Tuesday, January 20, 2015



Nick Waigwa
The People Surge Alliance for Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors in the Philippines has appealed to his Holiness Pope Francis to give a voice to what they referred to as their “yet to be heard cries for justice and change.”

The appeal by the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) is contained in a an open letter to Pope Francis released recently in the form of an online video documentary that vividly exposes the human face of the humanitarian crisis, which has been continuously unfolding since typhoon Haiyan made landfall in November 2013.

A press release by the People Surge dated 19th January 2015, quotes the Chairman of the alliance Dr. Efleda Bautista as having invited the Holy Father to see more of the worsening crises of poverty, homelessness, hunger and persecution that the survivors continue to face.

Dr. Bautisa at the same time implored Pope Francis to help the survivors of typhoon Haiyan to share their plight and spread solidarity to the rest of the world.

Pope Francis: Pic Credit, Online Sources
The film is produced by Filipino-Canadian filmmaker Sean Devlin in collaboration with the People Surge, a broad alliance of Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan survivors, organizations and individuals joined together in the common goal of helping the typhoon victims, minimizing and preventing the risk from similar calamities in the future.

The compelling 14 minutes video details many key issues reportedly being neglected by the administration of President Noynoy Aquino, including under-reporting of the death toll, aid that never reached impacted communities and even the alleged extrajudicial killing of two survivors whose organizing and services were exposing these government failures.

Bautisa has expressed optimism that by taking the social media by storm, the alliance expects to bridge the distance between the survivors of the typhoon and the pontiff. 

“We are ardently anticipating the release of his Encyclical on Climate Change and Human Ecology, and hope our aspirations are reflected in the historic scripture. We are only beginning to understand and grapple with the realities of global warming and climate change even as we are already facing its deadly impacts. May the teachings of the Holy Father help inspire action to our fellow children of the storm to claim climate justice and ensure the stewardship of all creation,” Bautista.

The film has been made available online and has been screened publicly in a ‘Gathering of the Poor' at the University of the Philippines Tacloban College on the eve of the Pope’s arrival to Philippines. 

Participants in the gathering learned about Pope Francis through speeches, cultural performances, multimedia presentations, and symbolic actions.

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