‘Yolanda’ dividing Filipinos; no thanks to negative people

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Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Rick Bella is exasperated: “I am now intensely dismayed and quite heartbroken at the continuing realization that an overwhelmingly painful human tragedy suffered in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda divides rather than unites us as a people.”

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“To those who unrelentingly pursue and foment this path of divisiveness, may you get what you rightfully deserve . . . here and in the afterlife!,” he added.

Some of our broadcast media reporters and anchor persons, local and foreign, are stoking raw emotions and fueling this self-flagellation and government-bashing frenzy. I just watched a local news channel where the reporter was trying to report what he was seeing and experiencing in Leyte. I wonder if he ever left Tacloban for a while. But the anchorwoman kept on badgering him, and so he became judgmental and emotional and his reporting got tainted. She kept asking him leading questions and eventually made her own conclusions, blaming and finding fault.

Another reporter, accounting from Tanauan, was doing it in a calm and collected manner and was telling viewers about what only he was seeing, no judgment, no emotions, just plain facts. Appreciated.

Facebook netizens are divided, as well. There are those who post nothing but criticisms and negatives—they are here in Manila and they quote the media. A lot of misinformation and ugly rumors are going around. One who lives and works comfortably here in Manila even said, “There is more than enough aids already. We should stop asking.” Huh?

Jose Roland Moya said what many are feeling and thinking: If you have not done anything for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda other than to post and repost on Facebook criticisms, rumors, lies, calumnies and accusations against the ongoing relief operations, you have absolutely no business and you have no right to criticize the efforts which obviously will never be enough of those, especially the national government, who have their hands full in extending direct assistance and support of whatever nature to the hungry, dispossessed, displaced, unsheltered and injured. Just shut up because you are not helping at all. Your noise just adds to the confusion, congestion, gridlock, despair and pain. Let’s put a stop to these stupid and senselesss acts of self-flagellation.

Let me share this post with you. “My name is Geraldine Uy Wong and I am a private citizen who had just arrived from Tacloban after I successfully pulled out my relatives. Now safely back in Manila, I read and hear comments criticizing the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and I feel that this is quite unfair. We are all guilty of judging the government, but I was there in Tacloban to see for myself how the people of DSWD work. Beside her in the command post, I witnessed how Secretary Dinky Soliman marshalled her task force to address the enormous job ahead that even my mind cannot grasp. Tirelessly, she champions everyone to keep going even as the morale is evidently low, as she herself goes through her never-ending list of to-do’s, 24 hours being not enough for the enormous task that still lies ahead. Yet she is gracious, her presence is reassuring, and she has the steady look and smile that tells you one thing: we will not stop working because many people need our help. I ask everyone to please give the government a chance. If you receive a message, an email, or a post criticizing this government agency or even other departments, please think twice before you share or like. Instead, I ask you to go to the nearest DSWD relief center to deliver your donations. While you are there, you might as well volunteer to do even just an hour of volunteer repacking work. The government is really doing its best. It will be even more efficient if the private sector pools its resources to support the entire national operation—that of helping our fellow countrymen in this worst calamity ever imaginable. I hope you can share this message, even by word of mouth, so that people are not discouraged to help. I am afraid that others will tend to believe the false things that they hear and will be disheartened to help, because they think it is useless.”

Bituin Aquino posted this: “We apologize for your inconvenience —we have not been able to give you quick and regular updates on our government and NGO’s [nongovernment organization]relief operations at the moment, because all hands (well, at least our hands) are on deck and doing the best we can with what happened.

“Also, please do not compare what happened here to what happened in Japan, like what #AndersonCooper did. Please, you have time—so check Google Earth or any online map first. The tsunami hit only one part of Japan’s coastline. Typhoon Yolanda, the first Category 5 typhoon that hit land, ravaged across multiple small islands with large populations. During the tsunami in Japan, there were other parts of Japan that were not affected, and thus were able to run to the aid of their fellow Japanese much sooner.

“What happened in Central Visayas is sooo different—entire islands were first battered by the winds, then swallowed by the sea. We don’t have the luxury of being like the USA, where states/provinces are divided only by statelines—the provinces in Visayas are separated by large bodies of water.

“As for the military presence in the devastated areas—for starters, the army personnel stationed in those areas were wiped out, too, during the typhoon. Many of them have lost or are still looking for their families and loved ones. Some of them who are okay, have to be assigned to look out for foreigners like Mr. Cooper and other foreign doctors/volunteers who came to help.”

And there are, indeed, many such negative and divisive comments going around in the social media fueled by negative and emotional reportage from media, local and foreign. And most of these media people have not gone beyond Tacloban airport, or are safely situated in their Manila media center.

Let’s get in a positive note here: “The Philippine authorities have done a tremendous job in extremely difficult circumstances,” said Martin Nesirky, the United Nations spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

And from Kala Pulido-Constantino: “We also need to recognize that government capacity is stretched because of back to back disasters [notably Typhoon Santi and other early typhoons and floodings, Zamboanga siege and Bohol earthquake]; local government officials in devastated areas have been affected too; and many roads remain impassable hindering delivery of relief from airports and seaports.”

