Stop blame game – UN exec

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A man starts to rebuild his house as the body of a victim lies among debris in a Tacloban neighborhood.  AFP PHOTOS

A man starts to rebuild his house as the body of a victim lies among debris in a Tacloban neighborhood.
AFP PHOTOS

EVEN an official of a United Nations agency helping in the relief and rehabilitation efforts in typhoon-ravaged areas is annoyed at the blame game being played by government officials over the slow delivery of basic aid to victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

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“In times like this, finger-pointing should not be the name of the game,” said Bernard Kerblat, the representative in the Philippines of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd has been under heavy criticism for the slow pace of delivery of relief goods. On social media such as Facebook and Twitter, government officials are being slammed for their failure to airdrop food and water to typhoon victims who had nothing to eat for days.

The President was also widely criticized for blaming local officials for the high death toll in Tacloban City.

“I am hearing some bickering and some finger-pointing, sorry this is not the time,” Kerblat told reporters during a press briefing.

Although he admitted that there is still a bottleneck in providing relief assistance to the survivors of the calamity, Kerblat said blaming the government will not help at all.

He said instead of blaming officials, Filipinos should unite in extending assistance to the survivors and help them rebuild their lives.

“We have now to focus, all of us, including and starting with your kababayans who demonstrated the spirit of bayanihan.

That spirit of bayanihan must be preserved, strengthened and continue to exist,” he added.

Kerblat denied reports that the United Nations has taken over relief operations because of the government’s failure to speed it up.

“The UN not a substitute of the (Philippine) government.

The government is in charge in the emergency response and we are here to complement their efforts,” he said.

Orla Fagan, Humanitarian Affairs Officer of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said it is difficult to tell how soon ravaged areas will recover.

“It is very hard to tell at this time, our main focus today is life saving and to give immediate assistance to the affected individuals,” she said.

She added that they will assess areas that have yet to be reached by the relief operations.

Kerblat also said it will take time before Eastern Visayas, particularly Samar and Leyte, can fully recover from the wrath of super typhoon.

“We are not talking about months. We are talking about years before that portion of the territory of this beautiful country can be back on its feet,” he said.

He said the rehabilitation will take long because the destruction is “massive and huge.”

Kerblat said that as foreign aid continues to flow in they are coordinating with concerned government agencies so assistance could reach more victims.

Disaster manager
Aquino has moved to assert himself as disaster manager-in-chief after criticism of his response to the super typhoon, with the calamity set to become the defining event of his presidency.

Aquino toured the worst-hit towns and cities on Sunday and announced that he would set up base in the region until he was “satisfied” that the relief operation was running as effectively as it should.

He again made some thinly veiled criticisms of local officials, suggesting they had been under-prepared and provided inaccurate data which had hampered the relief effort.

“As president, I should not show my anger. No matter how irritated I am,” he said.

Aquino’s image has taken something of a hit as public anger has grown over a government corruption scandal.

At the end of October, he felt compelled to go on national television and publicly declare he was “not a thief” as he defended hundreds of millions of dollars in government spending that has come under scrutiny.

Typhoon Yolanda was always going to be a major test, but the unprecedented ferocity of the storm was overwhelming and exacerbated by a five-meter storm surge that sent tsunami-like waves crashing into coastal cities, towns and villages.

As the scale of the destruction became apparent, Aquino was initially criticized for what was seen as some insensitive quibbling over the likely death toll.

His initial estimate of 2,500 now appears unduly optimistic with the number of confirmed dead standing at almost 4,000, with another 1,600 missing and many remote areas still to be properly assessed.

At the same time, the delay of several days in getting the official relief program up and running was taken as a lack of preparedness, and that played badly with the gruesome video footage coming out of the worst-hit zones.

“The knee-jerk reaction is to blame the president,” said Rene de Castro, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila. “But I don’t know that anybody else in his position would have been able to handle a disaster of this magnitude.”

Aquino’s decision to move down to the impacted region was clearly aimed at demonstrating a “hands-on” appreciation of the situation, and on Monday he toured other devastated towns where he was filmed helping out at distribution centers.

“We have to raise people’s morale, we have to encourage them to get back on their feet as soon as possible by giving them positive signals of assistance and encouragement,” Aquino’s spokesman Herminio Coloma said on Monday.

“The President wants to ensure they have ample supplies and that they could be sustained so that we can move on to the next stage which is rehabilitation.”

