SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
Reference: Rachel Canero, chair
The San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP) is calling on all Filipino-Americans and all of those who are concerned over the devastation in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) to give what they can to the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) Bayanihan Relief & Rehabilitation Program. All money donated to the program will be given directly to the Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA or “People’s Cooperation for the People”) which is a disaster relief organization in the Philippines made up of grassroots organizations “composed of broad church-based organizations, schools, disaster response NGOs, and other individuals working with victims of disasters in the Philippines.”
“The devastation in the Eastern Visayas is totally beyond our comprehension,” said newly elected SF CHRP chair Rachel Canero. “The typhoon is one of the biggest and most disastrous to ever reach landfall and has killed over 10,000 Filipinos and is thought to have displaced more than 500,000 from their homes.”
All information on how to help as well as donations can be made through the website of NAFCON at http://nafconusa.org.
SF CHRP is also watching with care and receiving updates on the current militarization of Tacloban City and its surrounding areas in Leyte with armored personnel carriers, armed combat units and military checkpoints that are beginning to dot the landscape for supposed “looting.”
“The Philippine government, which is one of the most notoriously corrupt governments in Southeast Asia, needs to send relief workers to the devastated areas not armored personal carriers and guns,” exclaimed Canero. “What is needed are engineers, relief workers, construction teams for trauma centers and shelters and medical personnel. Not soldiers from a military which has been documented as committing numerous human rights abuses from organizations no other than Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations.”
“If the Aquino administration had actually done its job and decided to use the billions of pesos worth of Pork Barrel funds to actually build up infrastructures that would counter such devastating natural disasters and set up proper aid and relief stations in regions that are susceptible to such events there would be no need for survivors to scavenge food and first aid on their own,” explained Canero. “The devastated people of Leyte and the Eastern Visayas need genuine help, not soldiers, from a government that has a motto of ‘too little, too late.’”
After Typhoon Pablo hit Southern Mindanao in December of 2012 the Philippine government also deployed large amounts of military to areas that were heavily hit. In the aftermath of that typhoon the military and its armed and supported militias targeted community organizers for organizing the people to fight for what aid was rightfully theirs.
“Just a few months after the typhoon hit the military began to target and harass Gabriela Philippines organizer and Barug Katawhan leader Christina Morales Jose,” said Canero. “They red-baited her by claiming she was a ‘rebel’ in the ‘New People’s Army’ when all she was doing was making sure that food and aid was properly distributed to her region of Compostela Valley. For this she was assassinated.”
SF CHRP is worried that incidents such as Jose’s will again happen in Leyte due to the increased militarization of Tacloban and the surrounding provinces. The San Francisco based human rights organizations calls on all of those who are concerned about the Philippines in the recent wake of this tragedy to remain vigilant and to hold the Aquino administration accountable for its lack of response and for future relief and aid programs it gives to the Eastern Visayas. SF CHRP is also imploring all of those who can to please give to the Bayanihan Relief & Rehabilitation Program at nafconusa.org.