calling out mar roxas

14 November 2013

former investigative journalist jp fenix shares his reflections post-yolanda and a friend’s urgent missive on retribution and political ambition.  it’s the first i’ve read na malinaw ang allegation of political considerations in relief ops.  say it isn’t so, mar roxas.

DAY 6 since Yolanda/ Haiyan
November 13, 2013

… I wake up to BBC’s report that “people have been increasingly abandoned” in Leyte. Switching to CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN… and the theme is much the same: Relief has been pouring in from all over the world, but they have been stuck and piling up in airport warehouses in Manila and Cebu.

In local TV and radio, the reports have cabinet secretaries like Dinky Soliman and Mar Roxas saying that they are still “studying how they will release relief goods.” Their concern is how action can be done in the most efficient and equitable way.

In the Palace, President Benigno S. Aquino III is still arguing with CNN’s Christian Amanpour over inaccurate casualty counts, and insists that they are still gathering data.

In the midst of it all I get this urgent email from my lawyer – a trusted friend. It has a document attached and it reads:

RETRIBUTION AND POLITICAL AMBITION – Deadly combination for Yolanda Victims

Read on…

6 Responses to calling out mar roxas

  1. November 15, 2013 at 4:05 am
    Cha

    The situation, as it is, is already frustrating. That people left and right are spreading incorrect, incomplete, and misleading information only exacerbates. Would it be too much to ask for those in mainstream media as well as those writing blogs to dig a little deeper and verify what they’re putting out there before they click that Post button.

    The Mayor of Tacloban has given an interview to the New York Times (published Nov. 13) which paints a different picture from what Mr. Fenix has depicted in his blog as to who and what roles are being played out in the relief operations. Would Mr. Fenix rather we believe him or Mayor Romualdez?

    Below are excerpts from the New York Times report:

    “The intensifying frustrations of delivering aid after Typhoon Haiyan struck last week elicited a plea from the top United Nations relief official to the mayor of Tacloban, imploring him to persuade gas station owners to open so relief convoys could begin a large-scale expansion into the flattened port city of 220,000 and interior regions of Leyte Province. The gas stations have fuel in their tanks, but the owners fear theft and violence if they reopen.

    “We have to have fuel, so we have to have some kind of refueling center,” Valerie Amos, the United Nations official, told the mayor, Alfred S. Romualdez, at a public meeting after she flew here for an assessment.

    Mr. Romualdez told Ms. Amos that the city could not easily cope with the influx of aid workers, as practically no vehicles were available to bring them in from the airport, while food and drinking water were running out. “I’m asking those who come here, ‘Please be self-sufficient, because there’s nothing,’ ” he said.

    The mayor’s best advice to residents was to leave and find shelter with relatives if they could, saying that the local authorities were struggling to provide food and water and faced difficulties in maintaining law and order.

    Mayor Romualdez said the city desperately needed trucks and drivers to distribute shipments of food piling up at the airport, as well as more trucks, heavy equipment and personnel to retrieve decaying corpses from the wreckage across the city.

    “I have to decide at every meeting which is more important, relief goods or picking up cadavers,” he said.

    Logistical Hurdles Paralyze Relief Effort at the Center of a Typhoon’s Fury
    New York Times , published Nov 13

  2. November 15, 2013 at 5:58 am
    baycas

    A government likewise inundated by an unprecedented complaint surge.

    A little understanding, perhaps? Not the time for politicking and politicizing the prime agenda of the day.

  3. November 15, 2013 at 8:07 am
    andrew lim

    I am very wary of stories that begin with, ” I received an email from a trusted friend…” and then signed by “concerned citizens of Tacloban”.

    It is asking the reader to take a leap of faith that his “trusted friend” and the judgment of the writer is spot on.

  4. November 15, 2013 at 9:18 am
    andrew lim

    The following article is a very sensible and sober analysis of the Yolanda crisis aftermath:

    http://ideas.time.com/2013/11/14/stop-catastrophizing-relief-efforts-in-the-philippines/

    By John Crowley, TIME magazine

    EXCERPTS FROM THIS ARTICLE:

    “After a disaster, there will always be delays in the delivery of aid. While planes and helicopters can arrive in 24-48 hours after the storm clears, massive deliveries can only arrive by ship, which can take several days to sail—longer if they have to sail around a massive storm. Worse, damaged ports may take weeks to fix. With severe damage like that in Tacloban, roads may be impassible for many days or weeks, making distribution of aid difficult.”

