Psa Evaluation of Aquino Administration
PSA’S EVALUATION OF THE AQUINO ADMINISTRATION FROM THE RESEARCHERS’ PERSPECTIVE Table of Contents Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………… 3 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………….4 Methodology and Research Design……………………………………………………………… 6 Findings………………………………………………………………………………………..… 8 Authors’ Stand on the Assessment Presented……….
……… …………………… …………. 17 Conclusions………………………………… …………………………………………………… 29 Recommendations……………. ………………………………………………………………… 31 References………………………………………………………………………………………. 2 Appendix…………………………………………………………………………………. …….. 36 Abstract The paper PSA’s Evaluation of the Aquino Administration from the Researchers’ Perspective was conducted to inform the readers how the Aquino administration handled the crises that had occurred since its start in June 2010. The group utilized the historical research technique and content analysis strategy in collecting relevant information for the study. The data collected from various sources like newspapers and websites were then written in note cards.
There were various disasters that have occurred in the Philippines, and based on the group’s analysis, the researchers have found out that the Aquino administration, in its first few months, was not able to properly handle the different adversities that have plagued the Philippines. With these, the group has concluded that the country had been inflicted with much damage by the man-made and natural disasters that took place in the Philippines. PSA’s Evaluation of the Aquino Administration from the Researchers’ Perspective
It has been six months since Benigno Simeon Aquino III has taken the position as the 15th president of the Philippines. Over the course of those months, numerous catastrophes and issues have since occurred. The Pacific Strategies and Assessments (PSA) is an organization that released an assessment of how the Aquino administration performed in its first few months, wherein they criticized the Philippines as the “Disaster Capital of Asia” and that the president, along with his cabinet members and set of government officials, has not done any significant change to improve the situation of the Philippines.
With its completion, this paper aims to express the group’s reaction on the said assessment and determine whether the PSA was righteous in its claims about the Aquino administration and of the Philippines as the “Disaster Capital of Asia”. For the first few months, the Aquino administration has been struggling to cope with the demands of the Filipino masses. In reality, the Philippines has been plagued by malicious controversies, threatening disasters, and various crises.
Based on the evaluation of the PSA, the administration was not able to handle the said adversities proficiently. Based on this, the researchers believe that it is righteous for the PSA to dub the Philippines as the “Disaster Capital of Asia”. At the rise of a new administration under President Aquino, innumerable disasters and calamities have occurred. The Pacific Strategies and Assessments, with various bases, has concluded that the Philippines is one of Asia’s most unsafe destinations.
Due to this assessment, concerned Filipinos desire to be further informed by the country’s setbacks and incorporate their views and opinions regarding these. In addition to the objectives presented, through extensive research and the critical analysis of the information gathered, the researchers wanted to provide their detailed criticism of the assessment of PSA on the Aquino administration. The group then aims to shed light on the following questions: 1) What is the Pacific Strategies and Assessments?
What is its function? As a socio-economic organization, what are its objectives? 2) What are its bases in dubbing the country as the “Disaster Capital of Asia”? 3) According to PSA, has the Aquino administration performed proficiently during its first few months? 4) With these bases, is it right for PSA to label the Philippines as the “Disaster Capital of Asia”? 5) Do the researchers agree with the assessment presented by PSA?
This study will focus on four main parts: the Pacific Strategies and Assessments, five of the worst disasters and crimes—the Maguindanao massacre, the Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking crisis, Typhoon Juan, the terrorist attack threats and the various kidnapping crises—that have plagued the country, the steps the Aquino administration has taken to solve these issues, and the researchers’ reaction on the PSA’s assessment that the Philippines is the “Disaster Capital of Asia”. On the other hand, this study does not discuss other catastrophes that have troubled the country during the Aquino administration.
Although there are other disasters that have occurred during the governance of Pres. Noynoy Aquino, the researchers deem that this paper should only focus on the worst disasters that have troubled the country since these are the bases of PSA in its assessment. Moreover, from the title itself, this paper is limited to the researchers’ point of view alone because there were no interviews nor surveys conducted to determine the various reactions of the other Filipinos affected by the crises that have occurred in the country.
The significance of this study is to inform the Filipino people and the people from all over the world as well, of how the other nations view the Philippines because of the disasters in the country. This study also exposes how the present administration handles the different disasters that have plagued the country. With these, this research paper will benefit the Filipino masses, for they will be informed of the adversities that are ruining their nation, and they will be educated on handling catastrophes to avoid having their country criticized as the “Disaster Capital of Asia”.