Finally, a rejuvenated Rick Bella posts: “I just woke up rejuvenated and inspired, leading me to a precious epiphany. I have changed my mind. I will not be hushed by trolls, ranters and haters. I will speak my mind, whether you like it or not. This is a government that I support and believe in, the only one we have right now and we either sink or swim, float or drown together. I choose to swim, float and survive—hopefully help others do the same in the process. Now if you have lost your faith, then that is your problem and not mine, you infidel! Get out of my way, there is work to be done!”

And my own take: Shhhhhh Tumulong ka na lang. (Hush, just help!)

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20 Comments

  1. What an absurd article. All the “complaining” has brought the hot issues to the forefront of people’s awareness. Now we know about what’s really going on. The unforgiveable lack of leadership in this tragedy. Enough is enough. Pnoy has been getting the benefit of the doubt but has finally been exposed for what he is, the biggest TRAGEDY of the Phl!

  2. LET US NOT STOP COMPLAINING!!!
    When the government is unable to respond, let us complain! Let us not forget, they are CIVIL SERVANTS, paid for by our taxes.

    When i see DILG Sec. Roxas guiding traffic on BBC television wherein there were no functional cars nor roads in Tacloban City, let us complain!

    When our President is blaming the local governments instead of mobilizing the concerned government agencies, let us complain! Failure in any branch of the government, local or national is failure of the chief executive!

    When after 6 DAYS there are still no visible relief operations, mobile hospitals, feeding stations, food distribution, let us COMPLAIN!

    We complain because we care about our kababayans.

    The victims who are hungry and without shelter are our own people. The dead who are left un-buried are our people! If we don’t speak, who will speak for THEM?

  3. Galing facebook lang ang mga sources lol and Aquino ang surname ng author, what do you expect sa views nya?

  4. This article in the Manila Times is what you should have sent to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Part of the local government were also devastated by the wrath of this super-typhoon Yolanda. If you carefully watch Mr. Cooper report and video, you will noticed that a number of volunteers were already picking up dead bodies. The vast area that he video taped was a deserted area and one women or two was just picking up remnants of their house. This is a familiar scene in my home town in Quezon where I was raised. The morning after a typhoon had hit, few people ventured the whole town because those who lives there had an sleepless night and no much energy to walk and look around. It was usually in the afternoon when townsfolk will start looking for their lost roofing or dead pet cats and dog. Mr. Cooper of CNN was expecting during that time of about 5:05 AM to see and video tape more actions of the government troops, when he should have realized that the first group of soldiers have to clear up the airport runways, roadways and small streets going to their staging area near the city. He was definitely at the wrong place, at the wrong time of the day. He provably did not realized that he was showing at the fight hand side the TV screen of his live broadcast that some volunteer firefighters had already clear up the runway and starting picking up dead bodies, taken the day before. Those Filipinos, who have the “CRAB mentality” like the UP blog talked like they are the best planners, and started blasting our Philippine Government. These people were just taking the opportunity to start their political campaign. Those planners and engineers of the Philippine Government are mostly experienced PMA and some are UP and Mapua Institute of Technology graduates. You cannot just beat their work in planning and engineering.

  5. who is dividing the country isnt it the man with the same surname as you.together with his yellow army.

  6. louie de la cruz on

    I am wondering why our countrymen likes from politicians, clergymen, professionals and columnist from different philippine newspaper are not helping or have a good cause of sympathy for those affected by these dreadful phenomenal that happen in the south. Please stop criticizing or blaming someone from government to non government. In these time we are filipinos united in one, we should help each other instead of bringing down someone. Forget you are ilokano bikolano bulakeno caviteno batangueno ilonggo cebuano zambuangueno etc. Or when it comes to religion forget a while whom you gonna help even where they are belong as long as you can help. Isn’t it? We should be glad that our country had a lot of friendly country that are already offered their aid from financial to humanitarian aids. So please be unit in one and show it to the world how we are . God bless the philippines.

  7. i am sorry but i think i much appreciate those who post negative in their social medias. they are just aware whats happening. and i believe lahat ng tao tumutulong sa yolanda victims. i am very much sure of that.. its just that the government is responding too slow.. hindi ko na inaask ung filipinos na tumulong kasi they already did the day or a couple of day after the typhoon they already did.. kaya sila nagpopost nega kasi one week na asan na ung tulong nila.. the people of the philippines responded quickly after the typhoon. how about the government? kaya po make an excuse sa nega comments ng netizens kasi sila tumulong din. ikaw ba? how will you feel na halos lahat ng filipino araw araw ng eefort na tumulong na umaasa sila na makakatulong sila kaagad..

    tumutulong ang lahat! kaso ang govermnt lang ang delay kaya ang tulong ng lahat ng filipino nadedelay din. sana maintindihan u din kung bakit sila ganun.. they just aware whats happening.. kahit ako naiinis kasi after the typhoon palang nagefort na kami un pala ung tulong namin hnd pa nakakadating.. until now we never stop helping umaasa na nareceived na ng victims ung tulong namin..

    lahat ng nagpopost ng nega i am sure they are helping kaya may pakialam sila… magpakatotoo po tayo. mabagal lang talaga.. yes! goverment are doing effort pero hindi naman pede na maghihintay na lang kami..

