Better treatment than ‘Yolanda’ victims
MANILA, Philippines—The lawmakers accused of plunder get better accommodations than the survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” a group that supports the victims of the storm that devastated large swaths of the Visayas last November said on Saturday.
Mark Louie Aquino, a spokesperson for Tindog People’s Network, a group of relatives, supporters and survivors of Yolanda (international name: “Haiyan”), said the comparison was based on statements of the Philippine National Police and the actual size and amenities of the bunkhouses built by the government for the survivors of the supertyphoon.
“The detention cells intended for lawmakers accused of stealing public funds are twice bigger than the intended bunkhouses built for Yolanda victims,” Aquino said.
He said People’s Search was part of a bigger support group for typhoon survivors. People’s Search is supporting 400 Yolanda survivors, he added.
‘Coddling’ erring politicians
He said the accommodations prepared for Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile in the PNP custodial center when compared with the bunkhouses for the typhoon victims in Eastern Visayas send the message that “this administration seems to be coddling officials accused of corruption while neglecting the welfare of the Yolanda survivors.”
Aquino pointed out that the detention cells “were not only bigger, but also provided with basic furniture that the Yolanda survivors did not receive from the government.”
“Each cell has a single metal bed with foam mattress, a side table and electric fan, which the survivors did not get from the government,” Aquino said.
He said 12 storm families were thrown together in a 17.28-square-meter shelter in the bunkhouses, while each of the three senators indicted for pocketing tens of millions of pesos in public funds would be held in a 32-sq-m detention cell.
Concrete vs coco lumber
The lawmakers’ detention cells, he said, were made of concrete, while the bunkhouses were made of coconut lumber, plywood and GI sheet.
The floors of the lawmakers’ cells are tiled, while those of the bunkhouses are finished with rough concrete, he said.
The typhoon victims in the bunkhouses share four toilets and baths with concrete floors, while the lawmakers’ cells have private toilets, baths with new shower heads, tiled floors and ceramic sinks, Aquino said.
Although the lawmakers’ food is rationed and no cooking is allowed, their cells have kitchens and cabinets, while Yolanda survivors share kitchens in the bunkhouses.
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