This paper is also timely because it tackles the worst disasters that have devastated, and some that still wreak havoc in the Philippines up to present. With the completion of this paper, the researchers have been able to provide the Filipinos a justification of the righteousness of the assessment of the PSA to their home country. Findings This part of the paper includes the related readings that have aided the group in their research. It is comprised of the background of the PSA, its functions and objectives, and its assessment of the Aquino Administration based on five of the worst disasters that have occurred in the Philippines.
These serve as reference materials, from which various information were lifted to support the analysis and interpretation of the data. Pacific Strategies and Assessments (PSA), is a socio-economic organization based in Asia and the United States of America; it has offices in Manila, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok and Milwaukee.Its Manila office is the oldest and largest branch and is currently under the management of the Executive Director Graeme Campbell (“Pacific Strategies and Assessments”, n. d. ).
PSA specializes in Asian risks. At the same time, it provides discreet and confidential security and crisis management services which help different associations protect their assets, prevent security violations, respond to emergencies and facilitate business flow in times of crisis. It also assists its clients in making reliable decisions in the field of business in Asia. PSA helps reduce risks associated with various crimes through its investigation services and provides background screening of its clients.
Furthermore, it prepares intelligence briefs regarding political and economic situations to its clients, in this case, the Philippines. PSA aims to maximize the advantages and minimize the risks of facilitating business in places often jeopardized by political and economic instabilities, security threats, terrorism and lax rule of law (“What PSA does”, 2010). With these readings, the researchers were informed of the functions and objectives of PSA as a socio-economic organization. This knowledge has aided the group in deciphering the right of the said organization to dub the country as the “Disaster Capital of Asia. Moreover, these have helped the researchers know whether the PSA has efficiently performed its functions to its member countries, particularly, the Philippines. In PSA’s (2010) assessment on the Aquino administration, it criticized the Philippines as the “Disaster Capital of Asia” because of the multiple risks like coups, rebel extortions, and terrorist threats that regularly occur in the country, and the particular crimes that have haunted the Filipinos and the rest of the world during the Aquino administration. It has indicated that hese fiascos could throw some daunting challenges at the different businesses in the country, therefore, affecting the Philippine economy and the performance of the present government headed by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, or more commonly known as PNoy to the Filipino people. The following are the disasters and crimes that have influenced PSA to assess the Philippines as the “Disaster Capital of Asia”. The Ampatuans have been in charge of Maguindanao since 2001. Their reign started after former Pres. Corazon Aquino replaced every locally-elected official because she came into power by means of a revolution.
Andal Ampatuan Sr. was appointed by former President Aquino as the officer-in-charge in Shariff Aguak in 1986 after the successful People Power Revolution. Andal Ampatuan Sr. won the 1988 local elections and served for ten years; he was then elected as governor in 1998. He has been elected as provincial governor three times, unopposed, but with his inability to run for a third term, he prepares his son Andal Jr. to govern in his place (“Cory gave Ampatuan his break”, 2009). Authorities claimed that there were at least 161 suspects involved in the execution of the Maguindanao massacre.
Director General Jesus Verzosa stated that the majority of the suspects were policemen, soldiers, and government officials under the control of the Ampatuan clan. Verzosa said that the mayor of Datu Unsay town, Andal Ampatuan Jr. , was tagged as the mastermind of these killings (“Police chief names suspects”, 2009). The Maguindanao massacre is one of the deadliest events that has happened in the Philippine history which led to the death of 58 people including journalists, lawyers, government officials, tourists, some relatives of Esmael Mangundadatu, and his wife Genalyn Tiamson-Mangudadatu (David, 2009).
Alcuin Papa (2009) noted that in the morning of November 23, 2009 in the Maguindanao province, the victims were kidnapped and killed while they were on their way to file the certificate of candidacy of Esmael Mangudadatu. The victims were shot in their heads and chests at close range, and those who were still alive were finished off by Andal Ampatuan Jr. himself. The victims were buried under the mass grave which was prepared two days before the said slaying. Before the mass murder happened, Mangudadatu received a threat from the opposing clan saying that they would kill him if he pursues the filing of his COC.
