Saturday, November 8, was the first anniversary commemoration of the devastation of Eastern Visayas, particularly in Tacloban, Leyte, brought by super typhoon Yolanda that claimed over 6,000 lives, caused thousands more to be missing, and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
On Saturday, banners and streamers littered all four corners of Tacloban City and nearby towns, thanking the world for its speedy support and continuing help even a year after the deluge hit the area.
Surprisingly, not a single poster or signage in the city, not even a leaflet, directly thanked PNoy or his administration for the help given to the Taclobanons after the catastrophe.
A fish vendor, explained to me, “Ano ba ang nagawa niya (PNoy) dito? Pumunta nga mga bata niya sa Tacloban pero nagpa-pogi lang at wala naman silang nagawa sa amin. Inaway pa si Mayor (Romualdez) namin .”
One city official, who asked not to be identified anymore, simply said the posters and banners were put up by the residents and business establishments themselves thanking individuals, private corporations, the non-government organizations (NGO), and the various nations that immediately came to the aid of the Leyteños a day after the Yolanda/Haiyan devastation.
“Can you blame them if that’s what they see and how they feel toward their own government? Mabuti pa raw ang ibang bansa na pagkalayo-layo nakarating agad ang tulong samantalang sila na nasa Manila lang, ilang araw dumating ang ayuda at may kasama pang galit,” the same official asked.
A mother, who lost her husband and two sons, angrily said, “Bastos siya…inuna niya ang pulitika kaysa sa pagtulong sa amin na namatayan at nagugutom noon. Anong klaseng presidente siya???”
Experts explain the Taclobanons’ anger or hatred towards PNoy and his administration is understandable because the help that they should have received from their government came from either the NGOs or from foreign countries instead.
True enough, during my coverage in Tacloban last Thursday and Friday, I saw rows and rows of bunkhouses with markings outside that clearly says, “From the people of Canada, USA, Japan, South Korea, Australia in cooperation with the DSWD.”
Sixty-eight public schools and government buildings in Tacloban and Palo, Leyte were rebuilt by the South Korean government without a single centavo being spent by the Philippine government. The only contribution given by the PNoy administration was to provide the security for the Korean construction workers.
Over a dozen sari-sari stores around Tacloban City proudly display the USAID logo beside the name of the stores. The stores, which were then made of light materials and swept by the floods of Yolanda, are now made of concrete and steel.
A year has passed since the great devastation but the people of Tacloban City have yet to see the homes and livelihood promised by PNoy and his men to them, and Leyteños wonder if these would ever come.
Or is this another lie, Mr. President???