Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Media personalities at odds in typhoon coverage; relief goods distribution goes on

Big waves  put this ship in the midst of ruins.
ABS-BCN anchor and radio commentator Korina Sanchez  had reacted negatively to the reports  of CNN reporter Anderson Cooper who witnessed the extensive devastation on the ground while covering and interviewing victims of the recent super typhoon that flattened out most parts of Easter Visayas as it made a landfall in Guian, Eastern Samar, Philippines,  six days ago.

In a report at the www.inquirer.net, it described Sanchez, the wife of the current Philippines Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, as saying: "This Anderson Cooper, he said there is no government presence in Tacloban City. It seems he doesn't know what he is saying."

The Inquirer reported that Cooper was actually covering what's happening on the grounds in Tacloban City where he talked to several victims of the super typhoon "Yolanda" as it flattened almost everything in its way as it exited to the direction of Vietnam.

And who wouldn't be surprised that Sanchez, a professional journalist herself who must have covered calamities for many years, would make such a negative comment against a foreign journalist. After all, she is the wife of the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG). My unsolicited opinion is that any loving and concerned wife would come to the rescue of his public official husband who's getting negative comments on the unsystematic means of delivering the relief goods and other supplies to the badly hit areas.

And it seems the media attention was focused on Tacloban City when other areas like the towns of Basey, and Guian, Eastern Samar, where the first landfall took place. Likewise, Ormoc City in Southern Leyte was left alone to fend for itself. Instead of barking at the wrong tree, the local governments in that part of the world just did what was necessary to clean up and helped the thousands of affected population.

But Sanchez's comments didn't go without being criticized by netizens across the social media spectrum. They have expressed dismay over the way Sanchez had reacted to the CNN coverage, "saying she doesn’t have the right to criticize Cooper or his report because she’s only doing an anchor’s job, comfortably in the air-conditioned newsroom. Whereas Cooper is reporting live on the scene."

Secretary Mar Roxas, husband of Sanchez, was quoted by the media as saying that the situation in Tacloban was put under control. What the public official told the media was contrary to what's really taking place on the ground where thousands of hungry people are begging for food and water in order to survive. While many hopeless faces cried and felt frustrated as they scrambled to make a last ditch attempt to board the cargo planes that would take them out of Tacloban City to go somewhere else.

But as far as I'm concerned, it would only be natural reaction for Sanchez, being a Filipino herself and the wife of a ranking public official, who's been taking a lead role in attending to the nitty gritties of the problems that befell the country since the recent standoff between the government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City recently, and the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu where lives and properties were destroyed tremendously.

Even as the influx of international relief organizations poured in, political observers have yet to see effective ways to deal with the problems of distributing relief goods and attending to the medical needs of the affected population in Eastern Visayas, where hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies have littered the streets of Tacloban City and the outlying areas.

At this writing, many people are confused as to who is calling the shots on the grounds. The latest is that the peace and order situation rattles most people as some wayward souls get out of their way to use sinister ways in order to get what they wanted to survive. In fact, reports said disgruntled people were forced to ransack business establishments, including the government's National Food Authority (NFA), to get food and other basic necessities.

Latest reports have it that many prisoners were allowed to bolt out from the jails in order to run for their lives. This transpired while only a handful of policemen and jail guards had reported for duties. According to reports, the policemen and military personnel have also obligations to attend to their affected families.

DarkJustice, one of the netizens, commented: "I dont agree that those in the cabinet have brilliant minds. If only these people do some brainstorming, do risk ssessment,think what are the possible points of failure,what are the contingency plans if Plan A or B fails? What are our logistic resources?  Where would be the Command Center be placed? I understand that we are not well-equipped but proper planning could have minimized the impacts and the loss of lives!

While a certain Tarikan said: "Where is Imelda Marcos, her children, and siblings? They are in Ilocos province and enjoying their time. Imelda should inspect the Sto. Nino Shrine in Tacloban City, Palo or Tolosa, where she was born. It would have been a waste of taxpayers' money if the Shrine, which was funded by the PDAF during the Marcos years, is destroyed."

In the meantime, Cool_ka_lang  said: "I heard Mar Roxas on TV saying that there are only eight  6X6 army trucks being used to deliver relief goods and from time to time they have to bediverted to attend to security threats. And each truck can make only 2 trips a day. And you have to served 41 municipalities.

nti_boohaya  said: Almendras and Gazmin, as far as goods reaching the towns or villages but not the people, either your guys on the ground feeding you bullshit info or you guys are feeding us bullshit info. You guys are micromanaging, yet you can't do a simple follow through? There are too many news outfits and netizens these days that it's a little harder to hide behind bullcrap info on your image-building presscons."

And 1Fz20 added: "People, please understand that all areas on the direct path of Yolanda are practically shut down like bombed out, and extremely ruined down, incapacitated, inundated. Assume all people affected are casualties/survivors...so any help must come from outside the affected area, all logistics must come from the outside for all aid to get to those in need - cargo planes/ships, heavy equipment to clear the roads, trucks to deliver goods and help, other infrastructure -temporary tents/warehouses,emergency lighting and communications, medical supplies, food and water, including government presence, etc... Tons of relief goods from everywhere cannot go there by themselves and be made available instantly!

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