Bane for all of us, boon for Roxas


    IF there’s one person in the country possibly looking forward to disastrous typhoons, even visibly enjoying them if you had watched him at his televised “command” conference yesterday barking orders at officials in Borongan, Samar, it could be Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.

    Leading the government’s preparations and response to typhoons has been Roxas’ biggest, and even only, opportunity to improve his popularity ratings and project himself as a capable leader for the country come 2016.

    It is not President Benigno S. Aquino’s nor is it National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) chairman, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin’s that is this government’s face in responding to the recent typhoon Ruby.  It has been Roxas’.

    It is, of course, laudable for Roxas to be so compassionate that he’s in the frontlines traversing muddy roads and sleeping in dingy hotels so he could help our countrymen suffering the disaster. Why am I, and many netizens writing nasty posts on reports of his typhoon activities, so cynical?

    Well, because it’s so obvious that, for Roxas, typhoons have become a big opportunity, to use a recently invented and popularized slang term, for epal, derived from the term pumapel, which roughly means to appear as having a big role (papel) in some laudable activity.

    Same for-typhoons shirt? Roxas dropping his bike in Leyte the other day, with nasty comments from netizens. Top inset: Roxas in Borongan, Samar yesterday. Lower inset, in Tacloban, Leyte right after super typhoon Yolanda November last year, arguing with a CNN reporter.

    Same for-typhoons shirt? Roxas dropping his bike in Leyte the other day, with nasty comments from netizens. Top inset: Roxas in Borongan, Samar yesterday. Lower inset, in Tacloban, Leyte right after super typhoon Yolanda November last year, arguing with a CNN reporter.

    Roxas, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and their staff even seemed dressed for an election campaign. They were all wearing the same especially-designed-for-typhoon-rescue yellow T-shirts with black bands, emblazoned with the Yellow Cult’s yellow-ribbon logo and the outline of the Philippine archipelago.

    Roxas’ credit-grabbing yesterday morning was irritating, if not sickening, as the live televised briefing on the typhoon’s aftermath by NDRRMC Executive Director Alexander Pama (where was the chairman Gazmin, anyway? Sick again?) was interrupted, and replaced, by what was billed by the TV station as “DILG chief’s press conference” in Borongan.

    It wasn’t a press conference, but a meeting, chaired by Roxas, of local officials up to municipal officers of national agencies in Eastern Samar purportedly to assess the impact of Typhoon Ruby and the government’s response to it.

    It was nothing, though, but a lengthy photo-op for Roxas to show he was busy in the frontline responding to the typhoon. A brilliant move, I would say, as most Filipinos were hungry for news — which surprisingly was sparse —on Typhoon Ruby’s morning-after. Early morning, there was nothing on the typhoon but Roxas’ performance at Borongan.

    What was the DILG head doing there, taking over the role of the provincial governor who by law heads the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council? The governor sat idly by Roxas’ side, doing absolutely nothing and just smiling occasionally, with Roxas not once consulting him. Roxas had a notebook and a pile of papers, and was writing notes furiously.

    What was Roxas actually doing? Probably to pretend he was in control, he was counting casualties, even interrogating a poor municipal health officer how she got the reported information on deaths and injuries for each barangay. Roxas was irritated when a health officer reported a death during the typhoon that turned out to be due to a heart attack. Roxas barked at the official: “But that’s a “pre-existing” condition, a myocardial infarction.”

    With the 2015 budget deliberated on by Congress to give funds to the DILG for activities that in the first place are not even under its responsibility, such as housing, social work, and livelihood projects, a joke started going around that Roxas is the “new Imelda.” That is in reference to his high-profile involvement in so many events and projects as Marcos’ wife did during the last years of martial law, in order to portray himself as Aquino’s successor.

    Roxas, though, seems to keep stumbling and bumbling his way through these events in a struggle to make typhoons a boon for his popularity rating.

    The script was intended to portray him as a macho man riding a motorcycle so he could navigate dirt roads to inspect typhoon preparations even in Samar’s remote towns. He, instead, took a fall with his bike. (Did his driver’s license allow him to drive a motorcycle?)

