REPOST: An Open Letter for President Aquino from a Haiyan Survivor
This open letter more or less reflects my current thoughts on President Aquino. As you may have heard in the news already, the city of Tacloban in Eastern Visayas was one of the most heavily-damaged areas by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Just as the storm cleared, the skies revealed a total destruction of Tacloban City as well as high casualties. The spotlight is thrown into our beloved president and he did the ‘unthinkable’. He ‘blamed’ Tacloban for its inability to survive the storm. Incredible, isn’t it? NOTE: the Translations enclosed in parenthesis are mine.
AN OPEN LETTER TO PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT AQUINO FROM A TACLOBAN SURVIVOR
After being stuck in a dead zone with no comms and internet the past 48 hours ngayon ko lang nababalitaan ang latest antics ng ating kagalang-galang na pangulo.
So take this as one Taclobanon’s OPEN LETTER to His Excellency, Benigno Aquino, President of the Republic of the Philippines.
Gusto ko lang sabihin, NAGHANDA ANG TACLOBAN. IN FACT, most people we encountered who survived, survived precisely because NAGHANDA SILA. People were evacuated, centers were put up, and warnings were issued.
(Tacloban city prepared for Haiyan. In fact, most people we encountered who survived, survived precisely because they prepared for it. People were evacuated, centers were put up, and warnings were issued.)
Ang tanong, bakit madaming namatay? kasi tangina naman pre mas malakas pa ang yolanda sa katrina. Kung ang US nga hindi napigilan ang hagupit ng katrina. This was not something anyone could have prepared for. Isa pa, wala bang nakapagsabi sa yo na nasa tacloban ang SENTRO NG BAGYO?? pano mo maikukumpara ang “casualty count” ng leyte at samar sa ibang probinsiya ng hindi mo rin ikukumpara ang lakas ng tama ng bagyo.
(Question is, why many people died? Because *expletive* Haiyan is much stronger than Katrina. If the US itself was unable to minimize the casualties by Katrina, what more of us? This was not something anyone could have prepared for. One more thing is, did anyone tell you that Tacloban was in the DIRECT PATH OF THE STORM? How dare you compare the ”casualty count” of Leyte and Samar over the rest of the provinces given the magnitude and the direction of the storm.)
Pero alam mo minamahal naming pangulo, di ka naman namin sinisisi, puta bagyo to eh, nature to, alam naming hindi ikaw ang dahilan nito. Isa pa, ang mga waray, hindi magaling sa blame game. ANG IKINAGAGALIT NG MGA TAO NGAYON ETO LANG:
(But you see, our beloved president, we never pin the blame on you. It’s a storm, an act of nature, you’re not the one who spawned it. One more thing is, we Warays have no taste in playing blame games. WHAT ANGERS US IS THIS:)
AT A TIME WHEN PEOPLE ARE DESPERATE FOR A LEADER THAT WILL SEND THEM A MESSAGE TO PICK UP THEIR BROKEN SPIRITS;
AT A TIME WHEN PEOPLE NEEDED ASSURANCES THAT YOU HAVE THEIR BACKS;
THE ONLY THING YOU GAVE THEM, WAS A BIG “FUCK YOU TACLOBAN, THIS IS YOUR FAULT, DON’T BLAME ME.” (Forgive my very liberal paraphrasing)
Tangina naman pre (i hope you don’t mind my audacity to refer to you on friendly terms), hindi naman namin hinihingi na pigilan mo lahat ng bagyo. O kaya na personally ka mamigay ng relief goods. Ang hinihingi lang ng mga tao sa yo, bilang lider ng sambayanang Pilipino, ang maging inspirasyon sa amin.
(DAMMIT, We are not pleading you to throw yourself on the path of the storm and shoo it away. Or we’re not asking you to personally deliver the relief goods. The only thing we’re asking is for you to be THE leader of our people, the one who keeps on inspiring us despite everything we’ve been through)
The best leaders throughout history aren’t remembered because they prevented huge disasters, they are remembered because when disaster inevitably struck, they inspired and rallied the people. I’m not an expert on Philippine history, but isn’t that what your parents did?
I’m sorry Mr. President, but you failed us. You failed the people of Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Samar, Biliran, Masbate and all the other provinces that had to face the last few disasters.
On a final note, that “casualty count” you so callously keep referring to? That’s not just a number to us. That “casualty count” are family, friends, and neighbors that we will never see again. People we loved and cared about that we will never be able to laugh with or share a drink with.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not for a moment presume that you don’t know the pain of loss. I’m sure you do. But, you see, that’s precisely my point. I’m sure you understand, that any human being going through the deepest and darkest grief doesn’t care much that it’s this or that person’s fault. What we need from you right now, Mr. President, is an outstretched hand, not a big middle finger.
Formerly of San Jose, Tacloban City
Current address: N/A
One of the most eloquent letters I’ve ever read….
Credits to the author.
Posted on November 13, 2013, in Filipino, My country, rant and tagged CNN, criticism, Haiyan, Open Letter, Philippines, President Aquino, Survivor, Tacloban city, Yolanda. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.