“When Pres. Aquino was lambasted by foreign media for his absence of leadership and lack of resolve during the time of grave crisis, he had the gall to order that the mayor of Tacloban City be investigated when he (BS Aquino) should be charged with criminal neglect and incompetence,“ said the political prisoners in Camp Crame, Quezon City in reaction to BS Aquino’s threat to investigate Tacloban Mayor and other local government units for the casualties in the aftermath of the super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).
In a joint statement issued by political prisoners, Ramon Argente and peace consultants for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Eduardo Sarmiento, Renante Gamara, and Eduardo Serrano, the four said “Aquino should be the one investigated!”
Sarmiento hails from the Eastern Visayas region, where he was political activist since Martial Law.
“He must be accountable to all of these fatal infractions,” said the detainees. “He (BS Aquino) was the one who acted as forecaster a day before the first landfall of the super typhoon and that was all.” According to them, there were no detailed instructions on how to respond to the disaster and how to prepare for the storm surges and the expected danger to lives and properties as forecasted by local and foreign weather bureaus.
“The government was caught flatfooted,” the prisoners said. “There was a breakdown of the basic government functions despite announcements in the tri-media and social media that the government is well-prepared. The government even boasted of its zero-casualty goal,” the prisoners recalled.
The prisoners added, “Many affected areas were completely isolated and people were left to fend for themselves. The government’s ‘no air-drop’ policy left many people hungry and thirsty for days.”
“Human and animal cadavers were not disposed of immediately … Even lines of communications between the different government agencies were not immediately restored… Worst of all, children died due to hunger and cold because no rescue and relief activities reached their place…The government was also very slow in commandeering the needed sea vessels like the RORO’s and barges to support the disaster response tasks despite declaration of a national state of calamity,” the political prisoners said in their statement.
Furthermore, the political prisoners scored the Philippine government for allowing the US troops participating in the rescue and relief operations to take over the Tacloban airport utilizing the major part solely for their air assets making the US troops appear as ‘saviors.’ ###
Reference: Jigs Clamor, SELDA national coordinator, 0917-5965859