Duterte’s chronic criminal neglect is a worse disaster — farmers

Gov’t unprepared for wrath of #UlyssesPH

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas today lambasted President Rodrigo Duterte for being absent again at a crucial time when he is most needed by Filipinos. #NasaanAngPangulo again became a trending topic online because of Duterte’s conspicuous absence and the government’s lacking preparedness for #UlyssesPH which devastated most of Luzon island including the National Capital Region. The strong typhoon brought 14 hours of continuous heavy to torrential rainfall and howling winds in Luzon provinces which resulted to flash floods. Metro Manila, including Marikina and Quezon City, and several villages in the Rizal towns of San Mateo and Montalban were flooded. Residents said that flooding was similar to that of supertyphoon Ondoy in 2009.

Flooded areas in Rodriguez, Rizal

In the early morning of November 12, residents of Marikina, San Mateo, and Montalban sought help for immediate rescue after rainwater overflowed rivers and dams which then deluged several villages. According to the latest NDRRMC bulletin, there were 14 fatalities, 20 injured, and 15 missing in the wake of Ulysses. Authorities said they have recovered at least 39 dead bodies in search and retrieval operations. Most of the fatalities were from CALABARZON.

In an address yesterday, Duterte callously said he was willing to swim in floodwater with Filipinos but the military prevented him from doing so. In a press briefing today, Malacanang said the government prepared for Ulysses but did not anticipate the quick rise of floodwater in low-lying areas. The Office of Civil Defense on the other hand blamed the people for supposedly not heeding warnings from local officials.

“The government lacked proper briefing and preparations for UlyssesPH. People were more prepared during supertyphoon RollyPH than during UlyssesPH because of timely information from PAGASA and the NDRRMC, as well as preemptive evacuations conducted days before RollyPH made landfall in Catanduanes. Now, even LGU heads admitted that they did not expect UlyssesPH to cause such enormous damage. Marikina Mayor Marcy has appealed for help from the national government and the private sector. PAGASA did its job of giving warnings and alerts of torrential rainfall. At some point, may mga nagkulang talaga sa paghahanda. Ang malinaw, kinaltasan at pinagkaitan ng badyet ang disaster response para ilagay sa mga walang kwentang proyekto gaya ng dolomite sand sa Manila Bay at sa mga baril at sweldo ng mga pulis; ang malinaw, wala man lang malasakit ang pambansang pamahalaan ni Duterte sa mamamayan at ang iniisip pa nila ay ang kanilang imahe sa publiko,” says Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP which leads Sagip Kanayunan Relief and Rehabilitation Drive for disaster victims. “As President and as Commander-in-Chief, Duterte must always be on top of critical situations like disaster risk reduction.”

KMP noted that most of the residents of Kasiglahan Vilage as well as other areas in Rodriguez and San Mateo in Rizal belatedly sought rescue because no preemptive evacuations took place in those towns. “When the alarms sounded, it was already too late. Walang naisalba ang maraming kababayan natin na binaha ang mga bahay,” Ramos said.

Agriculture losses due to UlyssesPH reached P124.3 million worth of crops and livestock.

KMP is continuously seeking relief donations for farmers affected by UlyssesPH victims in Rizal, Bulacan, Batangas, Bicol, Cagayan Valley, Mindoro, and Quezon. For details on how to donate or volunteer, visit https://web.facebook.com/sagipkanayunan. ###

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