Pinoy-style ambag-ambag not enough: You need military might and precision to manage the Yolanda disaster

So was the disaster wreaked by Typhoon Yolanda God’s fault? That question and the whole topic of Filipinos’ faith in a Catholic god is of course a no-go-zone at the moment as we all need to be “positive” in the face of the appalling tragedy unfolding before us courtesy of “The Situation Room” set up by CNN in Tacloban. But nobody can ignore just how unlucky the Philippines has been. Just a few weeks before Yolanda laid waste to Tacloban City in Leyte, a Magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit nearby Bohol province killing hundreds and destroying cherished church buildings. And before that, in December 2012, another killer typhoon snuffed out more than 2,000 lives in Mindanao.

Truly reassuring: U.S. military personnel mobilising to aid Yolanda victims
Truly reassuring: U.S. military personnel mobilising to aid Yolanda victims
On the man-made front, equally appalling tragedies abound in the Philippines. Warlords who kill people and bury them with backhoes languish in judicial limbo, politicians who diverted tens of millions in Filipinos’ hard-earned taxes are likely to not just get away with it but get re-elected in the next elections, and company directors of a single shipping line that owned several ships that sank along with tens of thousands of innocent passengers remain at large.

But of course. Yolanda, a tropical storm that breaks all historic power records, is a “test” of the Filipinos’ “faith” and “resilience”.

The outpouring of compassion and the mobilisation and channeling of resources coming from Filipino benefactors all over the world is heartwarming. Facebook and Twitter timelines are flooded with charity appeals. Indeed, when it comes to responding to despearate need, Filipinos are champs. Pinoy Bayanihan rocks!

But then nothing beats the big supply- and equipment-laden C-class transport planes and dozens of navy ships and their crews of well-trained military personnel being sent by the United States and Great Britain when it comes to tangible hope for results. Even with a lot of money pouring in from Filipinos all over the world and volunteers packing relief goods in warehouses across the nation, doubts abound as to how much of all this goodwill actually gets to the people who need them the most. The grassroots relief effort (spurred by “social media” many would like to think) is a nice bottom-up approach that strongly appeals to the need for the warm fuzzy feel-good vibes people seek in times of grief.

As far as the sort of command-and-control needed to get things done effectively and efficiently, that sort of “crowdsourced” ambag-ambag relief just does not cut it. For the very same reason that emergency situations call for emergency — i.e. dictatorial — powers, you can’t manage a disaster at the scale wrought by Yolanda with mere prayer and good intentions. You need military precision and its rigid no-frills, no-debate, no-emo command-and-control leadership approach.

As Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte astutely observed, “God was somewhere else when the typhoon hit”. Perhaps, indeed, God should step back and let competent humans do the job that Filipinos had traditionally relied on him to do. Unlike God, Mayor Duterte makes no promises beyond what his resources are capable of delivering…

He had ordered a team of 911 relief workers and rescuers to bring medicine to Tacloban by land on Saturday afternoon. The team arrived in Tacloban Monday morning, after they hacked and cut their way through fallen trees along the way, and cleared some roads of debris.

Duterte said he was right in sending a medical team to Tacloban but said they would be useful only for three days because of the enormity of the need. He said the next team to be sent should be composed of people who know how to handle cadavers.

Indeed, there is no substitute for the institutional might of a competent national government. And that is why news such as this bring real hope to Yolanda’s hapless victims…

Britain is sending HMS Daring, which will be equipped with a device to convert sea water to drinking water, to Philippines to assist in rescue and relief work. Britain is also sending a Boeing C-17 military transport aircraft that would expedite teh transport of humanitarian aid to the typhoon-hit areas in dire need of supplies.

To expedite rescue operations, the US was sending an aircraft carrier USS George Washington to Philippines, which would reach there in 48-72 hours.

According to a statement, 5000 sailors and over 80 aircraft were onboard USS George Washington and crews were being recalled from Hong Kong to be on their way to the Philippines.

British Prime Minister David Cameron Britain said the UK is also sending a Navy warship with equipment to make drinking water from seawater and a military transport aircraft.

