Filipinos who say ‘stop criticizing the government’ are not helping the country progress

One of the stupidest things some Filipinos kept suggesting during the height of the disaster in Central Philippines brought about by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) is for people to stop criticizing the Philippine government. For some bizarre reason, some equate the criticism coming from those who were concerned for the welfare of the victims as “negativity”.

Relief slow to come: Yolanda victims in Tacloban
Relief slow to come: Yolanda victims in Tacloban
The belief that criticizing the government is “unproductive” is wrong. If not for the barrage of criticism the government received because of its slow response to the recent calamity, the assistance to the victims would not have come for weeks. If not for the Filipinos who “complain”, the suffering of the victims would not have been exposed and the death toll would have been much greater. If not for the well-meaning individuals who “questioned” the inaction of the government, the victims would have been walking around like zombies or sleeping near the bodies of their dead loved ones for much longer. As it is, there are already reports that a few of the people who sustained injuries have died because they did not receive immediate medical attention.

There is no question that everyone’s priority should be on the search and rescue operation of survivors immediately after a disaster. But when those in charge of the search and rescue operation are not doing their jobs at all, the concerned members of the public have every right to call their attention to what has to be done as soon as possible.

Some misguided Filipinos even dared ask personal questions like “have you donated money already”? And then there are those who were quick to say, “just stay quiet, be positive and support your government”. It’s like for them, those who have not donated to the victims do not have the right to demand anything from their government. Likewise, there are some who get annoyed when they see others share articles that are critical of the government on social networking sites like Facebook. One can be forgiven for thinking that the reason why some want to remain “positive” is because they cannot wait to resume sharing their selfies. They probably want everyone’s attention on them again instead of the disaster.

Members of the international media played a big role in highlighting the appalling conditions of the victims of the typhoon. If not for them, Filipinos both in the country and those living overseas would not have been aware of the suffering of their own countrymen. Most of the news and images being passed around on the Net covering the areas ravaged by the typhoon came from the international media. Local media did not even have reliable coverage of the plight of those who were suffering similar to what networks like CNN had. It’s quite strange considering foreign correspondents had to travel thousands of miles to get to the disaster zone while members of the local media are already in the country.

Concerned citizens found it odd how slow the local media were in providing updates about the status of the survivors. Local journalists were definitely outclassed by foreign journalists. The latter used their investigative skills in pointedly grilling Filipino public servants during live interviews. It’s something that our local journalists would never think of doing perhaps for fear of getting shot in the head by a motorcycle-riding hit man later. Journalists being gunned down in broad daylight are a normal occurrence in the Philippines indeed, which is why a journalist will not ask the hard questions while conducting an interview a-la Andrews Stevens with a Philippine politician.

The lack of coverage from local media certainly made some Filipinos a bit anxious to know what happened to the people in the areas directly hit by the super typhoon. There was even speculation around whether or not there was some kind of news blackout about the real situation. They left a big yawning gap, which foreign media quickly filled.

The information and in-depth analysis provided by foreign journalists covering typhoon Yolanda shocked the entire nation and the global community. Foreign journalists like CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Andrews Steven not only helped expose the incompetence and arrogance of Filipino public servants; they also put pressure on the Philippine government to move a bit quicker. There’s still a lot to be said about the government’s efforts but at least they know now that the people have put them on notice.

While a lot of Filipinos laud the actions of some members of the international media, there were some Filipinos who did not appreciate their honesty. They became defensive and even wrote an open letter to CNN asking them not to compare the Philippines to first world countries like Japan for example. Their reason is that the Philippines is a poor country with poor infrastructure and a few resources. Never mind that the a big part of the reason the Philippines is poor is because its voters keep electing leaders who mismanage the country.

Those who were offended by the straightforward assessment applied by the foreign correspondents seem to be more concerned with image. It has become apparent that they just want to project a “fun” Philippines to the international community. It’s like they do not want anyone highlighting or broadcasting the real state of the poor people and the country’s decrepit infrastructure.

In bad need of a reality check: President BS Aquino
In bad need of a reality check: President BS Aquino
Hiding the real condition of the country never works. Natural calamities are guaranteed to reveal it one way or another. Disasters tend to expose not just people’s capacity to handle stressful situations, it also exposes the fact that the country does not have the capability to save it’s own people.

There is no point in pretending that the country is doing great when it is not. This is something that President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino needs to understand. During his interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, he kept reassuring her that things are under control even when reports from other people more reliable than the President of the Philippines contradict what he was saying. He just looked pathetic.

