Letters to the Editor

More help, concerns for my native country

In reference to the story, "Couple trying to make a difference in typhoon-tattered Philippines" (Auburn Reporter, May 2), I think that's commendable of the Verzosa couple, Therese and Jude.

This typhoon, named Haiyan, was indeed a terrifying storm that left mayhem and destruction and death to thousands of people. It left on its wake millions of people helpless and homeless and thousands of children, disease-ridden.

And it has put the Philippines on the map because of this never-before-seen destruction in any country, much worse than that Hurricane Katrina when it slammed New Orleans in August 2005, or perhaps even worse than the tsunami that slammed Japan in March 2011.

Mother Nature can be so mean and spiteful.

And it's a pity that the Philippine government did not make any preparations for the coming storm, despite repeated warnings several days before it landed on that part of the country.

According to CNN's Anderson Cooper, when he arrived in Tacloban City, which took the brunt of the typhoon, five days after the typhoon had left, he reported that he didn't see "any signs of presence" at all of the President Aquino government rendering help to the victims.

Trumping the pathetic response of the Aquino government, nations across the region moved in quickly to help.

The United States for International Development gave $20 million in immediate aid. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel immediately dispatched the aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, with 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircrafts, and a battalion of U.S. Marines, to help in the rescue and to bring in relief goods, medicines, food and clean water.

Support and aid also flowed in from more than 20 countries. The United Nations released $25 million in immediate aid. Donations from charity organizations, churches and private individuals also flowed in ... and continue to flow in. Even the NBA's Miami Heat generously donated millions of dollars in aid.

But where is that money now?

Did the money go to the victims? Or did it go into the pockets of crooks and thieves of the President Aquino government? It seems like it. Because nothing much had been achieved in helping the victims. Many are still homeless and the destruction are still prevalent.

And from what I heard and understand, the canned foods and relief goods meant for the victims have ended up being sold in flea markets, known as "ukay-ukay" stores in the Philippines.

These kind of things usually happen whenever calamities befell this native country of mine. The rich politicians become richer, and the calamity victims remain victims, homeless and hungry. So sad.

– Jesse Jose

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