Skirmishes mark 3rd day of protests by ‘Pablo’ survivors in Davao City

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Photo by Karlos Manlupig

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Pockets of violence marred the third day of protests by thousands of Typhoon “Pablo” survivors who have been camping outside the Department of Social Welfare and Development compound here.

Two protesters were arrested following a riot with policemen outside the agency’s office on Wednesday morning. The scuffle started when protesters blocked a police vehicle not knowing it was just bringing in food for police forces. A policeman was wounded in the brief rampage.

Also on Tuesday morning, protesters confiscated a 39mm handgun from a policeman in civilian clothes who “blended” with the crowd. The gun was immediately turned over to a uniformed police.

Senior Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, the city police chief, admitted that he deployed the undercover policeman.

The protesters, lashing at the DSWD’s alleged inept delivery of relief and rehabilitation services in areas devastated by Typhoon Pablo, started occupying the area outside the agency’s regional office on Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday morning, the protesters knocked down the agency’s gates and carted away sacks of rice and boxes of relief goods. In the afternoon, however, the police forcibly confiscated the goods, again resulting in a brief riot and leaving several protesters and policemen injured.

Karlos Trangia, Barug Katawhan spokesperson, explained that the residents were only claiming what was rightfully theirs.

“These relief items were allocated for us. Why is the government depriving us of these items?” Trangia said.

Trangia added that they were also demanding the immediate release of 10,000 sacks committed by Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman in the January 15 roadblock in Montevista town.

The DSWD, however, is firm in its position that it would not release the rice until the residents comply with the requirements mandated by government protocols.

OIC DSWD Regional Director Priscilla Razon said Barug Katawhan failed to provide a master list of the recipients.

But Barug Katawhan said the residents feared that the list might be used against them after eight of their leaders were charged in court for joining the roadblock.

“Our intent in requiring them to provide their list is to counter-check it with our lists. This is to clarify their allegations that some families are not receiving relief goods or are not included in the list,” Razon said.

“If there are really families not listed in our system then we will include them,” Razon added.

Trangia said DSWD was only passing on its responsibility to the people.

“What we are offering is that everyone will sign once they receive the goods in their villages. It will be transparent and DSWD has nothing to worry about these goods getting to people who are not recipients,” Trangia said.

Meanwhile, donations of relief goods poured in. As of 3 p.m. on Wednesday, a total of 220 sacks of rice, sent by anonymous donors, arrived in the barricade site. Bread was also donated.

On Wednesday morning, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio gave Dela Rosa the authority to disperse the protesters.

“I gave Dela Rosa full authority to disperse the rally at all cost as soon as possible today,” Duterte-Carpio said in a radio interview.

“I ordered Dela Rosa to arrest the protesters in case they resist or create violence in the course of the dispersal,” she added.

The city government has also sent buses to ferry the protesters to their places of origin.

Despite the threats of dispersal, the protesters said they would hold their line.

As of 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Barug Katawhan leaders and DSWD officials were still negotiating inside the agency’s office.

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  • mike

    mobalik nalang si Pablo wa pa jud na masulbad ang pang apod-apod sa tabang. murag ni tukar napod ng di ka botante di ka tagaan. porbida dolor!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FQQPZLNOMD2EBFTHSWOP6QGZWY Marshall

    SI Casiñong Komunista ang nag-instigate ng gulo.wala nang ginawa itong mga komunistang ito kundi maghasik ng gulo gagamitin ang mga kawawang biktima ng mga kalamidad.

  • bogli_anakdami

    dapat eh -salvage lahat ni duterte ang mga yan… para mabawasan ang mga flip gung gongs…

    where’s the ampatuans when you needed a masaker?

  • disqusted0fu

    Perhaps the vast wealth over at DSWD has covered Soliman’s eyes and ears that she couldn’t see and hear the cries of the typhoon victims. How much suffering do these victims have to experience before they receive relief that is supposed to be theirs to begin with? The anti poor government of Pnoy is just making it harder and harder by the day.

  • JasonBieber

    We can’t help but feel sorry for the poor and the unfortunate victims of typhoon ‘Pablo’ and other natural disasters, especially during the Aquino’s term.

    PNoy does not appear to care much for making sure the victims receive the proper help that they need. PNoy could bring so much attention to the area just by visiting the place and making sure the foods and supplies get passed out properly but he hasn’t visited the place and probably has no idea about these people. PNoy has not taken the time to make sure these people get the help they need.

    If anyone disagrees…then just take a look at what is going on with the victims of ‘Pablo’ in Davao.

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