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USCebuana

http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/522939/20131118/tacloban-city-haiyan-s-ground-zero-anderson.htm#.Uo1-H8Skrdg

 

A letter explaining the relief effort to Anderson Cooper. I wonder if Cooper did his homework. Still, I hope CNN continue their coverage so aid agencies don't forget the Philippines and there's better accountability for the funds meant for the victims.

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Just watched Cooper's response to the criticisms of his reporting.  Thought it was very measured, accurate (in terms of what he was alleged to have said but did not actually say) and fair.  Having wat

one thing I have learnt ,philippinos have a hard time admitting they are wrong sometimes ,pride gets in the way of their rational thinking .so best to just let them think they are right to save gettin

keep their feet to the fire anderson (and all other reporters)!  it's scary to think how slowly things would be going if not for the international coverage.  filipino politicians are not accustomed to

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Davaoeno

A Filipino Executive's Open Letter to CNN's Anderson Cooper


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By Riza Ornos | November 18, 2013 4:39 PM EST




One of the first few international correspondents who flew to the Philippines' ground zero Tacloban City, Anderson Cooper has been reportedly appointed by US President Barrack Obama to be the next US ambassador to the Philippines.




A catastrophic destruction with epic proportion, Haiyan's aftermath has left millions of Filipinos homeless and struggling to rebuild their lives once again. But with little food, water and medical supplies the survivors are starting to lose hope when aids from around the world are not reaching to its rightful recipients.


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Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan react as a U.S. military helicopter delivers aid to their isolated village north of Tacloban


Cooper started to make waves in the Philippines when he covered the typhoon's aftermath and made a controversial report as he described was he saw on ground zero. "When I was in Japan, right after the tsunami there two years ago, within a day or two, you had Japanese defence forces going out, carving up cities into grids and going out on foot looking for people, walking through the wreckage. We have not seen that here in any kind of large-scale operation," said Mr Cooper in his report.




Because of his fearless reporting he made a few sparks in the local media, ABS CBN's Korina Sanchez made a comment regarding his critical report on the government's slow response to the Haiyan's aftermath. Because of this, an open letter was addressed to Anderson Cooper by a retired Filipino executive and head of a multi-billion dollar Japanese company.


The letter aims to give Cooper a clearer perspective of what the country is experiencing, and the way he reported the scene as it focuses on country's incompetence. Here is a long open letter that will explain it all taken from Aireen Navarro Khauv Facebook account.


Dear Sirs:


I just wanted to make some comments on the reporting of the CNN International crew here in Manila, regarding the relief efforts for the victims of super-typhoon Haiyan (which we locally call typhoon Yolanda).


First, full disclosure: I am a retired Filipino executive and computer person. I was born in the Philippines and spent all my life here (save for some very short overseas stints connected with my career). I have worked with a large local Philippine utility, started up several entrepreneurial offshore software service companies (when outsourcing was not yet in vogue), and also served as the Philippine country head for a multi-billion dollar Japanese computer company. This diverse work background allows me to always see both the local and global point of view, and to see things from the very different standpoints of a third-world citizen, and a person familiar with first-world mindsets and lifestyles.


I appreciate CNN's reporting, as it brings this sad news to all corners of the world, and in turn, that helps bring in much needed charity and aid. The tenor and tone of CNN's reporting has not been very palatable for a local person like me (the focus seems to be on the country's incompetence). But I shrug that aside, as there is probably some truth to that angle. And in reality, what counts now is that help arrives for the people who need them most; recriminations and blame can come later. Last night, I listened to a CNN reporter wondering about the absence of night flights in Tacloban, in the context of the government not doing enough to bring in relief goods. It was like listening to newbie executives from Tokyo, London or the USA with no real international experience, yet assuming that their country's rules and circumstances applied equally to the rest of the world. That was the proverbial last straw: I knew I had to react and call your attention to a few things (with some risk, since these topics are not my area of competence):


1. The airport in Tacloban is a small provincial airport: when you get two commercial Airbus flights arriving simultaneously, you are already close to straining that airport's capacity. Even under normal operations, the last flights arrive in Tacloban at around 6pm, partly because of daylight limitations. Considering that the typhoon wiped out the airport and the air traffic gear, and killed most of the airport staff, you basically have nothing but an unlit runway which can handle only smaller turbo-prop planes. You can only do so much with that. I would assume that our Air Force pilots are already taking risks by doing landings at dusk. Take note that in the absence of any working infrastructure, the cargo will have to be off-loaded from the plane manually, while it sits in the tarmac. If you do the math, I wonder how aircraft turn-around's can be done in a day? How many tons of supplies could theoretically be handled in one day?


