The Philippines says goodbye to the Haiyan ‘issue’ as it welcomes 2014

Is the Philippines, as a society, really concerned about the huge humanitarian crisis that continues to fester in its central region following the devastation left by super-typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda)? Or is it, as is becoming quite evident, simply moving its focus to more interesting and intriguing issues? Fact is, the poor are not the drivers of human history. It is the rich and the aristocracy whose stories get told from which much of historical insight on politics, culture, economics, and science are gleaned. In the Philippines, this is specially true — even where very little of such sorts of insight is ever harvested.

Voted to be president because he is 'an Aquino'
Voted to be president because he is ‘an Aquino’
As I write this, the plight of the victims of Haiyan is fast fading into the background of the national consciousness. Stories related to the on-going humanitarian crisis there are getting less and less airtime in the media. Indeed, the only “outrage” being loudly issued over the failure of the state to step up is coming from a tiny minority of Philippine society — so-called activists and socially-aware netizens — who attempt to apply Western standards of indignation to the issue.

Yet if we look even just a short way back in our history, we will find that the last two and a half decades is blighted by similar tragedies, some of them even more appalling than what befell Tacloban. Have the underlying factors that contributed to the horrifying scale of death and destruction in those ones been recognised and addressed? Suffice to say, most of the ingredients that contributed (and will likely contribute again) to the scale of the Haiyan disaster had been around and remained largely un-addressed despite decades of experience with such disasters from which important lessons should have been learned.

Why is it that such forgetfulness routinely flattens the Filipino’s learning curve?

Simple: Because the victims of these disasters are made up of the poor and inconsequential.

We’ve seen how the Philippines’ poor — even when they die in vast numbers — remain but a mere background to the lofty concerns of the powerful and influential. In this most recent instance, these poor victims served as mere backdrops to the on-going feud between the Romualdez and Aquino-Cojuangco clans. Such is the banality of the inconsequential place poor Filipinos occupy in the hierarchy of social priorities in this country that Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas found nothing wrong with explicitly highlighting this feudal rivalry while discussing relief operations with Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, pointing out that the Aquinos and Cojuangcos currently occupy MalacaƱang while the mayor is “a Romualdez”.

Seen from the eyes of the “socially aware”, this behaviour in their top officials is certainly an abomination. But then who are we to judge from our ivory towers? The Philippines to ordinary Filipinos, after all, remains a society vastly different from what we from our lofty perches expect it to be. It is one that is inherently unjust and lacks compassion in a profound and consistent enough form that could sustain a focus on anticipating and mitigating risk to the well-being of its most vulnerable people. And its leaders reflect this collective character to a tee — because they are products of the popular vote. No amount of willing Philippine society to subscribe to the way we think (around the lofty egalitarian, secular, and social justice ideals of the West) will change this any time soon.

It is likely that ordinary Filipinos see nothing wrong with feudal politics playing a key role in government operations during even the most pressing emergencies. Ordinary Filipinos, after all, are completely sold on the concept of their leaders’ being family members first and custodians of the public trust a far second. Why else would they vote their leaders into office on the basis of family ties? It is because ordinary Filipinos have knowing the smallness of their place in their society deeply-ingrained in their minds so much so that they inherently understand that, like them, politicians will always put family first.

Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III himself is a beneficiary of that sort of thinking. Indeed, BS Aquino ascended the presidency on the back of that very sort of primitive thinking — his pedigree as only son of illustrious “national heroes”. Filipinos voted BS Aquino president back in 2010 because, well, he is an Aquino as Roxas himself pointed out to Romualdez in late 2013 as the stench of rotting corpses filled the air of Tacloban.

And so now here we are expressing “indignation” over the way family politics has taken over the Haiyan crisis in central Philippines, failing to see the irony in the manner with which we had originally selected the very leaders who, we point out, now put family above duty.

The failure to serve the victims of Haiyan is, yet again, just another case of Filipinos sowing what they reap.

[Photo courtesy Reuters.]

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22 Comments on “The Philippines says goodbye to the Haiyan ‘issue’ as it welcomes 2014”

  1. It’s very coincidental that none of the yellowtards that attack this site refuse to acknowledge the national government’s failure in preparing for yolanda but they instead insist on pinning the blame on the LGU of Tacloban.

    It seems that they are very afraid of the negative effects of the mishandling of the yolanda crisis on Mr. Aquino’s rapidly dwindling popularity with netizens.

    One thing is for sure, Mr. Aquino and his supporters will NEVER live it down.

    1. Which I deduce is the reason why they (assuming it is them) attacked the Red Cross and accused Gwen Pang of corruption… which was promptly answered and disproven by official documents (now what happened to this issue… was it also forgotten?). Some people even used the issue to attack Richard Gordon, who is not even making any noise. Clearly, the notorious Filipino insecurity is showing its ugly face even more in this time.

