January 2013 saw the country still reeling from the effects of Typhoon Pablo that hit the Davao region a month earlier, three more disasters, manmade and natural, would rock not only the nation but the leadership of President Aquino as well.
By the end of the first quarter of 2013, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), headed by its founder Nur Misuari, warned of an eminent war in the Mindanao region if the PNoy administration continues with its plan to ink an agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement, leaving him and his followers out of the picture.
PNoy, perhaps taking the cue from his military and peace advisers, shunned the threat claiming the armed forces was ready to deal with any group that would try to stop the latest peace accord between the GPH and the MILF.
However, at the start of the 3rd quarter last year, the MNLF- Misuari faction, headed by its war veteran Commander Habier Malik, almost overran the Zamboanga City hall, took control of the city’s four barangays, and held over a hundred men, women, and children hostage for days.
Surely, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the police tried to immediately crush the Misuari uprising but failed, government forces suffered casualties and Commander Malik and his men continued to seize the area for several more weeks before finally giving up following heavily losses. More than 200 lives were lost both on the enemy and government side and civilians.
But while government troops were still tracking down Misuari and Malik to have them face charges of rebellion, a 7.6-quake hit the island of Bohol and some parts of Cebu.
Over a hundred people died after being trapped in collapsed buildings and houses. Historical landmarks, such as the cathedrals that were built in the 1700s, came crushing down too.
Authorities estimated the damages brought by the said earthquake in several billions of pesos, and displacing thousands of residents in Bohol and in some parts of Cebu.
While the Boholanos were still trying to recover from the devastation and the government scrounging for funds for the province’s rehabilitation, a super storm landed in Eastern Visayas.
More than 40 provinces were hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda with Tacloban, Leyte as the hardest hit area. Killed were more than 6,000 of its residents. Yolanda leveled just about everything standing from buildings to trees.
And as if the devastation were not enough, international media, particularly CNN, criticized the PNoy administration for its slow response in giving out aid to the victims and its clearing operations.
Of course, the above mentioned disasters were not the only problems that plagued the administration last year. The Sabah incident, in which followers of the Sultan of Sulu trying to claim “the land of their ancestors” fought it out with Malaysian forces, was the issue of the first quarter of 2013.
This was followed a few months later by disturbing reports that a Presidential relative tried to ask for millions of dollars from a Czechoslovakian company in exchange for a billion of pesos contract or project for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). But The Times Chairman Emeritus, in his well-researched articles, cleared PNoy’s sister and brother-in-law. But his interviews and findings confirmed what the Czech Republic ambassador claimed—that there were improper approaches by the MRT general manager and his friends.
And who would ever forget the story of the infamous pork barrel queen Janet Napoles? The misuse and abuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the pork barrel, came into light during the 3rd quarter of 2013.
Observers believe 2013 was not a good year for PNoy and his administration for it was also last year that his popularity and performance ratings took a slump.
Oh boy . . . somebody needs a lot of work to do this year???!!!
Stop the chit-chat, Mr. President . . .walk your talk!