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No ‘Noynoying’ on disasters, Palace says

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma deflects the "derogatory" term directed at his boss

MANILA, Philippines – The viral term “Noynoying” has begun to hound President Benigno Aquino III over his supposed inaction on crucial issues, and a Palace spokesperson came to his rescue Friday, March 16, in the context of disasters.

On the sidelines of a forum on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma trumpeted the Aquino administration’s disaster preparedness measures.

Coloma, however, first took exception to the use of the term “Noynoying.”

Para namang masyadong derogatory ‘yan sa katauhan ng ating Pangulo bilang lider ng Republika,” he said in an interview with reporters. (It seems too derogatory to our President’s stature as leader of the Republic.)

Coined by activists and bared during a transport caravan Thursday, March 15, the term “Noynoying” quickly went viral on social networking sites, and even had a Facebook page for it. The page defined the term, which comes from the President’s nickname, “Noynoy,” as “procrastination/state of being idle.”

Hindi po siguro tama ang paggamit ng terminong yan, at hindi po naaayon sa realidad, lalong-lalo na sa disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaption and risk mitigation,” said Coloma, noting the President’s “robust” efforts toward these goals.

(It is wrong and unrealistic to use that term especially in the context of disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation and risk mitigation.)

Moves vs disasters

In a press conference organized by environment advocate Sen Loren Legarda, Coloma said one of the Aquino administration’s disaster preparedness measures is to “pre-position” relief goods. This means placing relief goods in strategic areas for quicker disaster response.

DISASTER FORUM. Sen Loren Legarda holds a press conference on disasters Friday, March 16, at the Quezon City Hall.

“Within hours the goods get deployed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” Coloma told reporters in a mix of English and Filipino.

For her part, Legarda stressed the importance of the media in times of calamities. The media should use simple language in communicating disaster warnings, she noted.

Instead of using technical language, for example, the former broadcaster said a media practitioner can tell an audience of fishermen: “Kung lumabas kayo, sigurado ho kayong mamamatay dahil ang waves ay ganito po kataas.” (If you go out into the sea, you will surely die because the waves are this high.)

Disaster preparedness is important in the Philippines, which, according to the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, was the most disaster-prone country in Asia in 2011 alone. The group said 33 disasters hit the country and claimed 1,430 lives last year.  –