Alliance for Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors
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Address: 140-B Real Street, Tacloban City, Philippines
Tel Numbers: Globe: 0916 512 2650 TNT: 0910 917 2445


Press Release
October 11, 2014


Imeldific? Aquino drives out 7,000 Tacloban urban poor families to welcome pro-poor Pope Francis

More than 7,000 Tacloban urban poor families are facing demolition in a “beautification” frenzy, the People Surge alliance said today in accusing President Benigno Aquino III of being anti-poor in welcoming the avowedly pro-poor Pope Francis in January 2015. “The Aquino government is sprucing up Tacloban City with road widening projects and the expansion of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport for the papal visit in January next year,” said Marissa Cabaljao, spokesperson of People Surge Alliance for Yolanda survivors said. “But the road widening will displace more than 6,000 families while the airport expansion another 1,000 families. The Aquino government is shrugging off any responsibility for the affected families.

The People Surge said the demolitions are adding insult to injury for the more than 7,000 survivors who are struggling to recover after supertyphoon Yolanda struck last year. “The Aquino government is already under fire for its criminal neglect of the Yolanda survivors. Now these more than 7,000 families are set to lose their homes again, this time due to the man-made calamity known as the Aquino government. This is on top of tens of thousands of other urban poor families who survived Yolanda are also slated to be dislocated in Tacloban and other calamity-stricken areas because of the “no-build zone” and “no-dwelling zone” policies of the Aquino government to make way for big business interests.”

The alliance said the demolitions were also grossly disrespectful to Pope Francis, who is known for his closeness to the plight of the poor and his concern for the Yolanda survivors. “These demolitions remind us of the Marcos dictatorship, which demolished urban poor houses and covered up their communities when Pope John Paul II and other foreign dignitaries. We are distressed that President Aquino is acting like Imelda, the wife of the man who killed his father, in “beautifying” Tacloban by eliminating “eyesores” like the urban poor.”

The People Surge appealed to the Diocese of Palo to come to the aid of the Tacloban urban poor, as well as Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Giusseppe Pinto, the Vatican’s representative in the Philippines. “We appeal to the Diocese of Palo that Pope Francis will surely be dismayed that more than 7,000 Tacloban urban poor families, who are also Yolanda survivors, are being driven away just to welcome His Holiness. We will send a message to the Papal Nuncio and seek an audience to express our sadness at the lack of social justice for the Filipino poor shown by the Aquino government.”#