How President Aquino’s Date with Yolanda Went


“Hi, my name’s Noynoy Aquino!” [Photo Source: Inquirer]

Have you ever had a date that was a disaster from the getgo? You thought she (he) was intriguing but you quickly discovered it was not working.

Perhaps you took your girl to a nice steak house and found out she was a vegetarian. Or she started preaching quotes from the Bible as you looked down at your atheistic plate. She laughed like a man (or he laughed like a girl). She started pining for her last boyfriend. It rained during your hike in the forest and you quickly discovered she was an indoor kind of girl. She liked Jejomar Binay for President.

I have had hundreds of dates and three stand out as unmitigated disasters.

The worst was with a judge. Yes, a real judge.

She was a loud, brassy redhead whose eccentricity I mistook for character. I went to pick her up at her house in my trusty Honda Accord. Well, the house was not really a house. It was a mansion. She came out, glanced about, and quickly suggested we take her car. She nodded at the red Corvette in her driveway.

As we ripped down her quiet residential street at 60 MPH, she lit up a cigarette and started filling me in on her judge job. I think maybe I was able to get in three words. When we got to the restaurant (sitting at a smoking table in the hot sun on the patio), she started planning our next date, and the one after. She was like . . . glomming onto me . . .

Well, I am claustrophobic, thanks to the US Army, which is another story entirely. And this lady was giving me a panic.

Fortunately, I escaped. The restaurant was nice, though, and I enjoyed it again with OTHER dates. But I stopped answering my phone for awhile and I never saw the judge again.

I think President Aquino has the same kind of relationship with Yolanda.

Or rather with the characters who inhabit the region of the Eastern Visayas where Yolanda wreaked her deadly havoc.

He sent DILG Secretary Mar Roxas down to handle things. Roxas is the guy who gets all the horrid, dirty internal jobs, like a bomb at a Cagayan de Oro mall and a terrorist mass hostage-taking at Zamboanga and dealing with the Romualdez family in Tacloban after a typhoon.

Imelda’s maiden name is Romualdez, if you catch the historical significance of that.

Well, Mayor Romualdez declined to meet with Roxas on the morning after, and preferred to make himself scarce. The date was awkward from that point on. President Aquino wanted formal written authorization from the mayor before sending in the federales. The mayor was not about to concede his jealously guarded authority to anyone, and essentially taunted Mr. Aquino.

  • “He’s the President of the Philippines and he is the President of Tacloban. Why do I have to sign a piece of paper to get assistance down here.”

Those are my words, not his.

The mayor then released a video-tape edited down to improperly show Secretary Roxas being a thug for the President. The part edited out showed the President was actually being considerate of the Mayor. Rappler reviewed the situation in all it’s prime-time gore in this article.

Now if I had a date who sneered at the restaurant I chose or started ripping on my family’s integrity, I’d leave her on the curb and drive to the nearest topless bar and get drunk.

The President can’t do that sort of thing.

Hahahaha, I think . . .

Shortly after that, the Mayor ended up weeping on the national Senate stage, blaming the President for the horror of Yolanda. It was as if the Mayor, where the City’s buck ought to stop, had absolutely nothing to do with the City’s poor readiness. He did not even comprehend what storm surge might do to the crowded evacuation center about 30 meters from the raging sea, where his City decided to house poor people drawn down from the hills.

The term “poor” has two meanings in that sentence. Hundreds died. Perhaps thousands.

But I think President Aquino stubbed his toes, too, or spilled pie on his tie in the context of our little analogy. He evidently had the regional PNP chief relieved because his publicly reported estimate of the number of deaths was “too high” at 10,000. The body count at the time was around 2,500 and the President claimed that the higher tallies were due to “emotional stress”.

I guess you had to be there to understand, to see the bodies stuck high in the trees or legs sticking out from the mud or piles of bodies on the riverbank.

The last report from the nation’s National Disaster organization (I refuse to use the full name of the agency to avoid shrieking) on January 29, 2014, was 6,201 confirmed dead and 1,785 missing. Added up, that’s 7,986, and it seems to me that emotionally stressed PNP chief saw things that the President did not.

