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Insights on Haiyan

Much have been said about the Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan which hit my country, the Philippines. The news on the destruction of lives, properties and natural environment are already gloomy but what makes the worse are reports that politicians are making the calamity as a platform for their political ambitions and other personal motives. Their selfishness has been manifested in many ways. For instance, videos and photos have captured that Vice President Jejomar Binay has prepared streamers, jackets, plastic bags, etc. which bear his NAME and FACE. The funds to procure those items including the relief goods came from the taxpayers' money but why put his identification on them? The nerve of him to do that!

Some mayors, barangay captains and their cohorts insist on distributing the goods personally. They want to show to the world that they are concerned and working hard to help their constituents, rain or shine. Even President Aquino and DILG Secretary Roxas are not exempted. They handed a few bags of relief goods with photo documentation, and left as quickly as they came.

Reports are pouring that local officials are keeping the expensive donations in their camp (house or shelter) and swapping them with cheaper items (e.g. Spam is swapped with sardines). They are also distributing them at night so that they won't be seen as they deliver the expensive goods to their allies.

What is more disturbing is that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is in the bandwagon too. DSWD coordinators have instructed volunteers to swap goods, repack them in bags bearing the name of the Department and keep them in special storage. With this ulterior motive in mind, the process of distribution went on a snail pace and many items got soiled in mud and rain but the Department Secretary has everyone to blame except herself. Despite her terrible performance, in this calamity and other instances, however, she has the confidence to aim for a higher position. Many are saying that she will run in the next national elections and will use this opportunity to catapult her to the Senate. If this is true, then she is no different from the traditional politicians.

Two days before, Pres. Aquino claimed that the government was ready to face Typhoon Yolanda. The planes, choppers, trucks and ships are ready for deployment anytime. But even 5 days after the calamity, these vehicles could not move as fast as they should. Government officials and local leaders should not attribute the delay to blocked roads because foreign organizations and reporters aboard their trucks, were able to get to the calamity sites as early as the 2nd day.

I am saddened by reports of women who were raped in the aftermath of the storm. This is double jeopardy for the victim and my heart goes out to them. But I also weep for their families who had to bear witness of the crime against their wives or daughters. There was even a case wherein the father was killed while defending her daughter. May God punish those heartless men!

CNN Reporter Anderson Cooper and other observers have praised the Filipinos for their resilience. Their comments implied that Super Typhoon Yolanda has brought the best out of the Filipinos but it has also brought to light the worst in them. I am proud of being a Filipino but in these sad cases, I would like to deny that I am one. Pardon me but allow me to do so just for a moment.

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