I do not know if our fashion conscious Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman was thinking straight when she recently assured the public that sub-standard bunkhouses in the flood-ravaged areas of Tacloban City will demolished by the end of this month.
In her recent interview with the media, Soliman said the bunkhouses have to be dismantled because it is not safe. She also assured the public that there will no longer be any family living in sub-standard and indecently small bunkhouses in Tacloban city beginning next month.
Despite her assurance, Soliman however failed to mention of any government plans where these flood victims will be temporarily housed. As of today, thousands of families are still housed on makeshift bunkhouses that do not meet necessary minimum standards for the provision of basic needs and services.
National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Sinfaroso Pagunsan said in a recent Senate Committee hearing that 73,000 housing units are now being constructed for typhoon Yolanda victims. He further said that only 45,000 units are expected to be completed in December.
Worse, the statistics the Senate got in its recent committee hearing showed that the government was only able to construct 16,000 of the 205,000 homes that were supposed to be built for those affected by typhoon Yolanda.
So if there is some truth in what Soliman was bragging about regarding the demolition of bunkhouses, where on earth will the flood victims temporarily be relocated pending completion of their resettlement houses by December?
Maybe Soliman already made plans to put all these flood victims under “house arrest” in a fancy hotel in Tacloban city for the entire duration of the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) scheduled next month in Manila.
With all the money she has under her disposal as DSWD official, including the unaudited missing financial assistance intended for flood victims which the government received from numerous donors around the globe, Soliman can easily afford to put these indigents temporarily in a “safe haven” and free from the prying eyes of APEC members.
If she thinks that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) or the National Housing Authority (NHA) will be able to construct decent shelters for flood victims in three to four days, she must be dreaming.
Maybe, her brain has been affected by the dye solutions that she has been constantly using to “highlight” the color of her hair. Just like her boss, President Aquino, She is also being delusional.
How come it took Secretary Soliman and the Aquino government more than two years to find out that these homeless flood victims were living in sub-standard and unsafe shelters? How come that all of a sudden, the Aquino government, through the DSWD under Soliman, have been generous in giving financial assistance to “Yolanda” flood victims?
The answer is simple- politics. What Soliman is doing right now is all political gimmick to prop up the image of Liberal Party presidential bet Mar Roxas. She and Roxas have been touring the countrysides distributing financial assistance through the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino” program to their favored LP constituents.
I am sure the voting public will get any financial “dole outs” Roxas and Soliman will hand to them. But I am more sure these “beneficiaries will never vote for Roxas, or aka “Mr. Palenke, especially Visayan folks who suffered the brunt of typhoon Yolanda.
Filipinos in the flood-ravaged areas of Leyte and some parts of Samar will never forget how the Aquino neglected them in the aftermath of the strongest typhoon ever to hit the Philippines.
The government’s apparent neglect and disregard on the safety and health conditions of the flood victims have been noticed by the United Nations. The UN issued a stinging criticism against the Aquino government regarding its inability or neglect to provide basic needs and services for thousands of flood victim families displaced by super typhoon Yolanda.
Despite getting severe criticism for his insensitivity and no empathy for ordinary Filipinos, Aquino remains unperturbed on the plight thousands of flood victims of “Yolanda.”
We will see what will happen to Roxas on election day. President Aquino has been saying that the 2016 presidential election will be a referendum of his “daan matuwid” mantra. If Roxas fails to get elected as the next President, it will be “daan patungo sa kulungan for ex President Aquino and some of his former cabinet secretaries, Soliman included.