Mangudadatu decided to let the media cover his filing of COC to stop or hinder the said assault, but was still unable to prevent the hideous incident. These readings have helped the researchers by supporting the idea that the Ampatuans committed the horrendous crime as a means of instituting and preserving their power over Maguindanao. These readings have proven that the generations of Ampatuans have held offices in the area for a relatively long period, yet they refuse to let go of their vast influence in the region.
Furthermore, these readings have also proven that the said massacre is one of the most devastating crimes that have occurred in the country’s history, and has become an essential part of PSA’s assessment, which, in turn, has greatly contributed to the group’s evaluation. On the other hand, on the 23rd of August 2010, a hostage taking took place at the Quirino Grandstand which resulted in nine deaths including Hong Kong nationals and the perpetrator Rolando Mendoza himself, a disgruntled former senior inspector.
At the peak of his career, Mendoza was ranked one of the Ten Outstanding Policemen of the Philippines and was famously known for leading a group of policemen tracking down a van filled with crates of money believed to be smuggled by former President Ferdinand Marcos out of the country. In 2008, he was dismissed from his position after misconduct and drug abuse charges. At around 7 in the evening of August 23, the SWAT team began to enclose on the bus and tried to enter it by breaking its windows using sledgehammers.
However, they were forced back by gunfire coming from the bus. The police’s endeavor to break into the bus lasted for an hour. Tear gas canisters were catapulted into the bus as the police tried to pry open the door by tying a rope attached to a police car, which unfortunately ended with the rope snapping. Later, police marksmen in positions gunned Mendoza in the head (“Manila Hostage Taking Crisis”, 2010). Pia Lee-Brago (2010) wrote that the August 23 crisis which resulted in 8 Hong Kong tourist deaths negatively affected the Philippines’ relations with China.
Hong Kong calls on Filipino witnesses to help determine the real cause of death of the eight tourists and proclaimed that its government is disappointed in Malacanan legal team’s order to reduce investigations and reviews against those involved in the rescue. 19 injured Hong Kong nationals including children and elderly were among those injured in the hostage taking. In addition, the 8 deceased victims’ bodies have already been sent back to their families in Hong Kong. President Aquino has ordered a rigorous investigation headed by Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima (Avendano, 2010).
On August 31, preliminary results of the official investigation were released and showed that a high calibre weapon fired within the bus caused the hostages’ wounds. 58 of the 65 M16 rifle cartridges recovered from the coach were from Mendoza’s gun. The investigation team spokesperson stated that it was certain that Mendoza killed the eight hostages who died in the incident (Wong, 2010). On September 3, however, De Lima admitted that some of the hostages may have been shot by the police (“Philippines admits police”, 2010).
These served as evidences that the Filipino policemen lack the know-how of handling crimes like the hostage taking, putting the lives of not only Filipinos but also other nationalities who are residing or visiting the country, in great danger. Moreover, these readings have further proven that the Aquino administration has not efficiently done its part on the investigation of the incident causing a large gap between the China-Hong Kong-Philippine relations. With the evidences presented, the group has remained firm on their stand that the government has not yet done any significant action to solve these problems.
Typhoon “Juan”, with “Megi” as its international name, is the strongest typhoon to hit the country last 2010. It had a wind speed of 250 kph putting 20 provinces on storm alert. Residents of 35 towns in Cagayan were forced to evacuate due to the danger brought about by the typhoon, according to Flores (2010). Cagayan and Isabela were placed on the highest storm signal and experienced strong winds. Some residents living in low-lying areas of Cagayan valley voluntarily evacuated while equipment in preparation for the typhoon were positioned in Northern Luzon (De Leon, Reyes, Hachero, Bengco ; Naval, 2010).
Juan dumped heavy rains over Manila after leaving at least 11 people dead and 32 million pesos worth of damage to road network and other infrastructures. Data from National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) (as cited in “‘Super Juan’ leaves 11 dead”, 2010) showed 10, 434 people from 57 barangays in 27 municipalities and one city in Northern and Central Luzon were drastically affected by the typhoon. After this unpleasant incident, relief operations were provided to residents of the affected regions.
Vice President Binay offered the typhoon victims PAG-IBIG financial assistance. The PAG-IBIG fund was directed to allot 200 million pesos under its calamity loan program for the victims of typhoon “Juan” (Barcelo, 2010). Cauayan, Isabela, one of the worst-hit areas of the typhoon, (as cited in “DSWD secretary flies to Isabela”, 2010) was personally visited by the DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman and DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo to assess the damage caused by typhoon “Juan” and to provide the victims of 11. 96 million pesos worth of relief goods.
