Some FilAms blame Aquino gov’t for not being prepared for Yolanda

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 20, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, many people are not only blaming the world’s strongest typhoon for the devastation it left behind, but also Philippine government officials who they accuse of not being better prepared to deal with a calamity this big.

Two days before the super storm, the Aquino administration claimed it was ready, even broadcasting warnings of a potential 20-foot storm surge.

But with 4,000 people dead and more than $5 billion in damaged properties, President Aquino finally admitted that the government’s disaster response systems failed.

His reason: Emergency staff members became victims of the storm and were unable to work.

But some Filipino-Americans, who recently held a candlelight vigil for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, said the Philippine government should not have had any excuses, especially when people’s lives are at stake.

“It’s shameful that they can’t help their own people,” Rowena Cape, who attended the vigil, said.

President Aquino also admitted that half of the emergency relief goods that were in storage before Yolanda hit were contaminated by the waves.

With aid coming in from different parts of the world, these activists said Philippine officials need to make sure relief goods get to the people who need it most — right away.

“We’re very disappointed in hearing that the government is not doing enough to provide basic needs like food and water to the people,” Angelica Cabande of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) stated.

“The relief efforts of the government are really slow and we don’t appreciate that President Aquino is blaming local officials for not doing enough. They are also victims of Typhoon Yolanda,” added Jeremias David, also of NAFCON.

But Aquino has also defended his administration in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda. While he thinks a backup system may be needed for better response to future calamities, he said he’s pleased with the pace of rescue efforts.

Given the country’s limited resources and the magnitude of Yolanda, he asked his critics: “What else could I have done?”

Community leaders who held a mass for the Philippines at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco recently, said that instead of focusing on blaming the government, people should just work together for the common good.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of emotions and a lot of anger and sadness through all of this. The only way we can get through this is if we can band together and get as much support out to our families, as quickly as possible,” Hydra Mendoza, a community leader said.

Gennevieve Jopanda, another community leader stressed, “We’re not even taking into account the government at all. We just need to be able to address the issues and get services and resources to the typhoon victims right away.”

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5 Comments on this post.

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  • Noel Garcia
    21 November 2013 at 4:25 am - Reply

    It’s shameful to blame Aquino for the higher casualty ratio. Remember Philippines is not America that all it’s citizens can be evacuated to a safe evacuation center. Indeed a lot of people evacuated in the evacuation center but was also hit by Yolanda. Stop blaming Aquino and before hand he did all the necessary precaution to inform all the people of Leyte, Samar, Ilo Ilo, Capiz, Cebu and Bohol. If I were you blame your Idols in the Philippine Senate and Congress who are the source of corruption that’s why a lot of the Pinoys are poor. Why don’t you go to Chinese embassy and demonstrate against them for occupying our Scarborough Shoal , Mischie Reef and now nearly to be captured the Ayungin Reef. Show your Philippine Spirit against china internationally and just help our country and stop the blaming game. Go out and fight china thru voices to be heared internationally.

    • Delia
      21 November 2013 at 5:57 am - Reply

      Filipinos has no gutts and spirit fighting the aggressors in the Philippines , they are only good for invading America and bullying their way in . Wait till America turns like third world country , they aill be the first to exit out as fast as they can .

  • rainawoodgasboat
    22 November 2013 at 3:15 am - Reply

    If we ignore the goverrnment’s culpability on aggravating the scale of misery that yolanda brought, we are bound to repeat the tragedy into countless more families since more yolandas, pablo and the like are on their way.

  • Janet
    22 November 2013 at 4:33 am - Reply

    This is a great disaster and we cannot help our fellow Filipinos by pointing fingers to who is at fault. I believe the government have given people enough warnings, as my sister is one of those who is involved in the preparations. One thing I see the problem was the use of terminology (like storm surge) and our lack of full understanding of the intensity and gravity of the high winds (200+ mph). And it is correct in one way that we have limited resources to do a massive evacuation, and some of the higher grounds are even below sea level.
    So let us show our spirit by helping and not blaming.

  • JD
    22 November 2013 at 7:30 am - Reply

    @Noel Garcia, your right in everything you said in your comment. It’s sad and I wish the philippines all the luck ! God be with you all.