2. The Philippine air force has only three C130 cargo planes (I am not sure if there is a fourth one). This is supposedly the best locally-available plane that is suited for this mission: large enough to carry major cargo load, but not too large to exceed the runway limitations. We do not have any large helicopters that can effectively move substantial cargo. I am happy to read in the newspapers that the USA is lending another eight C130 planes. I am not the expert, but I would suspect that even with more planes, the bottleneck would be in capacity of the airport to allow more planes to land and be offloaded, as discussed above.


3. A major portion of the road from the Airport to Tacloban City is a narrow cement road of one lane in each direction. With debris, fallen trees, toppled electric poles, and even corpses littering the road, it took time to clear the airport itself, so that they could airlift heavy equipment needed to clear the roads. Then it took even more time to make the roads passable. Listening to our Interior Secretary on CNN, he disclosed that the Army was able to bring in 20 military trucks to Leyte. Half of them were allocated to transport relief goods to the different villages in the city, and the rest were assigned for clearing, rescue and other tasks. With very little local cargo trucks surviving the typhoon, I guess this would be another bottleneck. Again, I assume that if I do the math, there is only so much volume that can be moved daily from the airport to the city.


4. The Philippines is an archipelago. Tacloban City is in Leyte island, which has no road link with the other major cities/islands. The only external land link (the San Juanico bridge) is with the neighboring island of Samar, which was equally hard hit by the typhoon, and which is just like Leyte (in terms of limited transportation infrastructure). The logistics of getting relief, supplies and equipment to Tacloban is daunting. Not too long ago, my company put up a large chunk of the communication backbone infrastructure in Leyte province. It was already a challenge to get equipment onto the ground then. This has always been the challenge of our geography and topography. What more now, when the transportation/communication systems are effectively wiped out in Tacloban?


5. There is an alternate land/sea route from Manila to Leyte: down 600 kilometers through the Pan-Philippine highway to the small southern province of Sorsogon, taking a ferry to the island of Samar, and then 200+ kilometers of bad roads to Tacloban City. I was told that some private (non-government) donations are being transported by large trucks through this route. So many trucks are now idle in Matnog town down in Sorsogon, waiting for the lone ferry which can carry them across the very rough San Bernardino Straits to the town of Allen in Samar island. The sheer volume probably is over-whelming. Again I do not have the exact numbers, but my educated guess is that the low-volume Matnog ferry needs to transport in a few days what they would normally do over one or two months.


6. The government administrative organization in Tacloban is gone. Most local government employees are victims themselves. This adds to the problems of organizing relief efforts locally. Even if augmented with external staff, the local knowledge and the local relationships are hard to replace. In some other smaller towns (where the death toll and/or damage has not been as bad), local governments are still somehow functioning and coping. They are able to bury their dead, set up temporary makeshift shelters, organize and police themselves. Short term, they need food, water and medical supplies to arrive; medium term, they need assistance in clean-up, reconstruction and rebuilding. But Tacloban is in a really bad condition. What can you expect from a city that has lost practically everything?


I am told of the comparison with the Fukushima earthquake/tsunami, where relief supplies arrived promptly, efficiently, and in volume. I think there is one major backgrounder that CNN staff fail to mention: that Tacloban is not Fukushima, that it is not Atlanta. And the Philippines is not Japan, and certainly not the USA. Even before the typhoon, this region was one of the less developed in the country, with limited infrastructure. There was only a small airport, limited trucking capacity, a limited road system, and a small seaport servicing limited inter-island shipping. And with the damage from the typhoon, that limited infrastructure has been severely downgraded. It is easy to blame the typhoon. But the truth is: Tacloban is a small city in a third-world country. If you had to bring in that volume of cargo in that short window of time in pre-typhoon Tacloban, it would already have been a challenge. It is easy for a first-world person to take everything for granted. The reality (or sometimes, the advantage?) of growing up in a third-world country is that you do not assume anything, you take nothing for granted, you are grateful for what little you have (and you do not cry over what you do not have).


