An open letter to CNN

For the past week, the Philippines has caught international media attention, and why wouldn’t it?  The strongest typhoon of the year Haiyan (local name:  Yolanda) hit Eastern Visayas with winds 3.5 times stronger than that of Hurricane Katrina.  If you’ve seen the photos from Day 1, everything is just flattened out.  It was a heartbreaking sight.  What used to be a slowly progressing town was reduced to clutter.

Someone even said it was as if a hand flattened Tacloban.

So since then, and it’s been Day 8 now, journalists and foreign aid have been constantly pouring in.  With all those eyes tuned in to our country, it is not a wonder that criticism of the Philippine government would rise.  It came to the point that noted journalist Anderson Cooper of CNN had to explain his style of reporting just because local diva (hehe) Korina Sanchez openly criticized his commentary on her radio show.

And I get the frustration.  It is taking long to reach everyone.  The Philippines is an archipelago, which by definition is an intensive group of islands.  As much as the Filipinos are together in this one, the geography of our country literally divides us.

But the defense of our country cannot be better encapsulated than this open letter I chanced upon while browsing things to retweet and echo back on Twitter.  You will love this, I promise.

Dear Sirs:

I just wanted to make some comments on the reporting of the CNN International crew here in Manila, regarding the relief efforts for the victims of super-typhoon Haiyan (which we locally call typhoon Yolanda).
First, full disclosure: I am a retired Filipino executive and computer person. I was born in the Philippines and spent all my life here (save for some very short overseas stints connected with my career). I have worked with a large local Philippine utility, started up several entrepreneurial offshore software service companies (when outsourcing was not yet in vogue), and also served as the Philippine country head for a multi-billion dollar Japanese computer company. This diverse work background allows me to always see both the local and global point of view, and to see things from the very different standpoints of a third-world citizen, and a person familiar with first-world mindsets and lifestyles.

I appreciate CNN’s reporting, as it brings this sad news to all corners of the world, and in turn, that helps bring in much needed charity and aid. The tenor and tone of CNN’s reporting has not been very palatable for a local person like me (the focus seems to be on the country’s incompetence). But I shrug that aside, as there is probably some truth to that angle. And in reality, what counts now is that help arrives for the people who need them most; recriminations and blame can come later. Last night, I listened to a CNN reporter wondering about the absence of night flights in Tacloban, in the context of the government not doing enough to bring in relief goods. It was like listening to newbie executives from Tokyo, London or the USA with no real international experience, yet assuming that their country’s rules and circumstances applied equally to the rest of the world. That was the proverbial last straw: I knew I had to react and call your attention to a few things (with some risk, since these topics are not my area of competence):

1. The airport in Tacloban is a small provincial airport: when you get two commercial Airbus flights arriving simultaneously, you are already close to straining that airport’s capacity. Even under normal operations, the last flights arrive in Tacloban at around 6pm, partly because of daylight limitations. Considering that the typhoon wiped out the airport and the air traffic gear, and killed most of the airport staff, you basically have nothing but an unlit runway which can handle only smaller turbo-prop planes. You can only do so much with that. I would assume that our Air Force pilots are already taking risks by doing landings at dusk. Take note that in the absence of any working infrastructure, the cargo will have to be off-loaded from the plane manually, while it sits in the tarmac. If you do the math, I wonder how aircraft turnarounds can be done in a day? How many tons of supplies could theoretically be handled in one day?

2. The Philippine air force has only three C130 cargo planes (I am not sure if there is a fourth one). This is supposedly the best locally-available plane that is suited for this mission: large enough to carry major cargo load, but not too large to exceed the runway limitations. We do not have any large helicopters that can effectively move substantial cargo. I am happy to read in the newspapers that the USA is lending another eight C130 planes. I am not the expert, but I would suspect that even with more planes, the bottleneck would be in capacity of the airport to allow more planes to land and be offloaded, as discussed above.

3. A major portion of the road from the Airport to Tacloban City is a narrow cement road of one lane in each direction. With debris, fallen trees, toppled electric poles, and even corpses littering the road, it took time to clear the airport itself, so that they could airlift heavy equipment needed to clear the roads. Then it took even more time to make the roads passable. Listening to our Interior Secretary on CNN, he disclosed that the Army was able to bring in 20 military trucks to Leyte. Half of them were allocated to transport relief goods to the different villages in the city, and the rest were assigned for clearing, rescue and other tasks. With very little local cargo trucks surviving the typhoon, I guess this would be another bottleneck. Again, I assume that if I do the math, there is only so much volume that can be moved daily from the airport to the city.

4. The Philippines is an archipelago. Tacloban City is in Leyte island, which has no road link with the other major cities/islands. The only external land link (the San Juanico bridge) is with the neighboring island of Samar, which was equally hard hit by the typhoon, and which is just like Leyte (in terms of limited transportation infrastructure). The logistics of getting relief, supplies and equipment to Tacloban is daunting. Not too long ago, my company put up a large chunk of the communication backbone infrastructure in Leyte province. It was already a challenge to get equipment onto the ground then. This has always been the challenge of our geography and topography. What more now, when the transportation/communication systems are effectively wiped out in Tacloban?

5. There is an alternate land/sea route from Manila to Leyte: down 600 kilometers through the Pan-Philippine highway to the small southern province of Sorsogon, taking a ferry to the island of Samar, and then 200+ kilometers of bad roads to Tacloban City. I was told that some private (non-government) donations are being transported by large trucks through this route. So many trucks are now idle in Matnog town down in Sorsogon, waiting for the lone ferry which can carry them across the very rough San Bernardino Straits to the town of Allen in Samar island. The sheer volume probably is over-whelming. Again I do not have the exact numbers, but my educated guess is that the low-volume Matnog ferry needs to transport in a few days what they would normally do over one or two months.

6. The government administrative organization in Tacloban is gone. Most local government employees are victims themselves. This adds to the problems of organizing relief efforts locally. Even if augmented with external staff, the local knowledge and the local relationships are hard to replace. In some other smaller towns (where the death toll and/or damage has not been as bad), local governments are still somehow functioning and coping. They are able to bury their dead, set up temporary makeshift shelters, organize and police themselves. Short term, they need food, water and medical supplies to arrive; medium term, they need assistance in clean-up, reconstruction and rebuilding. But Tacloban is in a really bad condition. What can you expect from a city that has lost practically everything?

I am told of the comparison with the Fukushima earthquake/tsunami, where relief supplies arrived promptly, efficiently, and in volume. I think there is one major backgrounder that CNN staff fail to mention: that Tacloban is not Fukushima, that it is not Atlanta. And the Philippines is not Japan, and certainly not the USA. Even before the typhoon, this region was one of the less developed in the country, with limited infrastructure. There was only a small airport, limited trucking capacity, a limited road system, and a small seaport servicing limited inter-island shipping. And with the damage from the typhoon, that limited infrastructure has been severely downgraded. It is easy to blame the typhoon. But the truth is: Tacloban is a small city in a third-world country. If you had to bring in that volume of cargo in that short window of time in pre-typhoon Tacloban, it would already have been a challenge. It is easy for a first-world person to take everything for granted. The reality (or sometimes, the advantage?) of growing up in a third-world country is that you do not assume anything, you take nothing for granted, you are grateful for what little you have (and you do not cry over what you do not have).

I understand and sympathize with the desperate needs of the victims. Every little bit counts. The smallest food or water package can make the difference between life and death. I think every Filipino knows that. And that is why I am very happy with the national display of compassion and civic duty. Everyone, even the poorest, even the prison inmates, is donating food and money. People are volunteering their time. All the local corporations are helping. In the Philippines, Christmas is the most important holiday, and the annual company Christmas Party is probably the most important company event for most employees. Yet in very many companies in Manila, employees have decided to forego their Christmas party, and instead divert the party budget to relief/aid.

From what I see on TV, the situation on the ground is not pretty. I do accept that efficiency needs to be improved, that service levels have to go up. I do acknowledge that our country’s resources are limited, that our internal delivery capabilities may not be world-class. I do understand that there may be ineffective policies/processes and even wrong decisions made by government. But what I cannot understand is the negative tenor of CNN reporting. I suspect that CNN reporters are viewing this through the eyes of a first-world citizen, with an assumed framework of infrastructure and an expectation of certain service levels. I suspect these are expectations that we would have never met, even in the pre-typhoon days.

