STATEMENTS: “Arroyo does more harm than help after Ondoy” – NAFCON

02 October 2009

Reference: Fr. Benjamin E. Alforque, President, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Email:

“Arroyo does more harm than help after Ondoy” – NAFCON

September 26 marked the start of another trying period for the Philippine nation as Typhoon Ondoy (international name, Ketsena) left the central part of the country in wreckage. Not only was it one of the most unforgettable disasters causing damage for and killing hundreds of people, it also showed the true bayanihan spirit among Filipinos. In the midst of tragedy, this spirit manifested not only locally, but internationally.

The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), a member organization of MIGRANTE International and a nationwide alliance of Filipino-American organizations committed to protect, advance, and uphold Filipino’s rights in the US, recognized the need to respond quickly, in order to address the concerns of compatriots whose families back home were affected directly by the typhoon. NAFCON immediately launched the Bayanihan Typhoon Ondoy Disaster Relief campaign.

On the other hand, the Philippine Government’s corruption was once again revealed in the lack of attention given to major facilities and services intended to deliver quick responses to national calamities. The P800-million contingency fund for emergencies, which could have been used to prepare the nation for Ondoy’s wrath, was reportedly spent for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s foreign trips, luxurious dinners and expensive houses built outside the country.

With the Arroyo administration’s comprehensive track record on corruption, Filipinos in the US cannot be blamed if efforts by the Philippine government are seen as insincere. The recent directives set by Arroyo regarding relief efforts impose more red tape by having the need for donations to be approved first by certain government departments.

Taxing on donations that do not go through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is only a manifestation of further exploitation of Filipinos overseas by the Philippine government, which takes pride in its “Bagong Bayani” (New Hero), but is actually doing otherwise. This move can only lead to our Kababayans getting discouraged in sending much needed help to the motherland, whose only concern is to extend aid to their own families and to other distressed fellow Filipinos during these trying times.
These steps being taken by Arroyo to control the outpour of support to the Philippines is a display of arrogance, making her administration look good and undermining efforts of people’s organizations whose relief efforts are made possible even without help from her government.

In absence of the services Arroyo’s administration has failed to provide in preparation for and in response to typhoon Ondoy (and all other typhoons to come), it has resorted to the implementation of these directives to leave an impression that it has done a lot in uplifting the nation after the tragedy. NAFCON sees it otherwise and believes it to be a cover-up of what Arroyo could not accept: that her government cannot do the rebuilding of the nation alone and that the Filipino people, through collective action, can rise up with help from families, friends and allies abroad.
For more information on Bayanihan for Typhoon Ondoy Disaster Relief, please visit or for “BALSA” (Bayanihan para sa Sambayanan, or People’s Cooperation for the People) as one of our partner alliances in the US.





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