How many casualties from typhoon ‘Yolanda?’
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2014 - 12:00am

When we visited Tacloban last Saturday, we wrote a column last Tuesday and posed a direct question to President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III, “How many people were killed by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” and how many were still missing? If you opened Wikipedia you will read that some 6,340 were killed while 1,061 were considered missing. Of course they used as their source the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council’s (NDRRMC) statistics on this.

But we know damn well that the President ordered the NDRRMC to stop counting the dead and the missing for fear that Police General Elmer Soria, Region 8 PNP Commander who was quoted by news sources that some 10,000 may have lost their lives… may have been right to start with. We know very well that in the very early days of the destruction wrought by Super Typhoon “Yolanda,” one of the first things that P-Noy ordered was the immediate removal of Police Gen. Soria from his post in Region 8.

But then, five months after Yolanda, Mayor Martin Romualdez was quoted as saying that they would find dead bodies nearly everyday. I’d like to point out that when you are riding a motorcycle you get the fresh air into your face, unlike when you ride an air-conditioned car wherein the air passes through filters. On my bike in Tacloban City, there were still areas where you can still smell the stench of death. At this point, I would like to believe that there are still bodies that haven’t been found. How much more for Samar, which was just as badly hit as Tacloban?

While I asked the President a direct question, no one, not even his Palace jesters honored me with a reply. The statistics for the dead and missing due to Typhoon “Yolanda” is probably considered a state secret! This is what is known as “daang matuwid”? They stopped counting the dead or even searching for the missing just because Police General Soria may have been right in his assessment? What a shameful episode for our country!

But suddenly, I had a friend who read our column last Tuesday and he too wanted to know how many people died in that natural disaster. So he emailed me to help me find the answer to my question on condition that he remained anonymous. So here’s his email in full.

“Sir, I read your column on 19 Aug 2014, and you were wondering how many were the casualties of the Yolanda devastation. I just want to give you an idea and I don’t want to assume that my idea is correct. For your information, according to a reliable source, an International Humanitarian Group donated to our government 20,000 body bags right after the typhoon and another International Humanitarian Group added 10,000 body bags but our local rescue groups were still requesting from the DOH additional body bags after all of having the 30,000 body bags. Please treat me as an anonymous source; I am in a very awkward situation if you spell out my name sir. amigo bitaw ta sir. We have met before personally and hope to see you again in Cebu.”

So there you are…the possibility of Super Typhoon Yolanda killing as much as 30,000 if you count the number of requests for body bags. Perhaps we should now task those International Humanitarian groups to validate this story… that they really ran out of body bags.

At this point, I don’t expect anyone from the Aquino Regime to respond to this article. This is why Mr. Aquino should not mangle with the 1987 Constitution to extend his term. Surely he listens to those whom he trusts, like House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. who came out in the open to declare that he doesn’t want to extend the term of the President. I fully concur because P-Noy doesn’t deserve even to finish his term!

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So finally last Wednesday, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano went into a full-blown investigation on the expose’ by Atty. Rene Bondal, (who earlier filed plunder charges vs. Vice-Pres. Jejomar Binay) about that overpriced building in Makati, which the Commission on Audit (COA) officials were quoted that these were “Red Flags.”

But why wasn’t this investigation expanded to the overpriced mini-cabs or multi-cabs? Those of our readers who bought multi-cabs know too well how much they bought those vehicles. So even if the Binays insist that they were “High-end” models, it shouldn’t cost more than P140,000 apiece!

 That very same day and Atty. Roderick Vera, convenor and President of the Philippine Association for Advancement of Civil Liberties (PAACL) filed three separate criminal and administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Peter Alan Cayetano and his wife Taguig City Mayor Maria Laarni for purchasing multi-cabs at nearly half-a-million apiece? Sen. Cayetano says that they were brand new. That I would like to see for myself! That Senate investigation by Sen. Cayetano is akin to the pot calling the kettle black!

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