Local reports state that dead people are still being pulled from the rubble, 2 or 3 bodies a day, as cleanup continues.

One is inclined to wonder why there was bickering about body count when the important thing was getting massive relief quickly to the hard-struck area. Or why there was no automatic chain of command in place that would leave no question as to who was in charge.

So I think the President played a little politics himself, and maybe was talking when he should have been listening. When he ought to have been a bit more focused on recovery result, not spinning the news at some poor stressed recovery guy’s expense.

Maybe it was Yolanda who dropped the President at the curb.

But at least we can give the President some credit. He quickly saw that things were not working right and he palmed the troublesome babe off to a friend. Senator Lacson was appointed the President’s special assistant to oversee the rest of the recovery and the President moved on to sweeter girls.

Senator Lacson quickly got his own mitt in a wringer by getting into a tiff with another Cabinet Secretary over the poor quality of relief homes being thrown together.

I tell you, Yolanda was bad news from the getgo.

The storm remains here, in its aftermath. I flew from Cebu into Tacloban last week. As the plane came down on a clear, sunny day, the passengers grew totally quiet, in honor, or shock, or recollection of what they were seeing below. An entire region had been ripped back to the bare earth. Rivers flowed straighter than before, the banks lined with tan slashes of rock against torn green fields and hills.  There were few trees below, only shreds of wood. Thousands of panels of new tin flashed in the sunlight from towns below, expressive of the massive rebuilding that is going on. Thousands of blue tarps were pasted across those same towns, expressive of the camping that hundreds of thousands are doing today – men and women and children – under a piece of plastic to ward off the sunshine and rain.

As the plane approached the airport, we could see the wreck of an entire city off to the left, the sea having crushed buildings all along the coast leaving huge piles of concrete and bent steel beams in what had been a vibrant commercial district. Hundreds of white tents lined the beaches, people camping where homes no longer existed.

The airport terminal itself was a windowless industrial shell divided by plywood panels into three functional rooms, arrival, check-in desks, and departure lounge. Bags were searched by hand, check-in counters were desks in the middle of the room, bare wires running across the floor to power the gear. The place was serious and purposeful, lacking both the the levity and the complaint found at normal airports.

People were just dealing with it, you know what I mean?

That’s an approach all mayors and presidents might consider taking in the future.

32 Responses to “How President Aquino’s Date with Yolanda Went”
  1. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    OMG! That is one of the reason we do not trust our government and its officials. Even Kim Henares requires authenticated notarized certified true copy of the original Income Tax Return of Manny Pacquiao hand-delivered by U.S. IRS Commissioner in sealed official brown envelope marked “For Kim’s Eyes Only”. It has to be personally delivered by U.S. IRS Commissioner because along the way it might be faked and forged if sent thru Philippine PeX.

    Even CCTVs are questioned from Binay’s confrontation with Dasmarinas Security Guards to Vhong Navarro and Deniece Cornejo’s alleged rape. Cunanans vouchers are forged and a fake. We do not know what is real in the Philippines. Even their jungle themeparks it may look like a jungle but it is actually a cement.

    Filipinos are living in a dream in the Philippines. They can touch it. They can feel it. They can smell it but what they are seeing is not reality but just a mirage depending who interprets it.

    The next presidency like all presidencies during and before Benigno saw a rash of accusations and charges as usual. It will be a telenovela to amuse and entertain Filipinos to distract them while the new administration steal money.

    Absolutely, Benigno will be investigated for impeachment tampering, DAP, pathetic Yolanda’s response and others so Tandang Johnny and Bong Sexy will lie on a hammock sipping daiquiri.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      In the Philippines it is about revenge and besmirching ones reputation. They are expert on these. A goot president will eventually turn out a bad president because “what goot is a goot president if 99.99998% of Filipinos are not goot”. If you cannot beat ’em join ’em.

