Junket of Doom

Even as the President departed, the Inquirer editorial had already called her trip a Most useless junket. Her trip, will be followed up, incidentally, by another trip to the States, scheduled in September, practically on the eve of the American presidential elections.

My column for today is Bitter fruits of disaster. The growing number of middle class Filipinos who’ve avoiding watching local news and reading the papers had their equanimity disturbed by yet another home-grown tragedy going global. See the Agence France Presse story, Hundreds feared dead after Philippine ferry sinks. The latest is More survivors in Philippine ferry sinking:

Twenty-eight passengers from a capsized passenger ferry were reported alive in the central Philippines on Monday but more than 800 remain missing after the ship sank during a typhoon.

The survivors made it to a small coastal village after drifting at sea for more than 24 hours in a rubber boat, radio dzBB reported. Two others originally on board the life raft drowned in large swells.

The discovery raises the number of survivors to 32. Four people were confirmed dead on Sunday.

First, a correction to my column: at 11 pm last night, long after the deadline for my article, Dick Gordon told me personally he hadn’t left for the States, because he saw the disaster coming. Good for him and the Red Cross. Scriptorium points out an entry in la ciudadista that identifies where to give donations, in cash or kind, for typhoon relief, and adds,

…the [DSWD] has designated Petron gas stations for receiving non-perishable goods. Basic needs come first: used clothes, canned goods, rice, bottled water, instant noodles, sleeping mats/banig, cash donations. Let us all please help the victims as much as we can.

You can donate to the Red Cross online, click the Donate Now link on its website.

The President is being taken to task for going to America even as devastation had already been wrought by the typhoon in Mindanao and it was plowing through the Visayas. The criticism has gotten more intense as the death toll mounts. ‘Frank’ aftermath no reason for Arroyo to cut US trip – Palace goes the official response, and the President has taken to teleconferencing as a way to prove she’s doing something.

In my column, I pointed out that PAGASA’s being off the mark in its predictions has pissed off a lot of people. And at first, this was the main bone of contention concerning the typhoon. See Faulty Weather Pronouncements of PAGASA, which I mentioned in my column. The Inquirer’s front page today shows PAGASA’s path prediction for the typhoon (in yellow-orange), and the actual path it took (in red):


See Milking The Cash Cow to see how the PAGASA website wasn’t functioning particularly well when people needed information the most. This was also pointed out by The Dusk Chronicles who also remarked on how people weren’t really prepared for the storm hitting Metro Manila (hat tip: Global Voices). One thing I did hear a lot from people, though, yesterday (as people end up doing what they usually do, which is trading notes on disasters) is that many found maybagyo.com very useful. See its updates page.

Other entries I found useful concerned the devastation in Iloilo (Eastern Visayas loses close to P900M in crops, infra), see The Trojan Bore who pointed to view from the sugar island:

People are desperately seeking help and are stuck in the rooftops, INEPT GOVERNMENT NO.1 will send help INSTANTLY RIGHT? NO, HELP WILL ARRIVE TOMORROW OUR OFFICIALS NEED THEIR BEAUTY SLEEP. Supplies and rescue boats (THAT ARE REALLY NEEDED RIGHT NOW BY RESCUE TEAMS) will arrive tomorrow in Iloilo at 6:00 am via C-130. Congratulations, your ineptitude is world-class.

What will they rescue tomorrow? I don’t know. Maybe it is to give the press a chance to cover their heroics. Reports say there is a danger of hypothermia hitting the flood victims and that is why time is of the essence. I’m hearing the flood in some areas is subsiding. Hopefully it is true. The rescue efforts are being made difficult by the darkness and lack of EQUIPMENT. As I type, flood victims stuck in the rooftops are asking for help through SMS to be rescued.


Local officials know they’re getting hammered by public opinion. I heard Vice-Governor Rolex Suplico on the radio yesterday afternoon sounding frustrated over the delayed arrival of a C-130 transport plane from Cebu; obviously even if the provincial government had emergency stockpiles of equipment and food, the scale of the flooding and damage wrought by the typhoon would have overwhelmed local resources.

