Dec 12 2012

Philippines Reels From Devastating Typhoon Bopha/Pablo

A deadly typhoon that hit the Philippines on December 2, has claimed 647 lives. Another 900 are missing including 300 fisherman and an estimated 400,000 people have been displaced throughout the area with the most damage in the Compostela Valley of the Mindanao province. The Philippines anticipates 20 typhoons every year, however the damage and casualty count in the aftermath of Typhoon Bopha, is being investigated by President Aquino and environmental groups. It hit as a category 5 typhoon, unusually close to the equator and is the strongest such storm to ever hit Mindanao. Exacerbating the effects of the typhoon is years of illegal mining and logging that is thought to have affected the biodiversity of the land, causing soil instability and loose debris.

Hundreds of farms, entire neighborhoods, and their food supply and drinking water have all either been destroyed or are barely functional. Typhoon Bopha, also known by its other name, Typhoon Pablo, hit the Philippines just as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was taking place in Doha, Qatar. The conference delegates heard pleas from Filipino representatives to help disaster victims of the typhoon. Delegates also asked for wealthier and more developed nations to put aside their own national interests and to work together to fight global warming in developing nations. Overall, little progress was made at the conference’s close.

Now, a newly formed group in Los Angeles, Panaghiusa: Movement for Human Rights, Peace and Justice in Mindanao campaign and network focuses on bringing awareness to human rights violations in the Philippines, especially in the aftermath of Pablo. On Monday, the group met at Senator Barbara Boxer’s office to brief her on what they called “a human rights crisis” in Mindanao.

GUEST: Alex Montances, the Southern California regional coordinator for the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Kuusela Hilo, a representative of PANAGHIUSA, movement for human rights, peace and justice in Mindanao

Visit www.nafconusa.org and www.panaghiusa.org for more information.

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