Are they worth our respect and votes?

6
Tita Valderama

Tita Valderama

The next election is still 28 months away. That’s two years and four months from now until May 2016. But long before the fireworks are lit to welcome 2014 in a week’s time, the public is already treated with political explosives courtesy of propagandists, spin masters, and plain faultfinders.

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In most non-media-related gatherings with relatives, friends and acquaintances, I find myself groping for words in trying to explain that I don’t know everything happening around.

It is sometimes embarrassing that I am as confused as they are on many issues that I don’t have direct information about. I am as baffled as they are with the details that I read in different newspapers or hear on radio. Sometimes, the details are contradictory, depending on the biases of the writer, reporter, or anchor.

Has the Philippine media become so free that garbage stories get published online, or printed in newspapers or aired on television and radio? Or has the government become so inefficient and inutile that we get to read mostly critical news and commentaries?

The rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in Central Visayas, particularly in Leyte and Samar provinces, have been affected by too much politicking amidst hunger, homelessness, and desolation over the loss of lives and properties to Super Typhoon Yolanda and the storm surges that followed.

It is undeniable that national and local government officials failed miserably in immediately addressing the needs of the survivors for food, shelter and assistance in looking for missing or deceased relatives. Partisan politics was played at its dirtiest in the aftermath of the monster typhoon.

The blame-game and finger-pointing between Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas 2nd and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez Jr. while many families remained unserved had worsened the situation in the area hardest hit by the monster typhoon. President Aquino joined the picture on the side of Roxas. Romualdez played to the cameras by shedding tears during a Senate committee hearing to lambast Roxas.

For three days last week, my sister visited her company’s business outlets in Leyte and Samar. She was disturbed when she came back home. Six weeks after the November 8 onslaught of Yolanda, the stench of dead people still pervade the air, triggering allergic rhinitis attacks. The situation of families living in tents and the survival stories of their employees brought her to uncontrollable tears. She must have acquired post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the short time that she went around the two hardest-hit provinces.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the death toll from Yolanda had risen to 6,100 as of December 20, with Eastern Visayas, the most devastated region, accounting for 5,746 deaths. Despite the rising death toll, the number of missing remained at 1,779 while the number of injured was at 27,665 people.

At least 3,424,593 families or 16,078,181 people in 12,139 villages in 44 provinces were affected, while 890,895 families or 4,095,280 people were displaced. Of these, 20,949 families or 101,527 people remain in 381 evacuation centers.

Damage from the world’s strongest storm in recent history was estimated at P36.662 billion—P18.268 billion in infrastructure and P18.354 billion in agriculture. Yolanda also damaged or destroyed more than a million houses. The NDRRMC reported that the government has so far spent P1.185 billion in assistance to the affected families.

My sister wondered where the billions of pesos in donations from other governments, business entities and private individuals from across the globe had gone, or was going. Have the pledges been delivered? She was worried that the monies would end up in the pockets of politicians and unscrupulous people in private organizations, instead of the typhoon survivors.

My sister represents ordinary folks passing by what looked like a forsaken place. She’s not a political person but regards politicians with respect, at least those who deserve it, according to her judgment.

She wished aloud that government officials and journalists would just do their jobs properly without any biases and with the interests of the larger segment getting primary consideration.

She minced no words against journalists, or those who introduce themselves as one and especially those who wear oversized press IDs, and the legitimate ones who use the airwaves and the social media to pass off rumors, biased opinions, and innuendoes as truth against the government.

I squirm when relatives and friends relate unpleasant stories about media persons and government officials, and share their disgust over their attitude toward the public they ought to serve; those who brandish their sirens and IDs to violate even the simplest traffic rules and get past security check points.

And I feel uncomfortable when ordinary folks come for help with appointments, financial or medical assistance, and endorsements of people I may have known; those who think that a press ID can be a ticket to avoid getting apprehended for traffic violation, or a gate pass in government offices and charity agencies.

These sad realities make me ponder on the future of this country in the hands of the present crop of politicians, and with a growing number of journalists who seemingly or conveniently set aside long-held standards and ethical practices that separate them from those called hao shiaos and netizens.

The events after Yolanda unleashed her fury in Central Visayas should finally wake us up from slumber in the next elections. We are getting a glimpse of the prospective wannabes. Let us not forget what they had done and have been doing to deserve our votes, or to let them retire from politics altogether.

Meantime, let us enjoy celebrating the birth of Jesus and hope for a better and brighter new year. Cheers!

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6 Comments

  1. ms tita v.

    I happened to watch a govt. t.v. channel today, the subj. is all about the
    all out effort supposed to be of the Pnoy, mar and co. on all the devastated
    part of the country. Contrary to what you wrote they were praising p’noy
    and co. on the supposed continues effort of the govt to bring relief to tacloban,
    zambo, bohol and all the rest. they even mentioned that the govt is on
    time for the relief and rescue. I wondered where they are getting these
    kapal muks to fool the people. Sobra kasinungalingan.

  2. “Are they worth our respect and votes?”

    Respect thieves and lawbreakers ? Our votes ? They are worthless since 2010 for the real votes are not being counted. It is the PCOS and people behind it who decide on who to make win. And the same thing is poised to happen in 2016, IF WE DON’T ACT AND KICK OUT THIS GOVERNMENT NOW

  3. Is there a hope for poor Philippines? With corrupt and incompetent politicians governing us,and stupid voters voting for these wannabe public officials back in power again and again, my answer is a big NO. Unless there is a change in the way people vote, I don’t see a change for the better – at least not in our generation. The Philippines will remain one of poorest countries in the world in the years to come.

  4. Its the way this country works & has worked for years untold. It cant be changed overnight. Its in every walk of life. We just elected our H.O.A. & there were 2 sides. Im totaly unbiased & i come from england. My wife is a pinoy & is very educated. Some of the opposing side are not so well educated. Now the other side were going door to door making unfounded allegations about my wifes side. In the end my wife & one of the other side had equal votes & they tried to sort out whop would get the last appointment. Well what a shambles. My wifes team offerd to toss a coin to decide, they said no. Our team offerd to each party do 6 months they refused. The barangay captain said the already elected parties should vote for the final slot & they opposed that as my wifes side had 4 whilst they had 3 which meant they would vote for my wife. My wifes team were campaigning saying we should all be as one, but the other side were for a sort of seperation, they are being guided by a single person who is a philinvest agaent & we are having problems getting monies owed to us from them. They have an agenda & the group is friends with the last but 1 hoa who when they were not re elected cleared all the computers of all the information needed for the hoa to run our sub division. I dont know what it is with filipinas but its in every walk of life in this country & i dont see it ending in my lifetime. I dont know what the answer is. My wifes statement to the people after being elected was from JFK, think not what your subdivision can do for you, but think what you can do for your subdivision.

  5. Jose A. Oliveros on

    No, the present crop of politicians do no deserve our respect and votes. As for people in media, newspaper reporters, radio announcers and TV newscasters should just deliver news – straight without any comment either before or after. And newspaper columnists should not show their biases through the “choice of their materials and the nuances of their adjectives” to borrow the words of historian Will Durant.

  6. The paradigm has shifted from respect for politicians, to suspicion and at times, utter hatred. What do you expect when the President is chief corruptor? When his Bosses are big business and cronies? When Abnoy’s sentiments are promoted by his sub-alterns as Bahala kayo sa buhay nyo?