  2. Joseph-Ivo says:

    “People were just dealing with it” such a strong observation and statement. Being struck with adversity is often not the worst if you have no option than to accept it. What hurts more is the sometimes self-serving compassion of bystanders. You don’t need compassion, you need a hand to help you stand up or a least they should get out of your way so you can try to get up by yourself.

    But isn’t it time for a national “lessons learned” session before everything becomes history?

    • Joe America says:

      Actually, the disaster recovery mechanisms are being re-written based on what has been learned. But I an wondering if the right lessons have been learned. The need for clear accountability, for instance. I believe now a state of calamity is declared at the provincial level, and then certain rules come into play. No price gouging, for instance. But there is really little enforcement of that, and if people need gasoline to do their business, P200 per liter is paid. And the motorcycles mark up their ride fee to recapture the cost. So there is a little price bubble. So there needs to be an on-the-ground enforcement of price rules. Plus, as I have written, recovery would occur faster if certain large corporations were not allowed to keep their outlets closed for extended periods, without paying a hefty fine (banks, cell phone operators, and gasoline stations). In California, by law, banks are not permitted to keep branches closed more than 3 days, no matter if it is a holiday or earthquake. If severe emergency occurs, they must get regulatory permission to remain closed more than 48 hours on their own decision. I know because I was engaged in getting one of our bank branches in Los Angeles opened after an earthquake made it unsafe. We relocated the branch and opened in three days – new site, new lease, relocating gear and vault and getting plugged in. Our premises people were working in the dead of night, hauling boxes and the vault and plugging in wires. Amazing things can occur when people WANT to make them occur.

      Here, two branches in our town were closed 10 days, and when they opened, they still did not have hard-copy print-outs of customer balances. The customer had to cough up a pass book or ATM card and it was sent to Ormoc to get the balance, and the cash was dispensed next day. During the 9am to noon operating hours. In other words, the companies cooled it as customers sweated blood and pesos.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. After a Tana French binge (first 4 books), I am now reading Rolf Dobelli’s “The Art of Thinking Clearly”. This is not a primer on critical thinking but a list and explanation of the most common biases and fallacies.
    1.1. I think the most common fallacies familiar to Filipinos, whether at the receiving end or sending end, would be the Ad Hominem, the Bandwagon, the Slippery Slope and the Appeal to Authority.
    1.2. I haven’t completed reading the book, but I thought it might be instructive to identify some of the fallacies in this post committed by the dramatis personae.

    2. Let’s start with the Author.
    2.1. The Author. The fallacy of the Author with respect to the Judge is called the Halo Effect. This fallacy is committed when a single quality (.e.g. beauty, social status, age) of a person influences how we feel and think about that person’s character. The Judge was attractive – brassy, redhead, adorably eccentric – and the Author falsely concluded she was totally beautiful in all her aspects, including her character.

    2.2. The Judge. The fallacy of the Judge, of course, is the same as the Author. I am assuming the Judge saw in the Author something irresistible, which may or may not be hard to believe. Or she may have suffered from myopia. Forgive me. I make the last two comments to illustrate what an Ad Hominem (or Personal Attack) fallacy looks like.

    2.2.1. However, I would like to draw attention to a third fallacy that I know is not applicable but find necessary to describe for illustrative purposes. The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person (the Judge) ignores another person’s (the Author) actual position and “substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.” The Author’s actual position, he being just out of the army, was that he was not ready to make a commitment, but the Judge ignored that position and imagined and misrepresented him, if you can stretch your imagination, as a debonair and tuxedoed groom. (Another Ad Hominem!)

    2.2.2. I find that women are fond of the Straw Man fallacy. When my wife and I fall into an argument, she invariably brings up a previous sin or defect on my part that is not related to the present discussion. And there in the first sentence, I have just committed the Hasty Generalization fallacy, condemning all of womankind on the basis of one their kind.

    2.3. President. The fallacy of the President in underestimating the victim count is called Biased Sample. This fallacy is committed when a person draws a conclusion about a population based on a sample that is biased or prejudiced in some manner. The President gave this estimate on November 12, 3-4 days after Yolanda, when the official death toll stood at, say, 1,500 and communication had not been fully established in all affected areas.