Or perhaps it is a question of attitude: a half-empty glass rather than a half-full glass. At my age, I have experienced and lived through earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and at least twenty really bad typhoons (but admittedly, none as bad as Yolanda). From my experience, what we have now is not just a half-filled glass, I personally view it as probably at least 75% full (meaning, I think this is a big improvement over past efforts in past calamities). But please do not fault us for being a third-world country. Please do not explicitly or implicitly attribute everything to our incompetence, what might be due to other factors (such as those that result from limited resources or infrastructure, or those conditions that God or nature seems to have chosen for us). Our people are doing what they can, so let’s give them a break. More so in these difficult times, when suffering is high, emotions are feverish, and tempers are frayed.

It breaks my heart to see my countrymen suffering so much. I will do my share, whatever I can do to help. I will bear insults and harsh words, if this is the price for my people to receive the aid we need. I make no excuses for my country’s shortcomings, but I just wish that some positive slant (the many small tales of heroism, the hard work of our soldiers, the volunteerism and compassion of the typical citizen, etc) would also be mentioned equally. I just needed to let you know how this particular Filipino reacts to your reporting, and I suspect there are many, many other folks who feel the same way that I do.

For whatever the limitations, I still sincerely thank you for your coverage, and the benefits that it will bring my countrymen.

I don’t know who the author is, but this just made me tear up.

Nothing left to say here, that pretty much sums it up.  To end this post, let’s hashtag this bitch.

UPDATE 11/17/2013:
We have the original post!  Thank you very much. 

This letter has driven my stats crazy, and a lot of opinions have been thrown in every now and then.  Le Beau already told me to close the comments section as people are becoming a little too passionate about their opinion.  But, as a fellow commenter on stuff that pushes my buttons, I don’t think I would want to close the comments box.  Please please please though abide by one rule:  YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SMART TO GIVE YOUR OPINION, BUT YOU HAVE TO BE POLITE.

Salamat.

331 thoughts on “An open letter to CNN

  1. chriss says:

    Who ever wrote this letter doesn’t know Tacloban like I know it… It was a very progressive province with buildings and 5 star hotels. And STOP saying that Philippines is a 3rd world its Not. Try going to a country that is really third world and there are plenty, central asia; africa and eastern europe these continents you won’t even find a toilet. This Bitch has obviously not seen the world. Like she said she sit in the computer all day. What people are asking is a Leader not a DIVA who walk out because it does not go his way. CNN, BBC, New York Post, GMA7 reported the way it is NO Leadership! That’s how Journalism 101 is all about. No fear of reporting the truth.

    • christelle says:

      the philippines is a third world country. it is… it always has been… yes, a lot of poor countries do exist… and they are also called third-world… and so are we.

    • Ray Baguilat says:

      Indeed, that is FREE SPEECH in our free democratic form of government. Hence, Anderson, Korina, and the anonymous author are but exercising their Freedom of Speech and of the Press, including all of us here. Anderson Cooper has his own personal point of view, and Korina Sanchez has also her own personal point of view, and so with the author with all their respective points of view. But we ought to be BROADMINDED, FAIR & JUST and see all sides of the coin, and not just consider and rely on one side of the coin, like for example Anderson Cooper just because he is a foreign correspondent. Remember: “Nobody is always perfect” and “You cannot please everybody all the time”.

  2. Vitto Zabala Halasan says:

    I am very strong disagree with your letter ! the CNN was already about 3 days ? at the day of 5, still nothing from the govt working on it. CNN the most focus their concerned was the structure of the airport which the vital source where the aides comin easily, but nothing. that was reason why CNN talk to much about what they concerned…Where the govt official that days.? Remember , CNN Anderson , was in the airport that 5 days after typhoon while he did reporting…why so many excuses? wheres the chief of command? Has he no authority to command even a helicopter comin from davao, cebu, other with batch of army engineering to clear the airport?

  3. chriss says:

    Who ever wrote this letter doesn’t know Tacloban like I know… It is a very progressive province with building and 5 star hotels. And STOP saying that Philippines is a 3rd world its Not, Try going to a country who is really third world and there are plenty, central asia; africa and eastern europe these continent you won’t find any bathroom. This Bitch has obsviously not seen the world. Like she said she sit in the computer all day. What people are asking is a Leader not a DIVA who walk out because it does not go his way. CNN, BBC, New York Post, GMA7 reported the way it is NO Leadership! That’s how Journalism is..
    about a minute ago ·

  4. Yulsaba says:

    I only read part of the letter- only thing I wish to say is- CNN is right, and Anderson Cooper did an excellent job in exposing Philippine government’s failure in responding to such a calamity. And yes a small plastic bag of goods given to each family during a disaster is an insult to human race.

  5. Anon says:

    Since this is an open letter forum, I would like to add my opinion to the first long letter.

    Given that we do not have the infrastructure, and the transport needed to aide the survivors in different areas in the visayas region. Still the government party were not organize and prepared for this type of situations due to multiple reasons. It’s been years since tacloban and other islands facing the pacific ocean are prone to the first wave of any typhoons. The Philippine Government doesn’t have any crisis management plans or even if they have it doesnt shows like they really have it in place. With the hundreds of thousands soldiers, airforce, marines and navy we have in the country, the response is still not acceptable in some points. These AFP are trained to be dropped by planes and some can be deployed via navy with their rubber boats, newly accquired river boats and other fast craft. The newly acquired sokol helicopters and HIUI than can carry manpower and relief goods. And we may have these AFP forces and highly trained, but the deployment of them needs a leader to plan the response properly.

    Where was our leader (P-NOY) in days before the typhoon strikes the visayas?
    Made a press conference commanding the affected areas to be ready with their strategy of Risk Reduction (Zero Casualty). Instead of giving orders and series of strategic plans.

    Where was our leader (P-NOY) after the typhoon devastated the affected areas?
    Went to Tacloban to personally hand given the relief goods to the survivors instead of leading the government for a response to crisis. Doing that doesn’t help the affected areas but help himself in a publicity for his own image. You have manpower to direct, lead and manage and not just showing yourself to the people you’re handing goods.

    Do the leaders from different countries that provides support in the visayas were in the area to show to the media they’re helping? NO!

    There were delays of the relief goods in the government due to multiple reasons.
    1. It has to be signed by the mayor and what so ever big names of officials. Do they have to wait for that long just to distribute the relief goods? Why does the relief goods from other countries came abundantly faster than what we have in the philippines? this answer leads us to another reason of delays.
    2. The relief goods were hold on some other areas controlled by the government for some reasons which leads to another delay.
    3. Re-packed and labeled with their names on it for publicity.
    4. Clearly not organized.
    5. Corruption

    Our Government relies on the local government in respective areas to save their own in the calamity. In that type of typhoon, any public servant in the affected areas would go back to their love ones and save them. There should be a response team in placed outside the affected areas and should be planned ahead of time.

    With all respect to the first e-mail, i understand your point that this is not the time to point fingers and blaming. But clearly the affected areas paid the price of our corrupt and un-organized government which is un-acceptable. The CNN are not talking about the public servants who were there in their sweat helping the survivors that they were slow and un-organized. But they’re looking at a bigger picture and what they’re trying to take out of the shell was the big people behind those manpower who were suppose to lead them and manage them to function at their bests.

    You mentioned on your message that tacloban is not like any other countries that should function well in this kind of situation. Yes you are right, but yet our leader (P-NOY) relied on these people to prepare save their own in this kind of situation. Yet there’s no plan in place to respond in this kind of situation. Yet, the place was left behind and less developed compare to other areas.

    It’s not just a matter of how many c130 or helicopters or how far distant each island we have in the country that the response was delayed.
    It’s not just about how slow the response team who helped the survivors in the affected areas.
    It’s not just about the limited infrastructure we have in different places in the region why we have issues penetrating the areas for response.
    It’s not about money or resources.
    Because for years had past, our government had all their chance to lead, plan, manage, and make our country a better place to live in and to serve to the filipino people specially in this kind of situation.