A harrowing account from the scene comes from Confessions of the Mind and Heart:

Saturday, June 21 I woke up early and had my dad drive me to Ventus to finish some work. We came across the Jaro river where we usually get the sign if flood will occur. So far it was in its normal level and dad said he will just call in case…

It was not after 1 hour when dad called that the siren is all over the place which warned the people in Tabuc Suba Jaro to prepare for the flood. I’m on a hurry to go home so I asked the assistance of nong Ruel to give me a ride home and minutes later mom texted me not to go home anymore. When we passed by Jaro, the van can no longer penetrate the water.

I decided to meet Jet at Robinsons Mall. The water is all over the place and I started to panic. He was there waiting for me. I can’t help myself not to cry. I’m worried about my family back home. My brother’s in Capiz and ufortunatley he can’t go home coz it’s signal number 3 in that place. I stayed with Jet the whole night hoping that tomorrow I can go home.

I’m getting more worried when I can’t contact them already. jet and I went back to Ventus Sunday morning hoping I could get a chance to contact them since the whole city is black out, Ventus is just the only place who has reserved electricity.

Still I can’t contact them. The landline’s just ringing. I had the thought that the water reached the telephone line. So I decided to go to Jaro and check out the situation. We reached Jaro, I was with my cousin and Jet. We walked from Jaro bridge down Bankers Village. Seeing the whole place was a disaster. The Brgy Hall was full of refugees lining up to get some food from a truck with donations. Jetskies and motorboats were parked in the sideways, cars were also parked on the side og the bridge and sidewalks. We passed by Iloilo Supermart and it was all damaged. the water entered the store and the glass door broke. I can’t imagine how an elevated place was reached by water. We came near Quintin Salas and saw some cars been thrown away in the vacant lot.. I saw our car parked in outside the building beside the village and it’s drowned. I saw mud inside and it’s oil spilled out.

We entered Bankers and the current of the water is so strong I just can’t lift my feet. Jet and my cousin were pulling me to my feet. We reached home at last. I saw the mansions with crached fences, and muddy furnitures. All light posts and telephone lines are dead and were actually down. And my house, it’s all chocoloate covered mud!!! I saw my helpers shoveling the mud out of our gate. Dad approached us teary eyed saying that “Guba gid ya balay ta, wala gid ko nag expektar na amu ni matabo” (It’s all damaged. I didn’t expect this to happen).

See iloilo flood 2008 photos at trigo26’s Flickr account.

Matters can only have been compounded by the perpetually ad hoc nature of emergency response measures, and how nothing really functions unless the big bosses are around the lean on their subordinates. It’s only been a few weeks since the national government came in for strong criticism over its sluggish handling of the typhoon damage to Pangasinan. And yet it was only yesterday that NDCC convenes in wake of ‘Frank’.

This basic reality of what passes for government management in our country, helps explain why whatever the President does, there really is no substitute for her being here, and for her subordinates being here, either. You’d think that our officials, who’ve borrowed so many pages from the Republican playbook, would have learned the lessons taught by Bush’s plummeting in the ratings because of his response to Hurricane Katrina.

Closer to home (see pictures in TheBachelorGirl), another point I raised was courtesy of the age of brillig:

According to the 10:30 p.m. bulletin from PAGASA, Typhoon Fengshen (i.e., Frank) had altered course and is now projected to pass over Metro Manila at around 5:00 a.m., or 5 hours from the time I write this. Its not good that this bulletin came out after many Metro Manila residents have gone to bed, especially since the storm is expected to hit while most of Metro Manila is sleeping.

Urban poor areas in Manila hardest hit by floods presents a political Catch-22 for local governments, too: humanitarian considerations, and the responsibilities of leadership, requires mayors and governors to dissuade residents from rebuilding in areas notoriously flood-prone (I have read many press accounts from the past, in which local and national leaders intervened, by force if necessary, to prevent residents from rebuilding in areas proven to be disaster-prone, but that was then); but to do so now would mean alienating manageable votes. So nothing will be done, which only means the casualties will pile up the next time, but perhaps not before the next elections.


I took this photo some time ago, precisely for a blog entry I intended to write, on the crumbling infrastructure of the metropolis. This rant in The Personal Blog of David Gonzales reminded me of the point I wanted to raise, concerning electrical lines. You only have to look at the scary state of the electrical lines, particularly in older neighborhoods or congested urban areas, to understand why there can be such a thing as systems losses, but more importantly, how every day that ends represents a kind of miracle.

