Foreign donors pressed to break silence on bunkhouse
By Tanya Fantasia Mendoza, Gerry Albert Corpuz and Billy Javier Reyes
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday said foreign donors should break their silence on the issue of corruption hounding the construction of bunkhouses for survivors of typhoon Yolanda in Samar and Leyte provinces.
“The donors should come out in the open and castigate the Aquino government for corrupting taxpayers money of the donors of their respective countries. There is no room for silence here given the fact the survivors of Yolanda are exploited to advance the obsession of Philippine officials for blockbuster crime of corruption,” said Salvador France, vice chair of Pamalakaya.
The three major donors– the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union withheld comment on report that corrupt officials in the Aquino administration had padded costing for bunkhouses, which the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) had persistently denied.
The Pamalakaya official said the British, the American and the European governments should be brutally frank against President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the other government officials for corrupting the donations which are sourced from the taxpaying public of their respective countries and for taking advantage of the sorry plight of the Yolanda victims to advance their own narrow and corrupt agenda.
“Are they protecting the Aquino government? If not, why they are silent on this issue? The victims here are both the Yolanda survivors and the taxpaying people of their countries. Something decisive must be done to compel the President to account this lingering crime of bureaucratic corruption in the Aquino administration,” added France.
The British Embassy in Manila so far had contributed Php 11.1 billion for Yolanda victims. The European Union had donated Php 1.18 billion according to Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAITH), while the US government had so far pledged Php 3.9 billion in total relief package to victims of super typhoon.
“The major donors should is well informed that the Aquino administration is not only incompetent and arrogant, but also equally or superbly corrupt and ravenous than previous administrations and that the international support for the victims would only go to the corrupt syndicate operating inside and outside of Malacanang if not properly handled and supervises.
This is a fact and not a bluff– that this administration has no political and moral authority to receive and handle international support for the victims of the recent catastrophe in Eastern Visayas and 34 more provinces,” the Pamalakaya leader said.
France added: ” The pork obsessed administration of President Aquino is dangerous. We cannot rely on this incumbent ruling gangland in Malacanang would ensure that these international aid for earthquake victims would go to relief and rehabilitation. Something must be done to stop this unbridled exploitation and wholesale raid of people’s resources.”
Pamalakaya reminded foreign donors that the Philippine government has yet to account the foreign assistance it received for victims of typhoon Pablo since 2012.
The militant group said the Aquino administration received donations from Australia amounting to P 210 million, Canada (P 10 million), US P 140 million, Indonesia (P 43 million), 500 million New Zealand dollars from New Zealand, 30,000 US dollars from China and 50,000 Singaporean dollars from Singapore. “What happened to these foreign aid remains big question mark because no report and proper accounting were made. ” The foreign donors should learn its’ lesson well and must distrust this administration to the highest order,” the group added.
The group said also until now the Aquino government has yet to account for the P 22 million assistance it received from the government of Japan and another P 160 million from the European Union for the victims of typhoon Pablo.