    It is sad that our country is now being criticized by different media in different places in the world due to response our government has shown. But this is not the time to protect our government to cover their wrong doings.

    It’s all about having the right people to run the government administration in the philippines.

    Yes! The Filipino response team gave all they can to help and all are brave, smart and so on. But without the right leader we can not

  6. Felixdcat says:

    And yet the CNN crews were able to reach ground zero area of the super typhoon and were able to talk to people needing help! After reading this open letter all of it for me is nothing but excuses…there’s a Filipino saying that came to mind after reading this open letter…”Kung gusto mong gawin maraming paraan, Kung ayaw mong gawin maraming dahilan” I think that’s how the saying goes…translation is if you really want to do it you have ways and means to do it but if you don’t want to do it you have many excuses!
    But It’s okay…this same exact criticism and situation happened here too in the US…it happened in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit…everyone blamed Bush and his government too for their delayed response and not being prepared…I don’t think any country or government can prepare for such a disaster like super typhoon and the magnitude of its devastation! All we can do is help each other out and don’t blame anyone and start pointing fingers…just help out and pray for things to get better fast for everyone affected and suffering from this disaster! My opinion my right and it’s a free country!

  7. andro says:

    Strongly disagree on this letter. The writer obviously does not understand whats reporting is all about. They are there to report on what they see, not on what they think. Do you want them to report things that are not there? I read some local news somewhere that the government was already there about just a day after, but they didnt help, they just looked around and did nothing to help. And also the news is pointing out is that in 5 days, not much help is there. If they really wanted to help, it shouldn’t take that long. They got planes that could just drop off the supplies and helicopters to send off the crews. Bad habit of pinoys is that we typically take all those comments on a personal level as we take those comments as insults instead of looking to ourselves and correct it, thats why we never get to solve the real problem.

    • vito halasan says:

      youre right! the cnn was already about 3 days ? at the day of 5, still nothing from the govt working on it. CNN the most focus his concern is the structure of the airport which the vital source where the aides comin easily, but nothing. that was reason why CNN talk to much about what they concerned…Where the govt official that days.?

  8. Cookie says:

    At the end of the day its all about pride. Its all about politics. Its all about excuses. Whoever write this letter obviously a very smart person.Philippines may or may not be a third world country but, do you think this is the right time to discuss your emotion? Why don’t you go out there and do a volunteer job. After that you might have my sympathy. But, seriously you must learn to appreciate and say thank you when someone is giving you a hand. We are not like Japan or USA but, Filipinos are resourcesful and sure can do a lot better to improve our country than just making excuses for our incompetence. P.S you forgot to mention Government corruption!!!!!!!!

  9. John(aka:mr panda) says:

    Honestly, I can’t really watch the news because seeing everything is just too overwhelming. But things are getting really rough out there. Even ambulances are having a hard time getting places. I can’t stand not hearing from my family. I can’t stand having all this havoc and destruction happen. I wish they all could get a break.

  10. AJRN says:

    Isa lang po ang masasabi ko. WINASAK NA NI YOLANDA ANG ILANG BUHAY SA KABISAYAAN. WAG NA NATING WASAKIN ANG ISA’T ISA.. SUPORTAHAN PADIN NATIN ANG PANGULO.. TAYO TAYO PADIN MAGDADAMAYAN HANGGANG HULI DAHIL MGA PINOY TAYO!

  11. Karl says:

    this is another citizen who wants to voice out his opinions or wants to be noticed.. Why would cnn give a FUDGE on what you think. Let them report things as they see it.. if you want to help then shut up and dont give excuses.. The people of Leyte, Samar and other affected provinces deserve better.

  12. Alan A. says:

    the letter has good and valid points but those are just really sad excuses that will make you believe we’re already resigned to a sorry fate.

    as a former executive, i would think the author had subortinates. wasn’t there a time one such subordinate screws up a project because he was so full of himself and with his head so far up his a$$, he’d rather let the project suffer than ask help from his colleague or his boss?

    that’s what i think what’s happening with the relief efforts. our leaders would rather let the victims suffer than transfer or even share the reigns with foreign groups who are experts and have no political motives weighing them behind.

    it’s just funny why people don’t take these criticisms constructively. if CNN really is wrong, call them out on their error in which our leaders weren’t incompetent not to consider ALL other options and that there was no other way to do it.

  13. Pogo says:

    From what I have been reading in this blogsite in the past hours, there are dozens of people here who said things could have been done better. In effect, these critics are claiming to be experts at public administration, disaster management, logistics, etc. I wonder if they are, or have actually been, doing that sort of stuff professionally. Kahanga-hanga sila magsalita. With what they are saying, it looks like they could have done a lot more from Day 1 of the tragedy. And do a much better job than our president, or even George Bush. So I wonder why they are contented with just writing their opinions in this blogsite? Why haven’t they ran for office so their talents and extraordinary abilities (that the present government doesn’t have) can be of benefit to the Filipinos like you and me? Sayang naman kung hindi sila magiging part ng government by getting elected as public officials. Or have they even tried? Why not? Let’s hear from anyone from them. NO EXCUSES PLEASE.

    • Anon says:

      With the (TRAPO) Traditional Politics in the Philippines. You do not stand a chance.
      Filipino with bright ideas are not supported by our local government.
      And doesn’t want to be involved in a very dirty politics.

      • Pogo says:

        Ooops, looks like you didn’t try at all. And all you can offer are excuses.

        I will give you an example of a knowledgeable person who actually worked in the rural areas, joined the government as cabinet secretary, ran for an elective office, won twice, was actually able to help a lot of people while he was a senator, authored landmark legislations, and yet he is not a TRAPO and never been a dirty politician. None other than Dr. Juan Flavier. Marami pang ibang kagaya niya, so please don’t generalize.

    • Mimi says:

      Pogo… if you want people who are sharing their opinions to run for public office, are you going to provide the funds for their campaign in the election? If not… then just let them send their message across through social media.

      • Pogo says:

        It is not bad to suggest or share opinions. But to ridicule somebody, accusing him of bias, cursing him, and branding him as a government hack is another thing. To do those things is a sign of a rabid, self-aggrandizing, arrogant know-nothing.

        Here is the author, with actual experience and familiar in the area of Samar and Leyte, sharing his ideas and experience, His letter is mostly facts and when he is not sure on some items, he readily admits. He accuses nobody and instead asks us readers to be open-minded and sober.

        On the other side of the fence, there are people pretending to be experts in the field who have never even tried to rescue a cat atop a tree, probably never set foot on Tacloban soil, and yet have the gall to challenge the author’s ideas, even ridiculing him at times, and forcing in their ridiculous “solutions” which they have no idea whether they will work or not. These are people who are actually fantasizing that they can be real superheroes if they put on a cape and mask. Superiority complex in its ugliest form. Instead of taking the opportunity to pick the author’s brain and get his ideas so that they may learn something, they sweepingly dismiss his piece as rubbish. That’s the reason why they will never learn.

      • mimi says:

        Day 5 after the typhoon struck and still no organized relief operation? How many days does the Philippine govenment need to put their act together? They’ve been warned days before Yolanda made a landfall. Oh yeah! They just ignored the warnings because Filipinos, after all, are resilient. Duh!

      • Pogo says:

        You don’t know that. You are just there sitting behind your computer screen. You are either just assuming based on third-party information which you have read somewhere and has no way of verifying. The author has been to Tacloban and has actually worked there for some time — unlike reporters who may report only one or two aspects of the situation and conclude immediately that it is the situation for the whole island. The author has more credibility than any of us here. We can’t argue with someone if we have nothing else to offer but cheap talk.

  14. Luz says:

    I totally respect everyone’s opinion. Certainly, there are lots of blames and criticisms to go around but at the end of the day it is all about the VICTIMS! In their eyes, their government has certainly failed them – who can blame them?? It was evident that our government agencies were ineffective and inefficient, but let’s not blames these shortfalls based on the geography. Let’s all hope that this tragedy, horrible as it was, will serve as a teaching instrument for both the Philippine Government and its people. Truth be told, nobody can prepare for a calamity of such magnitude – even Japan, USA, and other developed countries.

