The face of Yolanda rehab? Not Mar Roxas, say Esquire readers
The face of Yolanda rehab? Not Mar Roxas, say Esquire readers
Social media goes wild over Esquire's commemorative issue on Super Typhoon Yolanda, featuring the man who was perceived to have mishandled rescue and recovery efforts

MANILA, Philippines – On the eve of the first year anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda, the man heavily criticized for mishandling rescue and recovery efforts landed on the cover of Esquire magazine. And he was smiling.

“Hello from Tacloban,” says the cover with a smiling Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II shown seated on piles of wood. The November issue is the men’s magazine commemorative issue a year after the deadly typhoon that killed at least 6,000 people, displaced 4 million, and put Roxas – the ground commander in its aftermath – on the hot seat. (READ: Haiyan crisis: No ground commander)

Before Yolanda struck the Visayas on November 8, 2013, Roxas and his team set up their command center in Tacloban City, which was predicted to be the worst hit by the world’s strongest typhoon. Hours after the storm surge wiped out the city’s coastal villages, Roxas lost contact with Manila for hours. It turned out the crisis team forgot to bring a satellite phone.

What followed were days of grief, anger, and long wait, with various sectors accusing Roxas of delays and indecision.

A year later, Esquire chose to use his face to commemorate Yolanda. Rappler learned that Roxas refused to grant Esquire an interview for this issue. The cover story was written by Philippine Star columnist Boo Chanco. 

The people’s wrath

When Esquire shared the cover photo on its official Facebook page, it was met with furor online.


– Marga Deona/

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