Threat of Investigation, Promised Resignation, and Rhetorics

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.


Perhaps, it would be best if the media will stop showing the faces of government officials on TV screens.  Instead, give mileage to the victims who are trying to get in touch with their relatives, the volunteers, the working staff of the different local and foreign agencies. If information is what the media want, they can get them straight from the agencies who are directly involved in all aspects of operations. Corners are cut that way, and honest-to-goodness situations are shown.  



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