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There is now an ongoing battle for the truth about the real situation in typhoon-ravaged areas amidst the tragedy that is still unfolding a week after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) left the Philippines. On one side, members of the international media are giving factual reports from the ground at the disaster zone. On the other side are people from Malacanang including President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino who are giving a much rosier update from a cozier distance.

Telling it like it is in Tacloban: CNN's Anderson Cooper

Telling it like it is in Tacloban: CNN’s Anderson Cooper

While CNN journalist Anderson Cooper reporting from Tacloban City observed that he sees “no real evidence of organized recovery or relief” effort coming from the Philippine government where he is at, the same day President BS Aquino was giving a “reassuring” report during an interview with CNN studio reporter Christiane Amapour that the Philippine government’s relief and rescue operations were well on its way. The President even said, “all national roads have been reopened and most national airports are back to operating levels”.

Amapour’s professionalism remained commendable despite her receiving some ambiguous responses from BS Aquino. Others would have asked for pictures as proof of the President’s claims, or else it hasn’t happened. In fact, ground reporter Cooper was actually reporting live and showing actual footage from the ruins of Tacloban airport. The picture he showed was grimmer.

Bluffing his way through an interview: President BS Aquino

Bluffing his way through an interview: President BS Aquino

From Cooper’s vantage point, there were hundreds of people sleeping at the airport because there was nowhere for them to go and if one would just walk three blocks away from the airport, there were also people sleeping in makeshift huts or out exposed to rains even lying next to the bodies of their loved ones because these had yet to be picked up. He said there was also very little water and food supply because there was no feeding station, which according to him, was what one would expect after five days. The journalist added that he only heard of talks about the airport being opened again by the US marines but it hadn’t happened yet. He warned that the situation is getting desperate and that sooner or later something is bound to give.

To make matters even stranger for outsiders like Cooper, Filipino news anchor Korina Sanchez who also happens to be the wife of Department of Interior and Local Government secretary, Mar Roxas became defensive and said that Cooper doesn’t know what he is talking about. Sanchez probably thought that her husband’s directing traffic on the streets of Tacloban could be considered a rescue operation. Thank goodness no one takes her seriously nowadays especially since she hasn’t even been to the disaster zone.

Cooper has covered quite a number of disasters overseas and he seemed to be in shock over the lack of real urgency in the Philippine government’s response to the tragedy. To quote:

When I was in Japan, right after the tsunami there two years ago, within a day or two, you had Japanese defense forces going out, carving up cities into grids and going out on foot looking for people, walking through the wreckage. We have not seen that here in any kind of large-scale operation.

It is too sad to hear Cooper say that it is not really clear to him and some of the international troops who exactly is in charge of the Philippine side of operations. The lack of real leadership in times of crises is now becoming obvious to the international community. As one reporter from ABC news claims, the Philippine government has become paralysed in the face of the disaster:

Villeamor Airbase – home of the Philippine Air Force and the main staging area for relief flights to the disaster zone – seems to be operating at half-speed. There is no thrum of activity, no evidence that there’s a real sense of urgency among the Philippine troops here. Every once in a while a civilian car pulls up and unloads a few boxes of goods some neighbors have collected. They put them on the sidewalk and drive away. A little while later, some Filipino troops (or reporters) move them inside. No method. No organization. It’s as if an earthquake hit southern California and Vandenburg or Nellis AFB were quiet and half-populated.

The U.S. Marines have swung into action, certainly. But there are just 215 of them right now, and they must coordinate with the Philippine government. As one high-ranking officer told me here about the host government, “They’re paralyzed.”

An Israeli Foreign Ministry official confirmed that impression privately to me. The Israeli team is here to assess what their country can contribute and where. Over the years, Israel has developed excellent field hospital capabilities that they’ve brought to disasters in Haiti and elsewhere.

But the Israelis, too, need to coordinate with the Philippine government. “When we ask them what they need, they tell us to talk to the Americans,” the official said.

