In the span of just 3 weeks, the Philippines has faced the wrath of 5 tropical cyclones with overlapping landfalls and damages. These cyclones brought strong winds and extreme flood levels that wrecked crops, businesses, and homes. But more than this, it took the lives of Filipinos.
Typhoon Ulysses revealed the gaps in the government’s disaster response as desperate calls for rescue poured online, local governments appealed for rescue boats, and photos of submerged houses went viral on social media.
Responding to these, Filipinos tapped into the bayanihan spirit to organize online and help those affected by the typhoon. But they refuse to romanticize this familiar act of resilience.
For them, the time calls for Filipinos to demand for leadership and better, coordinated disaster response from the national government.
“#UselessPH,” “Demand Accountability,” and “#NasaanAngPangulo” topped the Twitter Philippine trends as Filipinos online as President Rodrigo Duterte’s presence was missing again as Typhoon Ulysses ravaged parts of the country.
While #UlyssesPH was leaving a trail of destruction on Wednesday, November 11, Duterte was delivering a speech at the ASEAN summit demanding climate justice from developed countries.
Duterte, however, has not offered specifics on how the Philippines plans to handle Typhoon Ulysses and others like it.
It was just over a week ago on November 1 when ‘#NasaanAngPangulo’ also trended during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly and Tropical Storm Tonyo.
Overexploited Filipino resilience
Netizens emphasized that Filipino resilience should not be glorified. Instead, the public demand accountability from those in power to create a better system to lessen the devastation the Philippines experiences during times of disaster.
“Through the years, we have seen how Filipino’s resiliency has become over-exploited and romanticized by many and has been taken advantage of the people in power. Resiliency should not be a reminder that “there is more to life than suffering,” but a wake up call for the government to strive hard and shape up…” a viral Facebook post by the West Visayas State University publication reads.
A youth group also demanded accountability over disaster resilience.
Some netizens also questioned what the plans are and asked for solutions.
Pleas to private sector
It was also on Thursday morning that Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro appealed to the private sector to lend and donate rubber boats for rescue operations.
“Hindi kaya ng lokal na pamahalaan lang ang rescue,” Teodoro further states.
(Just the Marikina local government alone can’t handle the rescue.)
‘Donor fatigue’ was also brought up, a case where the government heavily relies on private entities to help victims and fill lapses made.
Read more sentiments from netizens on how the government responds to disasters, such as during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.
What are your thoughts on this? Leave them in the comments! — Rappler.com