Gabriela hits measly Duterte admin’s calamity assistance to Taal victims


MANILA, Philippines — Gabriela Women’s Party raised criticisms on the Duterte regime’s measly calamity assistance to those affected by the Taal volcano eruption – even as the President threw cash at his visit to the Philippine Marines earlier.

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said the health department will only spend a measly P1.5 million for face masks and medicines, while DILG Sec. Eduardo Ano even asked for donations from the public despite the billions in quick response funds (QRF) for agencies.

“Bakit kailangang tipirin ng gobyerno ang pagsaklolo sa ating mga kababayang apektado ng pagsabog ng bulkan? It is callous for the administration, which recently signed a P4.1-trillion budget, to scrimp on state resources when ordinary people are sharing whatever they have to families displaced in Batangas and nearby provinces,” said Brosas.

“And while affected families are desperately asking for immediate food and transport, our President played Santa Claus to Philippine Marines last night, throwing cash to January celebrants. May budget na pinamudmod sa bertdey ng militar, pero kakarampot para sa mga biktima ng kalamidad. Nasaan ang malasakit ng Pangulo?” she added.

The Gabriela lawmaker said funds for post-calamity rehabilitation is necessary especially as entire plantations and communities in Batangas have been blanketed with volcanic ash.

“It is an insult for the government to again distribute cash loans worth P25,000 to farmers and fisherfolk affected by the eruption. What we need is a comprehensive program that will revitalize agriculture and fisheries in the region, keeping in mind the lasting effects of the eruption,” she said.

The lawmaker also pointed out that for 2020, the National disaster risk mitigation and management funds was slashed by P4 billion to just P16 billion. The amount includes the P3.35 billion to be exclusively used for Marawi rehabilitation. Quick response funds of the DepEd have also been put to conditional release.

“The budget for dissaster response should even be beefed up considering the country’s stark vulnerability to calamities and effects of climate change. Instead, the Duterte regime beefed up the funds of the police and the military and even allocated P623 million to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which red-tags and harasses government critics,”  Brosas said. (Stacy Ang/IAMIGO/

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