A message to Tacloban aspirants: Only the people will emerge

We haven’t seen our politicians in Tacloban, in the past six years, as kind and generous as they are today and in the next couple of days.

The relocates in the northern part of Tacloban who have been struggling for free and accessible utilities haven’t heard from them for quite a while – not until they started campaigning for their names, and only for their names. For the past few years, nobody has heard any city politician shaking hands with the fish vendors in the wet market or walking in the crowded and dusty streets of Tacloban. Bur of course, this is no news to the people who know how the city’s traditional politicians play during elections where we only hear of them mostly. And the only time that they lend us a portion of their ears, if ever they really do.

Now that Tacloban is challenged by tons of fundamental people’s issues attempted to be kept hidden, it is just right to bring new politics to the city – the kind of politics it’s more than hundred thousand voters deserve. The Tacloban modernization program at the expense of its constituents’ welfare is crucial for their everyday lives in the coming years only to be disregarded by these aspirants who might think our only concern this election is the give-away envelopes at the last minute.

Some aspirants might even abase the people’s capacity to think for change, as if saying that the people have already became hopeless that the tables will turn in favor of them. At one point, these trapos might even be right. Taclobanons, as in those buko juice and isaw vendors crowding the streets every late afternoon or the workers employed in the service sector and the tricycle drivers always confused of the re-routing schemes, don’t usually think of big-scale change unlike how our ambitious minds expect them to think.

The port workers and those employed in the hardware stores only think of where will there less than hundred peso a day take them and their family. The hundreds of individuals, mostly in resettlement sites and informal settlers’ area, who have to line up every day to buy water for bathing and washing their dishes are thinking of how to earn another four pesos to buy another jug of water. The residents in areas targeted to be demolished are now contemplating on where to put up their house again aside from feeling sorry for themselves. The farmers in the upper villages keep on asking when will the rain visit their fields again. Our poor children are craving for dishes other than bulad, lawlaw, and hipon.

But think of this: these oppressed people of Tacloban from the different sectors, who just usually think of how to survive in a day, are capable of organizing themselves, thus giving them the capacity to advance their struggle and attain the change they merit.

What is this reminding us?

Nothing more than the fact that it is, in the end, these tiny people who are decisive. The consumers can do something on the water privatization issue in Tacloban just like what they did a couple of years ago when two thousand people had a rally in front of LMWD to let their firm no reach those who seemed deaf. Those ‘eye sores’ in Brgy. 37 Seawall are capable of defending their homes that even a resolute fire can’t destroy.

The discussion goes beyond the 2019 elections as it should be. In the more than one month of local electoral campaign, let us distinguish those who have substantive platforms and those with hollow ones. Only the real owners of Tacloban, the people, and not any political clan can speak what is best for it.

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Eastern Vista

Eastern Vista is an alternative media organization in Eastern Visayas. Stories of people in the struggle for justice and aid after super typhoon Yolanda inspired its creation in 2014. Eastern Vista is also a co-producer of Lingganay han Kamatuoran, a Waray-based radio magazine program airing since 2003. From Eastern Philippines, Eastern Vista shares the news and views from a people rising.

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