Community-based Sendong victims protest ‘unequal treatment’

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/ 25 September)—Survivors of tropical storm Sendong who went back to their communities held a picket at the city Social Welfare and Development Office today (Tuesday) to demand their share of the relief goods as well as to press for livelihood assistance.

“While relief goods overflowed in evacuation centers, those who went back to their houses were hard-pressed in looking for their daily needs,” Rhodora Bulosan, chair of the Survivor’s Collective in Cagayan de Oro City, said in an interview.

The group claimed that even up to now, data remained incompatible between the city social welfare office and the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“Some names could be in one’s office list but not in another. In barangays Carmen, Pagatpat, Kauswagan, Consolacion, Puntod and Tablon alone, Survivor’s Collectives members comprised of 407 families alleged they were handed relief assistance only once,” Bulosan said.

“We demand equal treatment of Sendong survivors. We do not want to be led to mendicancy, that’s why we also ask for livelihood assistance,” said Bulosan, noting it would eventually allow the survivors to fend for themselves.

City Administrator Leon Gan gathered the leaders of the group and held an impromptu dialogue right beside the picket lines.

“We need specific addresses, barangays and lists of the survivors who were not given the relief assistance so that we can trace where the delivery went wrong, and so that relief goods can be delivered to these people at once,” Gan told the leaders.

After a few minutes of the dialogue, the groups dispersed peacefully. (Cong B. Corrales/MindaNews)