EDITORIAL - Yolanda victims, donors deserve honest answers
(The Freeman) - November 6, 2015 - 9:00am

It is not only sad and unfortunate but frustrating and infuriating as well for Malacañang to casually wave off as political nonsense the fact that two years after Yolanda, the Aquino government has still not measured up to its responsibility to help back on their feet the areas devastated by the strongest typhoon ever to hit land in recorded history.

In his usual flippant manner, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda replied to accusations by Senator Bongbong Marcos that unused funds intended for Yolanda victims might be diverted for election purposes in 2016, saying it is already 2015 and that the country is no longer under the dictatorship of Marcos' father during which many excesses have been committed.

What Lacierda apparently forgot, or perhaps deliberately ignored, is the fact that Senator Marcos is just one of the millions of voices screaming the same complaint. It is easy to bury the comments of Marcos under the same din. Lacierda can in fact disregard what Marcos said. But there is no denying the reality that the Aquino government has indeed failed in its Yolanda response.

That thousands of people remain homeless after Yolanda and thousands more schoolchildren have to make do without classrooms are facts that are undeniable and easily verifiable by actual inspections in the affected areas, something that Lacierda has apparently never done and probably would not want to do, otherwise he would have at least tried to mumble some coherent response instead of a non sequitor.

As presidential spokesman, Lacierda is expected to have at least read all those reports not just of unused government rehabilitation funds but of foreign cash donations that are lying unused in banks as well. In other words, it is impossible for him to remain clueless about what not just the Filipino nation is saying but the rest of the world at the same time.

Perhaps, because we are such a corrupt nation, and even more so under this administration that cannot seem to distinguish what type of money to prey on – whether it is money for the taking or meant for the rehabilitation of shattered lives – we Filipinos can take such profligacy in stride. But what about the money from foreign lands, money from complete strangers that poured in at a moment of great human compassion – must that go down the drain too?

If there is no more shame among us Filipinos, must we be as shameless on the global stage? If all those strangers from foreign lands start asking what happened to the money they sent for the victims, must Lacierda answer them piquantly that this is no longer 2015 and that we are no longer under Marcos? Surely they deserve a better answer than that from a presidential spokesman. The issue is not something plucked out of thin air. It is as real as Yolanda had been.

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