These relief goods consist of 5,000 food packs, tents, noodles, and 1,000 boxes of high-energy protein biscuits. In Cagayan Region alone, 3. 2 million pesos worth of relief assistance was provided by the DSWD. These information from readings have greatly helped the group be informed of the devastating effects that Typhoon Juan has inflicted on the different areas of Luzon, the innumerable injuries and deaths the typhoon has caused, and the programs and operations that the government has implemented in order to aid the victims of the said typhoon.
Moreover, these readings have proven that the Philippines lack preparedness with regards to handling the wrath of natural calamities. At the height of the terrorist attacks threatening the Philippines, the Filipinos themselves turned out to be ignorant of the terrifying assaults intended for the country. Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta even said that “there is no imminent threat, there is no information which says that there is an impending attack” (as cited in “Terror Incognito”, 2010, p. A12).
The nation also appeared to have no access to the information disseminated by the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and eventually France, when these countries advised their respective citizens to stop travelling to the Philippines because of a possible terrorist strike (“Terror Incognito”, 2010 ; Yap, Zamora, Papa, Bordadora ; Fernandez, 2010). The Australian Embassy even noted that “reliable reports indicate that the terrorist attacks might be imminent in Metro Manila, including places frequented by foreigners” (as cited by Brago, 2010, para 3).
British and US authorities likewise declared that these menacing terrorist threats could happen anytime in Manila. Speaker Sonny Belmonte then explained via phone interview, “We are calling to our allies, especially their intelligence agencies, to share with us what they know, what this is all about” (as cited in Ubac, 2010, p. A8). Even though six countries have already warned their residents of the forthcoming attacks, Pazzibugan, Papa and Esplanada (2010) stated that “Filipino security officials downplayed the alerts. These related materials have proven that the Philippine government, along with the Filipino citizens, were ignorant of the threatening terrorist attacks, when other nations deem that the Philippines itself is the cause of chaos. Upon discovery of the root of this problem, the Philippine police and the other security groups in the country have not exercised their duties to protect and serve the Filipinos. With these, the group’s stand concerning the performance of the Aquino administration, particularly the police and military, has been further strengthened.
Aside from these, due to the numerous incidents of kidnapping in the Philippines, the country has earned the title “Kidnap Capital of Asia. ” The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism describes kidnapping in the country as “… a virtual cottage industry in which little capital and apparently equally little risk can mean millions of pesos in profits” (as cited by Clayton, n. d. ). For years, this problem has been a major hindrance to the growth and development of the country.
With this, many Filipino citizens requested that Republic Act 9372 or Human Security Act of 2007 should be fully supported and implemented because this is one way of preventing the surge of kidnaps in the country (Samonte, 2010). In remote places in the Philippines, there are rampant kidnapping incidents involving wealthy and powerful political families. In Cotabato, two people were killed when gunmen abducted the wife of the prominent local trader, Lucio Tan. At the age of 50, Conchita Tan was riding their car, and was about 30 meters away from their home when she was seized by about six car-riding suspects.
It was said that Conchita’s bodyguard tried to prevent the kidnapping and even traded fire with the suspects, but Conchita ended up dead together with her driver (Fernandez, Senase ; Alipala, 2010). In Valenzuela City, on October 17, 2010, a criminal gang released eight kidnap victims of which seven are schoolchildren. At around 6:30 in the morning of October 14, the father of the three children and their four cousins were snatched in the said city. The victims were said to be Chinese-Filipinos or Tsinoys. According to Felipe (2010), it was the fifth kidnap-for-ransom case since President Aquino has assumed office last June 30.
Meanwhile, the charred body of Venson Evangelista was discovered by a farmer in the remote barangay of Buliran, Cabanatuan City on January 14, 2010. The body has been burned with the use of kerosene and rubber tire. It was found out that a 9 mm pistol was used to kill Evangelista. The same situation also happened to another car dealer, Emerson Lozano and his driver, Ernane Sensil, whose bodies were found in Porac, Pampanga and La Paz, Tarlac, respectively. Central Luzon police director, Chief Supt. Alan Purisima said, “Probably, only one group did it.
