Indeed, how much a society cares for the least of its members is reflected in the headlines of its biggest media outlets. The Washington Post recently reports…
MANILA, Philippines — An overnight fire razed a tent used as a temporary shelter by survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, killing a woman and all six of her children, including a 4-month-old girl, officials in a central Philippine city devastated by the massive storm said Thursday.
The tragedy highlights the slow progress in the resettlement of tens of thousands of survivors of Haiyan, which struck more than six months ago and is one of the world’s strongest typhoons to make landfall.
An appalling tragedy to say the least. You’d think something like this would make top headline news in the Philippines.
A quick review of stories making prime real estate on the websites of the country’s biggest media conglomerates reveals something else however (screen images captured 1517h 29 May 2014 AEST)…
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The Inquirer editor apparently thought a “study” on the bulging waistlines of the world’s people was something highly relevant to Filipinos.
GMA News did a bit better as it had the fire included in their list of “Top Stories” and even considered the Haiyan (Yolanda) disaster an afterthought worthy of its main headline section — within the context of the Philippines’ incredible shrinking economic growth rates, that is.
ABS-CBN News reserved a plum spot for the story on its “Editor’s Pick” section, coming up third after stories about a has-been starlet’s lovelife and a teen idol’s religious epiphany.
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The plight of the victims of super-typhoon Haiyan which struck central Philippines in November 2013 is far from being resolved. Despite much lip service paid to relief efforts, the results remain disappointing.
“The problem is that so many people are still living in tents and we have been saying all along that these tents are fire hazards,” [Tacloban city disaster management officer Derrick Anido] said. “And we have been requesting (the national government) to relocate them to safer shelters.”
He said only 1,000 temporary houses made of wood with galvanized iron roofing had been built so far, while 14,000 families in the city still live in vulnerable coastal villages and need to be relocated.
The apathy of the Philippine media goes somewhere towards explaining what many foreign observers find baffling: that an entire nation could be transfixed by a no-results “investigation” of thievery surrounding congressional Pork Barrel — a criminal practice that had persisted as an institutionalised part of Philippine governance for decades — and not be moved at all by the banal tragedies that happen everyday at their doorsteps.
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