Aquino’s criticism of local officials did not go down well in Tacloban, which was badly hit by the storm surge.

“Will we insult the dead, and say they died because they were unprepared?” Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez said also on Monday.

There was an element of political and personal bad blood to the spat, with Aquino and Romualdez belonging to two of the most powerful political clans in modern Philippine history.

Aquino’s mother, Corazon Aquino, led the “people power” revolution that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Her husband, also called Benigno, was assassinated at Manila airport when he returned from exile in 1983.

Romualdez is related to Marcos’s widow, former first lady Imelda Marcos, who remains a powerful political figure as a congresswoman. Her son, Ferdinand Jr., is a senator eyeing a run at the next presidential elections in 2016.

“The whole relief effort has been politically polarized,” said Prospero de Vera, a political analyst at the University of the Philippines.

“This will be the defining moment of Aquino’s administration, and he needs to act very strongly and be very focused, and rise above any political bickering,” De Vera said.

AFP

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42 Comments

  1. Who started the finger pointing????? BS Aquino started it….. so the rest just followed his style….he he he

  2. The magnitude of devastations and piles of thousands of corpses wrought by the strongest sypertyphoon Yolanda across hundreds of miles across the Visayan region is truly unprecented and overwhelming. It is in time like these huge catastrophe that a leader’s action and judgment will be judged as either as brilliant OR just plain idiocy!. What P-Noy and his minions have shown from the time the forecast of the typhoon as Super strong, their preparations, and subsequent slow and disorganized response are characterized as inept, incompetent, and a major disaster itself. A natural disaster met by this kind of human disaster is a cataclysmic event that will define the leasdership of P-Noy and whoever will aspire for the Presidency from his Liberal Party. Their GAME IS OVER!
    JunAdan
    New York City

    • Do you really have a knowledge on what was happened on Yolanda tragedy…I bet you should research first and study everything before you tell those political sentiments of yours..cos i think is it misleading you…

  3. How can you say those comments…try to put your self in the place of the president!…imagine to put your own feet in his shoes…do you think you can do better…like us he has only 1 brain 2 feet and two hands…he is not a superman that can do all things in just 1 time and by himself alone…and the damage made by yolanda was unpredictable…Beyond our expectations!..the best thing to do is to help and later on after everything then thats the time we should talk issues and ask things especially about donations and funds…after all we are in a free country..

  4. Jaime Hernandez on

    For once, our president must admit that he screwed up & made a big booboo in mishandling this disaster. Instead of the blame game that he expertly exploit. Set aside politics for a little while & concentrate on the problems on hand. How many times will you show your presence by Photo-ops in the media? Boring.

    • u moron. do u know the magnitude of the devastation? do u know the geography of the philippines, composing of islands? do u know that the biggest problem is logistics, because the lgu’s are victims themselves? it’s so pathetic that the foreigners understand better the situation, than the filipinos. shame on people like u.

  5. the mayor at first release a statement where asking….asan b sila!…reffering to a national govt at that time…and also the president gathered too much blaming by some people whose only using this tragedy for political issue…Pinoy just want to say that not only the national govt are responsible for this…try to look also at the local govt who supposed to be first respondent..im not saying they should be blamed for the delays of operation…but dont look only at what the national govt are lacking off…learn also about what was happened to the local aspect and leaders..they are also a part of the whole govt…they have also responsibilty and task cos they are within the affected area…

    • the thousands of deaths in tacloban city (the highest no. of deaths in vizayas) is the result of mayor romualdez’s ineptitude. then, he was blaming the central government for slow action. i don’t think romuladez will ever get out of this, he let his own people suffer the consequence. the romualdezes political career is finished.

  6. Fernando Habito on

    With so many people lives on risks due to the devastation made by the natural disaster..Please stop this political “blame” game …Is there a need for the mass media to highlight and blow up every negative comments just to get attention. These shows the reflection of bad Filipino culture to those who are already helping the victims particularly to those who came from other countries…!

