Priest hits rehab ploy for ‘corporate interests’

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MANILA, Oct. 19, 2014–An official of the Catholic Church’s social action arm lamented that some business groups are taking advantage of typhoon Yolanda victims in the guise of their “corporate social responsibility”.

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa), said these big companies are using CSR only as a ploy to advance their “corporate interests”.

“There are corporations involved in the rehabilitation work of the government but they are just using it for their own business interest,” he said.

The priest cited, for instance, the case in Sicogon, an island in northern Iloilo, where residents, whose homes were destroyed by Yolanda, risk of being displaced again, this time, by business.

Gariguez said the government banned residents to rebuild settlements within 40-meters from the highest mark of the tide along coastlines only to allow the real state giant Ayala Land Corporation and its local counterpart Sicogon Investors Development Corp. to develop it for tourism.

The Ayala Corp. is among the partners from the private sector of the Office of the Presidential Assistant of Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) in its efforts to rebuild areas ravaged by Yolanda.

“So it’s a case like this where the government’s policy is being used to push away the people but only for their corporate interest,” Gariguez said.

He also mentioned the situation in Manicani, a small island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where a mining company involved in the government’s rehabilitation program attempts to transport nickel ore stockpile off the island.

The Nickel Asia Corporation is OPARR’s “development sponsors” for Guiuan and the nearby town of Salcedo.

“So there’s really a conflicting interest here and it’s the people that would suffer,” Gariguez said. (CBCPNews)

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