Cut Him Some Slack

SO YOUNG. A man brings his lifeless 6-year-old daughter to the morgue at the downtown area in Tacloban City, one of the fatalities in the storm surge whipped up by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” Image and caption source: Inquirer.Net
Who would want to be president at this moment?

One crisis after another dogged President Noynoy Aquino lately. The Zamboanga battle. The Bohol earthquake. And now, the super typhoon Yolanda in Central Philippines. 



To say that our situation is so overwhelming is an understatement.

Three days ago, it seemed that he groaned under its weight.
[President Aquino] allegedly walked out on a disaster briefing in Tacloban City… [He] was frustrated by reports from the disaster risk reduction council and a comment from an unnamed businessman who urged him to declare a state of emergency amid an alleged spate of killings in the city. The businessman claimed he was held at gunpoint by a group of men. Aquino, clearly irked by the claim, was quoted saying, “But you did not die, right?” The President returned to the meeting, several minutes later, reports said. (Source: Inquirer.Net)
Because of that, Filipino netizens called him a “brat” among other labels for that apparent presidential walkout. The Palace denied that it was a walkout. It was, according to them, merely “a bathroom break.” One newspaper columnist disagreed.
As for Aquino’s un-presidential walkout, the “bathroom break” theory simply does not wash. Reporters at the meeting noted that Aquino seemed to get more and more angry upon being asked to act on the looting and even sarcastically pointed out to one of his questioners that he, apparently, survived Yolanda. Then, when Aquino disagreed with a disaster office executive’s estimate of the damage, he left without telling anyone that he was going to the bathroom or even dying for a smoke. He just up and left for the local police station, returning to the meeting later after apparently realizing that his action made him look really bad. (Source: Manila Standard Today)
Whether it’s a walkout or a bathroom break is debatable. But, we cannot deny that this crisis is too huge for any leader. Even the mighty US of A fumbled when hurricanes Katrina and Sandy hit them.

Image source: GMA News Online
Who wouldn’t crack under such pressure? 

Remember that there were reports saying Yolanda was the world’s strongest typhoon so far. It’s so depressing just to watch the news on TV. Just imagine how challenging it is to be responsible for bringing the nation back to its feet! Such is the burden of his command. 

Dead bodies in a chapel at Tacloban City. mage source: ElysPlanet.Com

Of course, as our leader, he needs to be strong and appear strong. But, one can only steel himself for so long. Sooner or later, either it’s the breaking point or the boiling point. After all, leaders are humans, too.

A coastal town in Iloilo. Image source: ElysPlanet.Com

Even Abraham Lincoln, undoubtedly the greatest American president, suffered such a setback. During the Civil War, a certain Colonel Scott personally asked him for a leave “to attend his wifes funeral and comfort his children. (Source: Chapter 43 - The Literature Journey) But, Lincoln’s angry reaction shocked him.
This man, this rock, this strong leader of our country was down right rude, inconsiderate, and uncaring. However, the very next morning, Abraham Lincoln went to Colonel Scotts house and sincerely apologized and made things right. (Ibid)
I don’t think President Aquino needed to apologize. The fact that he returned to the meeting is good enough for me. He got back to work.

Residents walk past destroyed houses and dead bodies littered along a road in Tacloban, Philippines on November 10, 2013 after Super Typhoon Haiyan swept over the country. Image and caption source: Yahoo! News Philippines

Our president needs our support, not our side comments. Yes, by all means, let us be vigilant. We need to make sure that all the relief goods would reach the typhoon victims the soonest possible time. We need to account and hold government officials accountable for every peso of the billions in aid pouring in to our country right now. I am all for that. Yet now is not the time to criticize. Some other time maybe. But not now. The Bible tells us, “There is a time for tearing and sewing, destroying and building, listening and speaking.” And, if I may add, there is a time for supporting and criticizing. The government cant deal with it on its own. We need to help. Together well thrive, not just survive.

In this dire situation, so much more at the moment, he needs our commitment, not our criticisms.

My take? Let us cut our president some slack. 

From the FB page of Danny Tamayo

Comments

  1. Anonymous12:22 PM

    you don't run for president when you don't have the ability, 'coz it's not your career that's at stake but one whole nation. this is the problem with our country, politicians run just because people know them, without really thinking if they're qualified and without thinking ahead kung ano magagawa nila para sa bansa. yes he's not perfect, but he's expected to be wise, he's expected to do something right. people will expect a lot from him, tumakbo takbo siya eh. and ofcourse people will criticize, he's famous and he's the president. and you can't really say that these people na nag criticize are not doing anything, coz ang mga tao are doing their part in the best way they can. so they are just not whiners, they are doers. if he can't do his job just coz of criticisms, then we have a HUGE problem. this is my take.

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  2. Thank you for comment. My concern is about those who merely criticize without doing anything. Cutting PNoy some slack is not about giving him an excuse to fail but an encouragement to support the government in times like this. I held and still hold him accountable as our leader. Again, thank you for your comment.

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  3. Anonymous5:42 PM

    had he mobilized everybody and everything, the criticisms would've been minimal. The donations in millions of dollars are already in the country. Clothes, food water are pouring in. Why is it taking so long to be delivered to the victims? They survived the typhoon but they are now dying of hunger. Whenever you watch the news, they all beg for water and food.

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