In the wake of the typhoon, fires broke out because of voltage fluctuations but the exploding transformers and downed poles and lines simply demonstrates that whatever infrastructure we have is basically kept functioning by means of patchwork and sheer luck.

Returning to the (rather frantic) efforts of the President to appear to be doing something, there’s the already-famous tongue-lashing (portions of which were published by RG Cruz) the President gave the head of the Coast Guard as news broke of the sinking of the Suplicio Lines vessel. The limits of technology were demonstrated when it took some time for the President and the Coast Guard commander to get on the same page, and eventually, the media were led out of the room to spare the officials further embarrassment.

In another blog entry, RG Cruz recounts how officials were subsequently summoned to the Palace at 1 a.m. so that the President could teleconference with them and exhibit her officials to Filipinos in the USA. Along the way, he publishes the transcript of another tongue-lashing, this time, of a Sulpicio Lines official, and again, at the hands of the President:

[VP de Castro]: mr go, how about the condition of the ship, how old is the ship[?]

[Mr. Go]: the ship was 24-year-old passenger ship, it passed all the maritime requirements it has all the certificate, updated certificate […]

[VP de Castro]: what are you doing now to help the passengers[?]

[Mr. Go]: our company has committed to compensate to the victims and bring them to their home town, whatever expenses our company will take care of, all expenses […]

[The President]: im just looking at the guidelines (gap) policy general … if any vessel is scheduled to depart and the operator of the vessel should study carefully the typhoon movement to ensure that the vessel will not be within the area directly affected by the typhoon signals 1, 2, 3 and 4 within the danger sector until they reach their destination. so hindi totoo yung sinasabi mong walang prohibition, nadito yun sa guidelines ninyo[…]

and then furthermore number 3, no vessel shall sail except to take shelter if public storm signal warning is hoisted in the point of origin, the route, and the point of destination, so it’s not true what you said yesterday that there are no absolute prohibitions, there are.

Cruz says Go said compensation will be given, since passengers are insured, anyway, to the tune of 200,000 pesos per person. So perhaps if you were to add up the costs of following safety regulations, and balance those costs out with the costs of a one-time cash pay-out in the case of a disaster, the company still comes out ahead.

The President demonstrated her particular gifts -for detail, and for putting subordinates on the spot- both in terms of the Coast Guard and with the Sulpicio Lines official.

She has also unleashed a torrent of directives:

The directives were: (1) Congress to certify a bill that would consider rice hoarding and profiteering as economic sabotage with disaster as aggravating circumstance; (2) state of calamity should include imposing maximum rice price and giving decent return for farmers/traders, plus wholesale of hoarded rice;

(3) announce government aid for ferry disaster victims or families; (4) pending review of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) protocols so that no vessel sails if it would pass possible typhoon path; (5) assign an NDCC official at Sulpicio Lines to get and release information on victims;

(6) embassies in the US, Europe and Middle East should open disaster relief donation accounts plus NDCC account website or text number; (7) National Telecommunications Co. (NTC) and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) should help ensure NDCC site to be able to work amid high traffic.

However, what will register with the public is that she’s abroad.

Ferry Sinking.jpg

The sinking shocked the nation. Tingog.com, who has been a passenger on Sulpicio and other steamship lines, says the ship should never have sailed in the first place:

This is a wide ranging generalization, but I have experienced it first hand to know, that there are many many times, where both coast guard inspectors and the ship captain, have turned a blind eye to procedure.

In many instances, it is the coziness of those in the passenger ship industry, as well as those who provide oversight to this industry, that has made such tragedies possible.

I’ve been a passenger not only to Sulpicio Lines, but to many other companies as well. There are a lot of blame to go around here, for Sulpicio Lines, they definitely should always heed the warning signals, even if a direct hit on their travel path is not expected. To the coast guard, to the inspectors, to the government, who must ensure that these boats leave dock inspected, with proper amount of passengers, and by also erring on the side of caution as they should always monitor any chance of a slight weather complication.

One thing is clear, the ship should never have departed, and that is, I’m afraid to say, the fault of the coast guard, and whoever made that decision must pay, either held administratively liable, criminally liable, or both. As for now, I’m not really sure if the criminal aspect of it is a worthy pursuit, but in all actuality this was negligence which could have cost our nation hundreds of innocent lives.

