Did govt ignore Tacloban’s cry for help?

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Erwin Tulfo

Erwin Tulfo

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.

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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.

* * *

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.

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13 Comments

  1. The Government did not ignore the Tacloban’s cry for help.
    Seemingly, seemingly the absence of resources affects the delivery of services-besides they are also victims of the calamity thus affects the alleged delay of response and timeliness.

    Unlike other countries who had advance equipment and technologies and capabilities.However,they were also experiencing such cases-naging controversial lang po kasi yung sa atin kasi nga MASS destruction-considering that we are still belong to 3rd world country and making our best as a citizen and individual to move and transform our economic situation. United we stand ,devided we fall.

    Lastly, to the unsung heroes who offered their lives and services during the YOLANDA catastrophe and other calamities.Kayo po ang mga tunay na BAYANI ng Bayan.

    Despite those challenges, I salute DILG Mar Roxas, the AFP and PNP ,Cabinet Offcials,LGU’s and Volunteers, private and other govet line agencies.

    To our President, Noy Aquino- job well done po.Mabuhay po kayo…
    Salamat Manung Erwin at Manila Times…

  2. pABAGSAK NA TALAGA SI pNOY….!

    The LP and yellow ship is sinking, and fast…by their own doing…!

    The Roxas/Romualdez video did it, finally….Bye, Mar, Bye Pnoy…

    Now, hmmmm sino ang magpapakulong kay Pnoy…yun ang iboboto ko!

    Not Binay, not Roxas, not any LP….gusto ko makita mangyari kay Pnoy ang ginagawa niyang kalupitan ngayon kay Gloria….

    Pati ba naman pangalan ng Diosdado macapagal Clark Airport eh pinalitan pa…?

    Papalitan din namin lahat ng may pangalang Ninoy at Corazon Aquino….!

  3. this shows the complete incompetence of roxas and gazmin, they were there 2 days before yolanda and still help came late. worse, they looked for people to blame instead of manning up.

  4. Plain and simple, he is a know nothing mean and vindictive President…During the term of GMA, she never mentioned Estrada, she even visited him in jail and when he was convicted she immediately pardoned him. She did not put pressure in any court against his son and him. But this president is an animal no qualms about him. I wonder? what part of the mothers human anatomy did he come from?

  5. Reply to Tiongson:

    Please don’t be selective in quoting what Mr. Erwin Tulfo wrote.

    You are only quoting the first part of his column–stating that government relief was there.

    But you seem to purposely omit his conclusion: that it was late.

    Are you writing from the Malacanang press office or the PR office of Secretary Roxas?

    Telling only half-truths, or making only half-quotes, is disinformation! The target of such acts is the truth. Please remember the truth that God is Truth. Your half-quotes in the service of incompetent and untruithful officials is an act against God, sir.

    Carlo L. Adan

  6. Claro Apolinar on

    Mr. Tulfo, you have just finally confirmed the main reason there is worldwide condemnation of President B. S. Aquino and his admin’s incompetence and mishandling of the Yolanda rescue effort. IT CAME LATE!

    Claro Apolinar

  7. He cannot control doing his own think even if the calamity is already at his doorstep. He regrets he acceded to the whims of Drilon and Roxas to run as president. He loves to sleep; meetings, conferences and protocols, its disturbed him.

  8. Could better leaders have predicted that a storm that big would scatter debris over roads hindering delivery of relief goods? If they we’re able to predict that, they could have prepared heavy equipments to clear the roads.

  9. Negative ratings is not Abnoy’s problem when his term end in 2016, jail time will be his biggest problem if elected President is not his buddy.

  10. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has the same advice for Pnoy. All these years, you really expect change and performance form this President? Give me a break. You all helped elect this BSA3. Not me, I could smell his stink a loooong ways away.

  11. this time i really appreaciate what you observed before yolanda hit leyte, that the national government is already there to help them, not like what the spoiled mayor of tacloban, telling the media that national government did not help at all, i hope the media will tell the truth, because all the coverage here in amerika is all about tacloban, and i commended the only official of tacloban who is really helping his name is atty tecson lim, let vote him for mayor of tacloban, not like the other mayor went straight to tacloban airport to help her wife and children to manila.

  12. His ratings are slowly eroding cuz too many cracks are showing in the way he conducts his presidency. It’s too laid-back & happy-go-lucky. To say that it’s also slow is an understatement. Perhaps a kick in his behind will wake him up.