Malacañang talking head Sonny Coloma, of course, would like us to believe that there was no invitation, therefore BS Aquino was not able to attend. Parang patampo pa nga ata eh. (It was almost like he was pouting that there was no invitation.)
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Instead, on that day, November 8, BS Aquino was attending the wedding of Andrew Tan’s son. Andrew Tan is one of the business tycoons in the Philippines. Critics see this move as BS Aquino supposedly prioritizing those who are potential sources of campaign funds instead of the people whom he took an oath to serve as president.
Not long after, a snapshot of the formal invitation from the city Mayor dated October 27 – almost two weeks before the actual event – was making its way through social media.
I’m waiting to hear from the talking heads, or from BS Aquino himself, whether any of them will claim that somehow, the letter “got lost in the bureaucratic maze”. Or perhaps they really did just ignore the letter, because after all, “you are a Romualdez and the president is an Aquino.” There was supposedly no RSVP from the Palace.
Next, we hear from the Palace that even if BS Aquino was not able to attend, he “offered prayers for those who died in the aftermath of the typhoon,” and that his government “continues to address the needs of the typhoon victims.”
If you haven’t noticed, Malacañang likes spinning bullshit and making excuses, and they’re not even good at it.
Critics of the administration point out that BS Aquino and his administration would like to avoid any mention of Typhoon Yolanda and Tacloban because they serve as a big red mark on the “spotless image” that this government has of itself.
Recall that one of the first things BS Aquino did after the storm hit was to blame Tacloban officials for their supposed lack of preparedness, even if – BS Aquino said it himself – the data was incomplete. BS Aquino was insisting, before the storm, that the government was prepared to face Typhoon Yolanda, and that he also wanted “zero casualties”, as if that’s even possible. For him, everything is Tacloban’s fault, especially since they tarnished his government’s image, and most especially, because the local government is run by a political rival.
Recall also, that then Secretary for Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas was in Tacloban before the storm hit, and was reportedly satisfied by the preparations made. But I digress…
The real point I wanted to make here is this:
Shouldn’t the written invitation be just a formality?
…which leads to the more poignant and obvious conclusion:
BS Aquino should have gone, regardless of whether he was invited or not.
In the corporate world, bosses value employees who have initiative. They like those who don’t have to be told what to do and are self-starters. They like those who think of and anticipate what needs to be done even before the boss says and communicates so. The term in the vernacular is may kusa, or may kusang loob.
I think the Tacloban people – who are part of the “bosses” BS Aquino serves – would have appreciated it if, even without a formal invitation, BS Aquino had made his presence known at the anniversary rites. It would have shown that, as president of the entire Republic of the Philippines, he was in solidarity with them, even if it did come only two years after.
I guess that was too much to ask of BS Aquino, though.
BS Aquino is president only to those loyal to the Aquino family name, and those who are unconditionally aligned with him and sing praises to him and his government. If you are a political rival, are part of a locale governed by a political rival, however, you don’t exist. Same goes if you criticize him for absolutely anything, even if it has solid basis.
He has not been able to put national interest above petty politics. Worst of all, he will forever blame other people for things that, as president of the republic, he should have taken command responsibility of.
So, I guess it should have come as no surprise that he would rather skip the anniversary rites. The people there would have nothing but grievances and not-so-kind words for how this administration had handled the aftermath and the relief operations.
BS Aquino should have gone to the rites then and taken all the grievances and criticism, like a man. He should have owned up to all the shortcomings of his administration for all the things that they could control. That, however, is impossible for a man who has, up to this day, been unable to show any empathy whatsoever.
For BS Aquino’s part, Tacloban and Typhoon Yolanda will forever serve as a reminder of just what kind of government his was: petty, image-conscious, unable to take criticism, unable to assume responsibility, and nothing but show.
The only thing that Tacloban and the rest of the Philippines can look forward to, is that by the next anniversary BS Aquino is no longer the president. Unless BS Aquino’s successor also subscribes to his Daang Matagal, este, Daang Matuwid, then there is at least a glimmer of hope that attention given to Tacloban will get better.
Here’s to hoping that things do get better for Tacloban from here on.
А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. – But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.