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 Malacañang 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.]


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of

Leave a Reply

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

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Johnny Derp

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.


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.

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 even stronger typhoon may ravage this country again and all this bs will just repeat itself. I’d… Read more »
Hyden Toro
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… Read more »
Hyden Toro

Welcome 2014!!!


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’.


So 2014 comes in and I just wonder what’s the next blunder our president will be committing next?


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.


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.