The lack of leadership in the Philippines makes some Filipinos wish that foreign troops could just take over administration of the country forever. The Philippine government has become irrelevant. Members of congress are only good at grandstanding during Senate hearings in the guise of “aiding legislation” that hardly ever result in any significant outcomes.

Hopefully, the deaths of thousands of Filipinos during the super typhoon will not be in vain because this disaster is finally exposing the incompetence of the Aquino government not only to the rest of the Filipino people, but also to the rest of the international community.

Even back in 2011, the Aquino government was already being held accountable for the deaths of over a thousand people in Mindanao during typhoon Sendong. Kabataan party-list Representative Raymond Palatino already highlighted the Aquino government’s refusal to allot funds for disaster preparedness in the 2011 calamity fund. Fast forward to 2013, the Aquino government is certainly even less-prepared and ill-equipped to handle a much bigger disaster than Sendong.

It must be a real mystery to the international community why year after year, the Philippines is never prepared for the arrival of typhoons when in fact, during the interview with CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, BS Aquino admitted that we get visited by at least 20 typhoons every year. It is as if the Philippine government has become desensitized to the people’s suffering when it comes.

The rest of the interview with BS Aquino was cringe-worthy as expected. Amanpour hardly got a straight answer even when she asked simple questions. When Amanpour asked, “How do you manage to reassure your people?” The President responded as if he was talking to someone stupid:

We have been able to demonstrate as a government and as a people collectively that we take care of each other and that the government’s initial response was reassuring to the vast majority of our people. Our ability to take care of our problems rather quickly…

Should the US military takeover administration of the Philippines?

Should the US military takeover administration of the Philippines?

I can imagine people shaking their heads in disbelief at BS Aquino’s claim that the “government’s initial response was reassuring”. The President doesn’t seem to be in touch with reality because chaotic scenes in video footage and photos being circulated around the world do not show a reassured public. Someone needs to inform BS Aquino that the Filipino public along with the rest of the world are actually worried about those who are starving and going mad with desperation.

In one of her final questions, Amanpour asked how BS Aquino would respond to people who will judge his Presidency on how his government responded to the crisis. His response seemed to trivialize the number of deaths caused by the super typhoon, which he claims is “only” about 2500. He kept emphasising that the government’s efforts to warn the public minimized the casualties and this time, did not include sinking ships:

I think you can ask all the governors of the areas that have been saying that our making them aware the dangers of the typhoon enabled them to move their population from danger areas into safer areas and thereby minimizing casualties. A lot of them with the exception of Leyte province, eastern and western Samar have reported practically of one or two or even zero casualties wherein normally when we have a typhoon, we will also have ships that were travelling that would have sunk casualties in the hundreds, probably merit too much attention. So the knowledge, the geo hazard mapping, the knowledge imparted to all of them enabled them to reduce the risk inherent in all the disasters that visit us.

It was hard to filter out all the bullshit, indeed. One death is one too many. For BS Aquino however, if the number of casualties is less than 10,000, it is an indication that the casualties were minimized and it is thanks to the efforts of his government. Never mind the fact that he is not even basing his statements on any formal statistics.

The battle to find the truth about the true state of the Philippines will continue. Let us hope the international community will not give up on the Filipino people and help win back the Philippines from the lies of the Aquino regime.

[Photo of US military plane courtesy Interaksyon.com.]

Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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1514 Comments

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  • EhlJaey says:

    Shame on you Mr. President. wag po kasi puro lovelife nyo ang ispin nyo. naging presidente kayo para pangalagaan at protektahan ang PILIPINAS hindi yung priority nyo is to think about who you’ll be dating. kawawa naman kau nagiging kalbo na kau sa kakaproblema sa lovelife nyo

    *facepalm*

    • rallion says:

      Kung ano anong sinasabi mo diyan! Sigurado la ba maay lovelife yan? Bala excuse lang yan. Ang isang lalaki, pag dumating ng 40 yp at walang asawa, walang dine date, hindi nan divorced at single…..its either bading o weird. E hindi naman siguro weird dahil naging presidente…..

  • rs says:

    Let’s face it, government resources are not enought to sustain the suffering of Fil people on those affected areas. Instead of blaming each other. I think fil people including leaders of our country should be united to solve any issues!

