It Takes Him Time

August 23, 2010. At about 9:30 am, a disgruntled former senior inspector of the Manila Police District boarded and hijacked a tourist bus which carried 21 tourists from Hong Kong and four Filipinos. After almost an hour and a half, six Hong Kong tourists were freed. During noon, three additional hostages were released. By this time, both local and international television channels aired live footage of the kidnapping as the hijacker became more sullen with each passing hour. The drama continued until nightfall. By half past seven, the first shots fired from within the bus were heard and deaths began mounting. Snipers positioned themselves and policemen futilely attempted to break in through the windows and doors. Almost an hour had passed before the hijacker was shot in the head by police marksmen. In the aftermaths of the event, nine were dead including the perpetrator.

People around the world criticized the Philippine National Police for lack of planning and strategy for negotiating with the hostage-taker. However, President Aquino, who had remained invisible during that time, defended the police for the hijacking had not resulted to more casualties. Instead, he blamed the media for aggravating the situation through their blow-by-blow coverage. It took almost ten hours for the incident to be resolved, and the President stayed in the safe corner.

December 16-17, 2011. Tropical storm Washi, locally known as Sendong, reached its peak strength and touched the east coast of Mindanao in December 16. Winds were as high as 95 km/hr. After devastating Mindanao and weakening, it regained strength in the Sulu Sea and crossed Palawan in December 17, leaving wreckage along the way. Confirmed fatalities pegged at 1, 268.

While some areas in Visayas and Mindanao were ravaged by Sendong, President Aquino was out partying with his security personnel in MalacaƱang. Accordingly, he stayed for least then 30 minutes in the Christmas Party. Yet, one cannot deny that he graced the party attended by his men and some actresses.

August 1-8, 2012. The National Capital Region, and the provinces of Quezon, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan experienced an eight-day period of heavy rains and thunderstorms. The calamity was caused by the strong movement of Habagat or Southwest Monsoon. Millions of people were submerged in floods as high as 3.0 m.

While many citizens were swimming in misery, President Aquino was nowhere to be found until few days after when the rains finally relented and the waters subsided. And when he appeared, he brought his senatorial candidates and rode atop a military truck.

November 7-10, 2013. Bagyong Yolanda, international name Haiyan, struck central Visayas. Classified as Category 5 super typhoon, Yolanda brought in 315 km/hr winds, creating storm surges with waves as high as 6 m. Death tolls were estimated to be around 10,000 people in Tacloban City alone.

Aids from local donors and foreign countries poured but it took almost a week for relief goods to reach the bereft victims. Again, President Aquino played the blame game and attributed the catastrophe to the failure of local government, when in truth, both local officials and citizens were victims of Yolanda. Only when US intervened that system was organized for relief operation, rehabilitation and relocation. By then, several people had died of starvation, looting and violence became prevalent, and misery seemed bottomless.

Year after year, the Filipino nation had witnessed as to how slow the President seemed to respond to several calamities. Many had become pawns to these failures. In most cases, he was unprepared or caught flat-footed. He does not seem to take any form of responsibility, and instead, shifts the guilt to others. When asked substantial questions, he could not give direct answers, and instead, make vague and general statements. As I see things, he does not work on his instincts and reflexes, and instead, he is the type who lets the dusts initially settle before taking action. He could not take chances, and instead, he stayed on the safe side of the road. With that, he is wise and intelligent, and yet, his actions are governed more by his mind than his heart. But oftentimes, that becomes a problem, for his actions seem to lack passion and sincerity and more harm is done by playing safe than taking risks.

Three years had already passed since President Aquino assumed presidency of the Philippines. His motto is “Tuwid na Daan” (Straight Road), in which he envisions to end corruption in the government. But this road is elusive, and in his quest to travel the road, he seems to lose glimpse of many important aspects of the Filipino people.

2013 will soon end and I pray no more calamity will fall on the country. And in the year to come, may no more lives be wasted only for the country and His Excellency to learn and experience.

Information courtesy of:

Image courtesy of Embassy of the Philippines.


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