Filipinos who keep saying “stop being negative” every time a natural disaster strikes the country need to stop saying it already. People are not being negative when they state facts and describe the reality they see around them. We cannot continue pretending the country is a wonderful place to live in when more and more people are being born into poverty. These children often end up living in squatter areas that are vulnerable to extreme weather conditions like super typhoons.

Calls for unity and peace every time a tragedy occurs are beginning to look quite suspect especially when the ones calling for these are public servants. In the aftermath of Sendong, a tropical storm that killed over a thousand Filipinos in Mindanao in 2011, Malacañang Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda asked for the same thing when President BS Aquino was accused of negligence in disaster preparedness:

In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda asked Palatino to avoid finger-pointing at this time of tragedy.

Lacierda stressed that the government has enough funds for disaster preparedness.

“Let’s not politicize the issue. We have specific funds for disaster preparedness. We have always maintained that we need to clear the esteros and waterways of people there and that’s the danger zone that we have always been emphasizing and that’s the reason why we’re also providing for housing for people in those areas,” he said.

“And, like I said, specific agencies have funds for that so we can address those situations. So I would like to ask Congressman Palatino, now is not the time to point fingers. Now is the time to help out in the tragic incident in Mindanao,” he added.

Obviously, some people like Lacierda just want people to stay “positive” because they do not want to highlight the fact that they failed in their duties to protect the Filipino people. So for the sake of the country, the Filipino people should start being “negative” and continue criticizing their government in times of crisis. Otherwise, public servants will always think they are doing a great job.

There are countless tragedies that happen in the Philippines as a result of natural calamities. Since the foreign correspondents do not go to each one of those disaster areas when tragedy occurs, it can only mean that the victims suffered the same ordeal but did not get the same attention as the victims of super typhoon Yolanda.

[Photo of Yolanda victims courtesy NYDailyNews.com.]

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Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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115 Comments on "Filipinos who say ‘stop criticizing the government’ are not helping the country progress"

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Gogs
Member

With media around who are not in awe of him. It is hard for B.S. Aquino to live up to his initials. As for critics (like GRP) if we were truly insignificant, there would be no need to release the trolls, I mean hounds.

Johnny Derp
Guest

The hounds that malacanang releases are more of mewling quims than dogs though.

Sea Bee
Guest

Democracy works best when we ask hard questions of our leaders and hold them accountable. We should be informed citizens not flag waving cheerleaders.

My friends in Leyte claim Tacloban is like a ghost town. Most of the displaced have relocated to familes and friends in Cebu City or Manila. There is still no power and no communications there.

Felipe
Guest

I have a sneaking suspicion that even the recent ruling of the SC on pork barrel was hastened by the exposure our gov’t has been getting through the international media.

Kung hindi pa pahihiyain etong gobyerno natin, hindi talaga kikilos ng mabilis at diretso.

“Tuwid na daan” patungo sa bulsa ng mga alipores ni Aquino!

Chrissie
Guest

Thanks again, Ilda, for telling it like it is. If there weren’t people like you and the rest of the people behind GRP who take our leaders to task, God knows what would happen to this country. The Philippines is what it is now largely because many Filipinos sweep “unpleasant things” under the rug and always want to be “positive.” It’s like there’s an elephant in the room and no one wants to talk about it. It’s one of our traits we need to do away with if we want to move up as a country.

NMante
Guest

Yes and it is a huge elephant as well.

NMante
Guest

Spot on!

Owniche
Guest
You nailed it. I shared the same argument to FB friends who advised me to refrain from complaining and stay positive. So, to make it clear that I’m not complaining when sharing facts and news about aftermath of Yolanda, I have to state, “This is just news/facts and not a complaint”. My reply to such images with the phrase ‘Keep quiet and tumulong ka na lang’ was “Paano yan, I help the victims of Yolanda by talking and sharing their real plight”. Well, I don’t mind losing some FB friends as long as I’m able to help by speaking the… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Guest
There is a good American saying: ” The wheel that squeaks the loudest, gets oiled”. The only problem is: Our leaders play being dumb. So, they need more than the squeaks. They need a kick on their rears. In order to move. Mr. Lacierda, is ordered by Mr. Aquino and Mr. Roxas, to lie for them. To sanitize the news. Because , their images are affected. They wanted to be pictured to the international media as: directing traffics and carrying bags of onion on their shoulders. To show how much they care. Because, of the Information Technology. Their photo opportunity… Read more »
Sea Bee
Guest
Filipino elections are like voting for high school prom queen: no political party platforms and no candidates revealing their stand on issues like immigration, health care, tax code, etc. The next election would be much more successful if Filipinos would follow five simple rules: 1) Do note vote for anyone who has held political office before. 2) Do not vote for the husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister or cousin of anyone who has held office before. 3) Do not vote for anyone who is wealthy or related to anyone wealthy. 4) Do not vote for a media celebrity, beauty… Read more »
Jeijeijei
Guest