    2.3.1. There is another possible fallacy here. It is highly probable that the President had discussed the matter of the death toll with his advisers. No one, of course, would have revealed the higher and more realistic figures in their minds because no one wants to be identified with the Association Bias. This fallacy is the tendency to make a false connection between a person and events. Nobody, but nobody, wants to bring bad news to the President. In truth, the so-called cordon sanitaire is not meant to protect the President but to protect the advisers from the wrath of the President. If the President associates you with bad news – well, you know about the shoot-the-messenger syndrome.

    2.3.2. In criticizing the President for the government’s performance on Yolanda, the critics may be committing the Fundamental Attribution Error, which is the tendency to overestimate an individual’s influence and underestimate external, situational factors.

    2.4. Which brings us to the DILG Secretary. I weep for this man. Truly. He has not committed a fallacy but is a victim of the Association Bias by the whole of the nation, or so it seems. He sacrificed his candidacy for the top post and ran for the second top post. He married the right girl. He was considerate of the Mayor. And yet people treat him unkindly as if the word, which is the opposite of “winner”, is tattooed on his forehead.

    2.5. The Mayor. There are so many biases that can be applied to the Mayor that I do not know where to begin. The following is not an exhaustive list.

    2.5.1. Omission Bias. This bias arises when “both action and inaction lead to cruel consequences.” You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. The Mayor decided not to live up to his responsibilities and chose inaction before Yolanda’s landfall.

    2.5.2. Self-Serving Bias. This fallacy is attributing success to ourselves and failures to external factors. The failure after Yolanda is not the Mayor’s fault. No, no, no.

    2.5.3. Self-Selection Bias. This fallacy is seeing yourself and including yourself in a sample population. On one hand, the Mayor is a member of a noble lineage, and sees naturally himself as a winner. On the other hand, the Mayor does not belong to the ruling party, complains about bad luck, weeps, and sees himself as a loser.

    3. I am halfway through the book, and I am sure I will find more interesting biases and fallacies to be used in future discussions. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. And if I deceive myself and think that the dictum does not apply to me, then clearly I am not thinking clearly. And I have something – a lot of something – coming my way.

    • Joe America says:

      ” I am assuming the Judge saw in the Author something irresistible, which may or may not be hard to believe.”

      I’m sorry, but this blog comment was very hard to read. I was laughing too hard and could not concentrate. I’m not sure what water you drank during your hiatus, but kindly ship me a liter or two. Price is irrelevant. Also ship a tanker truck to the Senate so we can waterboard our senators with new insights and kindness. Their relentless bickering in the interest of self is getting trite.

      Which you decidedly are not.

      This particular comment brings us knowledge, insight, application of same to the Philippines, and a kind of sophisticated intellectual humor that puts you right in the lineup with Jonathan Swift and Charles Dickens. Unfortunately, because of your new base of knowledge, I am afraid to argue with you. And my side aches.

    • J says:

      I am, indeed, very familiar with that Straw Man fallacy, and how women like to use it. LOL

    • the funny thing about fallacies is that most disciplines in the social sciences ignore those. psychology loves labeling individuals based on observable behavior. sociology and making generalizations on large populations. political science loves assuming that all politicians are self-serving. economics loves making generalizations with a few digits..

      In a country saturated with vested interests and powerful personal connections, then Ad Hominem fallacies are expected to be common. Was that a post-hoc fallacy?

      • edgar lores says:


        1. Hehe. It could have been a post-hoc fallacy – except that the observation was derived first-hand from many and long excursions into the realm of social media.

        2. One of the current buzzwords in science research and psychology seems to be “cognitive dissonance” which covers all the biases and fallacies discussed by Dobelli.

        3. Reading Dobelli has led me to Nassim Taleb, reknown for his prediction of the global economic crises and his Black Swan Theory which is about outlier events. Yolanda qualifies as one.

