Unleash a surge of protest to hold the US-Aquino regime accountable

Editorial
Ang Bayan
February 8, 2014

More than two months after supertyphoon Yolanda's rising seas and howling winds laid waste to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across vast areas of the Visayas, it is now the people's turn to surge in anger and protest against the Aquino regime's criminal negligence and extreme incompetence.

On January 25, the collective footsteps of up to 12,000 victims of typhoon Yolanda thundered through Tacloban's main thoroughfare. Like single waves gathering to create a powerful ocean tide, the people's mass movement vigorously bared the people's real conditions and cried for an end to the ruling regime that persists in stifling the reality of widespread devastation, poverty and hunger.

The surge of protest in Eastern Visayas in January provided but a glimpse of the even more powerful surge of action by the Filipino people against the ruling US-Aquino regime. From Tacloban and other Visayan cities, the protests of victims of typhoon Yolanda and others who have suffered from the Aquino regime's neglect must surge towards the national urban centers.

The unity of the people of Eastern Visayas must likewise be further expanded to include the solidarity of all victims of typhoon Yolanda throughout the Visayas, and other calamities of recent years such as typhoons Pablo, Sendong and Santi, the Bohol earthquake and floods caused by the strong monsoon rains.

The vast majority of calamity victims come from the toiling masses, with their devastation stemming from the ruling regime's refusal to use the state's resources to ensure their safety and provide adequate systems and facilities to save people's lives and properties. Even in the face of such widespread devastation, the ruling regime has confined itself to providing limited relief.

Calamity victims are victimized twice over by thieves in the bureaucracy who pocket disaster and emergency relief funds and even aid provided by international agencies.
They are likewise victimized by the lack of rehabilitation programs tailor-made for victims of disaster. The reactionary regime belittles the havoc that has befallen the masses' livelihoods and the threat of widespread hunger. It has not undertaken emergency measures such as cancelling or assuming debts owed by farmers from banks or loan sharks or provided investment funds to enable farmers to plant and make the land productive.
Worse, the Aquino regime has even been invoking the need for rehabilitation to pour funds, not to uplift the victims economically, but to benefit the businesses of its big bourgeois comprador allies.

The calamity victims' cries for justice must merge with the cries of the entire Filipino people for genuine land reform, a just increase in wages and lower prices for oil, electricity, water, food, medicine and other commodities. Even as they assail the severely inadequate budgets for disaster preparedness and mitigation, they raise their cries against the relentless budgetary cuts for education, health and other social services.
The entire people must unite to hold Benigno Aquino III accountable for his crimes not only in terms of his gross negligence of the victims of disaster, but for paving the way for a handful of landlords, big local and foreign capitalists to exploit the people and cause them to suffer.

The surge of protest in Eastern Visayas must signal the start of giant storms of people's protests that will put an end to this baleful regime