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 (https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/aquino-sobers-up-in-what-could-be-his-waterloo/).
With Romualdez’s candid and emotional revelation of the events that transpired leading to his “begging” for assistance in security and rescue efforts from the national government that went to no avail, I would take this as more handwriting on the wall confirming that, indeed, Tacloban will be a political debacle not only for Aquino, but his partnership as well with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.
I don’t want to be repeating the situation mentioned in my referred post of Nov. 19th, but rather delve on the testimony over the lack of intention and determination in acting upon the request of Romualdez for help, as alleged by the latter.
Foremost in my mind is immediately this question: If only the request for aid/assistance was heeded and arrived soon as requested, how many more lives could have been saved that were buried alive under the rubbles?
“People were already frustrated seeing all these military planes and trucks and yet just beside them, they heard voices of people who could be rescued… there was never ever any rescue up to today,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez admitted that a month after Yolanda, he and his team were still recovering 60 to 80 bodies a day, with less help from the national government. He said he had to bring heavy equipment from Manila for the operation.
“I wanted additional help from the very beginning. I was not getting (any), and we kept begging for that help,” he said.
How could one not feel emotional and bitter about it especially if you are the mayor of the city and you don’t have the resources to do it yourself because both your people and equipment have been affected and damaged, one way or the other?
Whom and where else would the badly stricken head of an LGU turn to but the national government?
Romualdez claimed that in one meeting, Roxas asked him instead to write a letter or ordinance, stating that the local government is no longer functioning and that the national government needs to step in.
Isn’t that ridiculous of Roxas to be asking for something that is not appropriately and direly needed at the time?
Isn’t rescuing and bringing aid and relief to the victims the exigencies of the moment?
If that is not politicizing the desperate situation I do not know what is.
Worse even, according to Romualdez, is that Roxas reminded the former that Aquino come from different political backgrounds.
“’You have to remember: we have to be very careful because you are a Romualdez and the president is an Aquino’,” Romualdez quoted Roxas as saying.
It was short of saying that a Romualdez is an ally of the Marcoses – the mortal enemy of the Aquinos.
So, there you go.
Roxas of course has denied all these.
But, whether the allegations of and emotions shown by Romualdez are true or fabricated, to gain sympathy, the fact is that the Aquino-Roxas political leadership has been damaged and they are losing their credibility as fast as they want to redeem their sagging image.