Typhoon Yolanda has exposed the nakedness of an image-conscious Philippines

And when we say the He's not posing for the camera; that's a NATURAL look.Philippines, we don’t mean just the government; we mean to include the Filipino people who voted those incompetent officials in, like for example, president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III.

From the start of his term, it has been painfully obvious that BS Aquino’s presidency was heavily anchored on popularity. Thus, a lot of effort was put in to make sure his approval ratings stayed up (allegedly, of course), and to keep driving home the image of his being incorruptible and the antithesis of everything his allegedly EVIL predecessor was.

There are, however, three very big roadblocks that the Communications Group (some say Miscommunications) will forever keep encountering in maintaining his “Mr. Clean” image:

1) When the President is selective of whom he considers corrupt, and when he either does nothing about corruption or is powerless to stop it, the significance of his own personal incorruptibility shrinks, if not goes out the window entirely;

2) Incompetence overshadows incorruptibility any day of the week (twice on Sunday, I’m told), and;

3) By now, BS Aquino should already have been able to stand on his own two feet, because it’s been three (3) years (almost four, really) into his term, yet he still keeps blaming others for things that his government should have been able to prepare for.

In the context of super typhoon Yolanda, the people were expecting his government to have learned its lesson, given from the start how he had claimed with conviction that the Philippines is ready to face her.

What happened afterwards proved otherwise.

The takeaways from BS Aquino’s interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour were essentially these: (my commentary italicized)

1) He quibbled about the number of reported dead, (“10,000 I think is too much”), attributed that estimate to “emotional trauma”, and insisted on 2,000-2,500 which at that time had the singular basis of not making him look so bad.

2) “The government’s response has been reassuring to the people” – obviously not considering how many days it took for certain areas to receive aid.

3) He stuck to his guns in blaming Tacloban officials for the lack of response.

4) To paraphrase BS Aquino, there has to be a sense of moral responsibility on the part of developed countries with regards to climate change. – How about the Philippines, hmm?

5) Amanpour put him on the spot – how his government responds to this crisis will define his presidency, she said. What did he say? Basically, we did our part, and compared to Leyte, the other provinces did not suffer too many casualties, so he thinks they did pretty well. Once again, BS Aquino singled out Leyte as having only themselves to blame, and it seems he didn’t consider that Leyte’s vulnerability might have caused it to be hit hard no matter how much preparation was made.

6) His answers to Amanpour’s questions were vague.

7) Overall, BS Aquino seemed detached from reality, in his own bubble of “everything’s fine”.

As some columnists like Jojo Robles and the site Spin Busters have commented, BS Aquino’s incompetence has gone global.

2013: National hug for the victims of Yolanda

One of CNN’s ground reporters, Anderson Cooper, had reported a “miserable” situation five (5) days after the storm hit. He commented that one would expect a feeding center to be established where he was (the Tacloban airport) five (5) days into the crisis, but there wasn’t any. Furthermore, at that time, he didn’t see a large-scale operation, though the presence of rescuers such as the armed forces was acknowledged. As to who was in charge of the Philippine side of things, he said it wasn’t really clear.

Among what he said, guess what irked a lot of Filipinos? To them, he had the gall to compare the relief efforts here to those being staged in Japan when the tsunami hit. According to him, one or two days after the event, Japanese forces had already been on the ground carving up cities into grids and looking for bodies and survivors amid the wreckage.

Cooper was of course, careful not to mention the words “Philippine government” in his report. What he did say was that “there is no real evidence of organized recovery or relief”. Unfortunately, he wasn’t careful enough, because Korina Sanchez, who happens to be the wife of Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, had called him out to essentially say “WTF is he talking about?” Apparently she felt that Cooper was insinuating that the Philippine government was not doing its job (supposedly, Mar had been directing traffic at that time). His response?

“Accuracy is what we care most about at CNN, giving information that might actually help people on the ground and help the relief effort in some way become more efficient.”

“It seems in the Philippines, it becomes something about a political issue at times…”

“I’ve seen the work that’s being done and the work that isn’t being done.”

“Ms. Sanchez is welcome to go there and I would urge her to go there. I don’t know if she has, but her husband as interior minister, I’m sure he could arrange a flight.”

“In every report we have shown how strong the Filipino people are.”

So now, it has become obvious to the world that Korina’s reporting is hobbled by conflict of interest. What is the expression? She’s “way out of her league.”

And to mark CNN’s strike three (if you’re a BS Aquino apologist), Andrew Stevens conducted an interview with Mar Roxas, where Mar essentially allowed the world to see how he and perhaps other Philippine government officials work under pressure.

“We had set aside gallons of water, it just turns out that the need is that of a swimming pool.”

“Nothing’s fast enough in a situation like this.”

