BY JOHNNY DAYANG
Recently, over a six-week period, Luzon was battered with four devastating storms that cost lives, ruined properties, and flooded hundreds of villages. State managers valued the destruction, including public works and infrastructure, in the billions. These calamitous events and its trail of devastations happened at time when the country is in a pandemic.
Disasters are at times used as occasions for lies to be peddled. Some use them as channels in magnifying flawed political projections in the hope that a well-rehearsed oratorical fanfare can spell points for the government. But in this time of social media, trolls, and fake news, there are also people who employ tragedies in adding misery to the lives of the wretched.
Always in a hurry to parry attacks and innuendoes, presidential embouchure Harry Roque, at the height of emergency, has added hysteria to the disillusioned victims of calamities who strongly felt the government slow acted in addressing their immediate needs.
Roque’s careless take at public issues has further distorted public understanding on how the State has approached the recent catastrophes. At times, he telegraphs the notion all is not well in the Palace, which is not exactly a good impression. Even if the Filipinos are noted for their resilience, government complacency should not add tactlessness to the situation.
Recent events have not been particularly good for the national leadership. Since assuming, the litany of calamities that have shaken the Duterte presidency continues to extend, and there is no arguing that more challenges are coming soon.
So far, the misfortunes and tragedies that form part of President Duterte’s Via Dolorosa include the Marawi siege, North Cotabato and Davao del Sur earthquakes, Category 5 typhoons, COVID-19 pandemic, rise in corruption cases, inundations, and Taal eruption, to name just a few.
Instead of imputing people for their efforts in lessening the effect of calamities among the victims, the national leadership should instead adopt a well-disposed attitude towards individuals and institutions that are working even without government support.
Political jealousy, distortion of facts, wrongful allegations, and outright partisan vitriols only add fuel to the perception that Filipino leaders have not matured, which is quite clear.
Worse, Roque and his ilk, by justifying government absence during emergency, have produced an impression that no matter what, presidential oversights and missteps, even if they amount to deceiving the public, have to be hidden behind a façade. If only for that, the presidential ambition of Duterte’s daughter to succeed his father is already jeopardized.
Justifying what cannot be substantiated is an anomalous gambit Roque should do away.