A crisis of competence: Lead, follow, or get out of the way

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YEN MAKABENTA

YEN MAKABENTA

So now, the stink (B.S) is out of the bag, and will probably hit the fan. The United Nations in Manila has announced that it will launch an investigation of reports that international relief donations were not reaching the victims of Typhoon Yolanda and that they have been hoarded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development at the Aquino Sports Stadium. The embassy of the United Kingdom has expressed official concern about the alleged pilferage of its relief donations.

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In the age of BS Aquino 3rd, in the midst of the biggest natural catastrophe and the biggest humanitarian crisis to hit the country, the Aquino administration has proven to be incompetent, unfeeling and ineffective.

From the president, to the Cabinet, to lower-level officials, Filipino public servants have been uniformly shown as rank amateurs and incompetents.

Major political problems usually descend on our republic in the shape of a constitutional crisis, as when the institutions of government (executive, legislative and judicial) clash with each other.

Today, we are facing another kind of crisis. We face a crisis of competence in government administration.

The immediate trigger of this crisis was the visit of Typhoon Yolanda on November 8 and the trail of devastation and tragedy it left behind.

A day before it made landfall, President Aquino addressed the nation on television to assure the public of the government’s readiness to face Yolanda. He said the country’s C130 aircrafts 32 airplanes and helicopters and the Philippine Navy’s 20 ships would be on stand by. He said that relief goods were also pre-positioned in the areas expected to be hit by the supertyphoon.

Aquino dispatched Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Local government Secretary Manuel Roxas to Tacloban. Incredibly, these duo forgot to bring satellite cellphones with them. Within 24 hours, they were marooned and isolated in Tacloban, once the typhoon hit.

Mimicking their boss’s signature stance, they watched mouth agape as Yolanda’s ferocious winds and storm surges completely battered and flooded Tacloban and nearby communities.

Aquino’s promise of planes, ships and relief supplies never materialized.

With two top cabinet officials on the scene, the government was still unable to formulate an availing response to Yolanda and the humanitarian crisis it unleashed.

By the time Gazmin and Roxas returned to the scene of the storm, with President Aquino they were still none the wiser about the disaster. They were wiser only in hitting upon the idea of blaming the chaotic aftermath on Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez and local officials , by tagging them as the “first responders” to the disaster.

The problem of dysfunctional government is rooted in the absence of leadership before Yolanda hit land and in its immediate aftermath. All executive departments were ordered to help, But no one pulled them together.

Secretary Gazmin could not lead. Secretary Roxas could not do it either. They who were first at the scene did not want the responsibility of leading.

Roxas – no training as manager
DILG secretary Mar Roxas is a curiosity in this saga, because he is ever present and prominent. Besides heading a major department, he has long been designated as Aquino’s heir apparent.

One Filipino living in the US —a native Leyteño and MBA Wharton alumnus—has reported that contrary to the official and popular impression here, Roxas is not an MBA alumnus of Wharton, like Manuel Pangilinan of PLDT. A Wharton professor remembers Roxas as an undergraduate in the school. Roxas got an undergraduate degree in economics. But he did not return to Wharton to get an MBA degree.

This shows that Roxas does not have the professional training for professional management and executive leadership.

Like his boss, he has only a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Roxas excites wonder because three successive presidents have tapped him to join their cabinets—President Estrada, President Arroyo and now President Aquino. The various positions handed him suggest a man of many skills and trades.

But he has yet to prove his prowess in administration and management in a significant project or program. The Zamboanga crisis might have qualified because he was the ground commander, but nobody credits him for anything.

Abominations and aberrations
As if the widespread dying, destruction and misery from Typhoon Yolanda were not enough, horrible and appalling stories continue to pour out of the bowels of the disaster. You would think that one month after the typhoon’s landfall, a measure of calm and normality would already have settled in Tacloban and East Visayas. But things are much sadder in reality.

Just when we thought that relief goods and medicine donations were finally reaching the survivors and the needy, the expose in the UK Daily Mail hit the headlines. And the report of a UN investigation has come up.

Shocking also is the post-disaster joint committee hearing of Congress on December 9, which featured Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez. The inquiry also called DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas to give testimony, but he did not show up.

The story told by Mayor Romualdez was painful for Leyteños to hear:

1. Roxas repeatedly refused to grant his request for additional police personnel to keep the peace in Tacloban, and for trucks to help in the recovery of bodies and debris clearance.

2. Roxas told Romualdez to write a letter signifying that he could no longer perform his duties as mayor, so the DILG could take over.

3. Even more shocking, Roxas told Romualdez that he could not be given help because he was a Romualdez, and the president is an Aquino.

