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Typhoon out, ‘disaster administration’ still in

/ 12:04 AM December 18, 2014

There are reports that structures built under the Aquino administration’s “Build Back Better” rehabilitation and rebuilding program for the “Yolanda” survivors and -ravaged areas in Eastern Visayas were destroyed by Typhoon “Ruby.” There should be a thorough investigation into these reports.

Bunkhouses made for Yolanda survivors had earlier been questioned for having been overpriced yet substandard. Worse, Department of Social Work and Development representatives insisted that people stay in their bunkhouses even as Ruby threatened to unleash a Yolanda-like fury.

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The newly-rebuilt Tacloban airport likewise was also destroyed.

The Aquino administration should be held accountable for the substandard bunkhouses and infrastructure. The government mantra “build back better” is obviously a lie, as shown by Ruby. The “Build Back Better” program should be renamed “kickback better.” It’s nothing but a grand scheme to plunder public funds purportedly intended for typhoon survivors.

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The contractors and government officials involved in the implementation of “kickback better” projects should be subjected to thorough investigation outright. And a full review should be conducted of all the contracts in the government’s P170-billion rehabilitation program. By the looks of it, the program is intended primarily to favor big businesses and corrupt officials. Biktima na nga ng kalamidad, binibiktima pa ng gubyerno. (Already victims of a calamity, the survivors are further preyed upon by government.)

The government’s “same-same” disaster response shown during Ruby is also questionable. It appears nothing has changed in the way government addresses disaster. It has been shown to have done nothing to make sure people are more prepared for and less vulnerable to natural disasters. Puro papogi (Everything it did was try to earn brownie points) and press releases. The fact is, people have become more vulnerable to typhoons because of the government’s problematic rebuilding program.

Ruby is now out of the country, but we have yet to overcome the perils of the “Aquino disaster administration.”

—VENCER CRISOSTOMO,

national chair, Anakbayan, [email protected]

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