It’s positive that the body found in Cabanatuan was Venson Evangelista’s” (as cited by Galang ; Pazzibugan, 2011, p. A18). Using these information, the researchers have found out that the crime of kidnapping is one of the most devastating setbacks of the country’s security concerns. Through the years, it has remained as one of the most frequently committed crimes in the Philippines. Even though the government has plans to alleviate the various crimes in the country, it is evident that their efforts to stop kidnapping incidents in the country are futile.
This part of the paper, in summary, tackles the various topics concerning the specific subjects of the study. It includes the presentation of the Pacific Strategies and Assessments (PSA) as a socio-economic organization, and the enumeration and investigation of some of the worst man-made and natural disasters that plagued the Philippines under the Aquino administration. In addition, it also discusses PSA’s appraisal that the Philippines is the “Disaster Capital of Asia”.
Based on the timely data and information gathered through broad research, the group has formulated their analysis and interpretation of the most dangerous disasters that have occurred in the Philippines. In addition, the group’s views regarding the Philippines as the “Disaster Capital of Asia” are discussed in this part of the paper. Authors’ Stand on the Assessment Presented The following are the worst disasters that have occurred in the Philippines that served as the bases of PSA in its assessment of the Philippines as the “Disaster Capital of Asia”.
On November 23, 2009, an estimate of 100 gunmen associated to Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. allegedly abducted in broad daylight a convoy of aides and relatives of a rival politician, Esmael Mangudadatu, and a group of journalists, as they headed for the local Commission on Elections office to formally file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for the position occupied by Ampatuan Sr. then. Hours later, news broke out that the convoy had been massacred, with 58 people dead because of senseless slaughter and mutilation.
This incident has left many people speechless as words failed to convey the outrage felt by those who were horrified by the said tragedy. Families who lost their loved ones on the said mishap continuously grieve and fervently pray that justice be served to them accordingly. What happened to their kin, especially to the female victims, who were said to be sexually-abused before getting killed, was so barbaric that the group, as well as the Filipinos all over the country, could almost feel their pain and anguish.
The Ampatuans, long before the incident, were already suspected of being involved in unsolved killings in particular areas and regions in Maguindanao. Many were also affected by their acquisitiveness and their desire for power. Unfortunately, the people in Maguindanao were afraid to testify or file cases to the Ampatuans as they believe that the Philippine government will not be able to protect them from reprisal. The government takes a part of the blame for the brutal killing of several people, all of which were innocent.
The past administration headed by former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was still not able to dismantle the ruthlessness in Mindanao. The government has failed to solve the cruel cases that take place in Mindanao almost everyday. Their handling of the situation weakened the people’s already fragile trust in supposedly democratic institutions as the government gave a disorganized response to the circumstances. However, as Pres.
Noynoy Aquino took oath as the President of the Philippines, the Philippine government was still not able to pursue more critical investigations of the said massacre. As a result, the families of those who were killed last November 23, 2009 still continue to grieve as no justice is given to them. Although Ampatuan Jr. , with the other people involved in the crime, remains in jail because of his inhumane act, the victims’ mourning families still firmly desire to punish him more severely for putting an end to 58 innocent lives.
The group believes that the frightening incident should spark meticulous going reforms not only in the region, but in the whole Philippines as well, more than merely disarming the private armies the national government truly needs to foster authentic participation by the marginalized sectors in governance. Additionally, the government needs to initiate programs and policies to give power to the poor by establishing anti-poverty measures such as asset reforms so that the poor would no longer be dependent on politicians, local warlords or traditional political families or more commonly known as trapos.
More importantly, the Aquino government needs to restore and strengthen rural democratic institutions because these are considered to be the weakest links of governance in the rural areas. These institutions include the people’s organizations which remain unprotected by the government. Also, the private sector and civil society also have roles to take part in the development of these regions especially because multi-sectoral development initiatives that involve the beneficiaries have proven to be successful.
If the government pursues genuine development and peace initiatives in these regions, the indigenous peoples would finally be able to pursue economic and governance activities without fearing for their lives. These are among the steps that the group suggests the present administration is expected to carry out to develop the current investigations of this atrocious massacre. Aside from the massacre, the hostage-taking incident that has taken place at the Quirino Grandstand has greatly influenced PSA’s assessment.
Twenty-seven Hong Kong nationals who were on their last day of vacation in the Philippines were taken as hostages by ex-SPO2 Rolando Mendoza last August 23, 2010. The police, soldiers, bystanders, and the Filipino people, through the live coverage of the media, altogether witnessed one of the most heinous crimes to be ever committed in the country last 2010. With this incident, nine people died; eight out of the 27 tourists were killed, and the hostage-taker himself was shot, and was later declared dead by the police. Who is to be blamed for this tragedy?
