It has been five days since Typhoon Yolanda brought with her unbelievable loss of life and damage to property in the billions of pesos.
The country remains in a state of shock, but for those directly affected by the super storm, the situation is far, far worse than can be imagined.
An unknown number of the dead remain uncollected and unburied. The severely injured are not receiving emergency health care. Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, do not have sufficient food and water, if at all.
The great majority of the unaffected are more than willing to help, in whatever way they can. The international community has also made known their intention to give whatever support they can.
It is now up to the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd to orchestrate and administer the goodwill of caring individuals, organizations and nations into a rational plan that will extend help where help is needed most.
We cannot expect miracles. Fact is, there are enough survival stories that border on the miraculous. But we can expect the Aquino administration to do everything superhumanly possible to return the affected areas back to normal.
Immediately, we would like to see tent cities rise in all the cities, towns and barangays that have been destroyed by Yolanda’s fury. Within these tent cities, we would like to see feeding stations so that no one, absolutely no one, will ever go hungry or thirsty.
Furthermore, we want emergency field hospitals to be set up to take care of the injured and the sick. Surely, they must number in the tens of thousands.
In the affected areas where the New People’s Army is active, we want an unconditional cessation of hostilities. The NPA partisans may even want to assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in restoring law and order in the places where looting occurred.
Also in our wish list, we want to witness an immediate revival in economic activity throughout central Visayas.
To President Aquino, we say ignore your critics and just work. Work as you have never worked before. Rightly or wrongly, the Filipino people are looking at Benigno Simeon C. Aquino 3rd to lead and to inspire in what may be the Philippines’s darkest hour in decades. All eyes are upon him and what he says and what he does.
This time, this one time, we want every peso, dollar, rial or euro that is sent to the Philippines to reach the victims.
We can never, never forgive any politician who diverts a single centavo of aid to his or her personal account, even if the intention is to dole it out at a later date.
There is no room for the usual graft and corruption that is endemic in Philippine society and Philippine politics where emergency aid is concerned. We daresay that any one who pockets such aid is committing a heinous offence against the Filipino people, and deserves the maximum penalty.
For them, the de facto suspension of the death penalty should be lifted.
The road to normalcy will be long and hard. Sometimes it will seem impossible. But is there any other choice but to tread that road? We think not.