EffeldaBringing the demands of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims to New York City at the People’s Climate March (PCM), a leader of the Yolanda victims and supporters’ alliance People Surge sought to bring to the world’s attention the continuing social, environmental and climate injustices caused by the criminal negligence of the Aquino government 10 months after the super typhoon’s landfall.

“Ten months after ground zero, we victims continue our calls for justice as the majority of our people remain deprived of homes and livelihood, vulnerable to worsening disasters, and mired in extreme poverty. We enjoin the world to join us in holding accountable the PH national government under President Noynoy Aquino, alongside the top polluter countries such as the United States that continue to worsen the climate crisis we face on a daily basis,” said Dr. Efleda Bautista, chairperson of People Surge and PCM global climate ambassador.

The NY PCM aims to bring hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of New York City to call on world leaders to commit to bold climate action as they arrive to attend a historic Climate Summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The summit is one of the last chances for world leaders to come together and spark international progress before it becomes too late to avoid catastrophic climate impacts.

Alongside the global mobilisations, a delegation of globally diverse grassroots leaders that includes Dr. Bautista will be in attendance in New York to ensure voices from movements and campaigns around the world are heard while also giving emphasis to ongoing struggles which will serve to launch a series of mobilisations beyond September.

“We are tired of the hard-sell lies that the national government’s Yolanda response was with groundbreaking speed. Billions of pesos in contingency and rehabilitation funds did not trickle down to victims. Reconstruction is at a snail’s pace and marred with corruption and malversation of funds,” said Bautista.

According to the Commission on Audit, a total of PHP 1.58 billion in emergency response funds were not released by national government agencies.  A total of PHP 14.6 billion in emergency response and rehabilitation funds sourced from pork barrel funds remain unaccounted to date as well.

“Coastal communities were declared ‘no-dwelling zones’ to demolish our homes and give way to big businesses. Our farmers were left to desolate agricultural lands. Our people’s organizations who continue to strive to rebuild our communities and demand justice from Aquino are met with militarization and rights violation,” added Bautista.

March to Malacanang in the wake of Typhoon ‘Mario’

In the wake of Typhoon Mario (Fung Wong) that battered Northern Philippines and the National Capital Region with enhanced monsoon rains and flooding, environmental activists in the Philippines are set to hold satellite PCMs across the country to echo the plight and demands of Yolanda victims.

Organizations under the People Surge, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), 350.org Pilipinas and the International League of Peoples’ Struggle – Philippines will lead walks, marches and activities in the cities of Manila, Dumaguete, and Davao on September 22.

“Days before the climate marches around the world, one-fourth of Metro Manila was once again severely flooded by extreme rainfall from enhanced monsoon rains of Typhoon Mario, affecting thousands of communities in the capital region and in the Northern Luzon, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions as well. We cannot accept these worsening disaster and climate impacts compounded by the Aquino government’s policy of state abandonment as an acceptable new norm,” said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of Kalikasan PNE and campaigner for climate action group350.org Pilipinas.

The PCM in Manila will march to Mendiola Peace Arch to bring the demands before the national seat of power in Malacanang Palace. It will also serve as the launching platform of a global campaign demanding justice for Yolanda victims leading to the Super Typhoon’s anniversary on November 8, 2014.

“We will join Yolanda victims to march for the accountability of the Aquino government for its disastrous abandonment of all climate change-impacted communities,” Dulce ended.