Solidarity amid distress in Samar


Peasants from Northern Samar collectively faced the problem brought about the limited financial aid appropriated by the Duterte regime for those affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Through their revolutionary mass organization, they ensured that every family from barangays Ipil-ipil and Langka (not their real names) would be aided.

In Barangay Ipil-ipil, only 38 out of 64 pamilya were on the list of beneficiaries had received an aid worth P5,000 to P8,000 under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP). As in other barangays, local officials were obligated to impose a quota system.

Members of the peasant organization in Barangay Ipil-ipil, however, decided that all families must receive financial aid, whether or not their names are listed. To achieve this, the beneficiaries pooled together the amount they received and divided it to all families in the barrio. Of the P190,000 they were able to pool together, each family was able to receive an aid of P2,368 each. They included in the central fund the P68 provided by the barangay captain for their fare to and from the town center to buy basic supplies for villagers.

In Barangay Langka, 12 families were not included in the quota that was imposed by the local government. Through the organization’s guidance and education campaign, the beneficiaries decided to contribute P600 per family to raise funds for distribution for non-beneficiaries.

In Barangay Ipil-ipil, the organization conducted a mass meeting to explain to residents why they need to help their neighbors who are non-beneficiaries. The organization also helped barangay officials in administering the funds to prevent corruption. Members of the local Party branch guided the organization in coming up with the decision. A local NPA unit also helped in forging the unity of villagers.

The organization ensured the secrecy of the meeting and aid distribution to prevent the municipal government from interfering, especially as local government officials prohibit initiatives that are not in line with their aid distribution protocols even if such benefit the people.

Organizations from other barrios are already replicating the aid distribution intitiative. Meanwhile, the revolutionary mass organization in Barangay Ipil-ipil is already preparing to spearhead other campaigns against Covid-19 including food and herbal medicine production. (From Larab, May 9, 2020.)

Solidarity amid distress in Samar