In just four paragraphs we get a relatively clear sense of the specific resources to be mobilised, the specific actions to be taken, and the specific capability to be applied to serve Yolanda’s victims. Certainly the prospect of this awesome contingent of world-class equipment and personnel (directed by a clear chain of command) reaching the Philippines over the next day or two is more reassuring than the sight of Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas directing traffic on the streets of Tacloban — or motherhood “assurances” coming from President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III.

The current Philippine national disaster response capability is to the approaching US/British contingent as the jeepney is to a modern public transport system. Whilst Filipinos patted themselves on the back for decades for the “ingenuity” of the iconic jeepney, the “system” built on that quaint “solution” eventually became the bane of efforts to build modern public transport. By all accounts, the same sort of thinking is what has turned the Philippines’ disaster response machine into the inutile excuse stammered incoherently by Filipino politicians and waxed poetic by Filipino “netizens” today.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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60 Comments on "Pinoy-style ambag-ambag not enough: You need military might and precision to manage the Yolanda disaster"

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abraham a. bautista
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Here comes the writer Benigno who sees nothing good about us Filipinos.Instead of bring solace and inspiration to my fellow Filipinos this writer has a habit of maligning and insulting our Filipino traits and values. He is the modern makapili or traitor to his own nation as if he knows everything and our fate revolved around his pessimistic writings. Enough of your doomsday writing. May I recommend that you commit Hara Kiri so much so that you could serve our nation well.

joeld
Guest

Here comes an idiot who would rather look at the positive side of things, while people hit by Haiyan are suffering.

Did you even read the article? Every point he made was clear and real, and you are saying he should instead inspire and bring solace to people?

Which part of the article insulted you? So if you know better than him, why not write down your rebuttal here instead of whining like cry baby.

These ijets, come a dime a dozen, jeez!

Miguel
Guest

Again, missed it (the point) by millions of miles. Will somebody take off the emotional blinders of most of our countrymen? They are fooling themselves! All in denial. How can you get better if you deny you are sick?

XLVIII
Guest

Yes. Denial. Excessive optimism and arrogance too. Needs more timidity and extreme cynicism.

Johnny Derp
Guest

Yet another stupid troll who completely misses the point by a mile.
Idiots come dime a dozen indeed.

Troll Harder

Gerry
Guest
NO, NO, NO….the Man is a Patriot who tells the truth about what is going on in that ‘Klepto-cratic’ country. Just because you can not handle the truth does not make the Man a traitor. I do not always agree with Benigno but he tells the truth, as he see’s it, about what is happening. It is not pretty and for his sake I hope he no longer resides in the Philippines. The country is one big disaster after another. If it is not a man made one (PDAF,DAP/corruption in general, over-population/garbage everywhere one looks) it is a natural calamity(earth-quake/typhoon)… Read more »
Aryianna
Guest

“Smartest thing anyone could do right now, at this very moment? Leave the country and never return.”

Very tempting. I came to here to help with a family business and to get in touch with my roots. Years later, I’m still adjusting (from culture shock — quite traumatizing at times).

OnesimusUnbound
Guest

In related note, I find no solace with my fellow, affected kababayan looting TV and washing machine in times of crisis. I’ll understand that they’ll loot for food, water, or clothing to survive the tragedy. But looting non-essentials appliances when the power is down? Seriously?

Sea Bee
Guest

It is bewildering to me why complaining is so taboo in the Philippines. Democracy works best when we ask hard questions and hold our leaders accountable.

T4Man
Guest

We’re admonished for “negativity” being told “this is not the time”. When is the time? It never seems to arrive.

T4Man
Guest

I disagree. I’ve read much of his writings and he often points out the “good” qualities of the Filipino. He, like many of us, are frustrated because we know things could be much, much better. If we follow the admonitions of the majority we would never discuss the problems. Silence and platitudes will yield nothing while the country continues sliding backwards.

Captjoe25
Guest

Had You ever heard of Constructive Criticism. We Filipinos need it a lot of it because we never learn. The truth hurts but its the only way we can learn to correct our fatal mistakes. if it weren’t for my Brothers in Arms assisting and the whole international community aiding this massive relief effort. More Filipinos will be dying and starving. SWALLOW your what you so called Filipino False Pride. Pitch in and help your fellow Kababayans. Now is not the time to whine and complain.

