EDITORIAL - Role politics play in relief efforts
(The Freeman) - October 24, 2015 - 10:00am

This year's strongest typhoon has reportedly damaged more than P8 billion worth of infrastructure and agriculture in the provinces of Luzon where at least 54 people were killed and 78 others injured.

Typhoon Lando, the strongest since supertyphoon Yolanda barreled through the Visayas in 2013, had dumped enormous volume of rainwater on the country's largest island, flooding the lowland areas while triggering landslides in some regions. 

With Lando now gone, the government's focus has been shifted to the distribution of assistance and the rehabilitation of the affected areas. But given the scale of the destruction, it seems the government would need more time and huge amount in its recovery efforts.

However, the public, especially the typhoon victims themselves, should see to it that politics will not mar the rehabilitation efforts, especially now that the political kettle is starting to boil for the May 2016 elections.

Those living in typhoon-affected areas should be aware of the fact that, as those seeking for elective posts prepare for their campaign sorties, politics will find a way to play a key role in the distribution of assistance and in the recovery.

In the coming days, it would be an ordinary thing seeing national candidates barnstorming typhoon areas. Bringing assistance, they would pretend to sympathize with the victims pretending to help, but harbor a pure intention of stealing their votes.

Political involvement in relief efforts has already been part of the Filipino culture ever since we learn to rise from the ruins of any natural or man-made calamity. That is why controversies would never fail to taint any government's rehabilitation drive.

During the national government's Yolanda recovery campaign, serious allegations surfaced that some affected local government units whose officials are allied with the present administration received a much bigger share of the assistance.

We should not let the same happen in the Lando recovery efforts. All typhoon victims should receive a fair share of any government assistance regardless of the political affiliations of their local officials.

AREAS ASSISTANCE EFFORTS GOVERNMENT LANDO LUZON TYPHOON TYPHOON LANDO VISAYAS WITH LANDO YOLANDA
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