“If this was a gun, all bullets are being deployed. If this was a fire hose, all hoses are being deployed.”

“In our framework, the local government unit is the first responder.” – comment: but it was wiped out, Mar, don’t you get it?

“Let me just correct that, they’re not the same bodies.”

mar_roxas_andrew_stevens

As Ilda pointed out in her own article:

“Andrew Stevens appeared frustrated over not getting an accurate assessment of the relief and rescue efforts from Roxas considering they were both in the disaster zone. It was as if they were both seeing the same thing – chaos, survivors begging for food and water and dead bodies lying around – except that the DILG secretary still insisted that the situation was under control.”

Towards the end of Stevens’ interview, Roxas made an appeal to the international community and gave a list of supplies he would prefer that donors send to the Philippines like tents and generators. This prompted the interviewer to ask “are you saying that the international community has not responded as generously as they need to?” to which Roxas quickly replied by saying that he is just trying to match the help that’s coming in with what he’s seeing in the ground as the need. It was akin to saying “thanks for the tea towels but what I really wanted was the new Ipad mini”.

Roxas’s general disposition towards the CNN correspondent and some Filipinos’ aversion to foreigner’s critical analysis makes one conclude that when it comes to foreign donations in times of crises, Filipinos are welcoming; but when it comes to foreign criticism of the country’s shortfalls, some Filipinos quickly give the middle finger.

Oh, in case anybody is thinking that CNN is picking on us, BBC and other foreign news outlets as well have criticized the Aquino government’s aid response.

On social media, many Filipinos accused CNN and other international media outlets of trying to make the Philippines and its government look bad, and using the typhoon coverage to boost their ratings. In addition, they accuse these outlets also of collusion with the opposition to put BS Aquino’s government to shame.

What is the basis for such accusations? Do Filipinos assume that because Filipino media is blatantly partisan and often does politically-charged reporting then international media does it too, especially in crisis situation coverage?

Is that why BS Aquino called for media to accurately report the Yolanda disaster? When in fact what he wants is the media to make him look good despite all the documented evidence to the contrary?

The Philippines doesn’t need foreign media’s help to look bad; they’re pretty good at doing it all by themselves.

The point that Filipinos miss, once again, is that their government, and by extension the people, is more concerned with looking like as if they’re doing something, more than they are actually doing something. Filipinos fell for the bullshit rhetoric BS Aquino’s propaganda machine cooked up in the previous elections, now they sow what they reap.

Filipinos have an inherent flaw in their psyche wherein they need to see their officials in the field in order to consider them as being productive. What isn’t as highly valued here, however, is the thinking process, the strategic planning, and the large-scale organization effort that is required and most certainly recommended to be present every time a natural calamity, or any other crisis situation like it, hits.

Comparisons with other countries’ response to crisis situations, though invidious as they may seem, are inevitable. Filipinos have so long wanted their country to be regarded as a great one, yet they do not seem to be supporting that want or desire with the effort towards that singular goal in mind.

The criticism that the Filipino government has been getting from their citizens and from international observers is all, I believe, in good faith because they want the country to improve. Obviously, Filipinos, especially government officials, have never been good at taking criticism. Instead of taking it in stride, they make every possible excuse to explain their action. They claim that it doesn’t help; what I think though is that they don’t know how to use it such that it will help. They lash out at the critic by attacking his/her person. They divert the discussion to his/her personal circumstances even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.

BS Aquino’s government and its supporters are assuring us that they are exerting their best effort. I don’t know how much more they can be given the benefit of the doubt on that; the longer the relief operations go without direction from them the more people die. The results will speak for themselves. As the line from “The Rock” goes: “Losers always whine about their best. The winners go home and f*ck the prom queen.”

Oh, that bit about our being compared to Japan is unfair? Filipinos insist that we don’t have as much resources, and that we are “just a Third World country”. Uhm, the Philippines has A LOT of resources; it has a lot of manpower, and it has, or used to have, a lot of natural resources too. What happened was that Filipinos squandered it all, and built their society up in an unsustainable manner.

If the Philippines keeps thinking that “it’s just a Third World country”, then perhaps it’s forever doomed to REMAIN a Third World country. If that’s the image Filipinos want to keep presenting to the world, then no force on earth, natural or man-made, can stop them from doing so.

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About FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

Post Author: FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

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171 Comments on "Typhoon Yolanda has exposed the nakedness of an image-conscious Philippines"

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Norman Marquez
Guest

It’s torture reading this article but it’s painfully true.

Gogs
Member

Well, the truth hurts but wise people accept it. Ignorant ignore it. Take a guess which group Noy and the Noytards belong to?