        3.1. Post-Yolanda, every columnist was talking ad nauseum about Filipino resilience. From Wiki: in his latest book Taleb talks about the quality of “antifragililty” which should be the quality that is taken to heart by Filipinos: “”Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

        4. Today, the Web turned 25. Somehow, it is keeping me young, with all these beautiful things – ideas and what nots – a click away.

  4. Geng says:

    To put it simply, Yolanda was a bad hair day for the President (pun untended).
    Sure, there are lessons learned from that unfortunate experience. One is, he and the DILG secretary should not have engaged a crying town official who was out to blame everybody except himself for his witless action of endangering even his own family in a war of words they could not win because those who watched that tearjerker of a drama were all certified fans of prime time soap operas.
    Two, there should be a simple translation of words to simply explain to the people and to that witless town official what damage to life and property a 350kph storm could wreak on communities in front of seashores (it was not only Tacloban city that bore the brunt of the strong winds and the surge of the water).
    It was a no-brainer that turned ugly (and deadly) due to simple mistakes which must not be repeated in the future.

    • Joe America says:

      Very well put and to the point. This makes two recent incidents that were hampered by confused authority. The Zamboangan hostage-taking being the other. In times of catastrophe, I tend to think militarily, that is, clear lines of authority and obedience. If the disaster is local the mayor is in charge, if it is provincial the provincial governor is in charge, if it is national in scale or impact, then President Aquino is in charge (or his designated “general” Roxas). No questions. From anybody. So the Hong Kong bus massacre would have remained local unless Mayor Lim requested provincial or national relief. The Bohol earthquake would have remained provincial. Typhoon Yolanda would have been declared national.

      What should have happened, I think, is a formal advice from the President, a kind of martial law, that says National is in charge, do all that you can, or all that you are instructed to do, to help. And laws should be written to give those powers.

      In concert with this, I would decentralize the PNP. Break it up into provincial and city/municipal stations, reporting to the respective governors and mayors. Give each civic entity a set of first responders and enforcers.

      • The fact was that as the President went on national television to warn those who will be in the path of Yolanda and the regular updates and warnings of PAGASA could have been taken seriously specially by those living in the seashore. If they don’t know the meaning of “storm surge”, could the local government officials have searched the net, they were still connected that time, right? And I seem to recall, not too long ago, the damage incurred in the storm surge in Manila Bay such that even the American Embassy and Sofitel were affected… Were they not aware of current and the not so current events?

        I seem to recall that there was also a mix up in who’s in authority re FEMA and the New Orleans government, was that ever resolved and was it a lesson learned and applied in the case of Sandy?

        • Joe America says:

          I think there is a vast feeling of “it won’t happen to me” in the entire world, and a decided lack of preparation in most coastal communities around the world. For sure, the Philippines has been lackadaisical, considering it’s position in the heart of typhoon alley. I recall writing several years ago that not much is being done to think ahead and prepare ahead. I see little murmurs now about rewriting zoning laws and building codes, but it is not being approached as a national cause. Yes, disaster response for Sandy in the US was horrid. I think it was better for subsequent storms. But New Orleans was much like Tacloban, I think. “It can’t happen here” and if it does, and it is messy, it is someone else’s fault. Scapegoating is a global condition, perhaps, along with lackadaisical.

        • Joseph-Ivo says:

          Ask around what is bigger an inch a foot or a meter and you will get amazing answers. It is not important that it is told correctly, it is important that it is understood correctly. Test this type of communication beforehand! Use icons, use analogies: water will be waist high, one person, one storey, two …. Water/wind will lift people, cars, trucks…

          Exercise, evaluate, exercise, evaluate again, exercise, evaluate and write down in procedures. Next year different scenario, same exercise and again and again. Dedicated. This is the only way to become a world leader in disaster preparedness. It is our obligation is in this most dangerous part of the world.

