‘Red Cross’ conflict with Maribojoc mayor shows people’s distrust of politicians’ | Inquirer News

‘Red Cross’ conflict with Maribojoc mayor shows people’s distrust of politicians’

/ 11:02 PM October 23, 2013

A Red Cross volunteer carries goods that were transported through a boat after a bridge collapsed from a massive quake that hit Bohol, Philippines. ALANAH TORRALBA/ IFRC

MANILA, Philippines—Lawmakers said on Wednesday the encounter between the Philippine Red Cross and Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. showed that non-government organizations did not trust politicians in the distribution of relief goods.

Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao said: “The level of trust among politicians has ebbed to rock bottom especially after the Commission on Audit report on stolen pork barrel funds came out.”


Aggabao proposed that the Red Cross and other NGOs be allowed to spearhead the distribution of the donated goods. “Politicians should have no business meddling other than maintaining security and order.  Red Cross and the other charitable NGOs are thoroughly adept at doing humanitarian work; they don’t need to be told by politicians what to do,” said Aggabao in a text message.


Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said that Evasco acted like “a mafia kingpin trying to control the flow of resources into his territory.”

“The fact that he was willing to sacrifice the interests of his constituents by telling the Red Cross to leave in order to maintain his monopolistic control underlines this. Politicians like him are the reason there’s a great deal of distrust of politicians nowadays. Between him and the Red Cross, I would give the Red Cross 100 per cent credibility and him zero,” said Bello.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga said that the refusal of Red Cross officials to hand over the distribution of their relief goods to Evasco betrayed their lack of confidence in local government officials’ handling of food and medicine relief.

Barzaga explained that mayors should have a more systematized and centralized system of vetting who were the calamity victims in the affected areas to ensure that everybody gets his or her share and that nobody gets more than others.

“But we cannot blame both sides because abuses in these dole-outs are common. The Red Cross has its reasons, the mayor has his reasons. The mayor will be the one left in his town and explain why some of his constituents were deprived of help especially if the Red Cross missed out on some of the victims,” said Barzaga.

Barzaga said the government should come up with a more systematic and transparent process in the distribution of relief goods to erase doubts held by NGOs and check abuses by local officials to politicize the distribution. “But I doubt if the NGOs would allow themselves to be governed by government rules,” said Barzaga.



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TAGS: Bohol, Calamity, disaster, Earthquake, Giorgidi Aggabao, House of Representatives, Maribojoc, mayor, News, Politics, rescue, Walden Bello

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