    “When television crews race large cargo ships with airplanes and helicopters, the cameras will always win. Journalists will report on the gap between supply and demand. They will show the faces of people in need of western largesse. They will turn isolated incidents of foraging and removal of goods from a truck or warehouse into a report on rampant looting.”

    “Here is where the reports go very wrong. According to a friend who has worked in Haiti and the Philippines, “what happens when media talk up security issues is that aid agencies get worried about security of distributions, so they hold off until they have adequate security support. The velocity of distribution is dramatically slowed down. Scare mongering undermines the relief effort.” This dynamic happened in Haiti, and it’s happening here.”

  5. November 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm
    andrew lim

    A REBUTTAL OF PEQUE GALLAGA’S RANT

    Peque Gallaga just came out with a rant on Facebook explaining his frustrations with the inadequacy of the government’s efforts in handling the aftermath of Yolanda. While some of his observations are valid, he goes out of line on where his rage takes him.

    The first part of the rant outlines the polarization caused by the issue and his assessment of the dire situation.

    We start with the second portion of his rant (our replies in caps):

    I am 70 years old and have been stupid a lot of times for seven decades.
    AND WE ARE SAD TO TELL YOU THAT YOU STILL ARE.
     
    “I want to think that I can be a little less stupid now.
    PROVE IT BY HELPING THE YOLANDA VICTIMS SOME MORE.

    “This time, I want to make sure that my hard-earned money will reach its intended goal.
    WE SUPPORT THIS.

    “I am sick and tired of throwing away my money; of making our politicians wealthy because of my unconcern and my inattention. WE EMPHATIZE WITH THIS, TOO.

    “I am sick and tired of my stupidity.
    WE TOO.

    “So I very much care now where all this help is going.
    AMEN.

    I read Marvin Xanth Geronimo who was there when Yolanda struck: that TV personalities and politicians like Mar Roxas and Ted Failon going to Tacloban for the photo op.
    WHY WOULD TED FAILON GO FOR A PHOTO OP? IS HE A POLITICIAN?

    “They never helped; endless tracking video shots of flattened towns with people walking clutching a plastic bottle of water with no government presence whatsoever; Korina Sanchez calling Anderson Cooper “misinformed.” LIAR, LIAR. YOU THINK ANY ENTITY CAN RESPOND ADEQUATELY TO A CALAMITY OF THIS MAGNITUDE SIMULTANEOUSLY? CAN THE UNITED STATES DO IT?

    “Cooper was in Tacloban. Korina was not; the US landing 5 planes full of goods and not allowing any politicians to touch any of it. ARE YOU SURE YOU HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION TO MAKE THAT JUDGMENT?

    “How much more do we need for us to realize that the enemy was not Yolanda? Yolanda was just a force of nature.
    WHO SAID YOLANDA IS THE ENEMY IN THE FIRST PLACE?

    “The enemy is our leaders. And the leader of our leaders is the President. “So what now? There’s nothing I can actually do. I can only rage, rage against the dying of common decency.
    NO, WE DO NOT JUMP TO SIMPLISTIC CONCLUSIONS JUST LIKE THAT. WE CONTINUE TO HELP IN OUR OWN WAY.

    “I can only rage against this man who claimed in a Christiane Amanpour interview that he couldn’t get to the disaster areas because the weather after the storm left didn’t permit him to fly. “This is 24 hours after the sun was shining all over the Philippines by then.
    SO YOU ARE NOW MORE COMPETENT THAN THE PILOTS OF THE AIR FORCE IN DETERMINING FLIGHT SAFETY?

    I can only rage against a man who made light of the tragedy, refusing to identify it as a major disaster; who made light of a victim of looting who was shot at by telling him, ‘But you did not die, right?’

    “I rage against a man who continually blames the LGU’s on the ground for their incompetence and their inefficiency, because it is beginning to dawn on me that these Visayan LGUs happen to be Romualdez people, and this man is playing politics with people’s lives. WHOA! ARE YOU SURE? WHY NOT RANT AGAINST THE ROMUALDEZES, INCLUDING IMELDA, WHO HAVE ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD? MARTIN PAID FOR THE P1M LE CIRQUE DINNER IN NY FOR ARROYO, RIGHT?
     