At Midfield asks how Sulpicio Lines manages to even stay in business:

Yes, this is the same company that owned the MV Dona Paz whose sinking in December 1987 is considered the world’s worst ferry disaster and the worst peace-time maritime disaster in history with the official death count at 1,565. Survivors claim the overloaded ferry carried up to 4,000. In October 24, 1988, the sinking of still another of Sulpicio Lines ferry, the MV Doña Marilyn reportedly killed over 600 people… The now customary apology, incredible as it is, has come from Sulpicio Lines with the hollow promise to help the victims. No comfort. We know that to this day the damage claims of the earlier victims in the Dona Paz and MV Marilyn tragedies are locked in court. One wonders how and why a shipping company like this continues to operate given its woeful record of sinking ships, and stealng the lives of it hapless passengers. They are left only to light candles and wail. In other countries people would have long expressed outrage by putting such firms to the torch.

Indeed if left only to the tender mercies of market forces, disasters alone might not be enough to kill off negligent steamship companies: what killed off the White Star Line wasn’t the sinking of the Titanic, it was the Great Depression, which forced its merger with main rival, Cunard. But then again Sulpicio Lines has probably set a world record as the most ill-fated steamship company in history. (update) Reading Alternation101‘s link to a Reuters article, Sulpicio Lines seems to have given the White Star Line a run for its money in the Unfortunate Trio of Sister Ships Department. White Star had Titanic, Olympic, and Britannic, and Sulpicio had two Donas: Paz and Marilyn, and their other sister ship, the Princess of the Orient!

Daily Musings has a bone to pick with ABS-CBN for showing video of corpses (what about the Inquirer photo of a corpse, displayed Pieta-style, on its front page?) .

A sprinkling of bloggers’ reactions to the typhoon, from Punzi’s Corner and Coffee with Amee being disgruntled over the President’s absence, to the interesting tandem of Touched by an Angel and The Warrior Lawyer giving a (literally) Mom and Pop view of the storm.

DSC00050.JPGToday is my father’s 82nd birth anniversary, and as a token of remembrance let me put forward two of his essays: Our undemocratic mentality from January 11, 1967 and The meaning of equality from January 25, 1967.


Skip to comment form

    • vic on June 23, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Quote “But beyond that, the equality for which we should all struggle is equality of opportunity and equality before the law. This is the only kind of equality which is a truly human equality. It is the kind of equality which, far from pulling down, pushes people upward toward the truly human goal of fulfillment.” Unquote . From Manuel L. Quezon Jr. Essay on Equality…

    The Singular Provision of our Charter which I am very Particularly Proud of and had been the basis of many Solomonic Precedent decisions of our Courts from the Lowest level of its Pyramidal Heirarchy to the SC is the The Section 15 to wit:

    EQUALITY RIGHTS…Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms…Section 15: Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

    Recent decisions and statutory laws had included among the particular groups that the Equality Rights been extended are those based on Sexual Orientations..

    • PSimeon on June 23, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    “The typhoon changed course, which led to Salceda grumbling that Pagasa cost the provincial government a small fortune.” – mlq3 column

    Some people are never happy with the blessings they’re given. Wonder how he would react if Albay was directly hit by Frank?

    Worse blame game.

    • Jeg on June 23, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    The orange and red lines in the Inquirer cover are pretty close. In fact the Pag-Asa line is pretty good in terms of the typhoon’s actual path as far as weather forecasting is concerned. Did people expect that Pag-asa should have been dead on?

  1. If it’s true that the vessel was dead in the water 17 hours after it sailed, then it’s easy to suppose that the ferry was not in good condition to sail in potentially volatile weather conditions. (Maintenance culture is not a great strength to say the least in the Philippines.) Remember that a signal 3 or 4 inland could easily turn into 5 or 6 and worse in the open sea.

    If Princess of the Stars had been dead in the water, then it would’ve naturally drifted amidst the gales and the strong wind. The ship’s stability would’ve been greatly affected — especially if passengers started to panic and converged in one area of the vessel thus making it vulnerable to Frank’s moods.

    One important point Philippine ferries are reputed to carry more freight and passengers authorised. What about safety measures on board? Were there sufficient life jackets on board? One for each passenger? What about life rafts?