  8. The good job by some of Filipino authorities will be recognized and acknowledged no matter what. But the point is the government should start spending for disaster preparedness like acquiring more mid heavy lift helicopters like the Chinook of the US, more C-30 planes, at least 6 more, and more other equipments like chainsaws, buldozers, etc for the Army Engineering Batallion and Navy seabees., more tents, and more planning and strategy for the future. Is this too much to ask? versus the level of corruption in congress and senate? all the way to the chain of command.

  9. Salamat po sa former prof. ko Sir Moya at sa inyo Ms. Aquino. Kung nababasa lang po sana ng nakararami ang mga ganitong sulatin mauunawaan nila at maliliwanagan sila sa mga tunay o totoong nangyayari sa ating bansa lalo na ang mga nangyayari sa mga lugar na sinalanta ni bagyong Yolanda. Muli maraming salamat po.

  10. Criticisms of the slow response of the government pushed officials to move much faster. Instead of being defensive and making all kinds of excuses for their shortcomings, they should have admitted their inadequacy and asked for international assistance. They failed to promptly recognize the enormity of the problem, but the international community recognized it upon watching live tv broadcasts.

  11. Rick Bernabe,Capt.USAF Retired,Ca.BSME Mapua/AFIT on

    I would like to ask negative foreign correspondent who cannot do nothing positive to butt out of the Philippines. The human tragedy does not deserve these brouhaha from some leftist arrogant liberal correspondent to chastise our local anchor-person.
    The super-typhoon yolanda is unprecedented,and no one wants these delayed in aid to the victims go wrong. everyone wants to help every victim.
    there were no good roads,or workable infrastructure,not even a workable plan or process can solve this kind of tragic catastrophe.
    lesson learned is for every provincial government/city/town and barangay to have a contingency plan A,B,or C with either sequential or parallel checklist of actions to be learned,practiced and sanitized or corrected from time to time. They must also have the required assets,(i.e. trucks/vehicles, mobile and stationary mini hospital,big tents like the one that the US Air Force CE and the Army used or uses in Saudi Arabia and Iraq for tent city,generators, and mobile water treatment unitsa ready for use and deployment) and the PI government has to budget for these items. Every year these areas have been prone to natural disasters but the national/provincial/city/town/barangay looses focus on these problems……next year this is about to happen again.
    This will be very very bad if it happens in Manila and suburbs. hope all our kababayans learned these lessons because this maybe our last chance to learn from this kind of tragedy/s,,,,,,
    just talk to my daughter while typing these…i mentioned to her about these journalist with the hubris in their head coming to the Philippines grandstanding and criticizing our newscasters. My daughter agreed with me and said it’s not additive and not helping the Filipinos…..i told my daughter it’s so painful to watch our poor kababayans from samar and leyte”and they don’t understand the whole equation…..I know and love these homeboys and girls from the Visaya and Mindanao areas….their positive outlook in their life is go to manila take their chances and work demeaning jobs just to help their families back home in the south…..they even sell their soul/s to the devil just to survive……………..so if you cannot help or will help please butt out of my birth country because you are all shallow and not helping at all. I’m so thankful to the men and women of the US Armed forces these are true Americans to me and all those people across the globe who shared and empathized and contributed their hard earned donations to our people suffering as of this moment……Thank You and may God be with You All……………..Always

  12. the author is an Aquino? what can a reader expect? I stopped reading after the 1st paragraph bec. i knew this article is about how great Noynoy is and the GMA is to blamefor Yolanda. Its articles like this that make me wanna puke. BTW Tiglao and Tatad rule!!!

  13. It is not Yolanda who is dividing the people. Right after the media org. ask for donation for the typhoon victims, donations started pouring in. Did the government of this Abnoy reacted to hasten the distribution of relief goods? It is Abnoy who is dividing the people because he doesn’t listen to the them, and even has the nerve to call them his “boss”. Binobosabos pa nga niya ang mga tao sa mga sagot nya sa isang nagrereklamong businessman.

  14. Ms Aquino I agree with you. Thank you for the very encouraging insight of the present situation. Well if there are people who can not help but point fingers, Tiglao is one of them, and Tatad, may they receive what they deserve. I hope their tribe will nev prosper. They put food on the table by destroying others. What a team!

    • One Yolanda is not sufficient to unite us…We are the Philippines, all 7,107 islands, populated by 100m individuals, whose differences in languages, cultures, beliefs, norms, traditions and the prejudices born from these differences which are sometimes at extremes from each other, define us as a people…and you wonder why?