Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A question of truth

EXCEPT for those who quite surprisingly preferred to insist on their own assessment of ground realities, well-meaning Filipinos who could be bereft of any political agenda saw the 5th State of the Nation Address of President Aquino swerving further away from objectivity.  The hoi polloi render it simply yet more bluntly this way:  "PNoy, sinungaling ka!" (PNoy, you are a liar!).

This was how InterAksyon, the online news portal of TV5, quoted verbatim the reaction of Yolanda Victims.  They picked out, for instance this part of the SONA: “Your government wasted no time in responding. We immediately cleared the airport, which is why, within 24 hours after the storm, three C130s were able to bring in aid. On that same day, we were also able to set up a communications hub to hasten the flow of information. On the second day, the Department of Health’s Rapid Health Assessment teams arrived, as well as additional soldiers, policemen, and BFP (Bureau of Fire Prevention) personnel from other provinces. Likewise, workers from DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) led relief operations--in the distribution centers in Eastern Visayas or in repacking centers all around the country.”
Everybody knows, of course, that this did not happen.   In fact Anderson Cooper of CNN, not to mention the local networks, berated the Philippine government for its conspicuous absence during the first five days or so after super typhoon Yolanda devastated Tacloban and the rest of the Visayas on November 8 last year.  The Secretary of Department of Interior and Local Government would even justify and unwittingly confirm government's inaction in a discretely recorded altercation when he told the Tacloban mayor:  "You have to understand, you're a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino."   If government's inefficiency was corrigible, that could have been done in no time.  But nine months after that fateful November, the country has yet to see the much-hyped rehabilitation plan for Yolanda victims concretized.  Statistics will bear that in Region 8 alone, which comprises Eastern Visayas, more than 14,000 Yolanda survivors or 3,096 families are still languishing in tents as of July 2014.

A lot of issues maybe raised about the SONA or, for that matter, against this administration.  But all those become peripheral when what is at stake is a question of truth.

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