    This was a sea disaster that could have been avoided.

    • PSimeon on June 23, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    The Philippines is disaster-prone being located in the Pacific rim of fire (earthquake and volcanic eruptions) and typhoon belt (about 20 typhoons every year).

    In 1978, the inter-agency National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) was established under Presidential Decree 1566. NDCC has a comprehensive disaster management framework, which includes mitigation, preparedness, response, and rehabilitation.

    Maybe because of inadequate resources, actual performance falls short of expectations in the above areas.

  2. if the president did not travel and she is photographed in typhoon-ravaged area… I wonder what could be have been the comment. Grandstanding?

  3. Urban poor areas in Manila hardest hit by floods –always focused on poor people.

    Middle income families also in the flood -prone area lose a lot but they can’t move and they are not entitled to any help from the government. Have you experienced your car being submerged in your garage in Espana, Manila?
    Have you experienced waking up with your furniture floating in your flooded home?

    The poor squatters contribute to the clogging of the drainage and waterways of Metro Manila. What about the rich squatters? The buildings on top of the missing creeks and rivulets in Binondo and Quezon City. Were they already demolished?

  4. Re: Maybe because of inadequate resources, actual performance falls short of expectations in the above areas.


    Maybe so but then corruption does not help.

    In 1996-1997, the NDCC then chaired by SND de Villa approved the purchase of some trucks that could be used for land and water from the UK.

    The deal was bloated by 100%.

    A few years later, again the NDCC purchased portable bridges and guess what, they were bloated again by almost 100%.

    I’m pretty sure the practice has not been eradicated. In that case, how do you expect to even come close to having adequate resources?

    • mlq3 on June 23, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    cat, probably not. you can correlate her typhoon visits with public commentary and you’ll probably find no comment at all -because supervising typhoon relief is part of what presidents do. as is hugging victims and going to wakes, etc.

  5. Mlq3,
    I’ve read the commentaries before. that’s what you call, damn if she does and damn if she doesn’t.

    teleconferencing is one way of verbal interaction brought about by new technology… a remote control of supervision.

    the president of the US does not have to be in iowa to hug the victims of a more devastating flood.

    • mikel on June 23, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    once again prognosticators this time question the usefullness of the presidents visit to the US. the Philippines is like a corporation with GMA as CEO. to promote investments, negotiate treaties, lobby for country’s interests(veteran’s bill, food security, anti-terror campaign, defense and humanitarian aid) GMA must reach out to economic and political leaders and travel. ano ba kayo…stop your always-negative kneejerk reactions to anything GMA does. look at you own allies and friends. what have any of you done for the interests of the filipino’s?? except blab, blab and blab. just so sick & tires of all of you.

    • mikel on June 23, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    re: disaster response. no one, even rich countries like usa, france and china are ever ready for disasters. let’s recall hurricane katrina, recent floods in MI & IA, earthquake disaster in china and flash floods that occur all over france during heavy rains. stop criticizing the gov’t. and help with your hands and contribute. as they say, show me the money! updating this useless blog is a useless exercise unless you actually do something. LAWAY IS CHEAP. talk is cheap.

    • PhilwoSpEditor on June 23, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    @ Cat,

    The problem with that teleconference was that they only converged when the president called for it, instead of making decisions for themselves that would have saved more people. It’s not insubordination, it’s pigheadedness…

    The response here, reminds me of what happened back in Milenyo and Reming, although those two were far worst in my opinion. Everyone would go to relief goods for a month or so, before forgetting and throwing away the news, like it was yesterday’s Garbage, which just sickens me, because I saw Albay after Reming… And I could actually contrast the photos from Iloilo, from the destruction I saw from Albay.

    • UP n student on June 23, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Do you notice how close the capsized ferry is to the shore?

    For every 20 Filipinos, how many know how to swim or at least have taken ‘drownproofing lessons’ to float at least 8 hours in the water for a chance at rescue?

    • UP n student on June 23, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Small warning about using the Philippine Red Cross site to donate. If you ain’t careful, your donation will go to China Earthquake Relief.

