Farmers’ plight not ‘fake news,’ group laments
CEBU CITY—The pro-Duterte mass movement Kilusang Pagbabago has lamented how the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino brushed aside as “fake news” reports of flooding because of an unfinished rehabilitation site for survivors of Super Typhoon “Yolanda.”
Barely a fortnight before the fourth anniversary of “Yolanda,” Barangays Puho, Hatay-Hatay, Calog, Lacayon and Cubay in South Bugasong town in Antique suffered their worst flood in years.
“We are sad that situations like this affecting our poor farmers are brushed aside as fake news. We are attaching pictures of the situation in Lacayon, Bugasong, Antique for the public,” said Fr. Jose Elmer Cajilig, KP Region 6 lead convenor and Visayas co-convenor.
The KP, which has chapters all over the country and abroad, is aligned with the Office for Participatory Governance under the Office of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.
Cajilig noted that in a Facebook post about the OPAV press statement replying to the news report in Manila Standard, the phrase “fake news” in red color was superimposed.
KP Region 6 has blamed the inefficiency of “Yolanda” housing czar OPAV Dino for the flooding, after it conducted a fact-finding mission in the area on Oct. 20.
Lacayon residents have sought the help of Cajilig, who vowed to bring their concern to the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte through Evasco.
In a statement, OPAV Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerald “Jonji” Gonzales said Dino received verbal instructions from President Duterte to immediately relocate the “Yolanda” victims from the danger zone to the housing units on different relocation sites in Tacloban City, when both of them visited the city Nov. 8 last year.
“On 14 January 2017, PA Dino formally handed over the work he did in Tacloban City to government line agencies during a meeting presided by Cabinet Secretary [Leoncio] Evasco in Davao City,” Gonzales added.
He stressed the construction of the “Yolanda” housing units is undertaken by the National Housing Authority.
Another staffer of Dino’s office furnished the Standard a copy of Presidential Directive 0288 dated Nov. 10 last year, stating that Lawyer Wendel E. Avisado was “designated to oversee and/or supervise the Yolanda Rehabilitation Project.”
But Cajilig said: “If Dino turned over responsibility to CabSec Evasco and Avisado in December 2016, then why did he still inspect the Yolanda housing sites in northern Cebu using two Philippine Air Force helicopters in late January 2017, bringing along some reporters?”
He added that a Malacañang order in August 2017 also named Dino as co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Yolanda, being the “man on the ground” in the Visayas.