XLVIII
Guest

Yeah. tell me something I do not know. Criticism is what all of us need.

wickedying
Guest

I don’t think the author is being pessimistic at all. Isn’t it weird how other countries are so active in helping us whereas our government seems to be doing nothing but delaying aid and “meeting meeting” lang?

barbero
Guest

“Meeting-meeting lang” because plain and simple – the politicians don’t know what to do. Think of it this way – toddler was task to plan and execute in constructing a house. If they don’t know what to do – they should stop pretending – just transfer the responsibility to the military. At least the military has a better chain of commands and most probably better crisis management (if w.out the politicians intervention).

Captjoe25
Guest

Thank god that The American Military had arrived . I m eternally grateful and appreciative for my brothers in Arms for providing humanitarian assistance and helping our kababayans.

MLZ
Guest
I wholeheartedly agree that the development of world class systems for these events must be solidified. However not all of us can be leaders and politicians. True, much is to be required for most, if not all of our leaders and this should hopefully (though I won’t be surprised if it does not materialize) be tackled at another time. My comment on this article is this- most times, the only solution us normal citizens have is to provide our share in relief operations. We do not have the power to change government and good luck into pleading for the government… Read more »
Aryianna
Guest

The Philippine government’s response to Haiyan shows that the country is still third world, though we refer to it as “developing”.

Joseph
Guest

Aryianna, love… developing is the polite term for third world ^_^ and as my 60+ year old prof used to say… “bata pa lang ako developing country na ang Pilipinas. Hanggang ngayon developing pa rin”

Tomo
Guest

Bakit? Bakit nga ba? Parang si doctor – practicing doctor hanggang ngayon.

XLVIII
Guest

Excrement pit ain’t developing this time. Thing’s slowly deteriorating.

Raywollesen
Guest
As the late Nick Joaquin has encapsulated in his article, this is the product of the Filipino’s “A Heritage of Smallness” mindset. We demand the state to step up to the plate after this disaster. If local government (and of course the bigger burden falls to the national side of government), cannot and would not ensure the safety of people when calamity strikes then they are plain and absolutely useless. Elect engineers and architects next time in office instead. Do not rely on these “trapos” (traditional politicians) that come from established oligarchic families that absolutely has no idea/background nor knows… Read more »
a reader
Guest

Sooner or later, faced with the contemplation of God and the question ‘Why’…
Romans 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

NellieTexler
Guest

Where is the President, should he be in Tacloban
where they need at least moral support…Is it because the previous President’s wife is from
Leyte?

I just hope that those aids from other countries will reach the deprived Filipinos..Let us keep a GOOD reputation !!!

Gerry
Guest

the greatest shame of all is that the country has had all the money it would have needed over that past 50 years to make the country a SE ASAIN GIANT, but it was all stolen. DANG!

libertas
Guest
An anatomy of a disaster. The real disaster, which is the pnoy aquino government, should be strung up for their absolute lack of response, incredible insensitivity, sheer incompetence,and for hiding under the desk at a time when leadership is needed, leaving the whole ‘problem’ , by default, to decent countries/people to, yet again, come to the aid of the scam artists/idiots in government. The aid agencies/international community is naturally only to willing to help, but it does expect to find some people in government who have a clue, or the vestige of a plan. No chance. I am currently organising… Read more »
Felipe
Guest

I see a lot of able-bodied young men just waiting to be assisted or simply running away from the scene. Why don’t those men just start by helping clear some roadways and areas instead of just sitting around and waiting for foreign assistance?

Now is a good time for Napoles and her political benefactors—senatongs and tongressmen, to give back what they stole from the public. What happened to all her NGOs?