    And on the matter of PagAsa accuracy, press releases from other services (on Wednesday)

    This storm is in its initial stages but has a chance to become a typhoon over the weekend. The future track of the storm will take it away from the Philippines. </blockquote

    • UP n student on June 23, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    The web-URL that has thoughts on the weather-forecast BUST for Typhoon Frank is this one:

    • UP n student on June 23, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Have they published the name of the ferry’s captain? Have they found him and the other ferry officers?

    • supremo on June 23, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    At least GMA is safe here in the US. It’s the beginning of summer. The weather is nice. I’ll give her a hug if she ever invites Fil-Ams to a gathering at the consulate in NYC or at the Waldorf Astoria to ask for donations. I’ll probably donate towels from Wal-Mart. They’re on sale right now.

  6. An Open Letter to Speaker Nograles


    There is no compelling reason for you and your 58 colleagues/ congressmen to remain in the GMA presidential junket in the USA while your respective constituents are suffering from the effects of Typhoon Fengshen (or Frank).

    Speaker,you promised a “New Responsive House of the People” when you assumed the speakership.Prove it now!

    Come home NOW together with your 58 colleagues and respond to the needs of the times.

    I know that you want to watch the Manny Pacquiao game against Diaz on Saturday at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay.

    But even Manny Pacquiao will understand and appreciate your sacrifice if you miss the game and come home together with Congressman Fuentebella, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation (who should investigate the MV Princess of the Stars Tragedy),Congressman Exequiel Javier of Antique( his area was badly damaged by the typhoon) and the other honorable congressmen representing typhoon -damaged areas.

    Speaker,lead the way for the New Responsive House of the People.

    • mlq3 on June 24, 2008 at 12:35 am

    maybe not hug, cat, but you know as well as anyone the big hit dubya took because of katrina. the only consolation he has is the joke on john stewart as midwest flooded and dubya traveled around europe -a black man on the john stewart show saying, “hey, bush hates white people too.”

    • mlq3 on June 24, 2008 at 12:37 am

    mikel, you may want to consider whether a trip by a philippine president in the closing months of the term of an american president whose party might just lose control of the white house, will be productive. much more so for her next trip in september. instead of a knee-jerk defense of the president, maybe consider if the criticisms have a basis.

    • Bencard on June 24, 2008 at 12:39 am

    what is a “useful junket? have we been so damaged as a people that our chief executive cannot make state visits without an assurance that he/she would bring back something from good old uncle sam? this collective mindset, i think is the legacy of mendicancy that our past leaders have started and fostered since the days of the commonwealth, and went on with a regular parade of “junketeers”, hat in hand.

    now, another natural catastrophe to “blame” on the president, and to ridicule whatever she says or does as “appear(ing) to be doing something”. whether she’s home or in timbuktu, the people tasked to carry out or manage rescue and relief operations are adults who need no babysitting and who should be given, at least, the benefit of the doubt that they know their responsibilities. unless the president is expected to actually do the job herself on the ground, why make a big deal of her physical absence?

    disasters after disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, massive flooding, fires) happen in the u.s. a lot lately (as well as other parts of the world). the other businesses of government are not put on hold because of them.

    • supremo on June 24, 2008 at 1:15 am

    ‘FRESNO, CALIFORNIA–President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to open disaster relief donation accounts in some parts of the world for victims of typhoon Frank.’

    Is she kidding? I would encourage Fil-Ams to just donate to the Red Cross.

  7. maybe not hug, cat, but you know as well as anyone the big hit dubya took because of katrina.

    It was not Bush who was highly criticized. It was FEMA and C. Rice.

    The reason for the formation of the agency is to take care of disaster, emergencies and relief distribution. the president should not micromanage these functions; they are supposed to be ready anytime the need arises. .

    We have also these agencies, don’t we?

    According to the news that you quoted, people in the disaster-prone area
    were already evacuated. the people in the typhoon path where it was expected to fall were also warned and evacuated.

    The sinking of the ship is another issue.

    • cvj on June 24, 2008 at 2:06 am

    UPn (at 10:30 pm), that link is a good find! It shows that it’s the United States’ JWTC that was way-off in forecasting the path of Fengshen (Frank).

    • supremo on June 24, 2008 at 2:12 am

    ‘We have also these agencies, don’t we?’

    The US has FEMA under DHS. Propose budget for 2008 is $8 B.