    A disloyal aide, or a Samar official who probably disliked him, unfortunately managed to snap a photo at the precise moment he fell with his bike, and promptly posted it in cyberspace. It got viral with so many nasty comments, such as a hilarious one that he should be fined for not wearing a helmet.

    Roxas should watch it, though. From Mr. Palengke, he might be known as Mr. Typhoon. But in that murky world of people’s consciousness, it might not be his help during typhoons that would be remembered. Instead, he could be associated with typhoons, and the suffering it brings.

    PAGASA updates 4-hours late
    Our weather forecaster, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomic Services Administration (PAGASA), has boasted that the path it predicted for Typhoon Ruby was the most accurate, beating those made by its counterparts in Hong Kong, Japan, and even the US military. They may be right, but for me as a consumer of their information, their forecast was useless.

    I had been closely monitoring the typhoon, as its path in the past two days indicated that it could pass directly where we lived, and I was bit anxious that a tree near our house would be uprooted. I also wanted to experience passing through a typhoon’s eye. I’ve read some claims that it is strangely exhilarating when for a few minutes you suddenly see a blue sky (or a starry one) above you in the middle of a blinding fury as the typhoon’s eye passes over you.

    I wasn’t able to do so. PAGASA’s purported “hourly” updates posted on its website were all four to five hours late, and I have screenshots of these as proof. Even as I write these words at 4:17 pm Tuesday, PAGASA’s latest hourly update is only for 10:00 am, more than six hours ago at the time of this writing. This has been the case throughout the other night. I even thought that the sudden strength of the wind meant the typhoon was getting close to where I lived. It was five hours later when PAGASA in its hourly update reported that Ruby had veered off to the west and had not passed over us.

    Five-, even a four-hour period is a long time in a typhoon’s path. Given its vaunted new equipment, why should PAGASA’s update take that long to issue?

    (My three-part series on foreign investments continues on Friday.)

    FB: Rigoberto Tiglao


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    1. Tama na iyang nakakasilaw na dilaw! Can the real Mar Roxas show himself, the better for us to be able to see what else he is made of? Or is there a real Mar Roxas?
      We’ve had an over load of Mar Roxas, we do not want to see another photo of him, pretending to be what he is not, just to please the masses, which never works anyway. Or is the real Mar a pretender, a hoaxer, better yet, there is no Mar behind the mask….

    2. Roxas is not kurakot or magnanakaw sa kaban nang bayan, prangka at direkta pagkinausap ka ametucan style. Alam niya ang problema, he is a member of motorcycle racing club in western visayas. He is highly qualified to be president. Poe will help him.

    3. MAR ROXAS – STOP IT NA! Stop before a bigger disaster happens to you…listen to all the signs. You will never be liked as a president or whatever. Go back to your roots and just stay there. You are already rich and you are highly educated. Politics is not for you…and you in politics is not for US! So tama na, nakaka suka na! I don’t know if i am happy that nothing happened to you, parang gusto ko sana naturuan ka talaga nang leksyon. Pero sige, buti walang masamang nangyari sa iyo….or baka dapat sa Japanese nga din nangyari yan, afterall sila naman yata ang maker nang motorcycle mong hiram? at kaya nila kahit anong trahedya?

      So utang na loob – STOP IT NA! Baka hindi na makapag pigil sa iyo kahit si Inang Kalikasan!

    4. Pakitang tao to be exact. kahit na beyond na sa norms yung gagawin, basta lang pakitang gilas para sa eleksyon hayon. sayang talaga si robredo, a big loss para sa pilipinas. siguro si roxas nagnanais na mey maraming bagyo pang dumating para maka-epal ulet at show off. very sad.

    5. we don’t only have Pnoy haters but Mar haters also. kahit anong gawin mong constructive wala parin (+) comments. ganyan ang filipino mentality. you cannot not make everybody happy. kung tahimik ka sabi nila gago ka. at kung gumalaw ka for constructive work sabi nila epal… kasi mga gago sila…

    6. he started it w/ the pics in the palengkes, carrying onions while smiling at the camera, carrying a sack of rice, conducting traffic, even fixing a chair kuno in a classroom, now the motorbike stunt. A true photo op king. The thing is, people know its a photo op.

