Kwentong Kengkay

Nobyembre 16, 2013

An open letter to President Noynoy


Dear Mr. President,

Today marks exactly one week and a day since Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda crossed our beautiful country, and left a trail of utter ruin and devastation of EPIC proportions.

By no means epic is an exaggeration. Haiyan/Yolanda not only killed thousands of our people and destroyed billions worth of property and infrastructure, it imprinted a huge scar on our national psyche that will haunt us forever. It was an awesome display of the power of nature over mankind, and a fatal reminder of our frailty and vulnerability. It was a nightmare that landed at daybreak, quickly flattening villages and erasing cities in one swoop.

It was unprecedented, unfathomable and incomprehensible. We saw it coming, yes. But we never did see, nor imagine, its brutality and viciousness.

It was not just a calamity that we normally experience year in year out, it was a CATASTROPHE. And it is so crushing that the entire world wept profusely at our nation’s misfortune. Until now, the citizens of the world are still in a state of shock and grief.

This horrific force violently littered the streets with dead bodies, and their stench continue to overpower those who survive, perhaps to remind them of their fate. Those who were left standing are lucky to be alive, but are now confronted with shattered dreams and evanescent hope.

Mr. President, this is a tragedy that is now tormenting our troubled land.

There is now an enormous amount of pain and suffering. There is hunger and hopelessness, anger and helplessness. There is sorrow so severe, it strikes achingly at the very soul of the inner selves of the victims and their families.

But it is not just with them. It is within us all.

It is felt by every Filipino, regardless of status and standing, whether here or anywhere else. Even our most hated neighbors and those indifferent to us feel the need to sympathize with us, because the heartbreak and the heartache is real Sir. They feel it too.

These are not merely words. These are raw emotions lurching out. They are akin to a punch in the gut, shiver in the spine, and a numbing sensation that words cannot fully describe.

These are wounded and beleaguered spirits in dire need of uplift. These are souls seeking solace. These are people needing physical, mental and emotional nourishment. These are battered and bruised bodies needing shelter and support.

In terms of relief and reinforcement, we have these in abundance. The goodness of humanity is innate, and help is always there, up to the point where there is giving until it hurts. Even school children and toddlers know how to evoke and educe assistance and support. Even hardened criminals know when to share.

As this is being written, the amount of relief being dispensed from across the nation, and the world, is remarkably overwhelming its distribution and delivery. The system or process by which relief is handled may falter or fail, but the outpour of support will never subside.

It is in this context that I humbly appeal to you Mr. President. The state of the nation is under duress. The destructive physical effect of this super typhoon is disheartening, and the damage is daunting. Our country is reeling, and our people are emotionally drained.

We are being tested, and with it the consequent polarization, divide, chasm and discord. Everyone has an opinion of everything, and it comes out either to be a rallying point, or perhaps an avenue to destabilize or weaken our resiliency and resolve.

We are now weary. And we are worried. Because we feel that we are without a leader. We are searching for stability, and we are grasping for guidance.

It’s a given that this is a super typhoon like no other. But it should not be made as an excuse to justify the reticent response and reaction of your administration.

One week after, it is not enough to recite the breakdown of the system, and look for units or people to blame. It is also not the appropriate time to dwell on accurate statistics, and fire people for wrong data. The numbers are undeniably staggering. And whether it is one or one million casualty, it is still a death toll. But most of all, it is certainly abominable when the people you assign to manage this crisis have certain agenda other than helping.

We can do better Sir.

We can address this adversity by advocacy. With it, we can trounce our trauma.

But we can only do this with you as our LEADER.

Despite your bachelor status Sir, you are the Father of the nation. You are the catalyst that we can all cling on. Only you have the power, the authority, the capacity, the capability and the ability to harness us all in one stirring movement to turn this tragedy to triumph.

One week after, I humbly lay to you what we can do Sir:

1. Convene a special session of Congress, and declare a national state of emergency. Address the nation and spell out your definitive 3-stage plan –

Relief, Recovery, Rebuild.

Appoint the most competent people to lead each of these stages, regardless of political party affiliation, and give them the necessary authority to effectively utilize the entire government machinery for their purpose.

2. Send your DFA Secretary, or maybe even your sister Kris Aquino to the United Nations ASAP, and ask that he or she speak on your behalf in the UN General Assembly. Tell the whole world of our experience with Haiyan/Yolanda, and seek their aid and support. Use this also as an avenue to appeal our country’s stance on climate change.

3. Convene the captains and tycoons of the business community – the Ayalas, the Sy family of SM, MVP, RSA, Gokongwei, etc. – and involve them in the 3-stage plan. Enable them to utilize their vast resources and organization to speed up the work.

4. Gather your PR staff and meet with the KPB and media bigwigs ABS CBN, GMA, TV5, Inquirer, Philippine Star, etc. and appeal with them for restraint on the way this tragedy is being reported in the news. Ask for their cooperation in strictly observing self-restraint, not censorship, in putting a positive spin on the news and reports on this tragedy.

5. In line with no. 4, appoint a credible and respected creative director who can immediately devise a media campaign or movement ala “Bangon Pilipinas” or “Hindi Hadlang si Haiyan” to awaken and uplift the spirit of our people. It should be a nationwide campaign on change, on support, on our bayanihan attitude, and on our resiliency. This is the best time to galvanize the country into a positive direction.

6. Harness the awesome power of social media and the Internet for use in data gathering and information dissemination. We have in our midst the most tech savvy people on earth. Use them.

At this point Sir, exhibit your strongest will to lead. Do not worry about legal ramifications or political machinations. Do not be anxious of the opposition, or the people with political ambitions. Do not dwell too much on bureaucracy, on observing established norms or standard operating procedures. Yes there are boundaries and legal frameworks to observe, and you should take note of these. But we are in an extra ordinary moment that is calling for extra ordinary measures to be adopted.

Mr. President, this is the moment where you step up to the plate, and you call the shots. It’s more than crunch time. It is now the time for you to show your true worth as president.

Your presidency is not just a term of office. It is not merely a template to govern. It is an institution that represents who we are as a nation. It carries with it an enormous responsibility of LEADERSHIP.

Your father Ninoy once said, “The Filipino is worth dying for.”

For our sake Mr. President, please tell us, and show us, that the FILIPINO is worth fighting for.

I remain,

Mark Anthony DC Lopez


2 mga puna »

  1. hello, ms. kengkay… musta po… this is a very well-written and sincere write up on the Yolanda disaster. i did one on my english site, too (mahaba, hehe). am thinking of doing a follow-up, in the same tenor as you expounded here. but am hesitant somehow, because the original write-up was read by fellow Filipino bloggers, but got few comments and likes. anyway, like you, am thinking of a plan or campaign that will dovetail the current disparate efforts towards rebuilding the disaster-stricken area, something that will look firm and coherent, sort of…

    i think this is one of your best posts. thanks for dropping by, every now and then. well wish to the hubby and kids… 🙂 ~san

    Komento ni doon po sa amin — Pebrero 25, 2014 @ 4:20 umaga | Sagutin

  2. Huwag mag-alala kahit na walang nag iwan ng comments o likes, basta nakakarating sa punto na gusto mong ihatid ang iyong sinulat 🙂

    Komento ni kengkay — Marso 26, 2014 @ 5:31 umaga | Sagutin

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