I understand and sympathize with the desperate needs of the victims. Every little bit counts. The smallest food or water package can make the difference between life and death. I think every Filipino knows that. And that is why I am very happy with the national display of compassion and civic duty. Everyone, even the poorest, even the prison inmates, is donating food and money. People are volunteering their time. All the local corporations are helping. In the Philippines, Christmas is the most important holiday, and the annual company Christmas Party is probably the most important company event for most employees. Yet in very many companies in Manila, employees have decided to forego their Christmas party, and instead divert the party budget to relief/aid.


From what I see on TV, the situation on the ground is not pretty. I do accept that efficiency needs to be improved, that service levels have to go up. I do acknowledge that our country's resources are limited, that our internal delivery capabilities may not be world-class. I do understand that there may be ineffective policies/processes and even wrong decisions made by government. But what I cannot understand is the negative tenor of CNN reporting. I suspect that CNN reporters are viewing this through the eyes of a first-world citizen, with an assumed framework of infrastructure and an expectation of certain service levels. I suspect these are expectations that we would have never met, even in the pre-typhoon days.


Or perhaps it is a question of attitude: a half-empty glass rather than a half-full glass. At my age, I have experienced and lived through earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and at least twenty really bad typhoons (but admittedly, none as bad as Yolanda). From my experience, what we have now is not just a half-filled glass, I personally view it as probably at least 75% full (meaning, I think this is a big improvement over past efforts in past calamities). But please do not fault us for being a third-world country. Please do not explicitly or implicitly attribute everything to our incompetence, what might be due to other factors (such as those that result from limited resources or infrastructure, or those conditions that God or nature seems to have chosen for us). Our people are doing what they can, so let's give them a break. More so in these difficult times, when suffering is high, emotions are feverish, and tempers are frayed.


It breaks my heart to see my countrymen suffering so much. I will do my share, whatever I can do to help. I will bear insults and harsh words, if this is the price for my people to receive the aid we need. I make no excuses for my country's shortcomings, but I just wish that some positive slant (the many small tales of heroism, the hard work of our soldiers, the volunteerism and compassion of the typical citizen, etc) would also be mentioned equally. I just needed to let you know how this particular Filipino reacts to your reporting, and I suspect there are many, many other folks who feel the same way that I do.


For whatever the limitations, I still sincerely thank you for your coverage, and the benefits that it will bring my countrymen.


To contact the editor, e-mail: 



<a data-ipb="nomediaparse" data-cke-saved-href="mailto:[email protected]?Subject=FEEDBACK:%20%5B522939%5D%20A%20Filipino%20Executive" href="mailto:[email protected]?Subject=FEEDBACK:%20%5B522939%5D%20A%20Filipino%20Executive" s%20open%20letter%20to%20cnn's%20anderson%20cooper&body="%0A%0Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fau.ibtimes.com%2Farticles%2F522939%2F20131118%2Ftacloban-city-haiyan-s-ground-zero-anderson.htm"">


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Ian, what do YOU think about what the editorial said? The sad fact is that MOST catastrophes occur in third-world countries. The government in the affected country can either facilitate (sometimes just by getting out of the way of organizations that are better equipped to handle the situation) or hinder (sometimes by preventing those organizations from helping) how effective relief efforts are. Instead of comparing the catastrophe in Japan, maybe he should compare the catastrophe in Haiti a few years ago. Of course, either way, the Philippines will come off badly by comparison...simply because corruption (at every level) got in the way of the relief efforts. Filipinos are very good at making excuses for why the Philippines is the way it is...which is why it is that way still. Maybe...if as much criticism were to come from INSIDE the country as is generated when OUTSIDERS identify the issues here...things could change and there wouldn't be so many easily identifiable problems.

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The author has also probably forgotten that the CNN  reporters have had wide experience of on the ground reporting in other disaster hit countries, Some also third world with the challenges that are identified. I suspect that their reports reflect comparisons with the questions they ask and are surprised at some obvious shortcomings. Indeed some of the reporters in the local press have identified some pretty damn obvious solutions as well as observations that if funds had not been stolen then the roads through Samar would be passable not impassable etc. Suggestions that basic nautical highway routes are the artery of relief and should be automatically seen as priority for development and theft of development funds etc. that there are other ferries in Sorsogon that could have been coopted to Matanog to bolster the ferry delivery route etc, none of these guys work for CNN but they ask questions AND provide answers.  