    7. westphilippines on

      Mar Roxas maybe working as hard as he seems to be but what we need are good leaders and administrators. We have plenty of unemployed Filipinos who can qualify as workers. He should be aware that his actions are detrimental to his capability to lead this country. The more he is giving justification for Binay to continue aspiring to be the leader of this squandered nation.

    8. let us be wise in choosing our leader. pinoys should dump their stupid mentality during election. do not be be blinded by a few pesos that will not last a lifetime. let us avoid prospective candidates that are not sincere and are just “epal”. please be guided and not be blinded by the glitter of a few gold that corrupts the spirit. let us help our country rise once again, for our children, for their future.

    9. The fact that Mar Roxas came to Eastern Samar to be with us is good enough for me. In times such as this, set politics aside. Let us arise above it. Thank you Mar Roxas for coming to our rescue.

      • at least yong relief na ipinamimigay nila ay walang logo ng pangalan ni Roxas..di tulad ni Nognog na nilaladlad muka nya pero pera ng bayan ginagamit…

      • Nimfa aguila.. Sawa na kame sa taktika ng mga pulitiko,ang tunay na pulitiko ay walang EPAL ..Yung ke mar pa-EPAL yan

    10. When the so-called “press conference” was flashed, I was expecting a report.
      But to my dismay, it was a meeting…a lousy meeting.
      Fortunately..the news channel 11 returns to its interrupted news program.
      I hope that will not reflect how lousy the government is working.

    11. Understanding Person on

      Si Mar Roxas, makikita mo sa mga ikimikilos na di trustworthy at hindi rin honest ang mga ginagawa at iniisip! Yun lang yun, simple!

    12. whatever aid that the presence of sec. roxas generates for eastern samar, as an ‘estehanon’ i am grateful for it, just as i am grateful to mr. tiglao for his comments. for now, i prefer to set politics aside.

      • why set politics aside? bec of a rain storm? take it from our officials, its during a storm that politics is ever obvious. Look at Roxas?

      • correct ka diya, Gene Crane! He asked for it…epal hungry kasi eh!
        Mar Roxas and wife should learn the words – sincerety and compassion!

    13. Galo Felipe Zapatos on

      In our Cebuano language, what Mar Roxas is doing is called, “Palapad sa lapel.” That is to show off what you’re doing to gain acceptance.

      • yung paninira ke Dark Baden ay puro bintang lang dahil malapit ng eleksyon pero tong ke Mar na kapalpakan ay isang reality na kahit mag double epal ay walang bibili,kaya dahil walang matibay na kalaban si Dark baden..mabuhay si Binay..ipakulong si abnoy ang kaso –harassment

    14. Mar Roxas can not be compared to Imelda Marcos because she is more effective than Mar. Mar is like Joe de Venencia for being a hard sell product. No amount of political gimmickry can ever pull up Mar. He better bridge the gap between the imprisoned senators, it could gain him a lot of milleage.

    15. opinion reader on

      Paumanhin kung masama ako mag-isip or masama ang naiisip ko, tila yan nga ata ang pinag darasal ng kampo ni Mar Roxas na tipong “typhoon bring it on!!!” dahil sa tingin nila eto ang mag papa pogi kay Mar. Hope mali ang iniisip ko pasensya na po. Pero parang ganun ang dating. Parang “OA” ang mga kinilos ni Mar sa pagdaan ng bagyong Ruby. Tama nga super hands-on, halos mawalan ng papel ang gobernor ng eastern samar na cya dapat ang nakaka alam kung ano ang dapat gawin sa kanyang lalawigan. Kidding aside mabuti at wala dun yung MMDA constable na si Mr. Adriatico ba yun, kung hindi nakunan sya ng video na nag da-drive ng motor ng walang helmet. pasalamat si Mar at nag skid lang cya, what if mas malala pa ang nangyari sa kanya? malamang gumho na ang pangarap nya sa pag takbo sa pag kapangulo (swerte ka boY!). Sa isang banda, maganda ang ginawang preparasyon ng mga kinauukulan para hindi na maulit ang nangyari nung Yolanda, pero kawawa talaga itong si Mar, kahit anong gawin eh mukhang mhihirapan mabago ang imahe para lumakas at tumaas ang rating sa pag ka pangulo. Pasalamat tayo sa Diyos at hindi naulit ang nangyari nung Yolanda. To you Mr. Tiglao, salamat sa mga naisusulat mo, lagi kong binabasa ang column mo. sa iyo “Bring it on!” din sa mga magagandang topic ng column mo.

