Bodies dumped in mass graves as PNoy expresses concern over ‘anxiety’ of families of missing Yolanda victims

Reports of the death toll following the devastation left by super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) continue to pour in. The most recently-released official Philippine government estimate released two days ago put the number of deaths at more than 5,200. President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III has since “conceded” that the death toll is at least double what he originally estimated in earlier days.

First responders reported seeing numerous bodies littering the streets and floating in the water, and local government and police officials feared the storm had killed up to 10,000 people.

The government was displeased with that estimate and sacked the regional police director in Eastern Visayas, Chief Supt. Elmer Soria, who had quoted the figure from a briefing by Leyte Gov. Dominic Petilla on Nov. 9.

The sacking of Soria and the clampdown on body-count reports by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) gave rise to the criticism that the government was playing down the death toll.

Mass burial of dead left by Typhoon Yolanda

Mass burial of dead left by Typhoon Yolanda

But the Philippine leader is reportedly “not bothered” by the mounting body count saying instead that the government will henceforth refrain from issuing death toll estimates until figures that “[cannot be doubted]” are available so as not to “increase the people’s anxiety, especially those with missing relatives”.

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President BS Aquino’s concern for the “anxiety” felt by Filipinos with missing relatives is inconsistent with reports of hundreds of unidentified bodies being unceremoniously dumped into mass graves — a common procedure routinely practiced by Philippine government personnel whenever thousands of people die in the numerous “natural” disasters that hit the country. “In Tacloban, recovered bodies are deposited in the public cemeteries at Basper village, 8 kilometers from the provincial capital, and Suhi village, 13 km from the city,” continues the same Inquirer report. Back in 2011, when Typhoon Sendong devastated the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in northern Mindanao, there were even reports that mass graves were being dug in garbage dump sites. This despite assurances from the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) that decaying corpses do not pose immediate risks of outbreak of communicable disease.

Slow progress at providing reliable estimates of the death toll can also seemingly be attributed to government red tape and meddling by certain Cabinet officials

Asked why the recorded number of fatalities remained the same despite reports of bodies being retrieved in Tacloban City and other areas, [Maj. Rey Balido, NDRRMC spokesperson] said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had directed local chief executives to submit official reports duly signed by the mayors or governors to the NDRRMC.

It is interesting to note that it was also Roxas who had previously vehemently downplayed reports that the government was mismanaging the collection and processing of victims’ remains in an earlier interview with CNN reporter Andrew Stevens.


The WHO recommends in its Technical Note for Emergencies No. 8 that health-related risks due to uncollected bodies are “negligible” but that the rapid collection of victims’ remains is important “because of the possible social and political impact and trauma.”

Also stressed is the importance of identifying bodies before their disposal for record keeping purposes; “Once [a body is] identified, a death certificate should be issued, an official record of death prepared and the body tagged. With violent deaths, it is also important to record the cause of death for possible future investigation.” The report also recommends that burial procedures “be consistent with the usual practices of the community concerned.”

[Photo of Yolanda mass grave courtesy]

25 Replies to “Bodies dumped in mass graves as PNoy expresses concern over ‘anxiety’ of families of missing Yolanda victims”

  1. Looks like the Aquino administration is really desperate to hide the glaring fact that they f_cked up big time in underestimating the death toll.
    Try as they may, they have already exposed themselves as incompetent to the rest of the world.
    No amount of propaganda can ever hide that fact from the people.
    It’s only a matter of time before Mr. Aquino’s presidency comes crashing down like a flimsy stack of cards.

      1. @Dodge

        I believe there already were better candidates during the last presidential election. But, the liberal party, through media connections and abject ruthlessness, has done a good job at demonizing practically all the other contenders that AbNoy’s incompetence was made to appear the lesser evil.

        If AbNoy were truly honest, he would not have been swayed by anyone or anything to run for president.

        Now, his lack of qualifications has been leaving a wake of dead bodies, foreign and local as he continues to botch things, crisis after crisis.

        Those who support him are simply traitors to/of the state.

    1. Speaking of “desperate to hide the glaring fact”, no doubt that Korina would come back and say “you don’t know what you’re talking about”, lol.

  2. Amidst the disaster and its aftermath, all the blunders and booboos, nakukuha pa rin magpapogi.

    I just hope filipinos wake up and realize what these idiots in the government are really made of…… 100% pure, unadulterated crap.

    1. I agree. Pero…sino ang puwedeng magpalit sa mga nasa puwesto ngayon?

      It’s likely there ARE intelligent, honest, and qualified people who can serve the country better than what we’ve got, but would they even WANT to do it?

      1. Me I can run our country is all gone corruptions and all rubbish government. like nutters all. I could kick them all. run d country in better life. live in harmony peaceful life no more poors all d same. no more rich all levels. and very strick laws and obey d laws off gods d 10 commandments. respect my laws all. all will obey like gods. thank you very much. more blessing and godbless us all our pilipino peoples. deserve a better life. not like d leaders is like not human beings. no hearths no gods. is not like not a person at all. we are human being. we love our animals. what is like a person. deserve some respect. our leaders like demons .only d leaders is money billions. that there hearths is billions. need to kick them all. thank you very much. I’m sorry .cause these leaders have no respect with d human being.

        1. Furnished to them all is jail .cause killing a lot off millions pilipino peoples. deserve jail sentence all that leaders. nutters.

  3. Here in the Philippines, its people treat (human) life as “cheap”. The breakneck speed at which da Pinoy creates them is comparable, if not higher, than the atrocious rate they lose (or purge) them. And here we have “leaders” who treat it as such, manipulating the statistics as they perceive would fit. Parang Real-Time Strategy videogame lang, ano.

