Remember Richard Pulga

Atty. Dodo Dulay

Atty. Dodo Dulay

The Aquino administration’s handling of the Yolanda crisis can be best described in two words: Richard Pulga.

Pulga is a 27-year-old farmer from Tacloban whose plight gained global prominence after being featured by international news outfits like the New York Times and CNN.

But that is of little consolation to Pulga. He died a little over a week ago from what was essentially a treatable injury— a broken leg. Without much-needed antiseptics and antibiotics, the Tacloban farmer contracted blood poisoning, which shut down his vital organs.

Pulga left behind a wife, a 7-year-old son and a 6-week-old daughter who now face an uncertain future after having lost their house, their belongings— and their sole breadwinner.

Incompetence has a human face
Pulga is the face of countless other typhoon victims who survived the initial onslaught of the storm but whose lives were needlessly lost because of the incompetence and inaction of the Aquino administration.

More than four days after the typhoon struck, with the sun already beating down on typhoon survivors, rotting corpses were still strewn around Tacloban and other hard-hit cities and towns.

There was little or no government presence in disaster zones let alone relief aid or medical assistance for survivors, prompting CNN’s veteran correspondent Anderson Cooper to report that “there had been big delays, big lack of organization on the part of the Philippine government on the ground.

“If there was any clinic in the entire disaster zone that should receive aid quickly and easily, it’s the clinic at the airport, and they were not getting it,” Cooper added, bemoaning the lack of medical supplies to treat the thousands of injured typhoon victims.

Critics put Aquino on the defensive
The harsh criticism of the Aquino administration by the international media has put PNoy on the defensive.

Interviewed by BBC’s Rajesh Mirchandani last week, PNoy said: “I would like to ask these critics, what else we could have done given the resources that we do have and given the magnitude of the problem?”

A lot, Mr. President.

Wasn’t it you who assured the public, in a nationally televised speech, of the government’s readiness to face Super Typhoon Yolanda a day before the storm made landfall in Tacloban?

Wasn’t it also you who said that three “fully mission capable” C130 planes, 32 Air Force planes and choppers and 20 Navy ships were on standby, ready to respond to those who need it?

Didn’t you also assure our kababayan that relief goods were pre-positioned in many of the areas expected to be affected by Yolanda so that aid would reach areas accessible by sea as soon as the typhoon weans?

So where were these planes, choppers and vessels that you said were ready to respond? Where was the aid that you promised would reach areas accessible by sea like Tacloban soon after the typhoon passed? And why did the pre-positioned relief goods take more than four days to reach the disaster zones?

‘Fault of local authorities’
PNoy’s excuse? It’s the fault of the local authorities who, as the so-called first responders, were not fully prepared for the disaster.

“The first responders would be giving us the necessary data to tell us what they cannot meet and the disaster risk response of this country is geared towards the empowered local government unit [LGU] who is supposed to provide the backbone for all the assistance,” PNoy explained to the BBC correspondent.

But by harping on the shortcomings of local officials for the delayed disaster response, is PNoy saying that the ultimate responsibility for the relief effort does not lie with him?

Well, it certainly seems that way, especially with PNoy’s recent move to investigate the LGUs’ handling of preparations and response to the super typhoon. This even though PNoy himself admits that half of the emergency relief goods they stored prior to Yolanda was contaminated by the storm surge.

Doesn’t that show that even the national government lacked foresight, or at the very least, was caught unaware by the ferocity of Yolanda just like the LGUs which PNoy is now unfairly passing the buck to?

What many Filipinos also find baffling is why PNoy keeps pointing the finger at local authorities when he had two of his cabinet members—Roxas and Defense Secretary (and ex-officio NDRRMC Chairman) Voltaire Gazmin—in Tacloban during the onslaught of Yolanda.

“We were sent by the President to know what’s been going on the ground so he can decide and act immediately as to deployment of resources or whatever support that maybe extended by the government,” Roxas declared to the media the day before Yolanda made landfall.

And not long after the winds died down, Roxas reportedly told PNoy about the “overwhelming” devastation in Tacloban. Clearly, PNoy knew early on that local authorities were already incapable of responding to the calamity. Yet it took him three more days to get things going.

What gives, PNoy?


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  1. Seems politics; as well as hatred for some has, played a large role in this. Many seem to be in the same club, called the me, myself and my family or my party club and not we the people. All over the world in disasters people of a nation pull together in times of great need; but, this was not the case here. Arguing and pointing the finger while people suffered was the shameful norm. When one points a finger it points right back at you. The world has seen the shame of the lack of actions and finger pointing (its a disgrace to humanity what has gone on while so many have suffered and others point fingers and do not lift a hand to help) Faith without works in dead and life has a way of punishing those who took no action or had their own agenda! We Samaritans silently raise monies and help what ever way we can and watch others do less then they could or nothing to help their country men or only help their own families instead of sending half to their families and half to strangers at least but the punishment will come to those who do not help all the people no matter which party they belong to or what dialect they speak. Shame on you; wake up before its too late.

