Achieving Happiness

October 8, 2009

To Malacanang: don’t steal from those who have already lost everything

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 1:43 am

sandwichesMoney, money. Gad.

Recent reports state that the donations and pledges for the victims of Tropical Storm Ondoy from other international organizations and from foreign countries have reached more than $13.22 million (or around P615 million).

Would it be too much to demand that Malacanang make a public accounting of how it’s using the funds? Because the donations do not make up a paltry sum (every single peso counts, anyone who has seen the state of the evacuation centers and the plight of the victims will fervently attest) : according to latest reports from the Department of Foreign Affairs,  a total of $7.33 million came from bilateral partners; $3.64 million from multilateral and regional organizations; $283,351 from international organizations, and $150,000 from foreign nongovernment organizations.

Based on a list released by the DFA, the top 12 donor-countries are Canada ($4.63 million), Spain ($1.46 million), Australia ($866,000), Germany ($729,000), Italy ($314,000), South Korea ($300,000), Switzerland ($242,000), Japan ($223,000), China ($140,000), United States ($100,000), Singapore ($30,000) and France ($14,583). In the meantime, Filipino overseas communities from the Marianas to Dubai, gave relief funds amounting to $5,820. DFA personnel in Philippine embassies and consulates raised $7,802 while other private individuals and groups contributed $64,582.

So that’s a lot of money. Money that could buy medicine and food and clothes; money that could be used to improve the facilities of the evacuation centers and the temporary shelters even as the areas and communities ravaged by Ondoy are being rehabilitated.

I worry in particular for the children, the babies. It’s beyond horror that they should be suffering the sorry conditions in the evacuation centers, that they should be forced to subsist mainly on instant cooked noodles and canned food.  Their mothers and fathers are much worse off, I know (because it is certain that they continue to make even greater sacrifices to ensure that their children get to eat and drink), and all in all it’s painful to think about.

Daily I think of how urgent it is, how crucial that we fight for a new government, a new system, an altogether different way of life.  It goes against everything great and good to accept that this state of things will continue for the longest time yet, and that no substantial and meaningful change will take place.

Is it not the height of something tragic or the other that we cannot even trust the highest official of the land to manage the funds and to ensure that every single centavo goes towards efforts to help the victims get back on their feet and to rehabilitate their communities, to rebuild and make them livable again?

A question: will all the money coming in, why can’t the government initiate the establishment of soup kitchens in the areas affected by the typhoon? Soup kitchens that will cook real meals, real food so the refugees will not have to continue living on noodles and sardines? If not actual meals, then certainly a bowl of steaming hot arroz caldo would be better than tinned food.

It’s been almost two weeks since many of the victims have eaten properly, food that is filling and genuinely nourishing. Can’t fruit be distributed? Apples and dalandan. And sandwiches? I don’t think it will take too much effort to make them — no fuss and frills, just bread and filling, maybe tuna and chopped lettuce? Or egg? No mayonnaise, because that would spoil quickly.  Dried fruit like raisins would also be okay.

It’s also appalling that there are no toilets and bathrooms for the victims. The schools turned evacuation centers have turned into virtual pigsties, and more sickness is sure to follow.

Aaaargh!The government should utilize resources better! This is so frustrating. There is no denying that an effective means of measuring the efficiency and strength of any society is to see how it takes care of its members during emergency situations. A government’s compassion and humanity is also measured in how it gives its constituents protection and how it looks after their welfare when they have been rendered helpless.

Macapagal-Arroyo should be reminded that it’s a mortal sin to steal, and even worse to steal from those who have already lost everything. The foreign humanitarian aid that continues to come in should be utilized well, and completely for the benefit of the victims and their communities.  And some of the fund should go towards the creation and implementation of more intelligent, more efficient, scientific disaster response plan. But I guess it’s useless to appeal to her, she who is corrupt to the core, she who showed little or no hesitation in dining lavishly as the rest of her constituents went hungry.

Even now, as she makes those tv appearances, feigning knowledge, pretending to exude confidence and strength at a time when so many feel so weakened, she is exposed as a liar as the situation refuses to improve and the victims continue to suffer.

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