Aquino sobers up in what could be his Waterloo


Pres. Aquino with cabinet members Roxas (l) and Petilla (r).

Pres. Aquino with cabinet members Roxas (l) and Petilla (r).

It is good to know that President Benigno Aquino has finally sobered up and is now admitting that it was, after all, the ravages of super typhoon Yolanda/ Haiyan that caused the ineffectual and practically nil response of local government units, specifically in Tacloban City, in Leyte, in the aftermath of the storm’s unprecedented destructive power.

“The systems failed,” Aquino acknowledged as he toured again the devastated areas.

“We had a breakdown in power, a breakdown in communications… a breakdown in practically everything,” Aquino told reporters.

“So we have to admit, there was a breakdown in terms of government and there was a cascading effect,” said Aquino.

What a turn-around of attitude and manner of speaking it has been for him after realizing, perhaps, that if the national government took a much longer time planning, organizing and coordinating rescue, clearing and relief operation because of the immensity of the damage to lives and properties wrought by Yolanda, how much more dysfunctional and paralyzed the local government must have been since the local officials themselves have been victims of the super typhoon?

While it is true that local authorities should be the first responders to any disasters befalling their provinces, cities and, municipalities, this equation changes, however, when such calamity renders them inutile not only because, individually, they are victims, but more so because the magnitude of the disaster is such that the resources needed for assistance have all been made unavailable, inaccessible and non-existent.

Had the government ordered immediately the Air Force to fly over the destructive path of the super typhoon, it could made a good and real time assessment of what has happened and what was needed to be done in order that help could reach the hapless survivors as soon as possible.

With the vast resources of government, it baffles me why the response was slow, as has been the observation by media and from the afflicted people themselves, which resulted to the much talked about lamentable chaotic situation in Tacloban City.

If Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had the foreboding of having his rescue workers bring chainsaws, axe, machetes for clearing the roads from falling trees so that his truckloads of water, food, relief goods and other essentials will not be delayed, why has the national government failed to do the same thing when it could have had a more concrete evaluation of the situation had there been an aerial inspection conducted?

This is where President Aquino failed to show leadership and resoluteness when it was needed most.

This lack of resolve made Aquino the object of contempt, not only by people so anxious to know about the fate of their afflicted relatives, but by almost concerned Filipinos.

It further got aggravated when he dismissed Gen. Elmer Soria, Chief Regional Director of the Eastern Visayas Police, for telling reporters that the super typhoon could have killed around 10,000 people.

So what, for crying out loud!

Surely, it does not either do Aquino good that he will be investigating Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez for the city’s high death toll.

It is coming out now that, if all is said and done, the real death toll may come closer to Soria’s estimate than to Aquino’s estimate of 2,500.

These aspects will certainly define the political influence of Aquino within the Liberal Party going to the presidential election in 2016.

This could very well be Aquino’s Waterloo and that of his party – with all their yellow-colored plastic bags of relief goods.

Now, you ask me if Vice President Jejomar Binay any better?

Hell, no!

Who could forget Binay’s own donation of relief goods in white plastic bags bearing his name and the vice presidential seal? Were those donations really coming from his own pocket?


Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, anyone?


5 comments on “Aquino sobers up in what could be his Waterloo

  1. penpowersong says:

    Threat of Investigation,
    Promised Resignation, and Rhetorics

    By Apolinario Villalobos

    The heartrending scenes tell us all…communities flattened to the ground, roofless concrete structures, cars and coconut trees piled on top of each other, corpses lying everywhere, coastal villages dragged to the sea by storm surges. In this kind of situation, it is unbecoming for the president himself to utter a remark such as “… conduct an investigation of what really happened”, implying negligence on the local governments of affected regions, with special mention of Tacloban City who happens to be the most devastated, and whose mayor is a nephew of the former First Lady Imelda Marcos. What is there to investigate, when even the evacuation centers were also devastated? What the victims need at this moment are reliefs – spiritual, emotional, financial and physical.

    Since the president, himself, wants to “oversee” the distribution of reliefs, why can’t he just do it with profound sincerity, in low profile, instead of issuing such pronouncement that clearly rings with political undertones? To see him smile at cameras shaking hands with a local politician, and Dinky Soliman, DSW secretary, beside him, to “symbolize” turnover of donated relief goods is like rubbing salt to the wound. Is such ceremony necessary in the midst of haggard, sleepless, and suffering people?

    As if the picture of helplessness of the national leadership in steering devastated regions towards recovery is not enough, here comes Department of Energy secretary, Jericho Petilla swearing to resign, if by December 24, 2013, all the power lines are not restored, with an “if” (“if that is what they want”). Next scene is the DILG Secretarty, Roxas, with mouthfuls of rhetorics. If Roxas thinks this “opportunity” will help him in his bid for a presidential position, he is wrong, because the more he talks, the more that he is exposing his weak points. He has been further pinned down when his wife, Korina Sanchez did her “heroic” part by contradicting the report of a US-based broadcaster who did his job right where the actions are. How can she ever deny everything when practically all tv and radio stations are broadcasting the scenes described by the American broadcaster? Is she trying to grab the limelight in her own way, just like her husband? Better for her to keep quiet.

    All that the victims want now are “real” help. Good thing, a TV station showed an interview of a victim who singlehandedly tried to set up a makeshift shelter for his family of four, and who said that, he no longer expects help from the government as so far, all they got were two plastic bags, each containing 2 kilos of rice, 2 sachets of instant noodles and 2 cans of sardines. Short of saying that he no longer relies on the government if he wants to survive. It is a clear message of helplessness and frustration but with a strong desire to recover from loss – on their own.

    • quierosaber says:

      Don’t know what Aquino thinks it does to his image being seen distributing relief goods. That gesture never enhances his image as one imbued with strong leadership quality. Inspiring local government units and their respective communities to get back on their feet and get moving in rebuilding both lives and place is what the citizenry expects him to do. This is no time for politicking, but more on exercising the full power of his command to make sure that good and positive governance continues starting in making sure that with the tremendous amount of help received, that the same be given/applied/administered to all needing it. Doing these energizes the people despite the tragedy. Alas, what he has been doing instead has been very disheartening.

  2. […] Before Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez made his testimony during the congressional oversight committee on the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 at the Senate, expressing his frustration over the destruction of his city and how partisan politics made it even worse, I already have predicted that the national government’s inept and ineffectual response after the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda in the devastated areas, specifically in Tacloban, was going to be President Benigno Aquino’s Waterloo ( […]

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