  4. Paradoxical that the government consider dignity in death irrelevant for the victims, (and which only adds to the mental/emotional anguish of the survivors), but seek every opportunity to commemorate self-serving politicians deaths.
    Hypocricy in a divided society, where the values are more reminiscent of a feudal system, and where life is cheap and death is worth nothing, not even basic respect.

  5. It took the international media to tell the truth, to publicise, to generate international sympathy/support/aid/donations, and to focus on the people.
    CNN did a tremendous job in tge philippines, and gained a lot of respect and friends in tacloban, showing more sensitivity and genuine compassion than pnoy and the aquino government combined.
    Shame the amateurs and sheep in the mainstream philippine media did such a dis-service to their country through biased reporting, suppressing stories, and little investigative reporting.
    The majority of these hacks should give up their day job and stop being yellow prostitutes.
    If i wanted to read fairy stories i would buy a hans christian anderssen book, not the philippine star et al.

    1. The Philippine Media now are Press-titutes except for a few who has the courage to go against the whims of the Yellow Syndicate. They are Envelopemental Journalists. What a shame.

  6. BS Aquino’s acts and omissions speaks for itself. The stupid decisions(reducing the death toll, sacking others who made worst case death estimates, blame games, slow action, epal, etc.)revealed how inept government leadership was during the monster storm. The defective president was even seen smiling while distributing relief goods. Did he ever show empathy in his acts and omissions? Did he shed tears for his people? God help us from this amateur show of defective leadership. BS Aquino (not others) and his defective psyche should be blamed for it all!

    1. Yeah. Mali ang approach niya sa pagbilang ng mga nasawi. Sa 10K death estimate, puwede naman niyang sabihin na “Sana mali naman iyan” and just let them do the counting.

      They were going to get slagged anyway no matter how many died. They should have never given the impression they’re fixated on manipulating the total.

  7. (A brief explanation – in Dutch – of the aerial footage by the camera man)

    “Het mooiste shot? Vanaf een golfplaatje stijgt de camera plots 200 meter op, en dan dringt de werkelijke omvang echt tot je door.” NOS-cameraman Eric Feijten heeft al heel wat gezien in zijn leven, maar dit blijft ook hem verbazen. Hij was ruim een week met NOS-correspondenten in het getroffen Tacloban. Met de camera op zijn schouder registreerde hij het menselijke leed. Om ook overzicht van de straten en de wijken te krijgen, stuurde hij zijn drone de lucht in.

    “Je kunt in een helikopter stappen, maar dan mag je niet lager vliegen dan 300 meter. De drone vulde het gat tussen grond en grote hoogte. Je kon met mensen op straat meevliegen. Of even ergens een huis binnengaan”, zegt Feijten. De beelden hebben veel los gemaakt bij collega-cameralieden. “Iemand bij de BBC noemde het ongelooflijk, een nieuwe manier van rampenverslaggeving.” Feijten heeft het onbemande vliegtuigje sinds deze zomer, en gebruikte het in Nederland tot nu toe terughoudend. “Voor het Jeugdjournaal ben ik boven een doolhof in een maisveld gaan hangen.” Ook heel apart, maar niet zo indringend als wat hij in de Filipijnen voor elkaar kreeg.

    1. just testing google translate. apart from a couple of words seems pretty good.

      “The best shot? From a wave plate, the camera rises
      plots 200 meters, and then calls the actual size really
      through to you. “NOS cameraman Eric Feijten has been very much
      seen in his life, but it also continues to amaze him. He
      was over a week with NIS correspondents
      hit Tacloban. With the camera on his shoulder
      he recorded the human suffering. In order overview
      the streets and get the quarters he sent his drone the
      “You can get into a helicopter, but you may not
      fly lower than 300 feet. The drone filled the gap between
      ground and a high altitude. You could with people on the street
      fly along. Or just go somewhere within a house, “says
      Feijten. The images have much loosened by fellow
      cameramen. “Someone at the BBC called it incredible,
      a new way of disaster reporting. “Feijten has
      the unmanned aircraft since this summer, and used
      the hitherto reluctant Netherlands. “For the
      Jeugdjournaal I’m like a maze in a corn field
      go hang. “Also very special, but not as intrusive as
      what he had done in the Philippines.

      1. Libertas,

        Its should be me who should also provided the English translation. My apologies for that. I think Google translate did a nice job except for a few words/lines. But I am sure, most people here get the “picture” from the Google translate version.


        PS: Latest news I read, is that Dutch search and rescue dogs have been deployed to find bodies in Tacloban. So far the dogs found 20 bodies.

  8. And the DILG has ordered that bodies that haven’t identified yet will not be added to the death toll. So even if there are thousands more dead bodies floating, lying around. they have no numbers. Also, the NBI took over the Forensic Investigation of all the casualties. What is wrong with them?

  9. Filipinos have high respect for the dead. They should not be buried in a dumpsite for garbage. These people are love ones of families. We can bury them in Mass Graves. However, a Memorial Sign must be on top of the graves. Or, a small Christian Chapel can be built.To have Christian masses. To make families; pray, find solace, and remember their lost love ones in the calamity.
    Our prayers and deepest sympathy for those who lost love ones. May you find peace amidst this tragedy. To our leaders: may this be your lesson, to take your duties and responsibilities seriously. People will suffer, because of your incompetence and negligence.

  10. A reflection of everything that is wrong with the world is the fact that no one gives a shit about dumping bodies in a mass grave, I mean “Hey, they stink and cause disease, don’t they?”. No State funerals for those chumps, huh? The Philippines is doomed, just like the rest of human-kind’s wonderfall nations. The Philippines is just leading the way and showing the rest of the world how to speed up the decay and downfall of civilization.

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