      • to opinion reader..Nobody knows, baka gimmick yung accident para pa-awa sa kanya..laman natin na may polotical adviser siyang kinuha sa state. Anything goes bago 2016 election..yon ngang bintang ke Dark Baden, ba’t ngayon lang nilabas..siguro kung noong unang upo ni Abnoy ginawa,pati sina cayetano ay maiimbistigahan at saka masyadong malilito ang bayan dahil si corona ang target noon.Kung pagsasabay sabayin ay mahahalata ang mga taga LP sa “Operation cleansing”
        Kaya abangan Marami pang lalabas na gimmick na bago gawa ng LP

    16. i agree with your observation about pagasa’s issuance of updates. i do not know their protocol but as an observer and potential victim of the incoming typhoon i would want to hear an hourly update. it is disgusting that the radio and tv programs covering the typhoon’s progress were giving information about the typhoon 4 hours or even more hours late. even the online newspapers are doing the same.

    17. P. Akialamiro@yahoo.com on

      From what I heard Mar Roxas is no pro-active problem solver; gusto lang “um-epal”. It is sad that the Liberal Party is talking of having him as their standard bearer. After all these years having been a senator, cabinet member, etc., he could have shown some exceptional ability and sincerity to govern and solve problems. ‘Wawang Pilipinas!

    18. The reason PAGASA’s Reports are 4 hours late is because they are merely collating other weather agencies’ reports. When events have already occurred, of course the reports would be accurate. Just like I will predict at this moment that Metro Manila will not be directly hit by Ruby.

      As for PAGASA’s accuracy vs. other weather agencies’ forecasts, it is very glaring that PAGASA ‘stayed on the safe-side’. The typhoon track they adopted was actually the middle track of the forecasted “cone of uncertainty”.

      Nowadays, anyone with internet can ‘predict the weather’ without the need for billions of pesos of equipment needed. The information is readily available and quite accurate.

    19. I agree with you Roxas is just politicking. He is not sincere in helping our people based on his body language as I watched him in TV. He try to put always his best foot forward but no effect. All lip service no action.

    20. Mr. typhoon trying hard to be recognized thats his style but he is not doing it right. semplang naman. may commercial pa ng nike.

      • Crisdec10– Dapat ay dinelete iyong commercial at ipinali ay “Koring “o kaya Kris ,the queen of media scandal..ha hah ha

    21. Other than all the negatives being said about Mar Roxas, the worse one noted is that Mar has a personality that cannot be trusted. Looking at him and listening him talk,it seems Mar is not a sincere and honest person.

    22. From Marlen Ronquillo’s column, “Are Filipino voters smart?”. Good question and my answer is definitely NO because Filipino voters are stupid. Why do stupid Filipino voters still prefer binay to be their resident when it is an open secret of BINAYS’ amassed wealth from the taxpayers money through corruption. Was the survey done in Makati from 1200 respondents? How stupid Filipinos still vote the Binays for an electoral position if everything is so obvious of their family’s corruption. The Filipino voters stinks!!!

      • Likas na sa ating mga pilipino ang mangbuska ng kapwa pero hanggang daldal lang naman tayo at kulang sa gawa. Majority ng tao sa pilipinas ay nasa sector ng masa, ibig sabihin, walang alam o kulang sa kaalaman sa politika at sa tunay na nangyayari sa bansa ( i could not careless attititude). Come election time, ang mga politikong kurakot na may pangbayad sa boto ng mga masa ang magtatagumpay. Kawawang piliipinas, ginigisa tayo sa sarili nating mantika.

      • Filipino voters are not only stupid, they are Corrupt as well…selling thier votes like galong-gong…and then complain for what their elected leaders do..