Natural and man-made calamities strike RP

Natural calamity

Supertyphoon Reming (International Code: Durian) veered away from Manila, sparing the megacapital’s millions of residents from Milenyo-style tragedies. But huge places of the Bicol region are in mourning, as the typhoon killed hundreds and destroyed many things that blocked its path. reports that Reming-induced mudslides buried eight villages; 108 bodies have since been recovered. Local officials are terrified over the prospect of looking for and counting even more lifeless bodies of their people.

Socio-civic organizations are expected to lead the necessary relief and rescue operations. Everyone’s encouraged to do their share especially since Bicolanos are actually still reeling from the ravages of Milenyo. Reming’s fury has compounded their problems and all Filipinos have a moral obligation to help our compatriots get up and recover.

The government meanwhile should stop the Chacha nonsense and focus on saving Bicol and Bicolanos.

Man-made calamity

In Manila, human rights watchdog Karapatan issued its annual report on the Filipino people’s exercise of their civil, political, human, social, economic and cultural rights. The report is a damning evidence of the Arroyo government’s slaughter of its perceived political opponents, and its disrespect of the entire Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution and international rights agreements the Philippines is party to.

According to Karapatan, 2006 is a most murderous year, a “worst year for human rights” in the Philippines, with 185 Filipinos victims of extrajudicial killings. No wonder, the world community has condemned the Arroyo government. At the very least, Arroyo allowed these murders to continue. Worst, it is principally to blame because most of the victims belong to people’s organizations vilified and demonized in the course of its all-out war against the Communist Party of the Philippines and the illegal offensive against foes demanding her ouster from the presidency.

The loss of 186 lives this year in murders for political reasons is a man-made catastrophe. It could have been prevented by government, with law enforcers immediately investigating the incidents, arresting the culprits and moving for their conviction in a court of law.

Unfortunately, the law enforcers (read: PNP, AFP and their death squads) are
the suspected masterminds and perpetrators in almost all these extrajudicial killings. Which could explain why the PNP and AFP are always hysterical in defaming Karapatan as an alleged communist front.

(Photos courtesy of Reuters/Washington Post on Yahoo! News and Arkibong Bayan.)

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