Gov’t learned nothing from ‘Yolanda’ – group

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Two typhoon "Yolanda" survivors share about their lives two years after the disaster during a Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) Summit held from Nov. 6 to 7, Cebu City. (Photo: Raymond A. Sebastián)

QUEZON City, Nov. 12, 2015 – A faith-based organization has made known its “extreme disappointment” over the government’s failure to learn from the lessons of “Yolanda” (international name: “Haiyan”) given its alleged “lip service” on disaster preparedness, and the consent it granted foreign businesses to use the country’s natural resources through “development projects” like mining, logging, reclamation, and like activities it believes could worsen the effects of climate change.

“Contrary to government claims that it has done its job, the thousands of people living in temporary shelters, the pathetic shelters it built, news of unspent funds, and rotting relief goods expose a lack of any comprehensive relief and rehabilitation program,” the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) laments in a statement on the 2nd anniversary of the super typhoon.

Grievous sin

It points out that while disasters as effects of climate change are sure to still hit the Philippines in the years to come, the experiences with Yolanda and even typhoon “Lando” (international name: Koppu), prove how ill-prepared is the government in handling disasters.

“Worse, in its failure to do what it claims to know should be done, the government has committed a grievous sin against its own people. Equally evil is the obvious insensitivity to the rights of the people as human beings. How can the government deny the squalor brought about by this insensitivity and callousness?” NCCP notes.

The group goes on to express fear that big corporations complicit with those in the government continue to exploit the earth’s resources without concern for people and the next generation.

“Giving away our natural resources to foreign business is not only insensitive to future generations of Filipinos. It also increases our vulnerability to disasters that are becoming more destructive,” it stresses.

PH least responsible

According to NCCP, poor and vulnerable countries like the Philippines are the “least responsible” for climate change.

“Why should we be the ones to suffer most for the transgressions of rich and powerful countries to our mother earth?” it asks, referring to the forthcoming COP 21, or the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, where world leaders will meet to discuss the means to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)

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