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Davaoeno

Ian, what do YOU think about what the editorial said? The sad fact is that MOST catastrophes occur in third-world countries. The government in the affected country can either facilitate (sometimes just by getting out of the way of organizations that are better equipped to handle the situation) or hinder (sometimes by preventing those organizations from helping) how effective relief efforts are. Instead of comparing the catastrophe in Japan, maybe he should compare the catastrophe in Haiti a few years ago. Of course, either way, the Philippines will come off badly by comparison...simply because corruption (at every level) got in the way of the relief efforts. Filipinos are very good at making excuses for why the Philippines is the way it is...which is why it is that way still. Maybe...if as much criticism were to come from INSIDE the country as is generated when OUTSIDERS identify the issues here...things could change and there wouldn't be so many easily identifiable problems.

 

I thought that the guy came across as being intelligent and pragmatic. He has pride in being a filipino- as he should - but seems to accept that the country has certain problems .   No one - whether filipino or American or German etc likes outsiders coming in and putting down their country - no matter how much truth may be being spoken .  I dont think he tried to say that there are no problems here - rather he says  that if one wants to understand what is going on here one has to understand/appreciate  what the problems are.  I think that he would love to see the country better governed . But he also says that attacking the status quo at this time does not help anyone at all .   it just allows foreign journalists to take cheap shots . 

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Salty Dog

I watched the video in question. It in no way was a scathing report on how the Philippines was screwing up. Should he have been more sensitive to the Filipino psychic? In hind sight he may now realize that.

 

Anderson Cooper is about as low key as any American reporter out there. Just imagine if it had been Bill O'Reilly?  

 

It comes down to proper pre-planning. A big part of which involves  pre-staging of emergency response equipment and supplies. The government told everyone to move from low lying areas which was paramount in reducing lives lost. It seemed that the government then sat back and waited to see what would happen in order to determine their next move.

 

It's not like disasters like this haven't happened to a lesser degree numerous times in the past.

 

Look how much the USA screwed up with Katrina in New Orleans. The guy in charge though was relieved of his duties as soon as it was realized he was just a politician and didn't know what the hell he was doing. Once an expert in emergency response was placed in charge, a positive change in response activities was immediate. 

 

Could that be the problem here? Politicians are great for keeping people informed and waving the flag, which is not a bad thing. Being a member of a political dynasty does not train them in how to run such a large scale emergency response.

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sandwindstars

I will reserve judgment of the national government until after the reconstruction. I coordinate projects and for what it's worth I have a bit of an idea of the logistical nightmare that the national government must be dealing with. The international media exposure is good for aid and accountability purposes and hopefully it stays in the news even through reconstruction. People should not be surprised with criticisms in dealing with the media. To be honest Anderson Cooper has lost credibility to me when he accepted a talk show hosting job. IMO journalists should not be celebrities. I do believe that he was moved by the situation and really cares.

 

http://ideas.time.com/2013/11/14/stop-catastrophizing-relief-efforts-in-the-philippines/

 

I think it's a given that the logistics is a nightmare.  I also work on small projects in the country as an adviser, on assignment, and what I see that can complicate the process of rehabilitation is the organization and coordination within the gov't itself.  It's too territorial, political, and ego driven, too many political appointees with non-related skills or competencies.  My hope is that the rehab fund donated from overseas be put in a separate account, like a trust, not into general revenues of the government, with an oversight body composed of professional managers, and representatives from the foreign donors.  Int'l ngos in the country have a much better handle on how to implement projects because they have a template to follow.  The gov't does not, it's all about who knows whom with a political rather than social objective.  (Most gov'ts are anyway.)  Unless the gov't hires local or foreign professionals to manage the rehabilitation, at this time, I'd give it a 60% success rate - in the financial management of projects, completion time, and execution.

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sandwindstars

Beat your dog and mistreat him and he will stay by your your side.   A mentality of non-entitlement 

 

I hate to say you're very right. 

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Monsoon

We could only hope that the world news will focus on the Philippines for an extended time. While I seriously doubt this will happen, we can only hope! 

 

 

Hey they just announced someone held women captive for 30 years in the UK. That beats the record of the piece of shit in Cleveland US. 

