when it come to corruption. Please hear our appeal,” said Hicap.
In asserting his call to UN, Hicap cited a report alleging that Malacanang impounded P 140 billion fund that could have been instead utilized to increase the dwindling calamity fund rather than wait for the P 10-billion supplemental budget currently pending at Congress.
Hicap said the P140-billion in available funds whhere impounded through transfers from budget of various government agencies last year. The Pamalakaya leader also cited the P 800 million emergency relief fund which was used to finance the foreign trips of President Arroyo.
“These records of corruption and financial chaos of the Arroyo government are strong prima facie evidence enough to convince UN that all funds from foreign donors should not go Malacanang, and instead to genuine and highly trusted groups working for the interest and welfare of the people, he added.
The Pamalakaya official agreed to the proposal of Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano that all donations should be channeled to genuine people’s organizations and institutions, who will ensure that all these funds and other relief support will go directly to the victims of typhoon Ondoy.
The United Nations has launched a “flash appeal” for $75 million in international aid to help the victims of tropical storm “Ondoy” (international name: Ketsana).
“The Flash Appeal seeks to generate funds in key sectors including food, shelter, water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency telecommunications and logistics, child protection, coordination and camp management,” UNICEF executive Director Ann Veneman said during its launch Wednesday.
The money will be used to fund agricultural and early recovery programs.
Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., Agriculture secretary Arthur Yap and Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral attended the launch as representatives of the Philippine government.
“The brutal and corrupt regime of President Arroyo is exploiting the humanitarian crisis to access more funds by capitalizing on the calamity-stricken conditions of the people. The UN should see this very obvious and highly visible desire and monetary carnal of the Arroyo government and its league of extraordinary corrupt officials,” said Pamalakaya.