Editorial: Verbal exchange

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

THE verbal exchange between Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas can be considered an outward manifestation of a conflict that has been simmering since super typhoon Yolanda devastated areas in the Visayas.

That conflict involves the assessment of the responses to the disaster by the national government on one side and the local government in Tacloban represented by Romualdez on the other.

But it can also be viewed in the context of political realities, President Noynoy Aquino, after all, is the son of Ninoy, who was persecuted by the martial law government of Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda Romualdez. Alfred is a descendant of “Imeldific.”

Moreover, the intensity of the verbal exchange seems to have been fueled by partisans of both the Aquino administration and the opposition who are conducting their “war” using traditional media and the internet.

Actually, there is nothing wrong with a verbal exchange as long as it helps in pushing the truth to the surface. Without it, many of us would not have been told of what transpired when Roxas and Romualdez talked about how to respond to the disaster a few days after Yolanda struck and devastated the city.

What the public should be wary of, however, is the attempt to spread half-truths and outright lies to further an agenda using both traditional and social media. People need to sift through the garbage thrown around to find nuggets of the truth in the exchange.

An example is the posting of video footage on the meeting between Roxas and Romualdez wherein the former mentioned the still simmering rift between the Aquinos and the Romualdezes. There are claims that some of the video footages featured edited versions of the dialogue.

In this context, it would be good to launch an official probe into the responses of both the national and local governments to Yolanda instead of allowing the verbal exchange to simmer. An honest official probe by an independent body can separate the truth from the half-truths and lies that are currently being spread around.

And it can sum up the lessons from Yolanda objectively.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 12, 2013.


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