Whose fault was it that what should have been a joyful trip for these foreigners resulted to the loss of some of their lives? Were sound judgment and careful planning exercised by the security groups of our country in dealing with the situation then? Certainly, the service provided by the Filipino policemen and soldiers that tragic night was not to the full extent by which they could have prevented the crime or even just lessened the tension brought about by the situation. It is not that they have not done their jobs of protecting the people, but their efforts were clearly not enough to impede the crisis.
The media also had the responsibility to be sensible to the people involved in the tragedy, but with what had happened, they appeared to be on the wrong track—they even covered the whole event; even the most sensitive parts of the incident were shown to the public through various media like the internet, radio and television. This crime has created a wide gap between Hong Kong-China and the Philippines as the former believes that the latter does not deserve its trust again because of what has happened.
Not only that, but news about the hostage-taking did not only distress the Filipinos; it was even aired in international news channels like the CNN and BBC. This alarmed even the other nations, and with this, they were disturbed and were eventually convinced that the Philippines is an ill-fated nation, that the country is not a good place to visit at all. Worse, various photos and videos of meddlers in the crime scene, some college students and police officers themselves, were posted online for the world to see. This even triggered an angrier crowd from all over the world.
Due to this, other people from the different races deemed that all Filipinos are not hospitable nor peace-loving; nevertheless, they do not pay respect to the victims of the tragedy. The current investigations of the Philippines regarding the hostage-incident are slow-paced as the country is negotiating with the Hong Kong government. Both parties could still not agree with how they will investigate and with how they will push through with the operations regarding this crime. The group sees that the cause of this delay is the ruined relationships of the two parties involved.
The Philippines, under the present administration of PNoy, has been trying to offer many benefits for the families of the eight Hong Kong nationals who were killed. However, the Hong Kong government demands more than what the Philippine administration could offer. Because of this, both the Philippines and Hong Kong conduct their own investigations without the help of each other, making the examination of the Quirino Grandstand hostage incident stagnant. As of now, the Philippines is facing the challenge of rebuilding its reputation which was destroyed in just a snap of a finger.
It is truly difficult to regain the trust of other nations, especially Hong Kong and China, after what has occurred. Moreover, it is hard to revive the glorious days of the nation after this disgrace. Although the Filipino citizens are in the verge of being torn apart by malice and controversy, all of them can still contribute to uplift the Philippines’ image. Each Filipino, regardless of age, gender and social status can take part in the mission of changing the way the rest of the world sees the country.
Even in the simplest ways, the researchers can help their motherland recover from this misery; they can make others realize that what one man did doesn’t necessarily reflect what a whole nation of Filipinos is. On the other hand, Typhoon “Juan” (international name Megi), being the strongest and most destructive typhoon to ever hit the Philippines in 2010, has caused devastating damages to several provinces in Luzon, especially to Cagayan and Isabela where the typhoon’s wrath was felt the strongest. The typhoon caused 11 deaths, millions of pesos worth of damages, and many people homeless just a few months before the Christmas season.
Could these damages have been prevented or just even lessened? What would then happen to those people who lost their loved ones and their homes? What more could the government do to help these people get back on their feet? Indeed, the government has been there to offer donations to those victims of the natural disaster as it has always been the first one being seen or heard in news, yet does their work stop there? Quite disappointing as it is, their jobs do not stop there, unlike what they believe so.
The government is divided into many departments and branches that are interrelated well enough, so devastation this massive is not expected. In the Philippines, it is widely known that the months of September to early November fall under the rainy season, so the government could have been more prepared for the expected typhoon that would hit the country. The government could have started programs that would educate and prepare people on what to do in situations like this because prevention of these catastrophes is always better than alleviating the problems it causes and entails.
The government could also have built concrete roads and stable infrastructures in the calamity-prone areas of the country so that rescue and relief operations could reach disaster-struck areas quicker and these services could be provided more efficiently. After the massive destruction of the typhoon, the government could help the people live normally again by providing them livelihood projects and “payment” for the damages so that people can get by and grant scholarship and health benefits as well.
