Published: August 14, 2012
“Stop blaming the poor for the crimes of the rich and the government.”
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s statement today as it condemned the Aquino government’s plan of “blasting” structures along waterways to supposedly ease flooding in Metro Manila, saying the move is a knee-jerk anti-poor reaction.
The plan was announced by Public Works secretary Rogelio Singson last Saturday, after a Cabinet meeting presided over by Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
“The existence of so-called illegal structures is not one of the main reasons for flooding in Metro Manila. The lack of disaster preparedness, wanton logging and mining activities, dam owners’ greed, failure to desilt Laguna Bay and other waterways, and unplanned urban development – these are the main reasons for heavy flooding,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“These are actually crimes not of the poor but of the rich, with the connivance of the government. The Aquino government is actually blaming the poor who are victims of the government’s pro-rich policies,” he said.
“The Aquino government’s policy is more of a knee-jerk anti-poor reaction of a spoiled haciendero than a carefully studied move. It is a signal of even more violent demolitions of urban and rural poor communities,” he added.
Disaster preparedness, belated
The labor center also slammed the Aquino government’s belated implementation of disaster preparedness projects, citing Singson’s announcement last Monday that P5 billion is being alloted to the immediate repair and upgrading of several dikes in Metro Manila.
“What a shame. The Aquino government took disaster preparedness seriously only after a national disaster and the death of many of our kababayans,” Labog said.
“It took the Aquino government two years to pick up where it left off with the cancellation of flood control projects worth P1.9 billion in July 2010. Perhaps it has now rechanneled kickbacks to its allies’ pockets,” he added.
“To cover up for its refusal to take disaster preparedness seriously, the Aquino government is now blaming the poor for the heavy flooding. The president and his class should look themselves in the mirror and see who the real culprits for this national disaster are,” he said.