Stung by the mayor’s revelations, Roxas claims Romualdez twisted his words. But the mayor has a video of their conversation showing Roxas’s unconscionable demands. it is now posted on YouTube.

The video is proof that the administration played politics in the middle of this emergency. Aquino is president only of a segment of the population —the yellow crowd.

Which prompts the retort. The Philippines does not belong to BS Aquino. He is only one part of the Republic.

Lead, follow or get out of the way
The ineffective action of the government throughout the Yolanda disaster proves the wisdom of Tom Paine’s admonition to his fellow patriots during the American Revolution: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

In nearly every post-Yolanda analysis that has been made, the conclusion is unchanging: the relief effort would have been more effective if the designated leaders just got out of the way. People involved stumbled over each other because of ill-defined roles, and lack of commitment to tasks.

There is a meanness at the heart of the Aquino administration that basically stalls east Visayans’ efforts to surmount speedily this colossal blow to their lives. As one angry Tacloban resident said on social media: instead of extending a hand, Aquino gave the people of Tacloban his middle finger.

Everything is politics for this President and his top lieutenants. He will not forgive Warays for sharing a home with Mrs. Imelda Marcos. In the middle of this huge calamity, we too must all suffer his vindictiveness.

On the sixth day after Yolanda pummeled the country, Ben Kritz in his Manila Times column suggested the ultimate in applying Paine’s maxim: the Aquino government should get out of the way and pave the way for UN intervention to enable the nation to cope with the catastrophe.

Everyone assumed that the government could do the job of meeting the challenge. But that is not the case. President Aquino cannot admit what was obvious to the rest of the world, that the disaster had overwhelmed his government’s capacity to respond.

By stubbornly insisting that things were under control, Aquino was carelessly squandering the assistance of the world community. It is in this light that Kritz pushed his UN intervention solution.

Of course, this proud country and our people will not accept UN intervention.

One expatriate reading the Kritz column opined: “Mr. President, if you can’t lead then get out of the way and let someone else who can do it and just follow their example, but wait . . . is there anyone else in the Government or in the private sector that can step up to the task and lead this country?”

This is where we Filipinos find ourselves today—trapped in the fixed term of a President who is incompetent and incapable of leading us. Some put forward analyses and constructive proposals on how the country can effectively meet the challenges to national life. But given the warped politics and policy myopia of Aquino and the Liberal Party, such efforts are futile.

The administration will not accept suggestions, no matter how sensible, because President Aquino never makes mistakes.

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16 Comments

  1. This what you get when you believe in “Miracles”. Everyone knows that Aquino was a lazy Senator who never did anything while in office. Mar Roxas was in 3 admins but never finished anything. Then you are given a choice in the cousin who was “A Plus” since he was a child in the person of Gibo and Pinoys reject him because they believe hearsay. Nobody looks, read and analyse the accomplishments of each person. They believe “Miracles” can happen and people suddenly change from an “Incompetent” to a Miracle Worker. Walang perpektong Tao. Kaya dapat gamitin ang tutuke at pag-isipan ng mabuti ang bawat disisyon. “Binoto ko si So & So – Bakit? Tanungin ang sarili Bakit. Ano ba ang nagawa nitong taong ito. Ayan at pinili ng taong bayan ang batugang Coguangco. Ni-reject ang board topnocher lawyer at pinila ang Adidas shoe salesman. Kung ganito tayo palagi, huwag na tayong umasa pang umangat, dahil ang pinipili nating Lider ay repleksyon ng ating mababang kaligayahan.

  2. I am a survivor from Tacloban City. I can testify how it feels to inhale the stench of death for many weeks in the city. Yet the stench of politics sowed by Mar Roxas is unbearable compared to rotting human flesh!

  3. Kakasawa na talaga ang LP at Yellow administration ni Pnoy…

    gusto pa sumunod nitong si Marimar Roxas…jusko…wala na ba iba…!

    Senator Miriam, may we persuade you to run again, in 2016. This time, hindi na kailangan ang madaming pera, kasi ayaw na ng mga tao sa corrupt..

    gusto namin ngayon yung may BAY-G….matapang, ibubulgar lahat sa taumbayan, walang pagtatakpan, walang katatakutan, at totohanang magpapabilanggo sa may sala…AT WALANG DYNASTY na pangangalagaan…

    It is a plus also to be at the peak of wisdom and maturity…at yung DISIPLINADO…

    Doon ka na namin ititira sa Malacanang, para kahit may Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ka, eh hindi ka na pupunta pa sa office…

    no matter what they deride you with, I personally believe YOU ARE THE ONLY SANE ONE in the Senate today!

