Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A History of Chaos and Dismissiveness by the Aquino administration

Is this the way government handles relief?
It started when Edwin Lacierda, the newly appointed Spokesperson declared Proclamation No. 1. He said "sorry" and replaced it with Proclamation No. 2. Fact is, Lacierda wasn't able to explain if these proclamations were "Executive Orders" or what. That "first official day of business" went chaotic. 

Yet, Lacierda, apologized. The public forgave the new administration.

Then a Manila cop, anxious to be heard, hostaged several Taiwanese tourists and held them inside a bus. The bus, strategically placed infront of historic Quirino grandstand, was supposed to be going someplace else. Yet, the cop asked them to cut their trip off. 

Don't criticize. Just help. What about justice?
Presidential Communications secretary Ricky Carandang announced on DZMM that this hostage crisis is "local" and therefore, the palace left it to the hands of local police. This announcement was made inspite of the presence of foreign tourists. Then, what happened? Twelve people died, scores injured and diplomatic relations strained between the two countries. No one was held responsible. No one, except the valiant cops who responded to the scene, were suspended. HIgher-ups, like Mayor Lim, Vice Mayor Moreno and secretaries and undersecretaries of this administration got away with a mere admministrative sanction which was never implemented by the way.

A brutish storm hit Central Luzon, transforming lush ricelands into a howling wilderness. During the onslaught, President Aquino was seen singing with Malacanang Press Corp members. While Bulakenos wallow in waist-deep floods, without food, adequate shelter and water for many days, this administration dilly-dallied and went on doing other things that it forgot that people have died and were dying at that time. A mayor's public rant had to be made for the President to realize how important his presence is during times of great distress.

Calamities break the poor and the rich alike
Several natural disasters hit various parts of the country, some led to scores dead and injured, most lost their lives and futures due to horrific landslides and flash floods. Again, it took several days before this President decided to go to the ground and check whether things are ok or not.

Harvey Keh of Kaya Natin to, put it rather in mild terms when he posted in his Facebook that the president had to attend this "ministry of engagement", so to speak, because people need not just goods and emergency services, but some form of psychological boost from their leaders. It makes people recover faster if they see other people, particularly national leaders going to their place and responding to their needs as fast as possible.

Yes, the President coordinated with several agencies to pull government resources together to respond to this crisis. Kudos to the President.

GOvernment should help alleviate the grief
Yet, he fails to see the human side of the tragedy. Aquino only sees the logistical side, never the psychological or the sociological effects of such a calamity to people.

Aquino can't even claim success in coordinating relief efforts. Look at what happened in Iligan yesterday. The DSWD mucked up its work in distributing relief goods. Chaos ensued when people started getting their relief stuff. Many were injured when a melee ensued shortly after the President left. Is this the way government responds to emergencies?

Likewise, the President was even exposed when he said that "government will be responding to relief operations in " Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Negros and...Ilocos Norte? Why? What happened to Ilocos Norte, Mr. President? Was that province also struck by Typhoon Sendong?

Seems like the President was not even briefed or probably he was, except that he forgot it. That's the problem. These people did not forget attending a lavish party but forgot even the most basic and most fundamental of all things---attending to the needs of the people. 

Jessica Soho in her TV news program " The State of the Nation" last night, noted why government gave 20 million pesos in assistance to Negros Oriental and only 11 million to Cagayan de Oro when this city was ravaged more than Negros. Soho commented government should have given more to these provinces and cities struck by Sendong.

Mispriorities or effects of differing political affiliations?

What is good about what the President said yesterday was he already formed a Committee to investigate this tragedy. Good.

However, officials of his administration should be allowed to take a leave of absence or resign for being totally inefficient.

ONe, DENR secretary Ramon Paje. He failed in his job. Why? INstead of stopping illegal logging operations, he allows them. People on the know says Paje is on the take. Nah. I don't believe it. He is just inefficient.

Two, DOST secretary Mario Montejo who said that there is nothing wrong with Pagasa. There is Mr. Montejo--they failed to alert government officials in Northern Mindanao of a strong typhoon coming. 

Heads should roll so that people in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Negros will at least feel that a semblance of justice had been given to them.