Norman Marquez
Guest

Wake up, Filipino people!
While Yolanda/Haiyan has revealed to the world the true character of the Filipino people (as victims), she has also reconfirmed the stupidity of the Filipino people (as voters)as evident in the incompetence of their leaders, …and certain news reporters.

Jetlag807
Guest
As a “foreigner” here, I always have to be mindful of what I say in front of Filipinos (in the Philippines). Normally, if I say anything remotely negative, I get the response of “if you don’t like it then go home”. What they fail to realize is that my criticism is meant to help NOT to hurt. Its like seeing a co-worker everyday struggling to put a square peg into a round hole. Sooner or later you’re going to say something… Anyway,this article is right on target. Sadly, even those Filipinos don’t want to admit it; the Philippines IS a… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest

That does take the cake. Almost choked on my bagel when I read President Penoy’s reasoning.

joeld
Guest

The yellow idiot must have been dropped on his head by Cory when he was still a baby.

That reasoning is just dumb. It really shows how inept he is.

mlpanda
Guest
Honestly, its hard for me to say that the Philippines is still a “third world” country. For some reason, people are not seeing the growth we’re going through and not asking the right questions. I believe, and there are numbers to prove it (see UN and US CIA data), that the Philippines is earning and growing economically, but cannot respond to the infrastructure and organizational needs of the growth we’re experiencing. Filipinos, including myself, don’t seem to mind the status or title, and use “third world” as a crutch. How I wish someone capable and great come along for the… Read more »
Chariots
Guest

thank you for sharing the link.. i almost forgot about this… but the irony of it, his administration is fraught with disaster…

Johnny Saint
Guest

“What is the basis for such accusations? Do Filipinos assume that because Filipino media is blatantly partisan and often does politically-charged reporting then international media does it too, especially in crisis situation coverage?”

That’s actually true. Every reporter’s work is shaped by their beliefs and political ideologies. However, Filipinos, like American media personalities, persist in the hypocritical notion that they are supposed to practice “objective” reporting. If we were openly partisan, like European papers and TV stations, at least we’d know where everyone stands.

GuerrillaSensei
Guest

oh shit that was painfully true

ChinoF
Member

This is the folly of a culture that values form over substance. Always trying to look like they’re doing something without ever getting anything done, actually.

Grumpy Citizen
Guest

I never thought I’d say this, but when our own president does not see the need to prepare for disasters in a country that not only sits on the ring of fire, but is a victim of many typhoons and floods — then our government has basically screwed us, period.

Ken
Guest
As I keep reading these quotes from interviews and articles which refers to “climate change” and the attempt by this President and Philippine Climate Change Commission’s negotiator Naderev Sano to in some way attempt to place blame on “other countries” for there lack of doing something more concrete than as he put it “moving the gold posts” As foreigner and someone who has been living here for almost 3 year snow and who considers himself to be very environmentally conscious, I do take issue with this view that other nations should some how do more so that it will save… Read more »
ChinoF
Member

It’s actually more like passing the back. Instead of admitting one’s own mistakes, many Filipinos would rather blame others for their misery. Simple as that.

Elena
Guest

Thank you Ken. They can start from putting ‘Please dispose your garbage properly’ on the relief goods they are distributing instead of their electioneering stickers, for the sake of the environment.

Ann gee
Guest

What CNN crespondents reportes were the real scenario. Unfortunate for us Filipinos, we often want to be seen as “ok, we are fine” despite the horrifying reality. And we get to be manipulated by these politicians who only wants their ratings to be better. This is the best time for us to realize that the Philippines is in a situation wherein our leaders cannot handle pressures like thid and that it os time for us to choose rightful leaders next time.

Jojo
Guest

Sad but true…

Jojo
Guest

Kudos FallenAngel for your article that hit every mark!

Bob
Guest

If our president is a boxer, then he is up there fighting, while we are down here shouting!

joeld
Guest

But then, why did we have to let him go to the boxing match while everybody knows he is a “manicurista” and not a boxer. That’s why people are “down here shouting”…. Get off the ring, you imbeccile!!!

joeld
Guest

some idiot might correct me:

imbecile

damn keyboard

Norman Marquez
Guest

Except that he doesn’t have to be a boxer to do his job…
and he is not up there, he’s here in Manila…
and he is not really fighting (as in doing his job)…
he is shadow boxing against himself…
Oh I see, fighting the criticisms…
and we are not the only ones shouting, the whole world is…
and why not shout to voice out our grievances…
by all means, let us all shout…
we can’t all climb the ring, anyway…
all the while you’re right, though, Sir Bob…
😉

ChinoF
Member

There’s shouting because the “boxer” is not even throwing punches. All he’s doing is complaining that his gloves were not tied very well.

