By Jon Davila, Tanya Fantasia Mendoza, Billy Javier Reyes and Gerry Albert Corpuz
MANILA, Philippines- Lake based groups Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) and Anakpawis party list-Laguna Lake chapter today declared Laguna de Bay a major environmental disaster area and called on the Manila government to shift its relief, health care and rehabilitation operations in all towns surrounding the 90,000 hectare lake.
“There is a humanitarian crisis and environmental catastrophe all over Laguna Lake. Thousands of families are still housed in evacuation centers, yet the assistance provided by the national government and its local government units is approximately 10 percent of the required aid that should be provided to flood victims in Laguna de Bay,” said Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap in a press statement.
“The needs of other 90 percent flood victims remain unattended because the efforts of the government and LGUs merely cater to 10 percent of the total flood victims at the moment. This complete state abandonment of its responsibilities to flood stricken communities in Laguna Lake is very glaring and reprehensible,” the Pamalakaya official said.
Hicap, also the vice chairperson of Anakpawis party list the snail pace relief and rehabilitation efforts of the government were ineffective, extremely lacking and unresponsive compared to the needs of 17,190 families inside evacuation centers in Laguna and 12,000 families in Rizal. Pamalakaya, SLLM and Anakpawis party list-Laguna Lake also said many lake barangays in Talim Island were also complaining of the government’s lack of attention given to both those in evacuation and outside evacuation centers.
Pamalakaya own monitoring system revealed that the government has yet to conduct relief operations in barangays Ticulio, Navotas and Subay, all fishing villages in Talim Island where a total of 1,103 families were affected. The fisherfolk group said not less than 6,000 families in 34 barangays in Binangonan, including those in Talim Island barangays of Malacaban, Pinagdilawan, Ginoong Sanay, Pipindan, Ithan, Buhangin, Kalinawan, Kaytome, Kasile, Rayap, Bombong, Palangoy, Batingan and Macamot have yet to receive relief goods from the national government and from DSWD. Meanwhile, Pamalakaya, SLLM and Anakpawis party list urged the LLDA to demand the release of at least P 2 billion for the relief and rehabilitation efforts in Laguna Lake following the surge of flood caused by tropical southwest moonsoon rains over the 12 days.
“President Aquino should ready the calamity funds upon the request of people’s associations and local government units. The people fully deserve any appropriate assistance. The P 21.7 B calamity fund for 2012 belongs to them and not to Aquino and his financial keepers,” they added.
Pamalakaya noted that P 7.5 B were alloted for calamity funds and P 14.2 billion were set aside for unprogrammed disaster risk and management activities. “Malacanang should immediately release at least 10 percent to 20 percent of the P 21.7 B funds for victims and affected sectors of tropical storm Gener,” the group added.