      • sonny says:

        “…advice from the President, a kind of martial law, that says National is in charge…”

        Yes, yes and yes! The enemy has passed and gone and has laid waste an identifiable part of the kingdom, all infrastructure has been obliterated and so locations and access to the survivors must be identified then mobilize all crack and able-bodied personnel, create pontoon bridges, send inflatables & amphibious and half-track vehicles where appropriate and get ready to receive reinforcement supplies and transport same. Simultaneously send communications to keep real-time assessment and updates. Even the movies have gotten it right over and over again. This was another D-Day and no Panzer troops were shooting back!! Simple, yes?

  5. It wasn’t a date.. It was an arranged marriage because as President, Aquino 3 had to “hook up”with Yolanda whether he liked it or not. Oh boy! I know what to expect from arranged marriages– catastrophe or a catastrophe after a disaster or whatever.

    “not spinning the news at some poor stressed recovery guy’s expense.”

    I’m not condoning spinning the news, but what good will the nation get with being obsessed with death numbers?… Some “journalists” and social media commentators/detractors succeeded in framing the agenda; the discussion focused on the casualties instead of recovery. In short, some dwelled on the blame game.

    My point: instead of basing arguments on the number of deaths, it would have been more useful if people dedicated more brain cells to helping, inspiring and recovering.

    Anyway, no one could stop them from criticizing. This is supposed to be a free country…

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, that was my point on just dealing with it. I’m not sure what the whole situation was with the PNP chief who got relieved, but the way it was done was unkind, I thought. If it was legitimate stress, the President could have been more compassionate. That is something best done with grace, not in the newspaper headlines. If it was not stress, and there were reasons other than the body count, cite them so we know what improvements are being made. Horrific storm and terrible slaughter, God’s will or human ineptitude, and the best we can do is relieve some poor guy in public? One guy? As if HE were the reason? I didn’t like that at all.

      • Let me clearly state this. the PNP chief should have known the definition of damage control in public relations; the ACCURATE information could have been published months later so that attention would be towards recovery right after the storm. And on Aquino’s part, he should have taken over much earlier to coordinate relief and communication with regard to the disaster.

        Like what I have said, I don’t condone Aquino’s dismissal of the cop nor any attempt to spin government news. What I’m saying is that the concept of damage control/minimizing panic in public relations is very important in immediately dealing with catastrophes..

        On my book, dismissing the cop in public is a BAD PR MOVE too.

        Do we really want many cynics right after a devastating storm?

        • Joe America says:

          Good points all. I wonder what kind of training higher-ups in the PNP get regarding the handling of media. Presentation can indeed project either “we have it under control” or “OMG, who’s in charge, anyway?”

  6. Dee says:

    I think disaster coordination in the Philippines needs to improve. I live on the Gulf Coast where we expect at least 20 named storms and half a dozen hurricanes a year to pound us to the ground. Everybody does their share by preparing for the worst. We stock on non-perishables, water, source of temporary light and power, etc. The local government and non-governmental units mobilized to make sure shelters are ready and there’s ample supply at feeding stations and medical units. All local public servants are on alert and all utility companies calls in their employees in for deployment. The local police make rounds to make sure that people in vulnerable areas are evacuated and the hold-outs have the supplies and information they need. The local media disseminates information as it becomes available. These preparations are done at least 72 hours before disaster strikes. The coordination between the citizens, the LGU, the NGO save lives.

    The President is usually clued in to what is going on and declares an area in state of calamity if needed to mobilize national agencies like FEMA and National Guard to act. He visits the area, confers with the Governor or Mayor of the devastated area, and asks Congress for relief funds. Case in point is Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. Obama and Christie worked out the recovery efforts without much controversy or ill wills despite the fact that they came from different political parties.