Thanks for a good piece Ilda, exactly my line of thought when this issue broke out in FB. I actually unfriended some people for patronizing the “shut up and help” propaganda. They don’t know that criticism can be taken as positive or negative motivation. In this case, without the international media focus on the BS Aquino government, I don’t think rescue efforts had been given promptly (or at least the traction it’s getting now) knowing the big “red tape” patched on the government’s forehead.

J Guerzon
Guest

This article was well written. As stated in a previous article it only exposes people for avoiding reality : the image conscious (misguided) individuals.

libertas
Guest
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” Winston Churchill In my early career i worked for traditional bosses – unavailable to staff, unwilling to listen, take credit for work by others, quick to cover their ar$es, time-serving, demotivational, uninspiring. Needless to say these companies lost the best staff and ultimately went out of business/taken over. My latter career with other companies – particularly high tech corporations in US and europe reflected the new principles of manager as leader… Read more »
joeld
Guest
Filipinos are offended when you criticize the government because they treat Philippine politics like basketball, or football or a cockfight. They get easily offended when you say something against their “manok”. This mentality has got to go. I really don’t get it why they have to treat politics as some kind of brand loyalty and that they are somehow indebted to a particular political figure. It should be instilled in the mind of the filipinos that the government should be accountable to it’s people. It is this idiotic attitude of the the filipino in which useless government officials get elected… Read more »
L johnson
Guest

Fraternity Brothers personally went to Leyete with relief packages. They were authorized also to help distribute relief in Local warehouse. The warehouse was packed with relief food that was rotting and the ‘Big man’. Refused to allow them to distribute what had been there for days. He told them to rest awhile. Nothing happened. Hours later They walked away so angry,

joeld
Guest

Maybe it would be better if they named the “big man”. So we can call the attention of the bigger man and then the biggest man, expose them for what they really are, good-for-nothing, flea bitten vermin, dim wit, self serving ninkompoops.

Raul A. Santos
Guest

What’s really funny are the Young People or Filipinos who goes on picket lines everyday in front of the U.S Embassy, their motive is to over throw the U.S. government presence in the Philippines, where we’re they during the Yolanda,? first on Scene to support were my fellow U.S. Military landing with their Ospreys, where were the Philippine Military & it’s personnel, it is just to prove, the Philippine Government and it’s military are way far from modernisation

..

libertas
Guest

criticism is a magnifying glass which exposes the corrupt and/or incompetent.

why did pnoy aquino cancel the 1 billion peso budget for disaster preparation. ( was it spent on 2013 elections).
more blood on aquino’s hands.

no preparation, risk management – obvious outcome

no wonder they try to divert attention/blame.

the incompetents screwed up yet again.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
The dictator BS Aquino wanted to control everything. The lower house and the senate is still controlled by him. His style of blame games, scheming, scapegoating, black propaganda destruction of his enemies and even bribery were duly noted by those who know. What he did and what he failed to do is also known. Criticism is a universal right to those who are badly governed. Filipino politicians used people in times of the great crisis. Their evil ways were criticized by many. Grandstanding, epal, photo ops, lack of empathy and their incompetence are known to the people. No amount of… Read more »
emmanuela licayan
Guest

I share the same concern, when I tried to give out criticisms with their response, I was labeled as “negative” too. When in fact, it just so happen that I’m concerned enough too realize that they can do better than what they are actually performing.

Criticisms will always come, being in the position, they should have realize that they ill never ran out of it since there are Filipinos who are critical enough to see if they are really doing their tasks.

ChinoF
Member

There are times when being “positive” isn’t right. An analogy I use is that a magnet works with both negative and positive There is really a role for the negative in our society. Just look up my article on cybernetics.

Joseph
Guest

ILda, kudos to pointing out the dangers the local media face…. some people often accuse them of being paid hacks…. then again K. Sanchez is a diff matter

Ms. Crabz
Guest

Kung gusto mo ng pagbabago, simulan mo sa sarili mo.

_ I agree with the post above, from our president and to the people kailangan natin ng pagbabago, sa simpleng paraan lang na pagtatapon ng basura, ipakita natin ang makakaya natin tungo sa kaunlaran.. alam ko matagal pa, pero kailan pa natin sisimulang magbago ng attitude?

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