    “Quote from JFK – ask for what the country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country”.

    Keep praying, never lose hope and put your self into action instead of pointing fingers to each other!!!!

    • rallion says:

      My goodness, may pa quote2x la pa diyan! Simple lang ang solusyon diyan. Gumising na mga pilipino at matuto sa susunod na botohan, paganahin ang isip. Hindi nga united eh…..elect kayo ng elect ng kung sino sino. Times like this, naaalala ko mga pinagsasasabi ni sen miriam.

  • ME says:

    Filipinos…please…accept the truth…we have a weak government..one week already passed and very little efforts have been exerted by our Govt…they did not even bother to visit the affected areas…yes, they visited for a while, then immediately went off…thank you to the private organizations who are the ones who really exerted effort to help the victims…I pray that the phil gov’t corrupt officials will give the CASH donations from other countries to the victims and not pocket it…

  • FRANK says:

    THIS IS THE RESULT FOR NOT VOTING WISELY AND CHOOSING WRONG LEADERS….SO NEXT TIME, BOMOTO PA KAYO NG ARTISTA, MA IMPLUWENSYA AT MAPERA…PARA PALAGING GANITO ANG PILIPINAS…..

    I REALLY AND STRONGLY CAMPAIGN THAT NEXT TIME WE CHOOSE A CANDIDATE AND A PERSON WHO HAS THE CAPACITY TO DO LEADERSHIP EVEN OF THE LEAST PERSON HE IS.

  • joel_delr says:

    @ dennis

    Such a long post, all BS.

    The bottom line, dennis, is this, your president is not doing a good job since the start, whether he won the elections or not.

    The 75% you mentioned is all crap as it lost its credibility also.

    Issues are not exaggerated, it is staring you in face, bluntly. Crawl out of the rock you are living under, and smell the crap, imbecile.

    Stating that the author is paid is just as dumb as an argument can get.

    Bottom line, people like you are the ones keeping the country down, because of your patronage politics.

    Again, imbecile!!!

    • FRANK says:

      Leaders in the Philippines do everything they can, if you wanna help comment a positive approach…thats what we need here friend. -frank-

      • Ken says:

        no there not Frank. get in touch with the victims and don’t base your beliefs on the local news. i’m a filipino and i’m ashamed of what our gov’ts been doing, i guess have not done in this case..

        • jynsen says:

          we can’t blame the president right now.
          he is better than ramos, arroyo, estrada.
          he did a lot than those three guys.
          my comment is that people in tacloban should also cooperate they should be helping each other, not fooling each other.

        • Chrissie says:

          Is there any sense left in you, jynsen, or you’ve been completely brainwashed by Aquino’s communications team and mainstream media? Go read other news sources so you’d get a reality check….

        • WinterSoldier says:

          “we can’t blame the president right now.
          he is better than ramos, arroyo, estrada.
          he did a lot than those three guys.”

          TROLL. :P

          Not falling in your PROPAGANDA. It’s understandable because you’re a PAID HACK. :)

      • joel_delr says:

        Positive approach sa government, ano sila bata? Isip bata siguro, lalo na si Pnoy.

        If we don’t point out what we want and what we need, Pnoy and his KKKK will just fuck you any way they can. They should fear the people. Pnoy should realize this is not a student organization, this is real life. Stop it with your “now is not the time to criticize”, I say now is the best time.

        • kat_ontherocks says:

          I agree with joel_delr. I believe God use this situation to magnify the type of government we have. Our leader is incapable of leading the country and very slow to respond in disaster situations. As he said in CNN interview, 20 typhoons pass by our country yearly. We should have been quicker in response.

