P-Noy visits disaster areas under his terms
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-10-06
The critics of President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) must be getting desperate. They have now been resorting to phantom issues against the president. Their falsely premised attacks on P-Noy are slyly crafted in order to deceive the many Filipinos who fall under the classification of over-entertained but under-informed.

Not all Filipinos are well educated and have not been through Logic 101 classes in college. Unfamiliar with the guidelines for spotting fallacious deductions, many Filipinos are sold the big lie in much the same manner that the serpent in the Garden of Eden seduced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.

In the Garden of Eden setting, Adam and Eve lost their place in Paradise. In our setting these fallacious deductions, if unchallenged, will lead us to national disaster. Bad leaders manage to get away with high crimes because they’re able to sell lies. Good leaders are unjustly pilloried for doing the right things. Where do you expect our country to go if this is allowed to persist?

A good case in point is the recent attempt to make P-Noy look uncaring and arrogant for not immediately visiting the heavily flooded areas, in the wake of Typhoons Pedring and Quiel. Some of the “evil eyes” faulted P-Noy for not being the “leader who should be immediately seen” during a crisis. One of the “evil eyes” insinuated that P-Noy is hydrophobic for supposedly not wanting to wade in the flood. 

Another critic compared P-Noy to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who was roundly praised for his visibility immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks. The comparison exposed the fallacy. You cannot compare the job of a Mayor with that of the country’s President. Even US President George W. Bush took some time before visiting the fallen twin towers. Bush had more important things to do like getting a full assessment of the situation and ensuring that no more terror attacks are launched on American soil.

Totally overlooked was that P-Noy was marshaling the full resources of government to not just immediately address the plight of Pedring and Quiel victims but to also improve systems for coping with future natural disasters. The October 2 NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) meeting, which P-Noy chaired and was aired live on TV and radio, debunked many issues the “evil eyes” had been hurling against the president. Very evident from that 2-hour meeting was that we have a hands-on president who is on top of the situation.

From that NDRRMC meeting, several important decisions were made that promises a better handling of future natural disasters. Regarding disaster handling, your Chair Wrecker viewed a GMA Network News TV report on the day after Pedring hit land in Isabela — that there has been a dramatic drop in typhoon-related deaths from 2009 to 2011. It took a television news network to report this important development instead of the incompetent Messaging Secretary.

P-Noy ordered that the issuance of weather bulletins should be made more consumer-friendly. The weathermen did a commendable job in tracking and reporting the progress of Pedring and Quiel. It’s in the area of the understandability of the technical terms used in their weather bulletins where improvements are needed. The masses must be able to understand the weather bulletins.
P-Noy vowed to enforce compulsory evacuation of flood victims who stubbornly refuse to leave their domiciles despite the great danger posed to their lives. This is consistent with the president’s character trait – tenacity, which translates to political will. He’ll do what he thinks is right no matter what the political cost is.

P-Noy instructed all pertinent agencies to develop a holistic approach to solving our weather-related problems. Our weather problems will worsen, not lessen, in intensity. According to Science and Technology Undersecretary Graciano Yumul, “the wet seasons will get wetter while our dry seasons will get drier.” Ondoy, Pepeng and Pedring may be only the tip of the iceberg.

P-Noy ordered a review of infrastructure that’s prone to damages caused by natural disasters. Even the possible transfer of location of public infrastructure is now being considered. It’s pointless rebuilding on a site where the next big typhoon will simply destroy the reconstruction. People must realize that we have to adjust to the new severe weather patterns, believed to be the effects of climate change.

Calumpit, Bulacan suffered from severe flooding, with many residents forced to stay on their roofs. Calumpit Mayor James de Jesus did admit that the national government is helping him. He was quoted as saying: “I have been in touch with (Interior and Local Government Secretary) Jesse Robredo and a lot of agencies are coming to help.”

When P-Noy visited Tarlac, Pampanga and Bulacan yesterday, it was under his terms. Unlike grandstanding politicians who go to disaster areas for photo ops but delivering nothing — P-Noy arrived after the relief goods were already distributed.

Personality politics produces grandstanding politicians and is one of the roots of our bad governance. P-Noy is opting to do real hard work rather than grandstand in a disaster area with nothing to deliver. He wants to veer away from the counterproductive methods associated with personality politics and strengthen the institutions instead.

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  Previous Columns:

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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