    “This is a crime. What this man does is unconscionable.
    “I can only state it here. I can do nothing about it for now.”I will wait for whatever movement develops after this fiasco and I will join it.
    SO HOW IN THE WORLD CAN JOINING ANTI-GOVT RALLIES HELP THE PEOPLE OF TACLOBAN?

    “But for now, what I can do is to declare that I am deeply offended by the people who try to stop me and others from stating the obvious. “All those people who charge us for criticizing, for being negative, for Aquino bashing—I am done with these people.
    AND WE ARE DONE WITH YOU, TOO.

    “In a very Yellow Army way, they try to hide behind an illogical argument that we cannot help if we criticize.
    FYI, MANY OF US DID NOT EVEN VOTE FOR HIM. ORANGE ARMY, GREEN ARMY, etc. BUT WHEN HE WON, WE SAW THE GOALS HE SET OUT TO ACHIEVE, HE ACHIEVED SOME BUT NOT ALL. THE GOVT IS IMPERFECT, ARE YOU PERFECT?

    “I don’t know how good these friends are at multi-tasking, but one does not cancel out the other.
    “We can help and we can criticize. “And at this point, I am convinced that we do help when we criticize; if at one point we can, as Hamlet says, ‘catch the conscience of the king.’

    ON THIS POINT, I PRAISE YOU FOR AVOIDING THE FALSE DICHOTOMY OF “CRITICIZING MEANS YOU ARE NOT HELPING.” KUDOS.

    “But I know that this is futile. This man is no king. “He is not even a real representative.
    “What can you expect from someone who never worked an honest day in his life? What could he possibly relate to?

    “So my friends who accuse me of Aquino bashing: I want you to know that I’m done with your line of thinking.
    “Either you defend this man or you defend the people that this man is ignoring.
    WHOA! IS THIS A CASE OF “IF YOU ARE NOT AGAINST HIM, YOU ARE FOR HIM”?

    “Don’t believe that the people are his ‘boss.” “This was a piece of advertising sound byte created by showbiz experts to get the unthinking masses out there to swallow this uniquely unqualified man.

    PLS TELL ME IF MOVIES YOU DIRECTED LIKE “SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL (1990,91 and part of 1992)” AND “MAGIC TEMPLE (1996)” WAS NOT DIRECTED TO THE “UNTHINKING MASSES.” HOW ABOUT “AGATON AND MINDY (2009)”?

    “This man who is totally unprepared for the most difficult job in the country “So my friends, as far as I’m concerned, you choose him or you choose the people.
    AFTER AVOIDING ONE FALSE DICHOTOMY, YOU NOW IMPOSE YOUR OWN FALSE DICHOTOMY. IS IT REALLY A CHOICE BETWEEN HIM AND THE PEOPLE?

    “But if you instruct me again to stop bashing this man, I am unfriending you. “I will unfriend you in Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, and out in our leaderless streets.”
    NO NEED TO. WE ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS ANYWAY.

    TO PARAPHRASE WHAT YOU SAID TO ERIK MATTI: WALANG PIKUNAN. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, THE SAVIOR OF THE COUNTRY?

    FOR PERSPECTIVE ON THE DARK POLITICS OF PEQUE GALLAGA, WATCH THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO (filmed prior to the 2010 elections) AFTER WATCHING THIS, ASK YOURSELF, WHO WANTS ANARCHY IN THE STREETS?

  6. November 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm
    Rolando

    With the magnitude of the damaged are never experienced in the Philippines nor in other countries and with a very limited resource that the government have, we always compare ourselves to other advanced countries in their relief work. It is not a comparison of apple to apple and i just feel that it is unfair to judge the government in this manner.

    Media is to blame as they report only the bad news but never the good news that there are some accomplishments that have been achieved. WE thrive on bad news and with social media so strong, government is always pictured to be not responsive without knowing what they have to hurdle. Everyone’s opinion is just based on what they read or hear. Foreign media is not all correct if you verify them. Reporting becomes selective and I have not seen anyone interviewed amongst those who received aid.

    Let’s all rethink our observations before we give one ourselves.
    Thanks.

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