Instead, what the government does is give short-term relief to the people greatly devastated. After a week, when the relief goods have been consumed, what will the people do? In the end, what they need more is a greater “push”—a push that combined with their own efforts, will result in greater and long-term benefits that will get them their lives back on track. In contrast to this natural calamity, the Philippines has also been threatened by terrorist attacks which caused chaos not only among the citizens of the country but among the people of the world as well.
Despite all the actions taken by six countries—Great Britain, United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and France—the Philippine government continued to ignore the imminent terror attack on the Philippine territory. With this, how can the Philippine government protect its citizens from danger if they, themselves take no notice of the threat? In an interview, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III unfortunately uttered out loud two distinct possibilities behind the Philippine government’s unclenched reaction. The first probability is that, maybe, the information is unreliable and is therefore wrong.
The Aquino administration is conveying an almost cavalier attitude toward it. It isn’t true—that is the government’s story, and they’re sticking to it despite the urgency with which the six countries are dealing with the information. The other was that those alarmed countries had the information, and did not share it with the Philippines. “There were several countries that discussed this among themselves, and we are the targets and lots of these people are our allies. I think we should have been informed” the President said (as cited in “Terror Incognito”, 2010, p. A12).
It transpires that the Philippine allies failed to let the Philippines know about the danger, and the government took it personally. With the said possibilities, the nation cannot afford to let down its guard, but what did the Aquino administration do? Instead of providing security to the country, they chose to turn their back on the issue. For the Philippine government to put pride before the safety of its people, that scenario would be the most threatening of all. Whether this rumor turns out to be real or not, it is still essential to deal with this threat as the real thing.
In a generation where small pieces of information can be as potent a destroyer as the explosives themselves, it is the government’s first duty to ensure that its citizens are safe, even if it looks like jumping the gun, even if it looks like they are erring on the side of caution. It is the correct response, no matter what. It is the welfare of the citizens that should be first taken care of by the government, and not the interest of the economy. Besides, the Philippines is not in such a precarious situation, that it cannot afford to protect the people before the businesses at stake. These terror threats may be real or ot, but it only in knowing the truth about this crucial issue can the security of the country and its people be truly served. Another basis of PSA in labeling the Philippines as the “Disaster Capital of Asia” is the high rates of kidnappings in the country. The Philippines, being plagued by frequent kidnapping incidents, does not only mark a scar on the country’s face to the whole world. This even creates a barrier that prevents foreign trade, foreign investments, and tourism of the country with the rest of the world. Because of this, the growth and development of the country slows down and is feared to come to a complete halt someday.
Any person, regardless of age or gender, may be a victim of this crime. Based on the data gathered, the kidnapping of various people including politicians, local traders, schoolchildren, Filipino-Chinese people, and car dealers defines that no one is exempted from being kidnapped. Kidnapping for ransom forces one to choose between his/her life and his/her money or properties, but in some unfortunate cases, both his/her life and his/her possessions were lost. A concrete example was Venson Evangelista and Emerson Lozano’s case: they were shot dead and burned, giving up not only their cars but also their precious lives.
The government should strictly implement more laws regarding the crime of kidnapping so that it could be prevented. Also, intensive investigations should be prioritized to solve the alarming rates of kidnapping cases not only in the densely-populated areas of the country, but even in the rural places in the Philippines. The increasing number of kidnappings defines that the police are not executing their duties proficiently. The police evidently outnumber the kidnappers, but if they don’t act immediately, the situation will be turned and there would be more kidnappers than policemen.
Scars cannot be healed hastily; they need time to be restored. Likewise, the Philippines needs a strong medication to repair all the scars gashed by the blades of kidnapping. With these catastrophes, issues and controversies, the PSA has dubbed the country as the “Disaster Capital of Asia” since the country has evidently remained incapable of handling the wrath both natural and man-made disasters bring. The Philippine government and the Filipinos themselves have been struggling to face the aftermath of the misfortunes faced by the country at present.
With the various proofs that emerged from this research, the group has agreed with the Pacific Strategies and Assessment’s assertion of the Philippines as the most disaster-prone area in Asia, therefore labeling the country as the “Disaster Capital of Asia”. Furthermore, the group deemed that the Aquino administration was not able to handle all the said adversities effectively since the effects brought about by most of the disasters are still not resolved even after months, and even after many years.
The slow progress of trials and cases that are still not brought up to court and the temporary and insufficient relief that is offered to the victims of natural calamities have proven that the administration has failed to meet the expected standard of the performance of their duties and responsibilities to the people. The administration may have helped several victims who suffered the complications brought about by the natural calamities in some short-term ways, but it was clearly not enough to sustain the lives of the many people who mainly rely on the aid the government provides.