Lasengo Escudero
Guest
I don’t believe in a God, who is all to blame, when disasters, like this happen. We caused the disaster, by abusing Mother Earth. We denuded its forest. We destroyed its mountain. We invaded the habitation of animals, for human housing sites, due to exploding population. Mother Earth is fighting back, with : storms, earth quakes, tsunamies, volcanic eruptions, etc. “if there is an action, there is always an opposite reaction”…this Planet Earth Physics law will always apply. To Mar Roxas: while directing traffic can win some votes, by pandering to voters. You would had better shown your talents by… Read more »
Beawolf Agatte
Guest

Heard that LaMierda and some Senatongs are appealing to would be donors specially cash that they channel their cash donations trough the DSWD of Dunky Soliman or to the Phil. Senate.
If this will be the case, we are just Appointing Dracula to be the Head of the Blood Bank.

kupee
Guest

get a life…everyone is in anguish and yet you have time to project yourself to be a self critical rightious special asshole..get out of here.

joel_delr
Guest
@ kupee In case you don’t know, this site has been “self critical rightious special asshole.” for years if not for you idiots being so emotional, throwing tantrums whenever you get butthurt, pulling the country down instead of helping. What do you want people here to do then, direct traffic in visayas, like Mar Roxas? It’s very easy to say to other people to do their part amidst the aftermath of the typhoon, but really, what does it really mean. Aside from donations, there is not much people can do. But I tell you one thing though, if people like… Read more »
domo
Guest

Hey douchbag flip. See this news? This proves that your indiot president is the true self critical righteous special asshole: http://n5e.interaksyon.com/top/76C1633930444F1/1001/relief-goods-nagtambakan-na-sa-cebu

WinterSoldier
Guest

TROLL. 😀

Jetlag807
Guest
“Command and Control”, something the Student Government knows nothing about. A perfect example would be the actions taken by US Army General Russel Honore’ during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The confusion and bickering between the Mayor of New Orleans, the Governor of Louisiana and the President notwithstanding; once General Honore’ hit the ground, the bullshit stopped and shit got done! Now, since this IS the Philippines and there is no one in the Chain of Command (from Aquino on down) who has the resources and/or balls to “take charge” and get shit done, people turn to foreign entities for… Read more »
Anon
Guest
P-noy’s administration is simply incompetent. Been listening to the news, there is little to no national government presence in the affected areas. He has to be impeached. PS While it is all well and good we’re getting aid, the fact is, it should be our government and our people who should be spearheading the efforts. Right now, the Philippine Red Cross has more communications capabilities and is doing more for the people than the NDRCC and other alphabet soup agencies. I’m floating this idea again: For the love of God, impeach P-noy. I don’t we will last another three years… Read more »
Johnny Derp
Guest

Impeaching him is impossible at this point since he still has the congress under his control. Its much better to just kick him out of malacanang.

Sanzo
Guest

Pedro: Wala pa rin daw napasok na tulong doon sa Tacloban..

Juan: Bakit?

Pedro: Kasi sa pilipinas, palaging “leyt-e”.
———————————————
Pedro: Kelan kaya maaayos ang mga nasira ng bagyo?

Juan: Kelan?

Pedro: Sa bagal ng pagdating ng tulong edi next “samar”.

Obvious bad jokes..but they need money and funds instead of hand-me-downs. It is hell on earth out there.

Anon
Guest

All the NDRCC has been doing for the past three years is “procurement.” Word from the grapevine is that actually planning is none existent. The result is what we see today.

17Sphynx17
Guest
http://www.interaksyon.com/article/74760/govt-sets-up-relief-goods-distribution-points-in-yolanda-hit-areas I would like to see this article in a positivr light but wtf does he mean by what he said? They are still in the process of identification of barangays that need help? The hell? Its been 5 days and they are only starting identification? Wasnt an aerial survey enough? And what use is a device called a gps for if not to tell you that you are in the said spot you are looking for? I understand that we are not as well equipped, but I really expected a lot of the military engineering teams to be headed… Read more »
17Sphynx17
Guest

And the reason I believe they dont want to name a point person in government is very simple.

Its not because the work is dissemenated/distributed, that is obvious. That’s how a team works.

Its because no one wants to be the team leader for the post disaster response that is being bungled by the government.

I dont expect it to be the president, nor his spokesperson. But I would expect it to be the head of the ndrrmc as it is his job. He would be the one all agencies would turn to for the proper course of action to take.

Right?

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