      1. They think that this issue of incompetence will go away but nope, it will stay since the international community has already seen how inept and incompetent this president is.

        The yellow zombies can’t even explain why the foreign donations are being hoarded by Dinky Soliman which was already proven in numerous unimpeachable and REAL witness testimonials on social media.

      2. Really doesn’t make sense why they would attack Gordon who is not even making any noise right now.
        Looks like they are either afraid of Gordon or they are getting very very paranoid since Mr. Aquino is getting really really unpopular with netizens on social media.

    2. Given that Noynoy would like to forget Tacloban and Yolanda, it is only natural for the Yellowtards to follow suit.

    3. If the people responsible for this site truly have nothing to fear or hide, why do they not use their real names like the rest of us normal people?

      People using their names or faces to voice dissent or opposition to those in power should be respected, and protected.

      Those who use alibis and anonymity to spout views and abuse have no credibity, regardless of if they are yellowtards or dissidents.

      Just my 2 pesos.

      1. 1) FallenAngel said it best. Focus on the message not the messenger. Credibility?? Just because someone works in a visible position in a PSE blue chip company does not mean they are more likely to tell the truth. I have an opinion and I feel people who take the plunge and read me over time will make up their own minds if I speak of something of relevance or it is just bunk.

        2) We are not here to placate to the masses. We are here to offer what WE believe in just because we want to. There is no material reward. Not sure where you been but if we had no credibility then the government cyber black ops force would leave us alone. A few months ago I went against the grain saying that I could care less about a basketball tournament that even people here don’t care about if the pinoys do their usual quick exit. You thought I was making implications about the morality of their mother. That’s all I said. The tournament results don’t mean anything to me and I got threats. Don’t blame me. Blame the emo audience.

        3) GRP often addresses the onion skinned crybabies. When the onion skinned crybabies get wind of it, guess how they react? So excuse me if I don’t post my picture, my home address , my landline, my cel number , my SSS number and my preferred choice of prophylactic. I just want to say something and not have it reflect on my everyday identity. Which makes me the opposite of one of my favorite targets: the KSPs.

        Finally if you insist on full disclosure from the authors here. Let me quote David Letterman from his old NBC show. “How much did you pay to get in?”.

        1. Fair enough, I merely wanted to point put that anyone insulting people or talking down institutions while hiding behind the anon veil the net provides does not require any courage or wit.

          It just seemed to me that you guys are agitating for people to want to rise up and speak up to effect regime change but it seems hypocritical that you guys fear to stand up
          And be counted yourselves.

          I wish for regime change also, but I fear what would happen to me, my work, and my family if I put my hand up to the cause.

          The fact that I don’t see anyone here with the courage to do so does not inspire and makes one think, you guys are just all talk Nd no action, complaining that we are too weak to revolt against our government when you are not gonna do it yourself.

          Sick of the yellowtards lording it over us and using our taxes to enrich themselves, but I admit I am not a strong man, and don’t wish to endanger my career or family so I accept the dirty environment, it is not hard since it’s dirty in most places worldwide now.

          Maybe one day we will have someone with true courage and conviction and change our country like Nelson Mandela, but from the looks of it, he must be a child among us or not even born yet.

          Peace~

        2. I hope you are not discounting the power of ideas to effect change, Jordan Mondido.

          Is talk really cheap? The Philippines is not short of people who can talk it up as if they know everything. But what it does lack is a collective history of its citizens thinking things through before they act.

          So when somebody glibly dismisses sites like GRP as “puro kayo dakdak“, it’s merely funny and quite amusing because it merely reflects the character of a people who are easily duped into doing something without regard for the consequences. In short, a people who don’t think things through.

          Ask yourself: Why does it seem hypocritical that anonymous people “fear to stand up and be counted?” Why is support for an idea necessarily predicated on the personality it is attached to?

          Remember what has been said:
          Small minds discuss people,
          Mediocre minds discuss events,
          Great minds discuss ideas

          A great idea is a great idea regardless of whom it is attributed to.

          The challenge that the Philippines currently faces is to plant the idea in the majority that they don’t have to put up with all the bullshit that their government feeds them. Governments should be afraid of their people, not the other way around.

          Filipinos shouldn’t go around looking for heroes to lead them. No one is going to save the Filipinos from themselves, except themselves. That is, if they can rise above the pettiness and clannish mentality that they are currently trapped in.

        3. “Governments should be afraid of their people, not the other way around.”