  15. sofia says:

    The open-letter is nothing but lame excuses. Yolanda didnt come by surprise, several days before it eventually enter Philippine aor, the world is already watching and Pnoy said Philippines is ready to face Yolanda. The forecast tells the magnitude and the path of Yolanda. So the extent of the damage is expected.
    Under Sec.15, RA 10121, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council is mandated to take the lead in the Preparation, response and recovery from the effects of any disaster which affects 2 or more regions. So clearly, this a matter of National concern, which gives Pnoy the right to call for national state of calamity.
    In the same law under Sec.7, the Ndrrmc chair has the power to call upon other instrumentalities or entities of the government and nongovernment and civic organizations for assistance in terms of the use of their facilities and resources for the protection and preservation of life and properties in the whole range of disaster risk reduction and management. This authority includes the power to call on the reserve force as defined in Republic Act No. 7077 to assist in relief and rescue during disasters or calamities.
    But it seems our national government didnt realize the extent of its powers, and its responsibility to its people. The inherent limited resources of our (national) government is already given, and that is understandable at least up to day 3, but beyond that it is unexcusable. If we take these excuses, our government will never learn its lessons, for how can we ever change that the Philippines is an archipelago!!

  16. Henryeita Tan says:

    i just wonder, after this yoLanda issue, anu kaya ang mangyayari sa lahat ng mga donations na natanggap ng pilipinas (at nagdagdag pa ang ibang bansa)?? magagamit kaya yun para maitayo ulit ang PART ng philippines na nasaLanta? (and please be reminded na hindi BUONG Pilipinas ang nasaLanta, it’s onLy part!) Just wondering :)

    • edwin says:

      you really don’t know how to think on how to help but mistrust is your forte. Don’t worry Henryeita, all those help doesn’t come from your pocket, just be still and .believe that the Filipinos are still honest even in times of crisis, Just look to the mirror and find who is talking.

      • fifa says:

        let me share, 4days after typhoon, the father of a politician in the badly hit are (who happens to be yellow) deposited P5M to his personal account; & asked for a safe vault for P30M. of course the bank, denied him the vault. can u blame me IF i abhor the govt? people are entitled to their own opinion, as u, so let mine & others that contradicts yours, be!

    • Ernielac says:

      Bantayan natin kabayan. I mean, wag na tayo magbulag-bulagan kapag me mga kabulastugang ginagawa ang ating mga politicians. Gone are the days when corruption with impunity is covered by “tanggi to death” na they are not corrupt or they have not stolen anything from the Filipino people. Dalawa ninakaw nila, pera ng bayan at dignidad ng ating mamamayan.

  17. anne says:

    theres truth in his open letter, we cannot deprived people of their opinions…..its what he feels…..the fact is we are here and we are ready to lend a hand and help….stop pointing fingers, nobody’s to blame, its a D I S A S T E R a CALAMITY. not even the govt is to blame for the work of nature….instead lets juz do our part and help….:))

  18. Florence Arcilla says:

    I do not agree at all with this article. Yes it’s a third world country but when I visited the country after 20 years there are places in the Philippines that is more developed and advanced than the US! I was baffled with the government money they spent on the road ways and infacstructure when some of the money could have helped developed the other islands like the Visayas. I agree with the previous comment about how the bad government is the root. With all your the excuses/points, I feel they are not thanking but critisizing all our (US) military is trying to help. Our military had to leave their families etc in offering their hand because the Philippines could not do it all themselves. I too donated but I made sure it would go directly to a family in need. I did not want to go through a large organization because only 10 percent of my donation will go to the people and the 90 will go to the Philippine government and the actual organization. All I see with the CNN letter is an ungrateful citizen. And on a side note, the Philippine people had a positive light on them when all the international newscast reported how great, humble and united the Filipino people were. The people should have a positive light but the government should still be in negative light.

    • Truth will come says:

      Thats very true it is not that we are third world country it is how our government will run everything right,because to much politics are ruining everything,so much grandstanding,vested interest,fooling all people with there promises,too much corruption thats why I didnt vote after Marcos regime because its the same monkey same banana….it went worse,terrible cheating….Thats why this running politicians even in local government just think why do they kill each other or kill there detractor in politics because theres money,power on it why not take out or dissolve PDAF or DAP lets see if they can move…there so many to see Believe it or Not

    • MASTER D says:

      YOU’RE DUMB. HAVE YOU BEEN TO TACLOBAN CITY? IT IS A POOR CITY IN A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY. IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S MANILA OR CEBU OR DAVAO. CNN SUCKS.

  19. gino baby says:

    i would strongly disagree with this letter. sorry. our country would have been prepared if our leaders werent corrupt. more infrastructures, equiptments, etc. third world tayo bec of corruption! so wake up.

    • Mercy says:

      I agree. It looks like the cities outside Manila are left out. For sure every city and town has a budget for projects and these funds are stolen by the politicians. Just to go back to the pork barrel how those money were wasted . Go see how beautiful the house of the politicians are and how many cars they have. Their souls will be burned in hell. I hope and wish the money donated for the victims will be directed to them and they can rebuild their homes but not be left with no houses because these politicians and these people in the organizations stole the money.

  20. Ann Fisher says:

    It all comes down to poor planning on the part of the Philippine government (local and national). If not for the foreign correspondents who were in ground zero immediately after the calamity, the world would not have known of the massive devastation. As correctly pointed out by Jaime Donato above, help would not have come sooner if not for the reports. The way I look at it – they were there to say it as they see it. They saw and talked to the actual people affected. No sugar coating. They would have done the same thing if the tragedy happened in their own backyard.

    • Alexa Santiago says:

      Ann Fisher, please get your facts straight. CNN’s Mr. Cooper arrived late in the scene, a fact he admitted himself. He arrived on Day 5, a day after the decimated Tacloban Airport – a mere airstrip by the time Haiyan/Yolanda finished with it- reopened. He certainly wasn’t at ground zero immediately after the calamity. I’m not belittling his part in all this as he did a fine job in his reportage. But you’re right, he reported on what he SAW, but what he DIDN’T see was equally important.To help you see what really happened in MY country during this calamitous time, I invite you to read this article:

      http://opinion.inquirer.net/65449/blame-game

      • christelle says:

        again… the typhoon forecast have been made days or a week ago before if hit philippines.. the government should have made actions before hand…had they been so, these people would have been saved..i know some casualties chose to stay and guard their houses…that is because they know how it would be like to stay in the set evacuation areas… had the government act before hand in securing the safety and well-being of these people for sure they would not hesitate to evacuate knowing that their basic needs are already provided… this is why we blame the government… because they are passive action takers… they could have loaded hospitals that are “seen to be at the safe zone” with full man power and medicines bloods, etc before the storm… they could have provided people with places already set for them to rest their heads knowing that these storm would hit their cities hardcore… i admire how you try to shed light by asking people to read that article you share, but im sorry if i call it of no value…just take for example the man who died because of a “broken leg”, that person had not undergone treatment ASAP for lack of blood availability and antibiotics??? had the government (local/national) provided these supplies, do you think that man would be dead by now? ponder on that… but really, the government can no longer hide their stench… they are everywhere… the response was passive… they came late because they were deployed late…my point is “they knew the storm was coming, they were given a headstart… “

  21. jay says:

    The writer had not visited the Tacloban like Mr. Cooper did. Anyone knows what he’s talking about the Philippines by just Googling it! Just like Korina Sanchez sitting on her studio can make report out of nowhere! And both missed getting the point of Mr. Cooper, the sense of urgency because the value of life is better the ego or ambitions! Or the value of life human life which had been put aside by incompetence and poor judgement!

    The message is another sugar coating of to eased “alleviate the shame”. Accept, Correct the failure, Move on!

    • Tisha says:

      I agree with you. Is the writer from the political side of the administration commenting just to save them from their shame. Let us just admit it that CNN has played a big part in the lives of the Filipino people. Can we not jsut thank you to them. What about the writer, what did he do?

