MANILA (Mabuhay) — Workers party Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) on Tuesday called on Yolanda rehabilitation head Panfilo Lacson as well as the agencies involved in the reconstruction plan and international aid groups to dialogue with workers associations in Leyte demanding decent jobs and people’s participation in the process.
“Yolanda survivors should be treated as citizens not beggars. It behooves Ping, rehab agencies, and donor countries to engage with the Leyte informal workers in the reconstruction plan. Inclusive growth is mere lip service, people empowerment is just a buzz word without the actual participation of organized groups at the grassroots,” said PM spokesperson Wilson Fortaleza in a news release.
On Monday, PM and its partner groups in Eastern Visayas conducted a motorcade of a hundred tricycles garbed in tarp posters with the message “Make jobs a priority in Yolanda rehab.” They went around Tacloban City and were warmly received by typhoon survivors. The motorcade signaled the launch of the campaign for decent employment, social protection, and people’s participation as bedrocks of Yolanda rehabilitation and reconstruction plan.
Before the motorcade, the tricycle drivers attended a noon mass at the Sto. Nino Church. A gathering and small salo-salo followed the motorcade at the church’s social hall where family members and other Yolanda survivors gathered to hear the groups’ manifesto and affirm their commitment to the collective struggle of rebuilding their lives and their communities.
“In the rehabilitation and rebuilding process, we do not want to just revert back to where we were before Yolanda. We want a new community, a better community,” said Judy Torres, PM-Region 8 coordinator and chair of the Tacloban Federation of MCH (Motor Cabs for Hire) Drivers and Operators Associations Inc. (TAFEMDO).
The campaign came days after the government announced the US$8.17-billion or P361-billion plan under the so-called Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) which will be completed in four years.
In a joint manifesto,TAFEMDO, Trisikad Operators and Drivers Organization of Hilongos, Leyte; Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa-Region 8; and PM explained that prior to the onslaught of Yolanda, they were already living miserable lives. Transporting people around the city through motorized and non-motorized cabs for hire as their only source of income was insufficient.
“Our priority demand is decent jobs because it is a guarantee to a person’s long-term security and a life of dignity,” said Torres, adding that while everybody was devastated it is the poor that suffered most.
He added that “Today’s extreme weather systems are the awful outcome of climate change caused by unrestrained economic activities of industrial countries. Thus, we believe that more than the humanitarian aspect, developed countries have the historical, moral, and social responsibility to come to our aid.”(MNS)