    • i think your right…the leaders are doing everything they can but the media are doing also everything they can just to create malicious issues…The MEDIA are always OVER using their power not knowing that they are always mislead the people of this nation…

  7. Roldan Guerrero on

    I would like to make a sort of correction to the writer of this media release that CORAZON AQUINO WAS NOT THE LEADER OF TH FAMOUS EDSA REVOLUTION that put her in power..Nobody among the real leaders of the revolution was willing to accept the Presidency that is why she was persuaded to take it. She was in Cebu City Hiding because her fear for her life. We have seen how a plain housewife did her job of being president and it was her initiative that started the PORK BARREL and not but only continued but was extensively abused by her son. now the President with even worst kind of governance. The Filipino people never learn…and this should serve now as a BIG LESSON that the presidency is not a joke IT IS NOT AS EASY AS PLAYING A VIDEO GAME!

  8. jim sweeney.

    Could not agree more.
    As a joyful visitor to Phils I am told by many friends of different stations in life (poor/rich/man/woman/ etc.) that political grandstanding is the order of the day there. Aquino has no real courage or will to do what is needed.
    Birth control.. backed down on it.
    Divorce. backed down..
    corruption.. his administration is loaded with thieves, he backed down!
    He promised alot and to change alot and instead he has basically done much of the same as past leaders.
    A country that has so many things that happen naturally (earthquakes, volcanoes, storms) and yet will not make a true effort to invest in infrastructure or medical facilities. Every island there should have heavy equipment to move debris safely, stored and a plan of such things as evacuation and clean up. Places to shelter many. Instead the political dynasties and elites plan more things to ensure their power at the peoples expense in blood and steal everything that can fit into their already stuffed pockets.I know some who are in various places working abroad who fear sending money home now to help because of the outright corruption and thievery that seems to be in every Pinoy politicians DNA. Its sad to watch. They have to work as OFW to make a decent living and thanks to these mean and selfish people may have nothing to come home to.

  9. Why blame anyone on this magnitude of disaster ? just extend help please.Aquino has advisers who should be aware of the relief needed.The good thing with this
    president he is not pocketing any donations, had the previous governments not corrupted the country of its wealth,we could have evacuation centers that are capable of protecting the population on any disaster.

  10. DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,

    I am just nobody, a regular citizen of this country, who is writing you and hoping as much as possible that this message could reach you.

    Firstly, The events that had occurred in our country as we know, were severely damaged many properties and including lost of love ones. It occurred not just once but becomes more more frequent.

    Receiving help from the private, government and foreign (goods and monetary means) to these different affected areas are exceptional but seemingly temporary, later these funds will soon be gone.

    Later new events may emerge and the problem will keep on repeating. Learning from past events is critical and PERMANENT SOLUTIONS should be created.

    Flowery and Fancy messages to make us strong is good, but its not enough without action.

    Here are some of Suggestion that your Government Should consider and use MALAMPAYA FUNDS our MONEY of the PEOPLE to these PROJECTS:

    A. ESTABLISH A FALL-OUT CENTERS OR MINI-FALL OUT CENTERS ON EACH MUNICIPALITY.

    This FALL OUT CENTER should be at-least scrutinized architecturally and engineering designed to sustain EARTHQUAKES, STORM SURGE and TYPHOON, TSUNAMI, HURRICANES, and impossible infection quarantine crisis and nuclear fall-outs.

    The building should be only used during crisis situation, and special events where the government will do its business.

    The design of this FALL-OUT FACILITY as a feature such as the Following:
    1. Should at least 4 story and underground facility.
    2. With Helipad and Possible Mini Rubber boats
    3. Communication Center Room with Internet and Cable
    4. Mayors Office and OFFICIAL ROOM
    5. A area that can accommodate at least 1,000 Families. (IF the number per municipality or local area has more population = Should have bigger and more Fall-out Facility)
    6. MINI Emergency Room or Treatment (Equipped basic life saving for trauma events)
    7. A sanitary Room
    8. Staff Room for Military and Police
    9. Staff Room For Firefighters and Engineers
    10. Staff Room for MD, and RN
    11. Staff Room Maintenance
    12. Simple Dining area that can accommodate at least 200 people/30min.
    13. Relief storage area
    14. Generator Electrical Area 11
    The establishment of this FALL-OUT facility will encourage the participation of the people because they know how convenient, safe and clean the place for them.

    B. LAW PROVISION:

    1. Establish a Law that will govern strict guidance people including how to follow a crisis just like in quarantine provisions. Those individuals who will disrupt the evacuation measures and apprehends should be prosecuted or with other remedies penalty because they are not just endangering the lives of other people but also the rescuers.