  22. Bhabeth says:

    I. agree sometime we need to realize that we are not perfect. theres good n bad …in each every press that been reported ……Maam your letter its one of opening eye for both foreign n local press. keep up the good work Hand salute Maam….God BLESS

  23. Jaime Donato says:

    We need to cut all this bullshit and concentrate on what really needs to be done. So much for the excuses about the Philippines being a third world country, We could have been better than that if not for people who always think of good excuses when they fail to deliver. If not for those criticisms, help could not have escalated over shorter time. Why would anyone report something to the world that the ravaged areas are already taken cared of when in fact still loads of things are needed to be done? And it’s a positive thing, because more help came. The Philippines, sure is not like the big shot countries like Japan or USA, but we sure can do a hell lot better to improve our country than just making excuses for our incompetence.

    • Jaime Donato says:

      In survival, when there’s nothing seems to be useful around as means to stay alive, you got to use all corners of you brain to come up with something, and hell sure excuses are not one of them.

      • Alexa Santiago says:

        Jaime Donato, have you ever heard of logistics? Please read this before you let your mouth get the better of you. I hope this would make you understand why using ‘all corners of your brain’ is not enough in times of disasters the likes of Yolanda. Logistics is the name of the game.

        http://opinion.inquirer.net/65449/blame-game

        It’s so easy to point fingers when you are safely ensconced in your little room surfing the internet or watching the news, isn’t it?

      • EDWIN says:

        Fellow Countrymen, every one have own opinion to be a critics, to finger point and ect. Let’s review our HISTORY a little bit forward when most of us are still living and witness of this event.From MARCOS ERA, ( Martial Law, Yamashita treasure, Phil. bullions, Transferred Phil. Dollar account to Swiss Bank and other part of the World thru diff. dummies (name), Uncontrolled none sense expenditure of Government budget for personal and dummies use.and billions of Dollars more.) The ERAP SCANDAL, GLORIA ARROYO SCANDAL (FERTILIZER, MALAMPAYA, LRT, AND MUCH MORE.) AND NOW, THE HOUSE AND SENATE BONUS ISSUES, AND PORK BARREL SCAM. For this , lets be positive. ACCEPT CRITICS AND FINGER POINTING, and DON’T be ashamed. Because if we are smart enough this is the start of our learning process to avoid failure and improve our lives.( It is like a manufacturing company. Consumers are inform to join in a survey to gather info. about the outcome of the product. Manufacturer collect the info. (data) as a bases of study for the improvement of product).LET US BE POSITIVE IN LIFE. DON’T TURN OUR BACK. LET’S FACE THE HARDSHIP AND PAIN OF REALITY WHERE WE ARE NOW,AND NEXT DAY LET PROMISE TO OUR SELF THAT MISTAKES AND BLAME IS NOT AN OPTION ANYMORE..NOW, LETS THINK FORWARD, LETS BUILT OUR NATION ONCE AGAIN. ELECTION IS COMING.. BE WISE AND THINK TWICE ON THIS DAY. THE PILLAR OF OUR NATION CAME FROM STURDY LAWS THAT PROTECT THE INTEREST OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND NOT BY THE POLITICIANS.

  24. Mavs A Mavs says:

    Pnoy said Tacloban was not prepared. What about your government, Mr. President. Were you prepared? Before the typhoon, you had a presscon and enumerated several rescue teams, helicopters, etc. Where are they now?

    • white elephant says:

      May politika pa rin dyan…. gusto lng ni pnoy na bago sya kumilos mpmukha nya na inutil ang local governments ng tacloban at leyte…. sabi nga What can you expect from a city that has lost practically everything? The National Government should have taken over. langya,,,, dito pa sa pinas!!! lahat may politika mula sa pagpangaln lng ng bagyo hanggang sa basketball

      • white elephant says:

        ang pilipinas lng ang may presidente na khit binabagyo, ang alam lng ay mgpasaring…..meron na daw tulong para sa mga handa at alam ang kailangan…. at d nya raw alam kung ano at pano ipadadala ang tulong sa mga d alam ang kailangan,,,,…OOOOOOHHH MYYYYYYY!!!!! ibig sihin kung kakampi ka,,, meron ka… pg hindi… pasensya ka…. ONLI in the Phils…

  25. g says:

    the pres of the philippines as commander in chief can order the afp and pnp to put in all the necessary manpower [5k to 20k personnel] to solve all the problems after the storm has past or even on the second day itself…it can be done despite all the hindrances that will be encountered…and maybe then cnn reporter will report on the 4th day..how fast the streets were cleared of debris…how fast the dead bodies were taken out of the streets…how peaceful and quiet and the survivors are not afraid of anything even on nighttime…how fast the relief goods were distributed…and many more praises from their report to our government….but what they see and hear is what they report…so i salute them for being honest and just….so why the pres did not choose this avenue??? maybe politics…maybe corruption…maybe its not his style of solving the problem..maybe wrong advisers of his..and maybe many more maybe….bottom line ….it already happened …..learn from the mistakes…move on and rise ……better philippines tomorrow….

  26. christelle says:

    i don’t agree with your points… see, all those highlighted views of your is still rooted in our government system, the country being an “archipelago” is not an excuse for gov’t to sloth around and get angry whenever they are being criticized. the comment of that CNN anchor is but an eye-opener that our gov’t officials; yes, the gov’t response team of tacloban had been wiped out, but why??? the news of yolanda’s coming was announced weeks or days ahead; the gov’t should have taken rapid moves in saving the cities and should have made enough plans to keep their people safe… as they say, prevention is better than cure; had the government put on their shoe while the roads were still “accessible” to bring enough supplies to these people BEFORE they are hit by the storm these people would have survived…had the government put MUCH EFFORT in taking people to protected shelters (those that are really safe like SAFE) a lot would have survived…had the government fully loaded hospitals or evacuation centers with medical supplies BEFORE yolanda hits land, people would have been treated well…. i see why foreigners gave those criticisms… it is because they know actions could have been done to avoid these problems… but no, the government of the Philippines is already in that habit of taking action AFTER the storm comes…back in ZAMBOANGA, they only acted AFTER the war… they could have prevented it from happening had they been alert… but no..the government is so busy..with what? our country will never learn how to be dependent..sad to say but we do deserve being called as JUAN TAMAD…because we never learn…it’s been how many years now and we are still a third world country… so there’s no reason to be proud… yes, the truth hurts.. i am hurt with what’s being said about my country but it was all true… i have to admit it was all true… there’s a lot more to say… but to sum this all up, our government is a hopeless case… all we can do is survive… and that filipino spirit of surviving is what makes us awesome in the eyes of these foreign people.. yes we should be proud…bt the gov’t ought to be ashamed… they don’t deserve respect…they have stained the respect, trust, and hope of their people…. as a filipino “do you want to live in the US? or what country would you choose to live if you are given the chance to?” im sure, you will hear if none, but a few would choose this country…

    • Daisy Pasos says:

      Yes I commend your statement. I admit Philippine attitude as a whole is really slow. Talk to a foreign tourist having spent some days of vacation here and most of them find it ridiculous to observe slow motion just everywhere. The best example of Filipinos slow motion is by observing yourself how you can easily pay when you buy something. Simply observe a Cashier’s movement from a foreign shop and from a Philippine shop.

    • Courtly says:

      I agree. All this open letter shows are the excuses…excuses….and more excuses…..BBC reported weeks before Yolanda hit that this typhoon could be lethal. Steps should have been taken back then to ensure a more efficient evacuation of the areas affected. Yes, Tacloban is not Fukushima or Atlanta and yes the Philippines is not Japan or the US but isn’t it time it got out of it’s Third world mentality and started to take responsibility for itself? And please stop blaming the government After all, we the citizens voted for the people in office. We need to deal with the criticisms and learn from them.

