I am not an ally or a supporter of this administration. But what I am going to tell you is the point of view of a journalist who was there hours before and immediately after Yolanda and what the government did and did not do.
My news crew and I arrived in Tacloban on Thursday afternoon, one day before Yolanda struck.
After our live report on TV that night, we decided to have dinner at a popular seafood restaurant in Tacloban.
There I saw Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Army and Philippine National Police (PNP) commanders in the area and the officials of the provincial disaster unit. They were in a huddle, apparently strategizing their would-be actions after Yolanda hits ground.
Their plan was to mobilize the local Armed Forces of the Philippines and PNP personnel immediately after the storm for search and rescue, relief distribution and clearing operations.
Asked why he and Gazmin were there early, Roxas said, “the President wanted to make sure that the rescue and relief efforts will go smoothly as planned by tomorrow, Erwin.”
However, that did not happen the next day since those expected to do the job did not report for work after the storm because they were victims themselves.
I saw Roxas and Gazmin again Saturday at the Tacloban Police Station trying to muster available police and military personnel.
Saturday afternoon, a day after Yolanda hit Leyte, we spotted army personnel in pairs either patrolling the streets or securing the airport and the helicopter-landing zone downtown.
A newspaper reporter who arrived with the troops from Manila aboard several C-130 flights confirmed they were there to augment local forces.
However, the soldiers came in a day late, after hungry looters have ransacked a department store.
It was also on Saturday that tons of relief goods from the Department of Social Welfare and Development arrived at the airport.
The problem was it could not be delivered right away since all roads coming to and from the airport were blocked by fallen trees and lamp posts.
Even trucks of relief goods in Palo, Leyte which were prepared by the provincial government days before the typhoon could not reach the victims as debris littered the streets of the city and nearby towns.
So, even before the prodding of the local government and its people for help, the willingness of the national government to assist the devastated populace was already there.
The only problem was, help came really late.
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PNoy’s dropping ratings his own doing
The President can only blame himself for the continuos drop of his popularity and his administration as shown in the latest survey.
Political analysts believe it will continue to plunge if more anomalies come out and his administration will not act on certain issues.
Observers believe the other factors that contributed to the slow demise of his popularity and performance ratings are criticisms of his slow response in the Zamboanga crisis, Bohol quake and Yolanda devastation.
And if this will continue, chances are he may get a negative rating in all aspects of his Presidency before he steps down in 2016, according to the analysts.
Surely, PNoy cannot and should not blame the media for the decline of his popularity and approval ratings.
Here’s an unsolicited advice for the President: stop the lip service and walk your talk.