        • jo says:

          You are very right my friend. Don’t really know what to do even our countrymen are so damn BOBO. pagdating ng election they put the same animal back in office. SAD

  • FRANK says:

    LETS DO NALANG WHAT IS THE BEST TO DO. IF EVEN LEADERS ARE HELD SHOCK JUST AS WHAT THE INTERVIEW FIGURIZE PNOY. LETS HELP HIM OUR PRESIDENT NA LANG – WITH US IN HIS FEET IS WORTHY OF AN HEADACHE- OUR INVOLVEMENT AND PARTICIPATION CAN DO A LOT. WE TOGETHER WITH THE PRESIDENT CAN DO MORE AND CAN MAKE A LOT OF CHANGE WORTH BETTER TO RELIEVE THE PAIN LEFT BY THE DISASTER. LETS GO ALONG, BLAME NOBODY AND HELP ONE ANOTHER. STEP ONE FOOT AND MOVE ALONG. LETS HELP THE PRESIDENT…-FRANK D.-

  • WinterSoldier says:

    Quoted from writer Erin Denise Chupeco: “To everyone bitching about why we shouldn’t be criticizing the government and just help out instead:

    1. This is the PERFECT time to criticize. I don’t know about you, but I am sick and fucking tired of the same goddamn story every time a typhoon comes our way five or six times a year: no funds in the budget because government officials wanted a Porsche, or I’m the president but it’s not my fault I’ll just pass the blame onto the cities for not being prepared because passing blame is the ONLY thing I’ve passed in my fucking term so far….

    2. Constantly not speaking out about this in the past is the reason we’re all in this shithole. When you know something’s not right, the worst thing you can do is to shut up.

    3. I can criticize AND help out at the same time, fuck you very much. If you’d rather not say anything because the current status quo is more important to you than accepting the need for things to change, then YOU’RE part of the problem.”

  • joel_delr says:

    @ dennis

    Imbecile, idiot!

    Did it ever occur to you that all taxpayers have done their part helping with the calamity? Our tax money should be utilized ASAP for this kinds of things.

    People here even did more because they have already donated through their chosen charities.

    And still more help, by pushing the government do its job faster, by calling their attention through media such as this blogsite.

    What help are you talking about? You want us to leave our day jobs and dig corpses?

    What help? You blithering idiot.

  • Tony Starks says:

    And this is your so called “Daang matuwid” , patungo po saan sir? Tuwid at derecho papuntang bulsa ng mga kurakot nyong gabinete?

    “Kayo ang Boss ko” , talaga? Sir need ka nila ngayon dun sa Visayas region , mamaya ka na muna mag papicture or interview. Mas masarap gawing idol si Magsaysay, talagang he is my guy!

    tabi tabi po.

  • Yawn says:

    Just read this on the interaksyon web site

    If the Bible has its seven deadly plagues, the P.Noy administration is fast catching up with its own version of calamities as it plods its way fourth year into power.

    The Luneta hostage fiasco, DAP/PDAF mess, Zamboanga mini-rebellion, Bohol earthquake, Yolanda super-typhoon and the still unresolved Mindanao power shortage situation that threatens to envelop Luzon by 2016 already make for six.

    And if you ask the GMA camp, P.Noy is himself the seventh plague.

  • Oliver Almero says:

    Woe, reporters are well paid to report what they see. They can also report what has been seen to be well paid.

    Filipinos have survived the most powerful storm ever, but the most dreadful is the storm’s aftermath.

    We can overcome this aftermath if we all get our acts together. From top to bottom to include the critics. Find your place in the sun.

  • dougfon says:

    Okay, assuming for the sake of argument that what CNN’s Cooper said was all true, his manner of treating our govt. and our leaders like the way he confronted &interrogated Mar Roxas as recorded in a TV broadcast as if he is somebody vastly superior in mentality is to say the least a very rude behavior. This American should be more respectful of our leaders and govt. He has no right to throw his weight around and behave as if knows better than anybody else. I dont give a damn if he is a media celebrity in America. He came here as a member of the media and should limit his role of reporting what is happening here. He is entitled to his own opinion and report to the whole world what our govt. is not doing right in handling this disaster but to be disrespectful of leaders is going too far.

