DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/10 Nov) – Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and International Alert, a UK-based group, have called on the government (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) to suspend military operations to allow for the provision of humanitarian aid to the communities affected by super typhoon Yolanda.
Zarate urged both government and the NDF to “respectively consider declaring suspensions of military operations and ceasefire” in all regions hit by super typhoon Yolanda “to facilitate the unhampered relief, retrieval and clearing operations” by government, non-government organizations (NGOs) and other private relief groups.
International Alert UK (ALERT Philippines Office) in a statement dated November 9 and signed by country manager Francisco Lara, called on “all armed groups, state and non-state, in the provinces of Samar, Leyte, Bicol, Agusan Norte and Sur, Surigao Norte and Sur, and the Negros and Panay provinces to temporarily cease all hostilities and to cooperate in providing and allowing the provision of humanitarian relief to all victims and communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda.”
International Alert, according to its website, is a 27-year old independent peacebuilding organization that works with “people who are directly affected by violent conflict to improve their prospects of peace.” It also seeks to ‘influence the policies and ways of working of governments, international organizations like the United Nations and multinational companies, to reduce conflict risk and increase the prospects of peace.”
“ALERT shall work with other peacebuilding organizations to foster measures that ensure the inclusive and the peaceful provision of humanitarian support,” the statement read.
Leyte and Samar are considered hotbeds of communist insurgency although according to reports published in the Leyte Samar Daily News through its website, leytesamardaily.net, the military in November 2012 declared the provinces of Biliran, Leyte, and Southern Leyte as “insurgency-free provinces” and in June this year claimed they were on track in making Samar and Northern Samar “insurgent-free” by 2016.
Zarate urged members of Bayan Muna and Makabayan nationwide to gather and send relief goods to the Yolanda-devastated areas, especially those affected in the Visayas.
“I am requesting our members to donate and gather relief goods and send it to the nearest Bayan Muna or Makabayan Headquarters in their respective areas,” he said.
Yolanda, the world’s strongest typhoon this year, made landfall six times on Friday: in Guian, Eastern Samar at 4:40 a.m.; in Tolosa, Leyte at 7 a.m.; in Daang Bantayan, Cebu at 10 a.m; in Cebu at 10 a.m.; Bantayan Island at 10:40 a.m.; in Concepcion town in Iloilo at 12 noon; and Busuanga, Palawan at 8 p.m. (MindaNews)