Friday, December 10, 2004

NR1201: Relief for the victims of typhoons

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release December 1 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Solon makes recommendations for immediate relief of victims of typhoons and
massive flooding; demands GMA and top execs to donate their own Christmas
bonuses and 13th month pay for emergency relief operations

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today made for than a few
recommendations on how to immediately remedy the devastation caused by t h e
recent typhoons that hit the country, and the serious flooding they caused.
He said that the Office of the President should give up its allocations for
the presidential palace's maintenance and repair of properties,
transportation, equipment and the like owned for the immediate relief and
rehabilitation of the areas in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog ravaged by
the recent typhoons.

Beltran said in 2003, the OP used up a whopping P232,282,957.01 M for the
repair and maintenance of Malacanang palace. This according to the Commission
on Audit (COA.).The Office of the President spent millions on beautifying the
physical structure and grounds of Malacanang, and it's certain that the money
wasted this year for the same will be as humongous. Instead of more
presidential primping and preening, the executive should drastically cut down
and even do away with its vanity expenses, and allot the funds for the calamity
and disaster missions," he said.

Beltran also urged Congressmen, senators and top executives of government
agencies such as the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Social
Security System (SSS) and the Philippine National Oil Corporation (PNOC) to
donate their Christmas bonuses and other cash gifts to the victims of the
typhoon. "The challenge also goes to DILG secretary Angelo Reyes and the
top-raking generals in the Armed Forces of the Philippines," he said.

He also said that AFP allocations for intelligence should also cut down to
size, and the same also contributed to the calamity fund - towards the
rebuilding of houses, schools, and other infrastructure damaged or totally
destroyed by the recent typhoons and flooding. "It's not enough that Pres.
Arroyo go around the distressed provinces distributing P5,000 each to every
family. P5,000 won't buy all the construction materials needed to rebuild
houses. People will also need food, medicine and clothing. The devastation
also covers the immediate livelihood of thousands of farmers, farmworkers and
small fisherfolk. This is a national emergency that requires drastic
measures," he said.

Beltran said that the Congressional deliberations over the 2005 national budget
do not even take into consideration the natural disasters that strike the
country regularly. "The allocations for agrarian reform and agriculture remain
paltry - as do the funds for health. The Philippines is a regular magnet for
natural calamities like typhoons. Every year, the national government runs
around like a headless chicken to help the victims when what it should be
doing is strengthening the country and the people's ability to minimize the
impact of the typhoons and flooding. The 2005 budget should be engineered
towards providing more for what the basic sectors need to survive these
calamities," he said.

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker also said that a total log ban should
be immediately imposed, as well as an immediate halt to full-scale, open-pit
mining. "The depletion of Philippine forests and the destruction of the land
due to mining contributes to the ecological and environmental destruction, and
as always, the impact is on the poor. PGMA should call for a total log ban and
a halt to all mining operations," he concluded.#


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