    The Philippines has NDCC which is more of a club than an emergency management agency.
    ‘The NDCC (National Disaster Coordinating Council), unlike other department coordinating bodies, does not have its own regular budget to disburse. It operates through the member-agencies and its local networks, which are the regional and local disaster coordinating councils.’

    • supremo on June 24, 2008 at 2:38 am

    ‘It shows that it’s the United States’ JWTC that was way-off in forecasting the path of Fengshen (Frank).’

    Does it matter cvj if JWTC was off the mark? The Philippines should not depend on other countries for forecasting its own weather.

    • cvj on June 24, 2008 at 2:45 am

    Supremo, of course you’re right that the Philippines should be self-reliant in weather forecasting. It’s only that i’ve read some blog entries saying that PAGASA should’ve cross-checked with the JWTC. My hunch (which could be wrong) is that PAGASA did cross-check and was misled.

    • supremo on June 24, 2008 at 2:58 am

    I think PAGASA did its job. The forecast is just not accurate because of outdated equipment.

    • cvj on June 24, 2008 at 3:05 am

    Supremo, since PAGASA’s equipment is outdated, the natural tendency for them would be to cross check with their more advanced counterparts such as the JWTC. Unfortunately, this time around, even the ones with state of the art equipment were also mistaken.

    • supremo on June 24, 2008 at 3:27 am


    PAGASA probably did not consider JWTC’s margin of error of between 13%and 22%. It’s still garbage in garbage out even for complex computer models.

    • leytenian on June 24, 2008 at 6:16 am

    even if PAGASA predicted the path perfectly this time, Sulpicio and the Cost Guards would have probably ignored it. Sulpicio have not established quality and safety for years. Its business history proves it. Coast Guards are even worst . This department is weak in following policy. It can easily be bought by the rich.
    I’m not concerned about donation.There’s always donation. ( corrupted or uncorrupted)
    This calamity should be taken seriously as a learning process. It should not happened again. For solution, it’s purely risk management.

    • leytenian on June 24, 2008 at 6:40 am

    For the Coast Guards, it should cost them their jobs. For Sulpicio, it will cost them higher penalty and probably… a company that our government must consider taking over? it should become a public sea-transpo system.

    • KG on June 24, 2008 at 6:48 am

    “For solution, it’s purely risk management.”

    what the fuck! that is even wore than it’s simple,really!

    risk management? do you even know what that means?

    • leytenian on June 24, 2008 at 7:04 am


    of course.. should we start discussing. here are ” common sense” shared already by most of the commenters here.

    1. supremo said: PAGASA equipment is outdated and CVJ said, to cross check…
    2. UP N student said: For every 20 Filipinos, how many know how to swim or at least have taken ‘drownproofing lessons’ to float at least 8 hours in the water for a chance at rescue?
    3. PSImeon said: NDCC has a comprehensive disaster management framework, which includes mitigation, preparedness, response, and rehabilitation. Maybe because of inadequate resources, actual performance falls short of expectations in the above areas.
    4. Manila Bay watch said:a. (Maintenance culture is not a great strength to say the least in the Philippines.) Remember that a signal 3 or 4 inland could easily turn into 5 or 6 and worse in the open sea.
    b. Corruption: In 1996-1997, the NDCC then chaired by SND de Villa approved the purchase of some trucks that could be used for land and water from the UK. The deal was bloated by 100%.
    A few years later, again the NDCC purchased portable bridges and guess what, they were bloated again by almost 100%.
    c. What about safety measures on board? Were there sufficient life jackets on board? One for each passenger? What about life rafts? This was a sea disaster that could have been avoided.

    those are the obvious facts. Now managing it is risk management. You know what to do for each ot them.

    • leytenian on June 24, 2008 at 7:08 am

    now to manage big businesses to take advantage of our governm,ent’s poor governance. I would say take over if they cannot pay liability or negligence. Fire the coast guards for his poor credibility. or penalize by job suspension.

    A friend of mine is here. He is from the DIAZ elite visiting me. One thing he said, our rule of law is weak in exercising its right to penalize.

    • leytenian on June 24, 2008 at 7:28 am

    one last thing: by tongue twisted over at ellen’s blog : The maritime transport and shipping industry, after all these years still do not have emergency and rescue manuals up to this date. …

    you know why, I have no sympathy for Sulpicio and the Coast Guards. These are the same entity who probably allowed illegal shipping of illegal logs causing the landslide of Ormoc and Guinsawgon Leyte.