    • Juvy says:

      Yes, sad to say that you have points there. Prevention is a lot better than cure. It could have been avoided if they already get everything ready before the Calamity. Local officials could have been survived. And more people be saved. It is just so sad.. Just so very sad. People knows already that killer super Typhoon will come to devastate them.. For sure they tried to be ready and face the truth that it might be their end. And it happened to a lot of them. Think of the remote areas, people are mostly poor. No matter how they tried to be prepared for that disaster? Where are they going to hide? The government knows what it look like being in a places like that. It is not a City? Those were just small towns. We all knew that it is going to be the strongest even in a world history. And why on Earth they didn’t evacuate all the people who are in those areas. I know it is not easy to evacuate the whole Citizen in every town that would have been affected. But they had a week or days ahead of that. It was 300 k/p/h. It is still a miracle that many still survived. And should be thankful that the world hears our prayers because of their reports. We can’t blame the reporter, it is shocking to his part or to anybody to who will see that kind of situation. If we were in his shoe? What would we say? Do we just deny to tell the world of what we saw? It is not his fault that our Government end up look like not doing anything. I am sure the Government did something as soon as possible. It just happened to be impossible to make it sooner.

  27. Luz Alvarado Medina says:

    we all should just be grateful of what the other foreign countries had done to help our nation…we are for the people. without these foreign journalists, whatever mistakes our gov’t had done wouldn’t have been corrected & we the people are the ones who will suffer !!! stop the blame, criticisms & whatsoever
    , we all have to work hand in hand to save our countrymen from all their miseries, sufferings & to put an end to all the BS our politicians had caused to this havoc. So, let’s all praise these brave people who had in one way or the other had ease the pains & sufferings of all our kababayans. Praise be to God for all these favours.

  28. Brenda says:

    Who wrote this letter? How come the government corruption is not mentioned (or downplayed) I think the person who wrote this letter is probably part of the government or is paid by a government official to write this. What a waste of time reading this article/letter that does not reflect or admit the truth that our own government is the major reason why aids are not reaching the victims fast enough, if at all.

    • arthur says:

      It came to my thoughts too that this so called”Open Letter” is biased and defensive. As of the latest reports, CNN’s Anderson Cooper is all praises to our Filipino Masses resiliency and strong will to survive even with this catastrophic disaster at hand.In times like these, cut the b.s.bureaucracy for God’s sake! Sad to say, our government is still “all talk first and action later”.. it really hurts but that’s a reality in our past and still in present situations. The blame game seems to be the forte of our government officials.

      • cleo says:

        People, stop making celebrities out of these catastrophic disaster,go out and help those in need and be grateful for those people who gave up their time and comfort just to reach out for those people who are suffering.

      • Araceli Maliwat says:

        I agree with you that this is a one sided letter written by somebody from our dumb government. Hindi naman tayo lahat nasalanta but it seems ang bagal bagal ng response sa tragedy na ito. Luzon is ok, and so is Mindanao kahit papaano. They have all the resources in their power. More so, it did not mention That Corruption Played a BIG contribution to this tragedy.

    • JR says:

      Why start an open letter with a flying resume? And why compare personal business experience to a disaster response? To impress the readers or bloggers and get their approval? Oh come on. Philippines: Third world country? that is long ago changed to a “developing country.” Yes, we are an archipelago but only a portion of that archipelago is hardly beaten. He/she discussed so well about the airport, airplanes and the sea but what about other aircrafts that don’t need runways? Helicopters can drop off relief goods and aid as well as airlift victims to a safer place…. the’re should be enough of those on standby for we know very well that it is roads, runways and local manpower that is always paralyzed every after disaster. As Mar Roxas have said in an interview: Their chain of command is for the LGU to respond first. How could you even count on the LGUs when in the beginning Yolanda is predicted as the worst/strongest by far. How can LGU communicate if they will lost all their means of communication? What if they are all victims together with their families? The chain of command alone is garbage. Even simple people would agree with me on that so don’t tell people who expresses their thoughts neither when they get to suggest and just tell them to try to be on your shoes for them to know what it’s like to be a president or a DILG commissioner. Receiving suggestion from common people is just normal for it is us, common people who voted you and placed you to where you are now because we thought you are capable. Above all we pay our taxes. Tax that is supposedly to be used to develop our country. Do not take it us merely finger pointing or blaming. Instead take it as a lesson to learn from. God forbid but there’d be more after this so let’s PLAN AHEAD, prepare EFFECTIVELY, stop being too SENSITIVE and DEFENSIVE. We don’t need band aids. We need major surgery to heal the wounds of our country and our people. STOP the CORRUPTION!

  29. Rm says:

    Alam mo kahit ano pa sabihin mo,na kesyo ginagawa ng gobyerno lahat n makakaya nila,hindi pa rin yon sapat kung organized lang tayo at nagamit ng maayos lahat ng kinulimbat nilang pera di aabot ng ganyang kagrabe at katagal ang rescue effort sa tacloban. Ano yon every bagyo ganon na lang lage “they’re doing best to help” i know this is not the right time to blame someone pero ganto na lang ba lage? Ano to sanayan na lang tuwing may bagyo?

  30. edmayoli68 says:

    Hindi naman tayo kino compare ng CNN sa other countries. May sinabi ba ang CNN?with due respect to the author, ang problema ng bansa hindi yung location, o nasa archipelago tayo, o wala tayong sophisticated na kagamitan…ang problema yung sistema ng gobyerno, mga taong walang disiplina at higit sa lahat ang mga politiko na walang awang nilustay ang pondo ng bayan na ngyon kailangan pa tayong tumanggap ng donasyon sa ibang bansa. Given na yan calamidad, kahit sinong bansa bayuhinng ganyan kalakas na kalamida makakaranas ng delubyo ang pinagkaibahan lang nakaka ahon agad sila kase ang mga leaders nila kumkilos agad at may tamang pag uugali. hindi na natin kailangan mag da drama pa kase puros drama ng buhay ng. Pilipino. Hindi matutugunan ang problema sa krisis ngyon kung ganyan ang mga write up…napaka insensitive naman sa tunay na krisis yan.

  31. Ton Ton says:

    Good people and people who want to change the country either gets killed or their family gets threatened. When in government you are often forced to corruption making corruption the norm in our country. I think we need a separation from Luzion. They can’t even solve their issue in the capital how much more the entire country.

  32. Theresa Britania says:

    Department of Social Welfare and Development
    Kagawaran ng Kagalingang Panlipunan at Pagpapaunlad

    Tulong! Sulong!
    Department overview
    Formed November 1, 1939

    (etc.)
    Superseding agency Social Welfare and Development
    Headquarters Batasan Complex, Constitution Hills, Quezon City
    Annual budget ₱56.2 Billion (2013)[1]
    Minister responsible Corazon Soliman, Secretary
    Website http://www.dswd.gov.ph
    The Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development (Filipino: Kagawaran ng Kagalingang Panlipunan at Pagpapaunlad, abbreviated as DSWD) is the executive department of the Philippine Government responsible for the protection of the social welfare rights of Filipinos and to promote social development. ….this is our DSWD website a fund of 56. Billion pesos a year???? Was just thinking Foreign Aids combined 8billion pesos plus and yet it goes a long way in terms of food, medical supplies , etc. I just wonder 56 billion budget for Social Welfare and Developemnt where does it go. Are we just about to accept things the way it is because we are a third world country? Oh by the way let us not forget other resources we have peoples taxes, money remittances from abroad, natural resouces we have just to name a few….

  33. JV says:

    The Person who wrote this is bias, First of all there political agenda and don’t tell me there is none, second there are means of giving aid, we have ships, helicopters etc. and third why is that they have to wait 4, 5 ,6 7,8 days to bring all the fleet that they can do it in the first day and second day.. there are lots of means if we have to push it…..Yes we have soldiers and government but they need help….we need more man power…Ask yourself what day was the man power arrived…….??????? You a computer wizard do not know what you are saying because you too was not there in the field…..you never heard the cry of the people, you did not smell the corps, and you did not see the tears of all the victims,, having said this you don’t deserved a applause. You are saying that you have lots of achievements and experience of all the calamity’s maybe not, because if you did you will agree with mister cooper. I am a Filipino too and experience lots of calamity’s since I was elementary and it is so hard seeing my countryman…We have all the means if the government wants too…Do not blame mister cooper, because what he see’s is what he reports, what the victims experience what he told the world…Writing this letters is useless. The Point of all this is How our government of the Philippines handle this country when times like this. Before you write a letter, please research very deeply why the aid, the man power is little and slow….research very deeply.