          Amir,

          Government should be accountable to the people, not fearful. Fear only breeds dustrust and paranoia. As a countervailing incentive to the abuse of power by the state, fear has never worked. It only encourages organised groups — rich and powerful oligarchs — to entrench themselves by extending their sway over politics and exacting privileges from the state. This, in turn, prevents government from responding adequately or even functioning properly. As a result, instead of political development, the conditions created by a clan-dominated environment break down into political decay.

        4. My bad for getting a bit too “V for Vendetta”-ish. Hahaha.

          But yeah, accountable is the right word. Filipinos are not known for accountability, either.

  2. Never heard of a competent president in my life investigate a mall robbery. Face it . His priorities are sucking up to his sponsors. Ayalas , Sys etc. He makes a promise to stay in Tacloban but takes off like a bat out of hell when PDAF is ruled on. No integrity . No intestinal fortitude . No courage . Because the people that voted for him used no brains when they did.

    1. Sucking up to his sponsors, or just plain sucking?

      “Bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo” – it’s been like that for Filipinos even before Yolanda. Filipinos have a headless chicken society. And the head that they voted to attach to the body happened to have no brain.

    2. Gogs,

      For Penoy to rush off to the scene of an ordinary smash and grab is, without question,VERY UNPRESIDENTIAL. Is it evidence of favoring his political benefactors? Not necessarily. As Commander-in-Chief, Pres. Aquino has a monopoly on military capacity and the means of force. He could literally appropriate ALL of the Ayala and Sy holdings tomorrow if he wanted to.

      I’m more inclined to favour your other assessment that he’s simply being petulant and childish, unable to focus on “big picture” things. Instead he micromanages niggling details which should really be left to undersecretaries and law enforcement.

      And you’ll notice his childish behaviour causes him to play at being chief executive like the Philippines is his own private version of “Fantasy Island.” On the one hand he’s the international playboy racing his (allegedly second-hand) Porsche on the expressway with a new babe on his arm every few months. For the mall robbery, he’s the macho super cop who solves mysteries after giving the scene a single glance, complete with lapdog sidekick Mar Roxas in tow. (Cue theme music.)

      All the while, his and the public’s attention is not focused on the fact that the real problem is a worsening law and order situation that the PNP and Mar Roxas have failed to address. It has deteriorated to the point where you now fear for your personal safety and security. Even in very public places like malls.

  3. I envy the dead for they don’t have to see the stupidity of the living. Therefore, in the authority’s head…the more people that perish, the less people they manage.

    This country is still stuck in the dark ages, granted we’ve got technology..imported from other countries who actually took their time to discover things while..we just buy them and use them and abuse them then wait for a new one…It is no wonder why people are our top exports..whether legally or illegally.

    I bet..an even stronger typhoon may ravage this country again and all this bs will just repeat itself. I’d be curious to know if the foreign powers would still be interested with sending these donations out..

    Another sad thing would be, we care too much…but they don’t give a damn. So why should we continue to give a damn?…

    2014 isn’t going to change anything except everyone is just going to get older, not wiser. So yeah, cheers. 6-8 months from now if Manila is going to be underwater once more..well..we know who to blame next.

  4. I don’t see any good accomplishments of the Aquino/Cojuangco families. They are in politics, because they own almost 70% of the Province of Tarlac. Their ownership of those lands are in question. They indulge in Feudal politics, resulting in a Feudal Oligarchy government in our country. They connived with the Japanese Imperialists and the New Peoples’ Army , to protect their interests. They are the ultimate greedy rascals and opportunists.

    They want to monopolize everything. Look at their behavior in business, show business, etc. They have illicit relationships, with the Lopezes, Ayalas, Tans, Sys, etc…to control th4e economy of our nation. And, monopolize government contracts…Look at how the Lopez’ ABS-CBN network is promoting Aquino, inspite of his miserable handling of his job.

  5. Happy New Year! and as for Noy-noy, everyone knows he is a do nothing douchbag. He is paid to be as such. He doesn’t run the country either, and neither does Barrack Obama lead the USA.

    These guys are just paid lackey’s. Flack catchers who take the blame when shit goes wrong. The differences are: That in the Fail-ippines, the perks come while in office(kick-backs/corruption fees/bribes/pay-offs etc etc etc). In the USA the perks are rewarded AFTER the elected officials leave office and land a corporate do nothing $5 Million per year ‘consultancy’/’speaking engagement tours’.

  6. Aquino’s presidency is both rotten and rotting away, and just like the bodies he deserted in tacloban, the only thing his administration emits is a stench, and only attracts flies.
    The sooner the bodies, and this administration is buried, the better.

  7. Whatever blunders the current admin is going to do, they’ll do their best to sweep it under the carpet afterwards. It’s a good thing the survivors of the Aug. 23, 2010 debacle are keeping up the heat. They should keep it up even after Aquino steps down from office.

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