Shift P24-B aircraft purchases to rehab of Yolanda-hit areas

Shift P24-B aircraft purchases to rehab of Yolanda-hit areas
Victim-fishers got mere ‘epoxy’ from gov’t
By Ding Cervantes

Apr 01, 2014

CITY OF SAN FEERNANDO – The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) has urged Pres. Aquino to junk the purchase of P18.9 billion fighter jets from South Korea and the P4.8 billion helicopters from Canada, and insteare-channel the budget for the rehabilitation of Yolanda stricken areas in Eastern Visayas, Northern Cebu, Northern Negros, Panay Island and Palawan.

This, even as Pamalakaya reported that many fishermen in the said areas got from the government mere tokens of “epoxy, plywood and some kilos of nail for boat repair.” In a press statement, Pamalakaya Vice Chair Salvador France said the procurement of the aircraft worth a total of P24 billion is “unnecessary and immoral” and that “state resources should be mobilized to assist and rebuild livelihoods and communities devastated by super typhoon Yolanda last year.”

The Department of National Defense announced earlier that the government is set to acquire 12 FA-50 multirole combat aircraft worth P18.9 billion from Korean Aerospace Inc. (KAI). The defense agency also awarded a P4.8-billion contract for the supply of eight combat-utility helicopters to the Canadian Commercial Corp.

Pamalakaya quoted Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo as saying that KAI will deliver the 12 fighter jets on a staggered basis within the agreed 38-month period, or almost a year after Mr. Aquino steps down in 2016. “The government has huge funds for fighter jets and helicopters but it has no money to issue boats, motor engines and fishing nets for tens of thousands of affected fishermen in Yolanda wrecked areas.

The government failed to fulfil the promise, instead what it gave to small fishermen were epoxy, some pieces of plywood and some kilos of nail,” the group lamented. Visiting Barangay Tambak last March 26, one of the Yolanda stricken areas in a coastal town of Aklan, Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz found out that the fishing village composed of 3,041 population and 769 households, mostly full time fishermen, had yet to receive substantial rehabilitation assistance from the national and local government units and were made to receive token assistance such as epoxy, plywood and some kilos of nail for boat repair. “

“The subsistence fisherfolk need new boats, at least 10 to 12 horsepower motor engines and new nets because all their fishing gears were swept away during Supertyphoon Yolanda, yet, what they got from the national government were adhesives in tubes, some plywood and a few kilos of nail.

This token approach to rehabilitation will not rebuild livelihood and restore lives and yet the government has the nerve to flirt that P 24 billion budget for new jet fighters and helicopters,” Corpuz said.

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