    • Noel Luz says:

      @JV nakarating na ho ba kayo sa Tacloban? Nakita mo na ba ang airport natin dun? at mga streets? then pag dating natin sa logistsic especially helicopters kunti lang at halos nasa Mindanao. Sana nandun kayo at kayo humawak at mag mando sa relief goods no?

  34. Pogo says:

    “Why I won’t be criticising the Philippine relief effort after Typhoon Haiyan – I’ve been there.”
    by Rob Crilly,
    Rob Crilly is Pakistan correspondent of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph. Before that he spent five years writing about Africa for The Times, The Irish Times, The Daily Mail, The Scotsman and The Christian Science Monitor from his base in Nairobi.

    Can there be a more difficult place to deliver aid? The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands. Typhoon Haiyan is one of the most powerful storms ever to have hit land. And its unique combination of extreme low pressure, 200mph winds and quirk of geography that channeled its force through the Leyte Gulf meant no one could have predicted the 16ft sea surge that wrought such utter devastation in coastal regions.

    For the past four days, I have been in Tacloban, one of the very worst affected regions. There is almost nothing left of its infrastructure. There is no water, no electricity, no petrol. For journalists, it meant a torrid time avoiding downpours, sleeping in damp tents and trying to work out how to recharge laptops and satphones. For locals, who have lost everything, it means an uncertain future as aid agencies warn of a tide of disease and hunger. And for those charities it means an extraordinary logistical challenge to get help to where it is needed.

    We journalists like to travel light. I carried about enough water to last for a week and enough biscuits to keep me functioning. No wonder I could get there ahead of the big life-saving charities, which need to ensure security, comms and living conditions for staff. That’s a big operation.

    It meant the response started sluggishly. And journalists were already on hand to document the fact.

    But it all changed yesterday with the arrival of the USS George Washington – a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier – off the coast. The sky filled with activity, as helicopters ferried in supplies to Tacloban airport, where a team of Ospreys – those crazy half helicopter, half plane things – scooped up the food, water and medicines and dispatched them to far-flung areas in need. At the same time, the ground filled with burly American marines directing operations. It made for an impressive sight.

    Of course it is not nearly enough to help the 600,000 or so people displaced by the storm across maybe a dozen islands.

    But I have been shocked to see that the story for the past few days has been dominated by criticism of the relief effort.

    These things take time. They can never, ever move fast enough when ships are the only way to deliver the colossal amounts of aid needed. No-one predicted that Typhoon Haiyan would be quite so lethal. And there is little left in the way of local government.

    And you know what? One of the least reported aspects of this whole crisis has been the patient stoicism displayed by the victims. Most of their help has come from extended families. Relatives are looking after each other, pooling resources and sharing what little food they have. Those who have homes are taking in the homeless.

    To lambast the international aid response and the local authorities is to misunderstand how humanitarian relief operates – and to overlook the humbling charity already on offer from people who have little to give.

  35. Jereza Avila says:

    This is exactly how I feel too, as aFilipino, thankful of all the favor s and support from different countries, but what do you call a good deed if you see the negativity in others insmtead of just sincerely helping. I don’t think the government is not so bad. But yes I may be humble enough , becau se of the people who will benefit, behind all this reports. Love for countrymen and we let go of the Pride. Very well said , full of wisdom! GodBless you dear writer.

  36. john says:

    wasting my time reading this article… seriously. It does not even answer the current situation and personal accounts of the victims. next time before you post puntahan mo naman ang lugar. salamat

  37. Simon says:

    Mr. Nauto . Stop bitching. Yes we have a gov’t though not perfect, not rich, and slow. It’s what we got, and we got hit by a disaster , D I S A S T E R,…good night….uhhuhmzzzzzzz.

  38. Pogo says:

    One thing most people don’t realize here is that the soldiers we praise everyday for helping and saving the victims of this tragedy are also the ones we are in effect blaming for the delayed distribution of relief goods, who else? No one else is supposed to transport those relief goods but the men and machines of the armed forces. Many of the goods are already piling up at the airport ready for airlifting but why were they not loaded on to our old C130s immediately? I don’t know, but I think they have reasons for not doing it, not because they want to delay everything. Maybe the C130s cannot fly at that time because they needed repairs. We only have 3 of these planes and all of them are old. Or why didn’t they use their 6×6 trucks and carry it by land and ferry via Sorsogon and Samar? Maybe because they know it’s more of a risk and would take longer. Or maybe they don’t have enough trucks. Or why not use their naval fleet. Or do even have a naval fleet? What about Imelda and the other Romualdezes? They are from Leyte and a very powerful clan. Many of them are supposed to be working for their constituents since they are elected officials. Why are they not immediately in charge of the situation?

    Whether we like it or not, it’s corruption that is creeping upon us everywhere, not incompetence because we are smart people. Every misery of the Filipinos can be traced back to corruption. The limited resources we have are squandered by the trapos for their sole benefit. That’s because a lot of us are too smart for our own good.

    • mario vivas says:

      Romualdes is also victim of the typhoon. Dont forget that. US already allowed the Philippine govetnment to use their chinook helicopter but the national government still thinking how to make money out of this foreign contributions. Dont depend stupid finger pointing Aquino government. Use ur eyes and ur brain.

      • Pogo says:

        Romualdez is also a victim — that’s the biggest lame excuse. Why wasn’t he prepared that many suggested we all should have been? Imelda a victim too? How about Bongbong and the rest of the Marcoses?

        The fact is: nobody can prepare enough for a tragedy. Not even Bush on Katrina, or Obama on his failing healthcare program and the Sandy Hook massacre.

      • dottie says:

        “the national government still thinking how to make money out of this foreign contributions” – oh please! enough with that already. We don’t even know kung nasa gobeyerno na nga ang pera. Let us be vigilant but let us not be quick to judge. I am no Aquino supporter but let us cut some slack people, let them do their job to the best that they could. Hayys, finger pointing, blame game, and dragging our government down won’t help alleviate the plight of our fellow countrymen in Eastern Visayas. God bless the Philippines!

    • Jaime Donato says:

      No matter how good you think people are, or how smart they are, with due respect to their hard work and courage, if they can’t deliver the required result on a given task, by definition, it’s called incompetence.

      • Noel Luz says:

        Im not agree. Mahirap talaga ang nangyari sa Leyte kahit sinong magaling talagang mahihirapan sa situation na yun. Ayoko masyadong magsisi kasi hindi naman ako ang nandun at kasama sa mga red cross or rescuer, umaasa na lang na sana consistent ang pagtulong at uusad na rin. Sana wala tayong mabasa sa dyaro na maramin namatay sa gutom dahil sa masyadong mabagal ang pagdating ng tulong.

        Ang open letter na ito ay hindi naman katwiran ng goberyno o ano man justiification kundi yun situasyon ng Tacloban un maayos pa … eh ngayon giba-giba na so… ano ang maaasahan mo o paano mo gagawin mo? dba? Mahirap talaga…

  39. sspetnazz says:

    we got used to the old ways and left our critical thinking behind. thats why in my opinion were stuck as a nation. i can say it is also our fault when we citizens really didnt act on the immense corruption our government is facing. just by saying “our government” i get trust issues. in my point of view these international journalist maybe has an idea on what/where they are. the truth hurts. if we dissect it further the root of this problem goes way back and the politics behind it. everything is connected. our country has potential to be a first world that is if our leaders want to and not fill their pockets first.

      • Norma Rae says:

        AM, you are absolutely right. We are also at fault by allowing corruption. May I ask all the commenters here to agree with AM in owning OUR FAULT? Please let us stop the blame game, finger pointing, etc. Remember, this is our ONLY GOVERNMENT. Let us not bring it down, if we keep on criticizing our government, we are in the process pulling ourselves down. Love of country, this we have to do without ceasing. God bless the Philippines.