 

 

Lets see.

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cebubird

I watched the video in question. It in no way was a scathing report on how the Philippines was screwing up. Should he have been more sensitive to the Filipino psychic? In hind sight he may now realize that.

 

Anderson Cooper is about as low key as any American reporter out there. Just imagine if it had been Bill O'Reilly?  

 

It comes down to proper pre-planning. A big part of which involves  pre-staging of emergency response equipment and supplies. The government told everyone to move from low lying areas which was paramount in reducing lives lost. It seemed that the government then sat back and waited to see what would happen in order to determine their next move.

 

It's not like disasters like this haven't happened to a lesser degree numerous times in the past.

 

Look how much the USA screwed up with Katrina in New Orleans. The guy in charge though was relieved of his duties as soon as it was realized he was just a politician and didn't know what the hell he was doing. Once an expert in emergency response was placed in charge, a positive change in response activities was immediate.

 

 

Unfortunately the media blamed ALL the trouble from Katrina on the US government, when in fact, it was the incompetant gov of La and mayor of NO who fouled it up. The gov TURNED down the offer from feds BEFORE the storm, saying the state was on top of it.

While the media didn't want to cover it correctly-the people of La understood who was to blame and she didn't even run for a second term

Conversley, the folks 80 miles to the east who were HARDEST HIT had all their ducks in a row and didn't have all the chaos that the 3rd world city of NO had.

PRE-PLANNING BEFORE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE with these storms.

Did FEMA screw up?-ABSOLUTELY!!! But the LARGEST screwup was BEFORE by the local/state government of LA.

After all that state(especially southern part)is a 3rd world country and equals Chicago in corruption.

 

Could that be the problem here? Politicians are great for keeping people informed and waving the flag, which is not a bad thing. Being a member of a political dynasty does not train them in how to run such a large scale emergency response.

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Yes it was front page news on yahoo7 a few hours ago...what I don't get is they named the nationalites of the victims but refered to those charged as NON BRITISH...wonder why they did not say where they originated from...

 

OK going off topic..thanks monsoon lol

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johnormoc

It seems there are  different mentalities in each region. Each region seem to love and idolize their local ruling families. It's still very feudal.  Although some local officials did care enough to do their job and make sure their constituents are safe. Cebu has always been known as opposition country during Martial Law.  

Well I'm just disgusted with what's going on in Ormoc now. Several of my mother-in-law's friends said they were turned away for relief goods because they had no voter registration cards so they couldn't prove they voted for the current mayor in the last election. They also said anyone who is a member of the opposition Liberal party is also being turned away as that is the rival party of the Ormoc mayor and he is hoarding all the relief good for his allies (come to find out relief goods are being turned over to the local government for distribution). When I heard this I thought oh that's just crazy talk; no human being would do such a thing in a crisis of this magnitude. But then I saw this link on Facebook from the Congresswoman from Leyte who confirmed Mayor Codilla in Ormoc is indeed doing all of this. He even rebuffed an offer from the US Navy for the free use of 3 helicopters to deliver goods to remote areas because he wants his office to be seen delivering the goods...not the US Navy. This way he can be seen as a hero, reward his loyal followers and turn this into his political advantage. It's just shameful....but I'm sure he'll get re-elected again. It's just the way things are here.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrw8159hyV4

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When I heard this I thought oh that's just crazy talk; no human being would do such a thing in a crisis of this magnitude. But then I saw this link on Facebook from the Congresswoman from Leyte who confirmed Mayor Codilla in Ormoc is indeed doing all of this.

So a politician told you a rival politician was a bad person? Gasp!!

 

People usually get the government they deserve. Sorry if that comes off as a bit insensitive but I can't really say I feel much sympathy for those of voting age playing the victim of the government corruption.

 

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 4

So a politician told you a rival politician was a bad person? Gasp!!

 

People usually get the government they deserve. Sorry if that comes off as a bit insensitive but I can't really say I feel much sympathy for those of voting age playing the victim of the government corruption.

 

We all know that if the roles were reversed that those turned away today would be the ones telling the others to take a hike.

 

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 4

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Mandingo

This is 100% true in Ormoc. My wife's uncle is a barangay captain and she said he was told to only give to the people who voted for the mayor. Even her family is being turned away, she said that the people are ready to start taking it by force.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk

 

 

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