TACLOBAN CITY—Nearly 5,000 survivors of Typhoon “Yolanda” from different communities of Leyte and Eastern Samar marched from here to the Regional Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways at the Government Center in Palo, Leyte on Monday.
The march was a “show of mass discontent over the continuing implementation” of the DPWH’s P7.9-billion Tide Embankment Project, which runs 27.3 kilometers from Tacloban to Tanauan, Samar.
The marchers belonged to various sectoral groups aligned with the Community of Yolanda Survivors and Partners, an alliance of 163 community organizations of survivors and 10 non-government organizations.
Throughout their almost 7-kilometer march, which started at the Tacloban City Astrodome, the marchers chanted “Tide embankment project, Undangon! Anomalya sa housing Bukwaton! (Stop Tide embankment project! Investigate anomalies in housing program!)”
On their way to Palo, the marchers passed by the Regional Office of the National Housing Authority in Tacloban and burned an effigy of a house to symbolize their indignation at the anomalies on the housing projects for Yolanda survivors.
They have been demanding the review of the tide embankment project. Organizers of the march say that besides “the threat of displacement of thousands of families from their homes and sources of livelihood, with little guarantee of a relocation site due to the slow construction of housing projects,” studies have also shown the potential negative impacts of such an infrastructure project.
Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo, an earth and environmental scientist, said not only will the 4-meter-high wall be ineffective against a storm surge, “an infrastructure project of such proportion will also leave the areas even more vulnerable to earthquakes and other disasters.”
The Aquino government approved and started the implementation of this project “despite the lack of consultation with affected residents and contrary scientific studies that the project might even enhance the risks posed to communities,” CYSP organizers said.
The marchers have been trying to push the government of President Rodrigo Duterte to review the project and explore other possibly more effective, environment-friendly, and socially acceptable options in addressing the storm surge.
DPWH Regional Director Edgar Tabacon announced last month that the tide embankment project will start construction this year, with a budget of P2.6 billion for its start.