    2. A LAW THAT MANDATES THE PARTICIPATION OF BIG COMPANIES: WITH REDUCTION OF THEIR TAXES

    Monetary is good BUT SERVICE is best during the time of crisis.
    The Government should not solely depend on DSWD where only satisfied giving relief goods and that’s it. The BIG COMPANIES that offers common services should mandatory participate during crisis:

    EXAMPLES:

    PLDT, SMART, GLOBE, GMA, CH5, ABS CBN AND CALL CENTER COMPANIES: Has the duty to promulgate information through text, announcements specifically designed only per location. Example the Globe and Smart will send signal transmissions to TACLOBAN RESIDENTS: TSUNAMI WARNING on west coast Tacloban, Please see local Officials and Evacuation plans immediately. THIS IS NOT A TEST. And also provision of at least 2 hour call and 300 text debt privilege to all subscribers during time crisis.

    PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES – Should provide medications name a few.

    FOOD INDUSTRY: MCDO, JOLLIBEE, BISCUIT COMPANIES, CANNED GOOD COMAPNIES ETC.

    PROFESSIONALS: Medical staff and RN should participate most importantly Emergency Medicine Residents in Training should be involved during this crisis.

    WATER SUPPLY: MWSS and Bottled Companies

    ======================================================

    These are just examples. There can be more innovations can be done. Its not about BAYANIHAN, KAPATIRAN, and PEACE to solve this ever changing crisis we face every time. WE NEED ACTIONS. HINDI BASAHAN ANG PILIPINO KUNG SAAN SAAN MO LANG NILALAGAY THEN AYOS NA. LUGAW LUGAW OKAY NA… STOP THESE OLD MANAGEMENT.

    Yours Truly,

    NOBODY.

  11. teresita schobert on

    where are those cash donations from foreign countries? who are holding these billions dollars, i hope they will not end up in the pockets of crooks governrment officials n crooks politicians. i wish the people will be have the reports of where they’re being spent, just like how the church does it. they show in the bulletin the balance every day

  12. Carlos Guerrero on

    He is a president who takes GOOD CREDITS FOR HIMSELF EVEN IF HE DIDN’T WORK FOR IT.

    He is a president who BLAMES OTHERS WHEN THINGS GO WRONG.

    He is NOT A LEADER. HE IS CLUELESS. HE WAS AN ACCIDENTAL PRESIDENT voted for by the people because his mother died.

    During Cory Aquino’s time, didn’t we have Pinatubo, Baguio Earthquake and that Typhoon in Cebu that caused 2 months of black out?

    We had the earthquake in Bohol, the typhoon Yolanda, what’s next?

    Shouldn’t we start taking this as a wake up call not to put an Aquino in power because even the forces of nature do not agree with his guts?

  13. Alexander R. Sarinas on

    Please check distribution of relief in capiz. I was told that non political allies of incumbent goverment officials has difficulty in getting their share in the Typhoon relief
    PLEASE STOP THEM FROM DOING THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Jessie Corrales on

    We didn’t start blaming anyone until BS Aquino initiated the blame game when he pointed to a family foe, Mayor Romualdez. Instead of first asking “how’s your family?” he went straight to blame the poor Mayor, whose family almost died when his house was devastated. It was on tv. Teddy Locsin called it “no Manners.”

    • Was Mayor Romualdez really believes that there will be a storm surge as high as 7 meters as forecast-ed by PAGASA? I don’t think so – because with his family -he was staying in a clubhouse in the first floor when the storm surge came? only later they went to the 2nd floor of a nearby building. If he -the mayor of the city did not believe it-what more his constituents?

    • his fault he know a super typhoon coming and he bring his family in the resort..for me he’s insane…

    • why elect a mayor who studied in ateneo de manila, but doesn’t even know what a storm surge is? because if he knew it, he & his family wouldn’t have stayed in their beach resort. his stupidity led to thousands of deaths of his own constituents. to ray anthony rodriguez, ur comment can be compared to a kinder student. don’t show the people ur stupidity & ignorance, just keep it to urself. it really is a shame, u even showed ur pic. another thing, mind ur grammar & sentence construction too.

  15. Your PSP playing, smoke and tar-filled mouth President is simply blameless.
    Because he has not Done anything. That’s right, DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
    The mental sanatorium is begging for this imbecile to adopt him.

