Curse of politics descends on typhoon areas

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A BOY pauses from his work chopping copra to reach out for a pack of relief goods in Baganga, Davao Oriental. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

BAGANGA, Davao Oriental—From the municipal grounds, a group of women hurriedly walked to Saint Mary’s College after seeing a truck loaded with relief goods. They returned empty-handed.

“We were told that it’s not yet for distribution,” one of the women said.

What the women did not know was that 1.5 kilometers away, at the headquarters of the province’s Incident Command Post (ICP), another truck was left out in the rain, its load of rice drenched.

An Inquirer source at the ICP said the rain-drenched rice had been “resacked and distributed.”

“The rice was already smelly. I pity those who received it,” the source said.

The ICP municipal headquarters, which is the office of the Department of Public Works and Highways, is where relief goods are kept.

“The relief goods keep on arriving, but these are not being distributed. They are just left outside,” the source said, adding that there were volunteers willing to go around town to distribute “but they are still waiting for the go-signal from the province.”

Records from the central command post of the ICP in Mati City showed that a total of 73,881 prepacked relief goods had been sent to Baganga town.

The amount of goods sent to this town, based on the ICP central command records, was almost twice the number of those sent to Cateel town, which is 40,742.

But when asked how many relief packs were actually distributed to the survivors—

13,356 families, or 66,780 people, in Baganga and 10,383 families, or 51,915 individuals, in Cateel—the ICP central command didn’t have an answer.

“We’re still waiting for the reports from the ground,” said Freddie Bendulo, the ICP chief.

Bendulo would not reply to Inquirer’s query about the truck loaded with rice which was left out in the rain.

The delay in the distribution of relief goods in this town could be traced to the political rivalry between Mayor Remigio Nazareno and vice mayor Arturo Monday.

Nazareno’s son, Roy, is running to replace his last-term father against Monday, an ally of the governor, in next year’s elections.

“They want the Nazarenos out of politics,” the mayor said.

Even before Typhoon “Pablo” devastated this town, Nazareno said, Monday and his allies in the town council have been blocking his programs.

This became clear when the Sangguniang Bayan refused to approve the mayor’s disaster plan and the use of the town’s calamity funds.

Days after the typhoon, the provincial government set up its own ICP, leaving Nazareno in the dark.

“It was an insult on my part. I am the mayor, I should have led that body,” the mayor said.

Caught in the crossfire are the survivors.

The local government receives less outside help compared to the provincial government.

Nazareno said he is grateful to private groups and other local governments—Mati, Davao, Panabo and Zamboanga Sibugay—that sent help directly to his town.

In Caraga town, relief goods also pass through the provincial government. They end up in the hands of former mayor Alice Mori, an ally of the governor, instead of incumbent Mayor William Dumaan.

Gov. Corazon Malanyaon, in an interview four days after the typhoon struck, said the trying times called for unity. “This is not a time for politics,” she said.

What’s happening on the ground, however, shows the contrary, prompting nongovernment organizations and private groups to distribute goods directly to the victims.

“We just want to make sure that politics doesn’t get in the way,” said a relief volunteer.

The leader of a private relief group said his group goes straight to the victims rather than pass through the local government units (LGU).

If the goods pass through the LGU, the relief leader said, “they don’t reach the people.”

In Cateel town, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and private groups, not the local government, are in the forefront of the relief distribution.

“The LGU here is not functioning,” a DSWD worker, who asked not to be named, told the Inquirer.

Cateel’s mayor, Camilo Nuñez, is a brother of the governor.

“They are having a hard time distributing the relief goods. But why is it that during election campaigns, even the farthest barangays get rice ration?” a resident said. The governor, Malanyaon, is seeking reelection unopposed in May. Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4C2SFYIH52Y2KR7QPZPHJO2XQQ sl1

    The DILG should suspend the politicians in this area for not doing there job in helping the people. Attn: Mar Roxas…do something!

  • http://www.yellowmythbusters.gov.ph/ Weder-Weder Lang

    Natutulog si DILG Sec. Roxas. Biglang naglaho sa TV cameras si Mar Roxas nung pumutok ang balita na may mga taong napatay ng ligaw na bala. Ang dating atat na atat lumabas sa telebisyon na Mar Roxas, biglang naging camera shy.

    Si Dinky Soliman naman, busy pa sa parlor, nagpapakulay ng buhok.

    Pasensya na lang sa mga biktima.

  • D_BystandeR

    The relief goods intended for the typhoon victims should not be “held captive” by the concerned politicians. They should find a way that it should be distributed right away in an orderly manner. I hope they will not be bothered by conscience with the saying, “Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo.”

  • tata_boy

    ano ang ginagawa ng mga may pork barrel? kailangan tulungan ang mga biktima ni Pablo, talaga bang puro kayo mga inutil?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GG4T5UNZ3P7SCHSRNJ7PF5JZMM Jimmy

    Yan ang mga dapat tanggalin sa pwesto at ikulong…!!!!! Kaya dumarami ang NPA dahil sa mga buktot, gahaman at ganid na mga politikong ito…!!

  • Magsasaka

    isa lang masasabi kong sa mga hayuf na yan, pukang na nila

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SS45ZT4JBPHZZ5FGDT4C7S3ORQ jonas c

    oww syet! such a shame! Humans whats happening to you! 

  • Loggnat

    Isn’t it illegal to discriminate in the distribution of relief goods to the victims of disaster in the Philippines? Who’s job is it to make sure this disgusting political discrimination that clearly and plainly hurts the victims who are not getting the relief goods that they need to survive the disaster? The DILG?, COMELEC?, DOJ?, or the Office of the President? Somebody should be in charge and should be responsible for distributing government relief without political discrimination and those who did discriminate should be penalized and barred from holding any government position (elected or otherwise) again. Totally disgusting display of dirty politics and inhumanity.

  • WeAry_Bat

    That is why foreign donors avoid giving to the government but to private groups.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/44XCXHEOF5JX5BJV5SGBNAYI5Y I

    Sana magpakitang gilas si Mr. Mar Roxas kung tatakbo xa sa 2016. Pero sa nangyayari ngayon wala xang ka action – action. ganon din ang VP natin na si Mr. Binay. Pano kayo iboboto ng mga tao sa susunod na election? sa mga kababayan natin sa darating na hahalalan sana po iboto natin ang karapat padat na mamuno sa ating sambayanan.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WTIRTIXLBR5X47RMVKB3T43SWA charles

    Napaka-walang kwenta ng mga LGU leaders sa Davao Oriental..kapal ng mukha nyo…!!!

  • msdb926

    ASK MORE JOURNALIST TO GO TO BAGANGA SO YOU WILL KNOW MORE WHATS IN STORE IN BAGANGA. PULITICIANS IN MY PLACE ACTS LIKE GOD KASAMA NA DOON ANG MGA NAKAPALIGID SA KANILA. MAKE MORE INTERVIEWS AND OBSERVED KASI MARAMI SILANG MGA GALAMAY INORDER TO LIVE A LUXURIOUS LIFE. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NZ4TEN5MD6U4WXLBPIQCILDM6I #AMALAYER

    Please, Do research more about whats happening right now in Baganga.. and tell me if I did a mistake saying that most or worst all of the politician in Baganga are corrupt. What a shame to be grown on that place… Nothing change, seeing everyday(5x a day) a truck full of logged tree before the typhoon Bupha hit that place. I wish seeing them behind bars, from Governor to all her constituent. Cause there the mean reason why that suffer this horrific disaster. They all illegal loggers…

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