  2. Geoff Salisbury on

    as an aussie married to a filipina from tolosa I was appalled watching the philippine army unloading a plane carrying aid. there was no sense of urgency at all. I was embarrassed watching their dreadful effort. the foreign aid workers put them to shame

  3. Fergus Ducharme on

    Excellent article. Very well said and clearly someone has some detailed explaining to do and soon!

  4. That’s what we get from a president who has mental disorder. That’s what we get
    for voting a president who is incompetent, vindictive, liar, insensitive and noynoying.
    It seems that he is the president only of the yellows. As president, he was sworn
    to protect and defend the constitution at all times and not to indulge to shortcuts
    in getting what he wants. Unconstutional PDAP. Clearly, he violated the law.
    As such he should be punish like anybody who violate the law.

  5. Multuhin ka sana ni Richard Pulga….

    kahit saan ka tumingin, makikita mo si Richard Pulga…

    Siya na lang ang gaganti para sa napakarami pang ibang namatay dahil sa kapabayaan mo, Benigno Aquino, THE TURD…..!

    Pabagsak na ang gobyernong DILAWAN….mga CORRUPT kayo!

  6. Kayo ang Boss Ko! on

    Meron pa ba tayong aasahan sa mga gunggong at inutil na administrasyong ito? Puro gimmick, turo ng turo sa ibang may kakulangan, puro inutil to the max!
    Hmmmm! Puwede ba umalis na kayo sa puwesto? Di ba kayo nag-iisip na malaki ang pagkukulang ninyo sa taumbayan mga magnanakaw!?

  7. Gustong paimbestigahan at kasuhan ni Pnoy si Mayor Romouldez (pamangkin ni Imelda Marcos) dahil sa pagpapabaya sa tungkulin, kaya maraming namatay at napinsalang ari-arian sa panahon ng bagyo.

    Mali iyan. Ang dapat imbestigahan at kasuhan ay sina DILG Sec. Mar Roxas at Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin kung bakit nagkaroon ng malaking kapinsalaan ang Tacloban City. Di ba dito na silang dalawa, 2 days before Typhoon Yolanda hit Tacloban City? Ano ang ginawa nila habang nasa Tacloban city sila sa loob ng dalawang araw bago dumating ang bagyo?

    Ano ang ginawa nila pagkatapos manalasa ang Bagyo? Walang pagkain, tubig at gamot sa loob ng apat na araw? Bakit? Bakit hindi ginamit ang military o privately-owned helicopters sa pagde-deliver ng tubig at relief goods?

    Bakit hindi sila (Roxas at Gasmin) nag-utos na gamitin ang helicopters sa SEARCH AND RESCUE mission immediately after the typoon weaned? Ang masakit… WALANG SEARCH AND RESCUE na ginawa… at hinayaan na lang mamatay ang mga nasugatan, ang mga natabunan pero buhay pa at yaong inanod sa dagat na pwede pang maisalba kung may sasagip sa kanila.

    Dito pa lang… nasubok na si Mar Roxas na walang kapasidad na maging Presidente ng Pilipinas… at ako mismo, hindi ko siya iboboto at ang lahat ng mamanuking kandidato ni Pnoy sa 2016.

  8. Before the Presidency was forced into him apparently, he should have been informed that as President, the people expects him to know all and do all as part of the territory of the Presidency. Since from the very beginning, PNoy, the Boy Sisi has failed. Maybe failure is already in the blood of PNoy. He should pity the poor people of the Philippines by giving up the Presidency so a more competent person can take over. The country has suffered so much because of PNoy’s mistakes and failures. His handlers should tell him to give up.

  9. We are tired of this incompetent president. His blame game mode is sickening. Hope every filipino realizes that lives were lost because of Aquino Government’s failure to respond on time. Richard Pulga’s death could have been prevented…….Now who will answer for this……There could be too many people who survived initially but suffered similar fate as Mr. PULGA…

  10. Rosalyn Johnson on

    I’m sorry to see that this is happening to the Philipines. Is there anything I can do?

    • help in telling this sad news to your network of friends so more people will know the real situation in the philippines run by this noynoy government. what noynoy has done and doing still is nothing many filipinos can be proud of, yet the citizens continue to suffer. perhaps, if shear volume of reports of the true happenings in the philippines, noynoy will realize he is on the wrong side and protecting the people (who are suckers) who continue to bleed the the people dry without him knowing!