There may be fake news surrounding the misuse of funds following Typhoon “Yolanda,” but the public must not forget the incompetence and negligence of the government response during the crisis, broadcast journalist and senatorial candidate Jiggy Manicad said Sunday.
Manicad, who led the TV broadcast which first penetrated airwaves after the superstorm hit the Visayan region, said this in response to former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas warning the public on “fake news” surrounding the Yolanda funds.
“We were with the people of Leyte when the storm hit. We thought we were going to die. We were the first and only network to go live then. To the horror of the victims in the hours, days following the typhoon, no help was coming. Only a few responded,” Manicad said.
“Us reporters, we all knew that the biggest typhoon on record was coming. Surely the DILG knew this. How come supplies of water, electricity, and food were lacking after the storm?” the journalist pressed.
On Thursday, Roxas’ spokesman, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said that Senator Panfilo Lacson’s testimony exonerating Roxas on the latter’s alleged theft of Yolanda funds dispels any “fake news” on the matter.
Lacson, who was appointed as rehabilitation czar, cleared Roxas’ name in the purported misuse of funds meant to reconstruct the towns most badly hit by the typhoon in Eastern Visayas.
However, Manicad insists the public must not forget the real ineptitude displayed by the government in the aftermath of Yolanda.
“One could clearly point out the lack of structure and coordination. It took days sometimes just for bodies to be picked up, for some areas to receive water. There was looting and widespread violence,” Manicad lamented.
“With respect to former Sec. Mar, that was not fake news. Ask the people of Leyte,” he quipped.
The multi-awarded journalist, who for two decades was assigned to cover crises in the country and overseas, also called on the government to heed the lessons of “Yolanda” in preparation for future natural disasters that could be aggravated by climate change.
“Now, we have a water crisis, El Nino, and billions lost to drought. It’s time we advance the right actions after a crisis, and implement long-term solutions to avoid its effects,” the candidate urged.