    Now that Andersson Cooper hit a sensitive nerve on these Callous RP Gov’t
    Officials led by this Inutile Boknoy-Noynoy , a can of worms was opened by this AC 360 host versus lady broadcaster who happens to be the wife of a Yellow Govt Official – the World media knows how ROTTEN the Philippine system is – how CORRUPT this RP reputation is – glaringly amplified and magnified – but who cares?
    The corrupt RP has its own agendas in projecting an image that their are on top of things….an lesser casualties because of their effective programs in place…
    TELL IT TO THE MARINES!!! Please!!!!!

  16. Pathetic Philippine system in place.
    Rotten.
    Politicized
    Agenda filled policies.
    Corruption infested intra Departmental, intra GOCC’s operations.
    Callous Gov’t Officials – will do at all costs their political stature, at the expense of the public welfare. Stamping their will to the hapless, helpless taxpaying public
    because they are the –
    Oppressive, ruling elite class.

    The PHILIPPINES is the Mendicant, Indolent, Weakling nation of Asia, and of global scale for the reasons stated above.

    You don’t need to ask a Singaporean housewife, A Hong Kong household, or a Middle Eastern Family who employs a Filipina nanny/yaya/katulong —-to STRESS this Philippine social problem borne by its own stinking political rotten system in place…..

  17. It seems the UN Rep is NOT aware of the previous Disaster “fiascoes” under THIS president… Typhoon Sendong (2011 – 1000+ dead), Typhoon Pablo (2012 – 1000+ dead) and now Typhoon Yolanda (2013 – 4,000+ dead so far)…

    • u must be thankful, neither u nor any in ur family is one of them. anyway, do u know that the phil. is at the typhoon belt area? were u always absent when it was taught in school, from elementary till college. what is iq anyway?

  18. Edmundo Valenzuela on

    Let’s just work together and do the blame game later when everything’s back to normal.

  19. Saturnino R. Mendinueto, Jr. on

    I WAS WATCHING TV INTERVIEWS OF VICTIMS OF TYPHOON YOLANDA AND MOST IF NOT ALL SAID THAT THEY GOT 5 CANS OF SARDINES, 3KGS OF RICE AND 5 PACKS OF NOODLES WHICH I ASSUMED ARE GIVEN BY LOCALS. I WOULD LIKE TO ASK DSWD DINKY SOLIMAN WHERE ARE THE TONS OF RELIEF GOODS DONATED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES?
    THIS IS ONE REASON WHY MANY FILIPINOS ABROAD DON’T WANT TO SEND HELP EITHER IN CASH OR GOODS. IT IS GOOD PNOY ORDERED A WEBSITE FOR ALL TO SEE WHERE ALL THE CASH CONTRIBUTION GO BUT DINKY SOLIMAN SHOULD ALSO BE OPEN WHERE THE FOREIGN RELIEF GOODS GOES.

  20. The “knee-jerk reaction is to blame the President,” say Rene de Castro of La Salle. Of course people will always blame the President for any screw-up. It is part of the territory for having himself elected. People expects the President to know all, do all, say all that can satisfy the public who voted for him. Why, is the Mayor of Tacloban more powerful than him that this Mayor can order people around to do this, do that? No. King PNoy is such a no-clue leader that he continue to blame others for his disastrous presidency.

  21. When a country has 20 typhoons each year, it is ridiculous to be as unprepared as the PI. Both the national and local governments are at fault. Each typhoon prone area should have multiple hard shelters for thousands of people; food in the form of soldier’s field rations in cans and pouches, pure water and emergency field hospitals all built into the same cookie-cutter type shelters. These are built over the years so the country is prepared, in advance, for what all know is coming. This is not rocket science; it is just common sense which is sadly lacking among PI politicians of all stripes and at all levels.

  22. Theodore Biele on

    The prayers and support of the US are with you always. Love us ffor who each one of us is!

  23. Just look what kind of president we have on BS Aquino.

    We have buried our dead – thousands in mass graves.

    Yet, BS Aquino hasn’t even declared to this grieving nation a national day of mourning!

    How insensitive.

    Give due respect to the thousands who perished, BS Aquino!

    They were people, too.

    • He is what I would call a clueless and incompetent leader of the Philippines. Always a pain to hear him speak on TV since the onslaught of Yolanda in central Visayas. As the leader, he should have mobilized the armed forces within 2-3 days after, he did not but kept blaming the LGUs. Distribution of donated relief goods from foreign governments and organizations have been pouring in, but where are they? On the other hand, what has happened to DAP and PDAF scams among other fraudulent transactions? Ano ba ‘yan?