Pablo survivors: Gov using relief goods for campaign
MATI CITY, Philippines - At least 1,000 angry Typhoon Pablo survivors barricaded a major highway in the city on Tuesday, April 23 to demand the release of rice and relief goods allegedly hoarded by the provincial government.
Odol Rivera, Davao Oriental Barug Katawhan leader, said governor Corazon Malanyaon took the relief goods and used it for the campaign of her candidates.
"While we are very anxious about our survival, Malanyaon was busy thinking about the elections," Rivera said.
Malanyaon reacted that she would never do anything that would compromise the interest of the people.
"Are they trying to say that DSWD and the WFP are stupid? These agencies are responsible for the allocation and distribution. We only provide the storage," Malanyaon said.
"And they must ask the people. I never distribute NFA rice," Malanyaon added.
Philippine National Police provincial director Jose Carumba said the protesters were given a permit by the office of city mayor Michelle Rabat.
"We had a dialogue with the protesters and they assured that they will abide with the permit," Carumba said.
He explained that the protesters will be allowed only at the city hall area and will be given until noon time.
"If they will compromise the safety of the city we will disperse them," Carumba said.
The barricades were lifted shortly before 1 pm.
Cops blocking the protesters with metal barricades and a firetruck was positioned to disperse the protesters.
"We want to contain them because they want to troop to the provincial capitol," Carumba said.
Rivera also criticized the military and police for allegedly sabotaging the protest action.
Originally, the rally was scheduled on Monday, April 22, but the protestors were blocked by several checkpoints, Rivera said.
"They even threw metal spikes to disable our vehicles," Rivera said.
At least 150 members of the Barangay Defense System (BDS) and barangay tanods also staged a rally in Mati City on Monday to counter the planned protest action of Typhoon Pablo survivors.
Celerino Crausos, Lupon town BDS president, said they were ordered to organize the protest because they heard that Barug Katawhan is planning to publicly criticize the peace and order situation in the province.
"There will be a rally from the other side and they would disturb the peace and security in Davao Oriental," Crausos said.
"I hope they would stop creating disorder because our province is peaceful already," Crausos added.
However, Crausos said he was not informed that Barug Katawhan is a group composed of typhoon survivors.
"I do not know what their cause is. But our goal is to prevent their protest," Crausos said.
Barug Katawhan led the 10-hour road block in Montevista and the occupation at the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Davao City.
Barug Katawhan is also demanding a total ban on massive logging and mining in the area.
"We will not stop until Malanyaon would face us," Rivera said. - Rappler.com