  4. This administration is so politicized. Pictures do not and can not lie. Look at the pictures of the President, Secretary Roxas, Mayor Romualdez, etc. The President wears a yellow T-shirt. Secretary Roxas also wears a yellow T-shirt. Mayor Romuldez wears red T-shirt, not blue T-shirt (blue ladies color of First lady Imelda Marcos). Yellow is the color of the of President Cory Aquino and President BS Aquino. Is this not politics on the part of President BS Aquino and Secretary Roxas?

    Looks like the President can not even comprehend.

    Is something wrong with the President mentality? Imagine, World Leaders are attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela (human rights icon) and the President is not attending and instead send the Vice President. Why? Afraid of Journalist who will interview him regarding typhoon Yolanda and his competency as a Leader?

    Mukhang macho naman ang Presidente natin. Bakit naduduwagan siya sa katotohanan?

  5. I don’t agree on vindictiveness nor politics is involve. But I agree 1,000% that it is gross incompetence mainly by Roxas and his minions plus Ochoa whose legal expertise is doubtful. Except for the Gloria, Merceditas, and Renato indictment everything are littered by gross incompetence from the Luneta to all government projects that never started after 3 years in office. Bibile lang ng tren para sa LRT/MRT at ire-repair ang NAIA eh inaabot ng syam-syam.The Yolanda episode is the icing on the cake of INCOMPETENCE. This proves that graduates of UP, Ateneo, LaSalle and sprinkling of stateside universities spread out in choice positions from past presidents to present tuwid na daan are not only very corrupt but incompetent as well.

  6. Naniniwala ako sa sinabi ni Mar Roxas na, “Bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo.” Kaya nga lumipas ang mahigit isang buwan ay hindi pa nakolekta ang mga namatay. Kaya nga ang mga relief goods na galing sa ibang bansa ay pinagbibili na sa Metro Manila, na nagpapatunay na ang mga ito ay hindi pinadala sa mga lugar na napinsala. Itong lahat ay sinadya.

  7. Trying to justify their incompetence and noynoying attitude? This Roxas is saying
    that the mayor is twisting the facts. What facts? The facts were, Roxas and
    Gazmin were already in Tacloban before Yolanda’s landfall. But did they do?
    They were hold up in a hotel in a Tacloban hotel with their bodyguards. What did
    they do with the request of the local government for additional police forces . Roxas
    was requiring the mayor to write a letter saying that he the mayor is no longer
    capable of handling the situation. What letter? Roxas also told the mayor that
    he is a Romualdez and the president is an Aquino. We would like to think that
    these national government officials were elected or appointed for all Filipinos. But
    Roxas clearly emphasize that the president is an Aquino and that the mayor is a
    Romualdez. What a message. As the saying goes, deeds speaks louder than
    words. Even the foreign journalists like Anderson Cooper, Christianne Amampour
    and Andrew Stevens were saying that there was no government helping at the
    time. So,who are we going to believe? Roxas like his boss abnoy are such a
    damn liars. Granding without admitting that what Roxas is saying that the video
    was doctored is true, he may as well answer some important questions such as:
    1. What did these two people (Roxas & Gazmin) do while in Tacloban City?
    2. Why did this Roxas require the mayor to write a letter?
    3. Why did this Roxas told the mayor that he is a Romualdez and the president is
    an Aquino?
    In the light of these comments, who do you think is polictiking?

    This Roxas is a damn liar

  8. “…just follow their example, but wait . . . is there anyone else in the Government or in the private sector that can step up to the task and lead this country?”

    Yes, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who won the voting in 1992 but was cheated of the Presidency in the counting. She’s honest, capable, courageous, does what is right for the country, fights graft and corruption, suffers no fools (of which there are many in government).
    No more leaders from the oligarchy, please.

  9. As time goes by, the weakness (does he ever possess a skill) of the president is
    being exposed. It is compounded by the fact that he is assisted by by DILG executive
    who doesn’t have any clue how to manage such crisis of great magnitude. Poor people
    from Eastern Samar and its surroundings and all those affected by the recent typhoon, earthquake and the Zamboanga siege.
    We have a president who is inept and lazy to begin with. It gets worse when you are
    surrounded with people with the same personality.

  10. This is the result of using more of the heart; less of the head and being caught up by slogans, catchwords and ‘unrealistic promises’ during elections in the country. Media people and Netizens, wake up.

  11. The STINKS, the STENCH, and the SMELL of a Rotten Politics above all the welfare of the suffering victims and their very lives at stake – the Aquino-Roxas tandem of political play can not hide the truth,