Assistance for Sendong Victims must Meet their Actual Needs—Bishop

MANILA, Jan. 19, 2012—Reacting on the reported United Nations’ humanitarian action plan program to help thousands of victims of Typhoon Sendong in Mindanao, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said that the victims should be given the most essential things they need to start their life anew.

According to reports, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) program, “Philippines (Mindanao) Humanitarian Action Plan 2012” purportedly aims to raise some $28 million (P1.26 billion) to help the typhoon victims.

But, the UN’s humanitarian action program for typhoon victims has a catch.

Included in the program is the intention to distribute sexual and reproductive health (RH) “Minimum Initial Service Packages” (MISPs) including RH kits.

Pabillo, who chairs the CBCP’s National Secretariat on Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA), said what the victims need are not the non-essentials but the basics that would help them begin again.

“Hindi ‘yun ang kailangan nila. Ang kailangan nila [ay] bahay, tubig, pagkain. Hindi essential ang ang mga bagay na iyon (Those are not what they need. What they need are homes, water, food. Those things (contraceptives) are not essential,” he stated.

The prelate disclosed his intention to verify if such are already being distributed in areas hit hard by floods such as Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City and Dumaguete City.

“Kung meron mang ipinamamahagi na ganun, aalamin natin. Sasabihan ko ang staff natin dun, (If these items are being given out, we will find out. I will instruct our staff in the affected areas),” Pabillo said.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) website, RH kits contain condoms, intra-uterine devices (IUD), and other contraceptives, the distribution of which is still the subject of debates in both chambers of Congress. (CBCP for Life)