Editorial: Hunger, lies and tricks-A A +A
Thursday, January 17, 2013
THE aftermath of Typhoon Pablo continues to resonate across the affected areas of Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, and Davao Oriental.
On Tuesday, a group numbering at least 5,000 from different Pablo-affected areas barricaded a highway in between Montevista and Monkayo towns in Compostela Valley to demand genuine reforms and rehabilitation.
Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman was among those barricaded from a scheduled trip to New Bataan. She first tried to negotiate with the protesters, but to no avail as she would only commit to releasing 1,500 food packs, when the group were demanding the release of 5,000 sacks of rice to tide them over for the next weeks.
The group of protesters, who come from Barug Katawhan, Bayan Muna, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Anak Pawis, Kadamay and Karapatan, carry huge placards protesting the government's sluggish relief response.
The bold letters emblazoned political sentiments that were typically out of place in a group who are hungry and homeless. Ironically, the placards and posters could have easily bought a good number of kilos of rice to the affected families.
In response, the military said it will file charges against leaders of the militant groups who allegedly spearheaded the protest action, which they label as mere propaganda. The military is also eyeing to file charges against the leaders of the protesters for illegal assembly.
As in all wars, it is always the poor and weak who are used as pawns by two opposing pillars. This group has been the easiest to manipulate, ensnare and enslave as they cannot fight back.
In the same way as it is easy to win the hearts of the poor, so is it easy to use their name in vain all in the name of politics.
As in all wars, it is always the poor and weak who perish. It is always the poor who are left with "empty chairs and empty tables" not to mention empty stomachs. Behind every story is another story and what appears to be is not always as it should be.
In this case, double jeopardy counts as the poor and the weak were also victims of a calamity not their own undoing.
On one side, the government must push for genuine reforms. Conversely, a cohesive community, starting from the purok, sitio to barangay, must unite to reject deceit and falsehood. Only a united front can stop any attempt to subterfuge.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 18, 2013.