A week after Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) devastated the city of Tacloban, Urban Poor groups in neighboring city of Ormoc have begun complaining to local officials that both the national government and foreign aid workers are giving too much attention to Tacloban. Says Mr. Ingge T. Ro, “Sila, sila na lang lahat! Lahat na lang sa kanila! Pwede bang kami naman? Porke ba sa sila ang pinaka na-grabe eh sila na lang lahat ang bibigyan? Eh pano naman kami dito?” (Them! It’s always them! Everything for them! Can it be us for a change? So because they’re the hardest hit they deserve to get everything? How about us?)
Local officials have been hard put to argue the case. Meanwhile, national government spokesperson Abigail Valte says that the government is not playing favoritism.
“We’re doling out aid based on need. A lot of relief goods is sent to the cities most in need of it, while just a smattering will be sent to those who don’t need it too much,” said the spokeswoman, adding, “In fact, we have classified releasing of aid relief into three categories based on the severity of damage and severity of need.”
According to Valte, the categories are as follows:
Category 1 Aid (Bugbog Sarado) – areas most badly affected and most in need of aid will be sent 80% of all relief goods collected
Category 2 Aid (Pahapyaw) – areas moderately affected and moderately in need of aid will be sent 9% of all relief goods collected
Category 3 Aid (Suntok sa Buwan) – areas spared will not be sent anything. Not even a blind cent (kahit ni singkong duling)
DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, eager to clarify the matter, added his own statement to support Valte’s.
“So as you can see, there is no favoritism at all. Help is given to everyone equally, as needed.”
Meanwhile, grumblings from poor towns in Bicol such as Sorsogon and Legazpi have also been heard. One lady by the name of Ara said she’s just wondering why so many trucks of food have been passing through her town while her family is starving.
“Akala ko ngani po maaambunan man lamang kami maski dikit. Naghagad ngani ako duman sa sarong drayber, sabi sako ‘sori po mam, for Yolanda Typhoon victims only.’ ” Ara says, almost in tears. “Kun siring palan, kaipuhan pa kaming tamaan nin bagyo para tabangan? Gutom naman palan kami.” (I thought we would at least be graced with a little food. I asked food from one driver, he said ‘sorry mam, for Yolanda Typhoon victims only.’ “ “So in essence, we need to be hit by a typhoon before we receive help? We too are hungry. ”)
image courtesy of: globalpost.com (taken without permission, message me for takedown)