Community Whispers by Ray Junia
Community Whispers

No Wonder Warays Remain Poor

Apr 19, 2022, 1:42 AM
Ray L. Junia

Ray L. Junia

Publisher

On the campaign trail, Leni volunteers are actively going house to house. They call this effort “Kapit Bisig”.

Another party try to duplicate the feat, follow suit and observers call its group and effort “Akyat Bahay”.

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On a tarp in Tacloban City:

“Inay, sabi mo galit ka sa magnanakaw at wag kami magnakaw. Iboboto mo ba magnanakaw?”



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Another quote in a tarp, also in Tacloban,

“Itay, ayaw ko nang mag-aral. Pwede naman pala fake diploma.”

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On the weekend before the Holy Week, I was in Tacloban for our regular staff meeting of OpinYon.



That time, the party of Marcos Jr. held a rally at the Leyte Sports Complex grandstand that, I remember, used to be venue for regional sports contests. It can barely fit in a hundred thousand people even if they stand shoulder to shoulder or packed like sardines in the oval.



And the party of Marcos Jr. claimed present there were over two hundred thousand!!!

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Some got stuck and failed to return home on time as buses that brought them to the Marcos Jr. rally were nowhere to be found after.



Just then, an army of kakampink volunteers came to their rescue.

Given food and ride, Marcos Jr. rally attendees were brought to their homes. Others were given fare money to return to Samar or to nearby provinces.

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These Marcos Jr. “followers” felt they became victims rather than heroes.

They have stories to tell.


The local government leadership and government project contractors recruited them to join the rally in Tacloban. They were promised from P500 to P2,000, plus free ride and food for the whole day.



They arrived at the site early that morning of rally day.

But only once were they given food, biscuits and water. Not only that. They were exposed to Typhoon Agaton’s fury.

As the rally ended later that night, they found themselves "abandoned". The buses supposed to bring them back were nowhere in sight.

Their spirits were dampened, not by the rains but by the organizers who abandoned them.


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Most of them came to Tacloban in pre-rented buses provided by the Marcos Jr. party. Grapevine said those were campaign contributions of certain government contractors.

There were those who came riding trucks owned by certain contractors.



They were mostly from Samar, Southern Leyte and Biliran.

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Poor Warays. They were made to go through this yoke of misery in political expedition of the Marcos Jr. lie machinery. They blurted out the truth as to why they were there in the first place.


They starved, could face illness being exposed to the rains and, worse, they doubt if they would be able to collect the promised "appearance fee" of P500 to P2,000.


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Tacloban City is a Marcos-Romualdez country and residents are terrified in saying anything against this clan.



Businessmen dared not openly support other than Marcos Jr. as their business permit releases could be in jeopardy.


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In my youth, I could claim to be one of the organizers who set up the first mass action against Governor Kokoy Romualdez. I was in college then at the Divine Word University.



Today, 55 years hence, I still strongly sense fear and hesitancy among Warays in crossing the Romualdezes.


As a result of this long-running subservience, its no wonder the Warays continue to be the poorest in the country. The region is in the bottom three of the poorest region in the country.


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Read in another tarp in Tacloban,

“Anak ko Leni. Para daw sa bukas nila. Leni a rin ako mahal ko anak ko.”

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