Moreover, it has not been able to help the victims of the crimes and their families find justice for the prejudice they suffered. Aside from these, the Philippines continues to be a country unaware of the impending danger in their environment causing the Filipinos to risk their lives every single second they spend in the unsecured country. More importantly, the Philippine government has the obligation to serve the Filipino masses by protecting them by all means. Simply, the government should be prepared of every forthcoming disaster since the lives of many of the citizens are on their hands.
Disappointing as it is, the government has their own strategies; they wait for the disaster, and after it has already destroyed properties and has claimed lives, they plan what to do. It seems like the Philippine government has never learned from the past administrations; the officials of the country continue to ignore the consequences of their obliviousness. The Philippines has actually gone through many ills: from the typhoons that struck and flooded the country to terrorist threats that alarmed other nations not to visit the Philippines.
This leaves no excuse for the Philippine government to be unprepared for these disasters. The government should have at least prepared a certain plan of action in case more disasters loom in the Philippines. Based on these findings, the researchers came up with the following important points: 1. After more than a year since the Maguindanao massacre, the families of the victims still continue to grieve as no recent investigation has been pursued to solve the said case. 2.
The Quirino-Grandstand hostage-taking incident clearly did not only ruin the relations between the Philippines and Hong Kong; it also embarrassed the Philippines all over the world. Because of this, investigations of the said crime have been interrupted and delayed. 3. Typhoon Juan has greatly devastated the country, and even after months since it pummelled the Philippines, the Filipinos greatly affected still cannot cope and recover. 4. The terrorist threats in the country were not handled accordingly since the Filipinos, particularly the government itself, were not aware of the situation. . Kidnapping in the Philippines has been rampant for the past few years, and still, the government has not given any concrete explanation with regards to this. 6. The Aquino administration has not been able to present any significant development in the investigations of the said crimes and in its operations during calamities. Conclusions After the thorough analysis and interpretation of the subjects of the research and supporting them with the various facts and data gathered, the group has arrived at the following conclusions: 1.
The Pacific Strategies and Assessments is a socio-economic organization that specializes in Asian risks. At the same time, it also assists its clients in making reliable business decisions in Asia. Most importantly, it prepares intelligence briefs regarding political and economic situations to its clients like the Philippines. The PSA aims to maximize the advantages and minimize the risks of doing business in places that are often plagued by political, economic and socio-cultural ills. 2. Numerous disasters and catastrophes have indeed wreaked havoc in the Philippines.
These include man-made disasters such as the Maguindanao massacre, the Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking incident, the terrorist threats that made some countries exercise a high degree of caution in travelling to the Philippines, and the high and alarming rates of kidnapping cases in the different areas in the country. Natural disasters like the Typhoon “Juan” also inflicted vast damage in the country. These five disasters have been the bases of PSA in dubbing the Philippines as the “Disaster Capital of Asia. ” 3. At its rise, the present administration has not performed proficiently.
The Aquino administration, in its first few months, has not presented any significant development on the current investigations of the Philippines’ most abhorrent crimes and improvement on its operations in times of disasters like natural catastrophes. Investigations of the Maguindanao massacre, the Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking incident and the different kidnapping occurrences have remained stagnant, while the government’s plan of action regarding the terrorist threats in the country and Typhoon Juan has not been sustained at all. 4.
Because the Aquino administration has failed to fulfill its duties and responsibilities to the Filipino citizens in times of disasters and other catastrophes, and the effects of the lack of political will in the Philippines were experienced by many Filipinos, it is therefore righteous for PSA to label the country as the “Disaster Capital of Asia. ” 5. The group has agreed with PSA’s assessment on the Philippines under the Aquino government as the “Disaster Capital of Asia” since the country has been troubled by spiteful disasters and the administration has not been capable of alleviating the subsequent situations of these problems.
Recommendations After an in-depth analysis of the data gathered, the following recommendations are hereby made: 1. Provide a more compelling argument of the reasons behind the PSA’s evaluation of the Philippines. In line with this, the group also recommends further research on the different disasters that have created a devastating mess in the country. 2. Look beyond the Aquino administration’s shortcomings, but also point out the weaknesses of the other people and other organizations involved in the different catastrophes that wrecked the Philippines. References Avendano, C. (August 30, 2010).
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