Roxas’s ‘lapse of judgment’

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Friday, December 13, 2013


“Ang gusto ko lang ay ang hatian ng trabaho.”
--DILG chief Manuel Roxas II

It might look now as incongruous that Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas was arguing with Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez over turf just after super-typhoon Yolanda had left the city.

When they should've been leading rescue and relief operations, the two officials were debating about which agency should do what.

And to this day, the verbal exchanges continue, exposing a major kink in disaster management.

Protocol is clear enough. First responder is the LGU or local government (LGU) and the national government comes in on the third and succeeding days.

But, blast, what rule can hold against the super-storm when, as in the Leyte experience, the LGU is helpless: resources smashed and work force, also storm victims, cut down?

Roxas, the most high-profile Palace man then, should've ordered the national cavalry brought in.

Apparently, Roxas wanted to proceed on "clear" legal terms: the LGU must acknowledge in writing that it wasn't functioning.

Political rivals

That certainly looks odd on hindsight and could be "a lapse of judgment" worse than not bringing a a sat phone or letting Korina Sanchez tag along.
Mar must have worried over political fallout.

Ninoy, PNoy's father, was jailed and murdered during the "conjugal rule" of Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Romualdez.

Mar's insistence on defining division of labor ("hatian ng trabaho") between Malacañang and Tacloban City was seen to have impeded early rescue and relief work.

And it even enlarged the "blame game" he wanted desperately to avoid.

[paseares@sunstar.com.ph]

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 14, 2013.

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