Remembering Bohol! Malacañang admits lapses!

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

Today is the 1st month anniversary of the Bohol-Cebu earth-quake that devastated mostly our neighboring island of Bohol. It should remind those international relief operations that are now here in the country that the people of Bohol still need their aid, which unfortunately has now been diverted to the victims of Super Typhoon "Yolanda." So we can only hope that since a lot of international media organizations have flown to Cebu, as it is the jumpoff point to Tacloban, they would also take a look at devastated Bohol.

Today is also the first week anniversary of the arrival of Super Typhoon "Yolanda", the strongest storm, cyclone or hurricane that ever hit a landmass. As someone texted me this note, "The Philippines was hit by the strongest storm during the incumbency of the weakest president!" How true!

Last Wednesday a GMA-7 chopper flew over the town of Guiuan, Samar, which was the first landfall of Super Typhoon "Yolanda"…and you can see that they were just as badly hit like Tacloban City because of the storm surge that was tsunamilike. Guiuan is one place that Cebu Big Bikers love to visit because the roads are very good with literally zero traffic. Guiuan is also the site of the biggest PT-Boat base during World War II and from there you can see Homonhon Island, the first islands in the Philippines that Ferdinand Magellan visited. That's a very historic place.

Finally after five days, Malacañang Palace admitted certain lapses that delayed the distribution of the relief goods. Even ABS-CBN's Ted Failon lambasted Pres. PNoy Aquino for his inaccurate reporting…that "all the chokepoints have been cleared already", but Failon pointed out that inside Tacloban City, the conditions were totally different from what the president described. He was still polite enough not to tell the president right to his face that he lied to the public! It just makes me wonder why the president would make such a public announcement that is packed with lies?

Anderson Cooper of CNN was also on the ground inside Tacloban City and complained that the national government was "nonexistent"…to which Korina Sanchez twitted that "Anderson doesn't know what he is talking about." But Twitters struck back at Korina Sanchez, one saying, "Whom should we believe, Anderson Cooper who is on the ground in Tacloban City or Korina who is inside the comfort of her radio station in Quezon City?"

What is happening here is that CNN, BBC and so many other international media organizations were reporting inside the storm ravaged areas like they were local or ordinary journalists. They came to tell the world what happened here, the way that media should tell it…the truth!

Meanwhile, a good friend of mine, Engr. Rick Ramos who writes for Manila Times wrote me this comment, "The front page headlines of the leading newspapers today, 13 November 2013, show the sheer desperation of the situation in Tacloban in Leyte. The Philippine Daily Inquirer screamed: "Mad Rush out of Tacloban; Thousands foiled in bid to leave devastated city." The Philippine Star read "We have to Flee!" The Manila Standard read "Mass Escape from Hell." The Tribune read "Survivors Seek Escape from No Man's Land."

The headlines and their stories are an indictment of the dismal failure of the Aquino administration on its rescue and relief operations in Tacloban. It is only today, 13 November 2013, the fifth day, when the Office of the President finally took a direct hand with a command conference of Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras presiding over a NDRRMC meeting. It is only today that Mr. Almendras admitted that "glitches in coordination" of the National Government and they are "waiting for the plan of the DSWD."

The useless NDRRMC director, retired Army General Eduardo del Rosario, was seated beside Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras. I pity poor PNoy. He could not fire the same guy he appointed just last February because the NDRRMC top honcho was recommended by no less than Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Army Chief and boss of Del Rosario."

Yes, we should monitor carefully the exodus of people out of Tacloban City because many of them are coming to live with their close relatives where they can be found. I already warned Mayor Michael Rama that it is high time that we watch our squatter areas in our blighted barangays because suddenly we may find new squatters living in areas which have been declared as unlivable because they are beside our esteros or rivers.

At this point, we thank the International effort to bring foodstuffs to relieve the pangs of hunger of the typhoon victims. Today we hope that the US Aircraft Carrier USS George Washington would have arrived from Hong Kong. So we can only hope that the Aquino Regime can move to the next phase of this problem…the rebuilding part. There is enough fallen coconut trees that could be used as coco lumber, what we now need are planners who can design a typhoon-proof homes for our storm-weary people.

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Email: [email protected]


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