Saturday, November 30, 2013

‘Relief operations are no justification for increased presence of US troops’

– progressive groups
‘While we welcome all aid extended to our brothers and sisters in the Visayas, we don’t see the necessity of deploying missile cruisers and missile destroyers and, amphibious assault vehicles and other warships.’ – Cristina Palabay, Karapatan
Marya Salamat November 26, 2013
Two weeks after the strongest supertyphoon to make landfall pounded much of Central Philippines and neighboring countries, the number of dead Filipinos are estimated to reach as high as 7,000 (of which more than 5,400 have so far been confirmed), more than 14 million were displaced, about P24-billion ($558 million) worth of infrastructure and agriculture were destroyed, water and electricity services remain cut off in most places — and all these figures may still go higher as the reckoning is not yet over. Local government officials in the affected areas say it would take years to rebuild and rehabilitate. Frameworks for doing that are still being conceptualized as we write, with the United Nations slated to come up with a proposal.
To this day though, the basic and immediate need for relief is still to be addressed. According to peoples’ organizations whose members have been going to Eastern Visayas to distribute relief, conduct medical mission and help in rehabilitation efforts, some villages are being reached only now by aid. reporters noted that despite the heavy presence of able-bodied soldiers, cadavers and ruins still litter various areas, and only the roads and highways could be described as ‘clear’……..

US soldiers bring warships, warplanes, take control and command – officially until Nov 26 – of ‘Operation Damayan’ in storm-ravaged central Philippines (Photo by Pom Cahilog-Villanueva /
On top of the slow and seemingly controlled flow of relief to the victims (the Philippine military and the Department of Social Welfare have reportedly been taking steps to make sure that much of the relief and donations would first pass through them or are centralized to them), the Aquino government is further intensifying militarization in the storm-ravaged areas. The AFP website said that as of Nov. 16, there are ‘12,000 troops on the ground under the Central Command,’ aside from what it called as 3,400 ‘external troops’ and ‘follow on forces’ for augmentation, in Eastern Visayas.
Statements coming from the Communist Party of the Philippines, who claim to have guerrilla bases in the typhoon-ravaged areas and who has commanded its army, the New Peoples Army (NPA), to extend its ceasefire and prioritize rehabilitation work, condemned the Aquino government for continuing to undertake military offensives both in the storm-ravaged areas and in other parts of the Philippines…….
‘Justice and govt accountability, not US bases or more militarization’
‘What the aftermath of Yolanda shows is not the need for greater US military presence in the country, but the need for accountability from the Aquino government. We demand justice over this government’s criminal incompetence in handling Yolanda, not more US troops,’ said Elmer ‘Bong’ Labog, chairman of KMU……
Read more

No comments: