Fluvial protest, student walk-out in 1st day of ‘Global Surge’ in Tacloban

People Surge, along with other survivors groups and people’s mutual aid movements under the newly-formed Daluyong National Network of Disaster Survivors, are calling for the ouster of President Benigno Aquino III for his continuing “disastrous criminal negligence,” a full year after Yolanda.

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

TACLOBAN City — Seariders among the People Surge Alliance for Yolanda (Haiyan) Survivors started the first day of survivors’ protest early. They crossed the Cancabato Bay from Basey in Samar Province to join a fluvial protest parade at Tacloban City, as an expected mass demonstration of 20,000 survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda began massing up for November 8, the anniversary of the super typhoon’s landfall.

(Photo by M. Salamat/ Bulatlat.com)
(Photo by M. Salamat/ Bulatlat.com)

Saying ‘No Go’ to No-Build Zones

“Our ‘protest fleet’ represents the dissent of Yolanda survivors in coastal communities to the onerous No-Build Zone policy that is threatening their displacement and depriving them of receiving aid. This is our opening call in a series of mass-ups of protesters demanding accountability and justice for the victims of Yolanda and all recent major disasters,” said Dr. Efleda Bautista, chairperson of People Surge.

Bautista described the NBZ policy as a tool and license for demolishing coastal communities, and not really for saving them from coastal hazards. She noted that the policy exempts big business developers attempting to convert the said coasts into economic zones, black sand mines, and tourism hubs.

At nearly the same time, students from the University of the Philippines Visayas – Tacloban College would walk out of their classes to welcome the arriving fleet of protesters at the UP Botanical Garden. The youth activists led by People Surge Youth and the PULSO Han Mag-aaram are opposing the rising cost of commercialized education that, they said, added up to their post-Yolanda hardships.

People from the Cancabato Bay, Basey in Samar Province to join a fluvial protest parade at Tacloban City. (Photo by M. Salamat/ Bulatlat.com)
People from the Cancabato Bay, Basey in Samar Province to join a fluvial protest parade at Tacloban City. (Photo by M. Salamat/ Bulatlat.com)

Also, the Women International Solidarity Mission led by women’s group Gabriela’s global network said they will conclude their mission at UP Tacloban today and then join the mass-up. After days of living with survivors, they are set to help expose the cases of abuses toward women in the post-Yolanda situation.

DSWD picket for politicizing 4P’s, aid

According to People Surge, this “first wave” of thousands of survivors travelling today to Tacloban City aims to amplify demands for “genuine and unconditional rehabilitation for affected agricultural lands and the pull-out of military operations harassing their communities.”

As of this writing, survivors living in a resettlement at Guian, Eastern Samar, where President Aquino may spend the anniversary of Yolanda, are reporting threats of blacklisting if they join the waves of protests. Survivors in Matuginaw and Carigara in Leyte have previously reported the same threats.

Protesters are criticizing also the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) especially its “politicized use of the conditional cash transfer program 4P’s and other aid.”

Gabriela’s allies from other countries report that many women shared with them subtle to blatant threats about not receiving aid if they complain about government’s policies.

Students from the University of the Philippines Visayas – Tacloban College walk out of their classes to welcome the arriving fleet of protesters at the UP Botanical Garden. (Photo by M. Salamat/ Bulatlat.com)
Students from the University of the Philippines Visayas – Tacloban College walk out of their classes to welcome the arriving fleet of protesters at the UP Botanical Garden. (Photo by M. Salamat/ Bulatlat.com)

Bautista of People Surge demanded Social Welfare Sec. Dinky Soliman’s accountability for her agency’s “latest crime against Yolanda survivors.” Bautista also narrated DSWD’s threats of excluding survivors from relocation sites and retracting cash transfers to 4P’s beneficiaries if they participate in the Global Surge.

“Excuse me, Dinky, that is a patently illegal condition for your cash transfers as it attacks the right to free speech and peaceable assembly of survivors,” asserted Bautista.

People Surge, along with other survivors groups and people’s mutual aid movements under the newly-formed Daluyong National Network of Disaster Survivors, are calling for the ouster of President Benigno Aquino III for his continuing “disastrous criminal negligence,” a full year after Yolanda. ()

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