Mike
Guest

If he is a boxer, then you’re dreaming. He’s a fucking President who was elected by being too popular for nothing. He’s the Kim Kardashian of the Philippines. And he’s out there being stupid and whining about how local governments don’t do anything when he clearly doesn’t realize it’s all wiped out.

Johnny Derp
Guest

“If our president is a boxer, then he is up there fighting, while we are down here shouting!”

Nah, he would probably get himself knocked out in round 1 by rushing blindly without any tactics whatsoever towards his opponent much like you do, TROLL

Bob
Guest

Throw in the towel!

Johnny Saint
Guest

Yes Bob! Throw in the towel! I expect nothing less from a loser. Worse, an addled, punch-drunk buffoon who’s looking for a “boxer” when we need administrators and leaders.

Bob
Guest

I wrote “If” didn’t I?

Johnny Saint
Guest

Yes Bob, everyone can clearly read your premise “If our president is a boxer.”

And just as clearly, readers can see that your outlandish analogy doesn’t advance the discussion one bit except as a poor attempt at propaganda for Malacañang. If you wish to have a serious exchange of ideas, post facts about what the president is supposedly doing that can be confirmed as contributing to the relief effort. Not propaganda or personal attacks against his critics or finger-pointing.

karrene magat
Guest

I am a Filipino and this really hurts because it is painfully true!! This Yolanda tragedy is one of the billion reasons why I excercise my right NOT TO VOTE..

jazzybat
Guest

Can you publish this in Filipino para maintindihan ng lahat ng Pilipino?

Gogs
Member

I have no idea how the webmaster feels about this but that would be an idea worth exploring. Having a mirror site with the blogs translated to Tagalog. Problem is, that would involve work just as writing them in the first place involves work.

libertas
Guest

google translate – not journalistuc standard but getting better all the time

“Mayroon akong walang ideya kung paano webmaster ang pakiramdam tungkol sa
ngunit ito na magiging isang ideya nagkakahalaga ng paggalugad.
Ang pagkakaroon ng isang mirror site gamit ang mga blog na isinalin sa Tagalog.
Problema ay, na maaaring kasangkot sa trabaho tulad ng pagsusulat ng mga ito sa
ang unang lugar ay nagsasangkot ng trabaho.”

jazzybat
Guest

Correction: Pilipino…Filipino***

Bob
Guest

FallenAngel, if we wanted him to finish and win, let us not add insult to injury.

joeld
Guest

Too late… knocked out. Filipinos are the real losers for letting him become president.

Johnny Saint
Guest

This is NOT unfair criticism or even heckling for the sake of insulting the easily offended. This is part of the process of keeping our elected officials accountable. Making sure they do their job before they congratulate themselves in front of an international press conference and fly off to some junket on another continent.

Tony
Guest

It’s so painful watching what’s going on in the Philippines. An idiot for a president… no good corrupt politicians… and uninformed voters voting for the same people over and over and wondering why nothing has changed.

Am I judging? Not really. just observing.

Bob
Guest

Johnny Saint, Have we ever contemplated, what concrete actions have we done for our beloved
country?

Johnny Saint
Guest

Yes, I have.

Again your propaganda script and checklist from Malacañang prompts you to question the integrity and motives of the commentators who are critical of the administration and to post challenges to prove their credentials.

Typically, you still have not provided any verifiable facts regarding the Aquino government’s relief work. Facts which would present a better picture as compared to your feeble propaganda efforts.

Bob
Guest

I am a humble OFW and not connected to any government. Do you consider me contributing to our beloved country?

Johnny Saint
Guest

Only you can answer that, Bob. I wouldn’t know what you have given me. Or the Tacloban survivors.

Now you’re deflecting. I haven’t seen this tactic used as often as the others. Try to keep on point with the topic of this discussion, please. Remember, it’s Haiyan. Not OFWs.

Stryker
Guest

I am a Filipino. Admittedly, the emergency response became weak and unorganized. The Filipinos seemed “naked” in the eyes of entire world – painfully true. But we do get tired too as these issues contribute to further pain and division among us. Everybody just wanted to help, learn and move on. With this incident, the Philippines promised to stand strongly as a nation, safeguarding corruptions and self-interests. Thank you brother nations for extending your prayers and help! God bless us.

Bob
Guest

joeld, if you consider yourself a genuine citizen of this country, what is your next best move?

enough-of-the-aquinos
Guest
enough-of-the-aquinos

@ Bob

His (joeld’s)next best move is to kick you in the ass.

I will never cheer for your idiotic president!

WinterSoldier
Guest

TROLL.

My next best move? Crying out for change and at the same time, knocking some sense to ya.

joeld
Guest

My next best move (actually not next but happening now), telling idiots like you, to get your mouth off of BS Aquino’s d___k and start growing your own brains.

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