  40. Naruto says:

    Stupid Philippine president and his IDIOT government staff! Yes Tacloban is a small provincial airport. But Tacloban is surrounded by sea. They can utilize the surrounding seas as an alternative way in delivering relief goods and military personnel to the typhoon victims, instead of relying only on Philippine Air Force flying coffins. Those government peeps can hire bancas and ferries from nearby cities that survived the calamity. They are not doing it because they are plain STUPID AND IDIOTS! Our government agencies are being led by the so-called Matatalino-Matatapang UP bred peeps, but this is what our poor stricken countrymen get. Poor Filipino people!!! THIS IS WHERE OUR TAXES GO!

    • Dean says:

      Yeah, poor filipino people, maybe philippines will be a better place if smart people like you will be president, why not try running for office.

      • Brenda says:

        because every person (in any country) who enters politics with the intention of actually helping the country and its people get assassinated.

    • einhergar says:

      Yup, surrounded by the sea…but you probably haven’t seen how the coastal areas are the ones that were devastated the most; and bringing in supplies by small boat? c’mon, anyone who has worked in disaster relief and rescue knows that you cannot bring in aid on a piece meal basis – it’s going to be like plugging leaks on a dam with tampons – a waste of effort!

      • Naruto says:

        STUPIDI said bancas and FERRIES!!!! Ferries are large passenger boats that can carry loads of supplies. They can even carry construction supplies. There are plenty of them in Northern Samar, Cebu, Bohol and other nearby islands that were not affected much by the typhoon. Even a small motorized banca can deliver adequate supplies like saks of rice for 20 persons. (NOT PIECE MEAL IDIOT!) If bancas are the only avaialable, the government staff can use their logistics and hire around 40 bancas from the hungry around fisherman so they can deliver their goods. IF THERE;S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY! I believe you’re just another one of those stupid UP bred government peeps who are corrupting our government and doing nothing. You can’t even describe storm surge in layman’s term. All you do is give excuses and YAK and YAK!

    • Memel says:

      The Phil. President is doing his best but the corrupted senators needs to be blame for so called poverty in the Phils .only if these government officials are not too greedy , the Phils itself is rich in natural resources and would be a better place

    • Rene says:

      Mr. Naruto…
      I guess you are still a newbie…with little or no experience at all when it comes to planning and organizing…much more on implementations…Why I say these…

      First of all…communication is a vital part of planning and organizing.more so on implementation…what do you expect to accomplish in a short period of time when communication facilities are down…practically zero..

      Second…your suggestion of ferries and bancas transporting relief goods…bear in mind that a large part of the Visayas are devastated…where can you find then a reliable ferry or banca that was not partly or totally damaged by the storm…and then…have you traveled via a banca or ferry going thru rough seas just after a storm…just two to three kilometers away from you launching pad and you’re dead..

      What I suggests…go to the devastated areas and experience for yourself the daunting tasks of even carrying a small bag of relief goods on your shoulder and you will realize that things are not as easy as you think…

      May God enlighten you..

      • Naruto says:

        Philippine government is full of BS excuses. We experience these calamities year after year. The super typhoon was predicted 5 days before. Before landfall, government agencies should have prepared and already deployed rescue teams in islands not too far away from the landfall areas so they can immediately send these rescue teams using coast guard boats in considerable numbers, hours or a day after the storm has passed. Instead rescue teams in big numbers arrived after 4 days. After 4 days with bright sunshine and calm seas around Tacloban and nearby island, the government has yet to utilize the seas as an alternate route to deliver relief goods and keep on using PAF flying coffins. LMAO!

      • Naruto says:

        Lemme give you an idea how to conduct relief goods deliver. The typhoon and its landfall site was predicted one week before. Government agencies should have already prepared a first wave of relief goods by using coast guard boats, the last navy ships, or if they’re not available, use logistics and hire a private cargo ship then station it in a port, safe form the typhoon path but not too far away form the landfall site. As soon as the typhoon passed, this ship/ships can now start its voyage to the disaster areas to deliver the first wave of relief goods. They are ships so they can navigate rough seas just hit by super typhoons. If the ship can’t land near enough the ports of the affected areas, small boats will come in handy. AS SIMPLE AS THAT, IF THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY…. Any more B.S. excuse?.

      • Naruto says:

        An office mate of mine just arrived at work after fetching together with her husband her mom and 2 siblings. They arrived 2 days after the storm and Tacloban was enjoying a calm day and calm seas. We share the same sentiments. CNN’s Cooper was right about the absence of a large and organized rescue effort from the government up to four days after the storm. The people were anticipating rescue teams and relief goods coming by way of the sea. They were aghast and frustrated of the government’s effort of using only the provincial airport in delivering the goods. It took another 2 days more when they began seeing relief goods being delivered by boats. Their question are, Why was the sea not immediately utilized in delivering relief goods and rescue teams? Why were government people unable to think of stationing a least a single ship loaded with relief goods and rescue personnel and stationing them in a port not too far away from Tacloban but safe from the storm. So this rescue ship could sail to Tacloban immediately hours or at least a day after the storm? Very simple tasks but unfortunately our government officials were unable to think of these.

  41. mickey says:

    iamsupercarla – my father wrote that letter, and my sister was the one who first posted it on Facebook. He has no political affiliation, and he is definitely not a shill for the government.

    Oh, and a word of advice: stop feeding the troll ;)

      • imee says:

        Exactly, what we mean, us concerned citizens, OUR COUNTRY, the Philippines has been a third world country ever since I can remember. Why can t we not NOT the 3rd world country? We have genius’ in our country. We have vast of natural resources, we have the BEST agricultural products, we are the hard workers all over the World, the OFW’s and the immigrants that takes every overtime from other co-workers to send money to our families back home. The govt is reporting to us citizens of the Philippines that $$$$$$ are in its highest because of our beloved OFW’s and immigrants working here abroad. WHY are we still considered the 3rd world country? Because of corruption. Because the govt officials are sooooo…..corrupt that puts us on the board as #1 corrupt country….Imagine the monies that could have taken us out as one of the 3rd world country. And these are frustrations of us Filipinos, these multi-million or billion $$$$$ that have been given to our country, the aid that have been extended to us every catastrophe we encounter, the debts, in $$$$$….that we owe, the $$$$$ that we bring in to our country? Where are these amounts of money? WE know. It is in the pockets of recently exposed PORK BARRELS. IF it was NOT for Pres Aquino’s honesty, coz if a person is honest he/she is NOT afraid of asking for whistleblowers to come out and expose these greedy govt officials…. In preparing aftermath these natural disasters means ready to roll, to give, to reach out, to do whatever was already ready to go out there and help in anyway we can….helicopters, ships, boats, any transportation from the outside of the affected area are on standby. Pres Aquino and his team was able to touch down aftermath typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban…WHY then it took days? for our troops to go and help our suffering bros and sisters We were NOT asking for the tractors or big equipments to go and bulldoze the debris. People were asking for water, food etc. the basics of necessities of our everyday life, clean water to drink. There were babies, elderlies, women and men affected seriously. There were dead family members were in the rubbles, the debris. Even these were NOT apparently prepared. These are the concerns of our citizens who are not there to witness this devastation….We depended on the media, foreign and local….and if we are frustrated and disappointed of something, we blame, we question…I think this happened for a purpose. It is good that we are voicing our opinions our concerns so that maybe, just maybe, our citizens will say, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, we all have suffered for a long time…..we need to care for each other…IT even took the whole WORLD to witness these HUGE mess in our country….LET us be the one to police our government….let s not LET THESE GOVT officials take over our children s future….let us all be whistleblowers….and above all let us NOT forget that there is a GOD that loves us, FILIPINOS….there is a tremendous reason why GOD let these things happen…Let us all continue to pray for our country,,,,,I have a feeling that God will heal our land soon, and we will be all glorious and will give glory and praise to our glorious GOD….let s all be patient and care for each other…

    • Amelia says:

      thank u to your father.. :)
      Just thinking… from all the difficulties in transportation bringing the goods to the survivors, isn’t it better to look for an evacuation center near the affected areas and bring them there for a while? Maybe it will be easier to also clean up the place and the affected areas are now safe and healthy to them too anyway.

Lemme know what you think.

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