The employees call for the Duterte administration to immediately release the financial assistance due them as they were affected by typhoon Yolanda
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines (May 8, 2017) — Employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here walked out of their respective offices at noon on Monday, May 8, and began a protest rally outside the DENR regional office.
The employees called for the Duterte administration to immediately release the financial assistance due them as they were affected by typhoon Yolanda.
Leah Salazar, president of the Kalipunan ng mga Kawani sa Kagawaran ng Kalikasan Eastern Visayas DENR Employees Union (K4 EVDENREU) told Rappler that while other government agencies already received at least half of the promised financial assistance from the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), DENR employees have yet to receive the financial assistance promised them.
“We complied with all the documents required to us and in many instances were promised that it is forthcoming. Ironically, we are now under a new administration and that same remains to be that – a promise,” Salazar said.
In 2015, the previous administration approved the allocation of P2.89 billion from the President’s Social Fund (PSF) for release to 64,642 national government employees affected by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda. This included casual or contractual employees as well as outsourced personnel who were endorsed to the PMS by respective heads of agencies.
The employees with totally/heavily damaged houses would receive P100,000.00, while P30,000.00 would go to those with partially damaged houses.
It was learned that the officers and members of the (K4 EVDENREU) DENR employees union sent petition letters to the Office of President Duterte with the hope that it would be acted upon, but they received no immediate response.
At the protest rally, the anger over years of seeming apathy was evident.
Ranulfo Arbiol, Leyte Provincial Environment Natural Resources Officer, said, “It’s not just the financial piece, it’s also about the dignity. We are victims of that super typhoon Yolanda. We hope to get to be respected as people, want to be treated fairly because we want to live a decent life and be able to take care of our families.”
DENR employees took the stand and asked the national government for transparency.
Carmelo Cromente, the vice president of DENR employees union said they are not losing hope. Cromente said they have legal basis and they are asking only that which was promised by the government and which others have already received.
“Before we placed our demands through letters and follow ups and then left, Cromente said.
“Now, we will not budge until our demands are met,’ he added.