• BS Aquino and the unburied victims

    Efren Danao

    Efren Danao

    My most ardent wish for the New Year is for President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino 3rd to show his heart for Yolanda victims by spending time with the 1,400 still unburied almost two months after Tacloban City’s devastation.

    Others might wish the President join the casualties when they get buried. Ah, but I think that’s going too far. He need not do so to show that his heart isn’t as cold as steel — even if he’s considered a “Man of Steel” by adoring newshens and the Yellows.

    One thing’s sure – those 1,400 unburied victims won’t be included in the official government list of dead casualties unless they’re properly identified. Remember, the government considers as dead only the identified ones. The official count by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of 6,155 fatalities refers only to the identified ones. How about those who aren’t? Blogger Jerry Ocampo wondered if they are considered mere debris by the Aquino administration.

    Hey, am I asking for the moon in wishing the President visit the unburied Yolanda victims in Tacloban? He was once asked about the unburied victims and he replied that he was more concerned with the fate of the living. Wow! A Man of Steel indeed! But what if a survivor complains of neglect by the government? Well, I could almost hear our Man of Steel giving the “malcontent” these comforting, reassuring words: “Buhay ka pa, ‘di ba?”

    This “Man of Steel” has troublesome coughing fits. Certainly, his health problems could worsen should he visit the unburied victims. I commiserate with him. He must have been smoking, I mean working too hard that his coughing has worsened.

    The President reportedly ignored the advice of the Health Secretary to take a longer rest. His image-makers had announced that he would not do so and continue to smoke, I mean, work during the holiday season. Many are certainly disappointed with this announcement. He could go on a much longer rest and there’ll be few complaints.

    BS Aquino has about 30 more months to stay in office. Many may moan this long wait for his departure. I’m looking at the bright side, however — he has only 30 months left for incompetent governance, petty politics and vindictive justice.

    Greeting new year with a bang
    Former Rep. Jun Rivera of Bulacan, whose district included Bocaue, authored the law regulating the manufacture and sale of firecrackers and pyrotechnics. The last time I talked with Jun Rivera, I asked him if had ever regretted reviving the firecracker and pyrotechnics industry because it had been causing so much death and physical injuries during every holiday season. He said he doesn’t.

    “The problem isn’t with the law but in its enforcement,” he explained while stressing that the law bans the manufacture and sale of powerful firecrackers.

    The continued use of pyrotechnics may be acceptable to a big number of people. There’s something awe-inspiring in seeing fireworks light up the sky. Fireworks displays are the centerpieces of celebration in almost all centers, be it in Manila, New York, Sydney, Dubai, Tokyo, Las Vegas, or Wellington. A creative technical mind is needed for a fireworks display. No such thing can be said of firecrackers, especially the more powerful ones that could maim and kill.

    Well, even if the law is implemented properly to prevent the manufacture and sale of powerful firecrackers, Climate Change Commissioner Sonny Alvarez believes it still has to go because it has not only safety issues but also climate change issues.

    Sonny, the former Chairman of Senate Committee on Environment and former Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, stressed that it’s not only the loss of lives or disabilities engendered that should be considered but the grave environmental degradation in the expected New Year firecracker manic fiesta.

    “Pyrotechnics and the mentality that promotes it aggravate global warming, to say nothing of its more perilous impact: the irreversible damage to our natural ecosystems and, ultimately, to our planet,” he warned.

    The President has approved a climate change commission resolution initiated by Sonny for undertaking the carbon war room program from low carbon to zero carbon. Sonny fears, however, that this objective would be difficult to realize without curbing the manufacture and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

    He recalled that when he was DENR secretary in 2001, his agency recorded a 2,000-percent hike in Metro Manila’s carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions as a result of massive New Year explosions.

    “Today, with at least 50 percent of the nation’s 100 million people residing in urban areas, I would not be surprised if today after 12 years, there is another 2,000 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions,” Sonny added.



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    1. Samuel Santos on

      Here’s one sentence from your article which I won’t forget: “Others might wish the President join the casualties when they get buried.”

    2. Shoot us now, or get rid of this Pnoy scourge on our land….

      One of a Christian’s corporal works duty is “…to bury the dead…”

      1,400 still waiting to be buried in an OPEN space, exposed to the elements, after 2MONTHS….unbelievable!

      What kind of a president is this…?

    3. Grace Baldisseri on

      I am appealing to President Benigno Aquino III to please bury the dead in Tacloban City. To Kris Aquino: Di ba nakakahiya na nandoon nakangiti ang anak mo sa TV samantalang 1400 sa Tacloban ay hindi pa inililibing hanggang ngayon? Pakibulong mo na lang sa KUYA mo at aabangan namin dito kung ano ang nangyari.

    4. The former Representative from Bulacan Jun Rivera just don’t get it. When asked if he regretted reviving the firecracker industry in Bulacan, his responded “NO”. While obviously protecting firecracker-related jobs in his district, he has closed his eyes to the great damage the industry has inflicted on us – hundreds of injuries every New Year celebration, increased air and noise pollution and litter on the streets.

      Our backward country is way behind on the issue of firecrackers as many countries countries around the world had total ban on firecrackers in place years ago. There are many safer and enjoyable ways to greet the New Year without the injuries, noise, air pollution and litter on our streets. All we have to do is look at the way other countries celebrate with regulated fireworks displays, but without firecrackers.

    5. I am surprised that even Philippine media have not caught on the issue of disrespect and lack of compassion in the way the local and the national governments have treated the bodies of the 1,400 poor people killed by typhoon Yolanda. These bodies, while in body bags, had just been unceremoniously dumped in an open field near Tacloban under the elements, feasted on by millions of flies, and posing possible contamination of water supply and threat to health of nearby residents. Had this happened in the US or Canada, this issue of the barbaric way bodies of so many people are dumped like garbage in an open field for almost two months will be met with so much outrage from the people that it will be enough to make a President or Prime Minister of the country to resign in shame.

      Not so in in the Philippines where the ruling elite hardly care if the bodies of so many dead poor people rot in an open field under the elements. Had these bodies included some rich and famous among them, the treatment will be way better. To the Aquino government, the lives of these dead poor hardly count at all and are just part of statistics of the casualties of the Yolanda destruction. What a shame.