On the event of Black Nazarene Festival, fisherfolk appeals for a synchronized translacion of Nazareno and Yolanda funds

On the event of Black Nazarene Festival, fisherfolk appeals for a

The Black Nazarene statue sits at the stage of the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on January 8, 2013, one day before its feast day when it will be paraded around the streets of Manila to the greeting of thousands of devotees. (Photo by LJ Pasion)

synchronized translacion of Nazareno and Yolanda funds

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) calls for a simultaneous translacion on the event of the Black Nazarene Festival on January 9.

While the Black Nazarene will be transferred from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church, the billions of pesos funds shall also be transferred from the hands of the government officials and agencies to the victims of the super typhoon Yolanda.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya Vice-Chairperson said in a statement.

Super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) had struck the country two years ago, leaving at least 6,000 people dead, 1,800 still missing and devastated the livelihoods of the people living in Visayas, mostly farmers and fisherfolk.

Pamalakaya together with the People Surge, an alliance of the super typhoon victims in Visayas denounced the Aquino administration for its incompetent and lack of political will in helping the typhoon victims recover from the catastrophe.

According to People Surge, the National Housing Authority (NHA) targeted only 13, 801 permanent houses even if there are an estimated 500, 000 houses that needs to be build. In Tacloban alone, only 342 households have been completed as of September last year, but only 281 of which were occupied due to lack of basic services like water in the area.

Meanwhile, in Western Visayas particularly which has the most number of affected fisherfolk (19,852 households), most of the victims haven’t received the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) fund, a financial assistance for the Yolanda victims.

ESA is no longer an emergency fund because it’s been two years since the calamity but thousands of families have not yet received any of it. We demand for the immediate distribution of the ESA without its restrictions and preconditions.” Jessica Emperwa, Pamalakaya-Panay Secretary General said.

Pamalakaya also assailed Aquino administration for the billions of pesos unused Yolanda funds which still remains at the hands of the government officials and agencies. The fisherfolk group refers to the P385-million aid intended for the disaster victims, but remains unspent by the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

Several strong typhoons have passed and thousands of lives have been taken away, but still there are billions of rehabilitation funds that are being withheld by the government. Majority of the Yolanda victims are struggling to survive in the substandard bunkhouses, children are suffering from malnutrition because of its poor and inhumane condition.” France said.

The translacion means “passage” or “transfer” or solemn transfer of the Minor Basilica of Black Nazarene. The translacion procession draws millions of devotees to ask for mercy and compassion and who believe it will give them blessings and miraculously bring them out of their plights.

The government has in its hands all the resources and funds intended for the victims of typhoon Yolanda victims but still mercilessly being deprived to them. The victims are agonizing for over two years now and the government is callously turning a blind eye to their plight. It’s as if they wanted the victims to kneel and beg for what is rightfully for them.

Like the millions of devotees paying tribute to the Nazarene, millions of Yolanda victims will also flood the outskirts of Manila – not in Quiapo but in Mendiola; not to ask for mercy and compassion but to charge the Aquino administration for its criminal negligence and incompetence in providing substantial rehabilitation to the calamity victims.” France ended. ###

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