    There are a lot of problems in the Philippines but the most devastating are not the natural disasters. It is the people. The power hungry, the drama kings and queens, the meek and mild…

    • sonny says:

      Like the Gulf Coast, the Philippines suffers those repetitive destructive visits like Yolanda. The US Federal Gov has arms like FEMA in concert with local gov’ts, and private groups to come to the aid of communities. One such private group that has been in operation in the Philippines for the long term is Catholic Relief Services. What has gotten my attention about this group are its commitment & cost efficiency & non-sectarian (worldwide) aid and other aspects of disaster relief and recovery. I invite any one to follow their movements as I do to gain a deeper insight to the activity of systematic relief, recovery and resettlement.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, and interesting point of how arch-rivals Christie and Obama worked together constructively mainly because Christie set aside politics to focus on what was needed in New Jersey. Romualdez in Tacloban did not take that approach. He played politics, and is still playing politics. We hear way to many complaints coming out of Tacloban and not enough expressions of appreciation. People complain because they are not allowed to build right on the coast again, about slow relief, about poor temporary housing quality. I wonder who got thanked for all the school rooms that were set up in tents and Quonset huts so kids could continue their education? Or for all the white tents that people are living in? I think a lot has been done, but as David Webb says below, the PR is weak. Romualdez and Senator Marcos could be setting a tone of appreciation and dedication to rebuilding, but are instead of setting a tone of condemnation and blame. Did someone write recently about a “culture of criticism”?

      It is all pretty low-class when I think about it in those terms.

      • Joe America says:

        This article reports on the new legislation propose by Senator Cayetano to replace the current management-by-committee with a full time “Emergency Response Department” that is chartered to improve preparation (oversight of PAGASA, review building codes) and after-impact response (better management of incoming relief funds). On paper, it looks good. The link:

      • Jake says:

        What baffles me about this whole Yolanda is that despite the many warnings, days before landfall, about the intensity of the typhoon. the local government of Tacloban just got ready for a signal number 2 typhoon. And then, go blame the national government.

        This is a HUGE problem with many local government units — no accountability. Did he not even bother researching what “storm surge” is? And given that Tacloban is near a gigantic ocean, huge waves from the coast should at least be part of common sense.

        What is more infuriating than the snail pace response was the constant blaming of the local government on the national government. The national government need to seriously implement accountability on the LGUs

        And Romualdez is just darm “what about us” to the national government. Remember that the national government was also attending to other parts of the visayas as well as the recent earthquake in bohol. Romualdez gots no ballz! Typical of a dynasty

  7. letlet says:

    On the first instance, Mayor Romualdez did not inform his constituents of the storm surge which was about to hit Tacloban city. It should be noted that when Pres PNoy warned the residents of Samar of the storm surge Yolanda, Romualdez was on a Banawe Rice Terraces trip. Most probably, he wasn’t aware of this warning. Coming back to his hometown, LGU must have told him of the warning but he failed to inform and encourage his people to go to evacuation centers for safety, as he misjudged Yolanda’s strength / intensity. As he didn’t evacuate, so did his constituents. We know the enormous deaths in Tacloban City. On the other hand, the Mayor of Javier, Leyte listened and followed Pres PNoy warning that he made sure he evacuated his constituents so he had minimal deaths of his people.

    In the landfall of Yolanda, Mayor Romualdez realized the colossal mistake he incurred, so he concocted and deployed all the political tactics he could think of to save him from a political conundrum. The blame game, crying, the victim card and underdog was played right into all forms of media. As part of Marcos and Romualdez clan, he is an expert on how to manipulate the minds and emotions of his people and the common tao.

    The public, who is becoming aware of the political shenanigans, now has become more analytical so much so Romualdez was sneered at by the tactics he played. As Abraham Lincoln said ” You can fool all the people some time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can not fool all the people all the time”.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the background, letlet. I only knew the general idea, and the deaths at the evacuation center a few paces from the ocean. I wondered how anyone could live with the decisions that caused so many deaths without being totally humbled. Romualdez indeed went the other way, blaming everyone, accepting zero accountability. On reflection, I wonder if there would have been any way for President Aquino to respond in a non-political manner. When dealing with someone slinging mud, it is hard to deal straight.

  8. Tokwa says:

    After more than 4 months the government still don’t have any idea on what to do, yeah right it was just a bad date.

  9. ricelander says:

    You make a bad analogy, Joeam. This is not analogous to a date. It is more like you received a call from a vampire saying, “I am coming to your home tonight and I gonna eat your innards!”

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