    • domo says:

      What respect you indiot? Or are you just like some showoff of WWE who demands respect from the audience only because he’s a WWE champion in which he just use dirty tactics to win that belt? They’ve already done a lot of incompetence ever since pnoy seated in malacanang. The Manila hostage crisis, CJ Corona’s BS impeachment, the pork barrel scam, the Sendong tragedy, the rotating brownouts in Mindanao, the lists goes on and on. And no don’t you even give me those achievement crap of his especially that improving economy propaganda because he’s a credit grabber and most of them are from the past administration.

    • joel_delr says:

      AC went there as a reporter. He reports what he sees (or doesn’t see). It simple, really.

      What? You want him to ask permission from the government if he can publish it? That is just plain stupid. Did he appear confrontational in any way? I think it is just Mar Roxas being himself when faced with reality…. a cornered spoiled brat.

      What else does he have to know about the Philippines. You should realize that his insights are real, people are suffering and they need help, help which is long overdue.

    • ralf says:

      idiot!
      local medias are sugar coating the news coz they are controlled by the govt unlike the foreign medias are not that is y theye are reporting the whole damn truth!
      what an idiot u are

    • jo says:

      You are being naïve. One earn respect from their action. Guess you are not one of those who are suffering.

      Guess what for PI politician YOLAND = Xmas bonus

  • Martini says:

    Why not drop via our government planes and helicopters packages (in parachutes) containing tents, food stuff, clothing, medicines, sattelite phones, body bags and equipment to bury dead, solar powered lighting system to ALL affected areas. The country leaders do not need 5 days to figure this out and do it.

  • Johnny Derp says:

    The noytards are on the defensive but that will no longer work for them since the whole world knows how much of an incompetent tw@t their president is. Their defenses are severely weakened by Anderson Cooper’s truthful reporting.
    They can only rely on very weak arguments now that their president is dangerously close to being ousted.

  • joey says:

    open your eyes and accept the truth na talagang mabagal ang goverment ni pnoy pati ibang yan din ang puna.wag na po sana magbintang pa

  • Pinay says:

    Please I know that you are not happy with what you’re seeing but harsh words won’t help. Please know the writer and the people behind this. Philippines is known for corruption but at this point in time, we don’t need these reactions. If there is someone who understand these things very well is us Filipinos. Now is the time we have to show the world that we are together and saying negative words won’t help.

    • Ilda says:

      @Pinay

      What makes you think the article is being negative? If you want to live in a fantasy world, free from the realities of life, then go ahead. Some of us want to know the truth because we are concerned for the safety of the survivors.

  • gadel amir says:

    bickering just adds to the confusion.. mr. cooper is entitled to his opinion. after all he is just observing and criticizing, probably the best that he is capable of doing in the midst of the crisis. these are hard times for us, Filipinos. certainly we need all the help others are willing to offer. but more certainly, we will help ourselves and weather all these trials and emerge stronger as a nation…

  • libertas says:

    Anderson cooper just stuck the knife in to korina sanchez and pnoy aquino.(fruday)
    Good for him, but i doubt he would get a visa extension.
    If only we had tv reporters of his calibre

  • pinoyako says:

    Napakagaling nyung lahat.. lahat kayo nagmamagaling…. sige, kayo maupo sa pwesto…. lahat namn ng nakaupo ay pinapababa ninyo… kaya ndi umuunlad ang pilipinas eh… si estrada,.pinababa nyo, si gloria pinakulong nyo tas sino pa…. si pnoy naman….. isip isip din… eh lahat ng nakaupo, kayo. Din naman ang bumoto… mamamayan ang nagluklok… tas ngayon, pababain na.. kaya walang nantatapos… imbis na suportahan, kinukutya….. ganyan ang mga nakaupo kasi ganyan ang nainherit na kultura natin… para rin kayong mga amerikano… haha! Walang ginawa kunde icriticize si Obama… kainis….!

  • Lola says:

    Why did people vote for him?

    Secondly, why aren’t there any coup attempts to get rid of him.

    • domo says:

      Only because of his surname and that his mother, the so-called icon of democracy, died. That’s the problem about the voters here. They treat the elections like a popularity contest and only voted the one who is famous and not because of the candidate’s humble achievements.

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