    • Bencard on June 24, 2008 at 7:31 am

    what the s..t! pardon my french.

    • Kg on June 24, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Say hi to Illac Diaz or Robin da Rosa gwaping yun dalawang yon.

    I was hoping you could do better than that solution .

    we have laws ,most of our laws have all the bases covered.
    let us focus on ndcc which at least handle the disaster management of this country, if in management parlance risk management is for business continuity,disaster management is for continuity of everything else.

    the predecessor of the national disaster coordinating
    was the national emergency commission panahon pa ni pres quezon

    During the Commonwealth days, two (2) executive orders were issued by the late President Manuel L. Quezon, namely, Executive Order Nos. 335 and 337. Executive Order No. 335 created the Civilian Emergency Administration (CEA), which was tasked primarily through the National Emergency Commission (NEC) to formulate and execute policies and plans for the protection and welfare of the civilian population under extraordinary and emergency conditions.


    today we have the ndcc chaired by the secretary of national defense.

    there is a reason why the secretary of national defense is the charman of national disaster coordination center,because it is easier to mobilize the military for disaster efforts,supposedly.

    The establishment of the National Disaster Coordinating Council is embodied in Sec. 2 of PD 1566. The Secretary of National Defense heads the NDCC with the heads of 18 departments/ agencies as members. These include the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines; Secretary-General, Philippine National Red Cross; Philippine Information Agency; Executive Secretary and the Administrator, Office of Civil Defense who is the Executive Officer of the Council.

    It is through the NDCC member-agencies that disaster preparedness, prevention, mitigation and response carry out its corresponding tasks and responsibilities under the NDCC system.

    The NDCC, unlike other department coordinating bodies, does not have its own regular budget to disburse. It operates through the member-agencies and its local networks, which are the regional and local disaster coordinating councils.

    • Kg on June 24, 2008 at 8:18 am

    btw that was taken from ndcc website

    Take damn look at the website of the coastguard, my gosh!

    The Coast Guard today, as a seagoing agency, is faced with the enormous task to perform the multifarious functions of safeguarding the country’s vital sea-lanes from maritime lawlessness, preserving its marine resources and promoting Safety of Life and Property at Sea with its limited resources.

    take note of enormous task and limited resources

    • KG on June 24, 2008 at 8:53 am





    How would you reconcile the two?

    Dagdagan mo pa ng isa,pero pano nga kung di mo mapagkasundo ang dalawang bill:


    AN ACT


    Pass Coast Guard bill, modernize PAGASA–Escudero

    same question,pano ma reconcile

    sa tingin ng former military walang alam sa maritime ang pnp maritime , at ang dotc natin kaya dapat daw sa dnd.

    so what gives?

  8. now to manage big businesses to take advantage of our governm,ent’s poor governance. I would say take over if they cannot pay liability or negligence.

    even if you pretend to be intellectual, your writings do not say so. this is a far-out suggestion of person people who do not know how government operates. Governments just don’t take over a business. You are one person who is only fond of using buzzwords which you do not even understand… empty lexicons and just plain stupid office talks to make impression.

    BTW, cvj is cvj and not cvg. That is irritating to keep addressing a person with a wrong name . Don’t you have a J in your keypad?

    And I tell you once more, we are not bloggers in this website. We are just commenters. You should know what blog means. Look it up in the wikipedia .

  9. In 2007, Gloria Arroyo spent P588.5 million for foreign travels and P34.1 million for domestic travels, respectively, according to the Commission on Audit (COA)’s report on the 2007 financial transactions of Malacañang.

    • cvj on June 24, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Supremo, 13% to 22% of what? As per UPn’s link, the JWTC forecast was off by 4 degrees of longitude as of Wednesday.

    • cvj on June 24, 2008 at 10:32 am

    …which is well outside the margin of error (as shown by the shaded area).

    • PSimeon on June 24, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Be that as it may, the more serious and fatal errors (neglect) were made by the Coast Guard, MARINA, and the usual suspect, Sulpicio Lines.

    • cvj on June 24, 2008 at 10:38 am

    But if you’re saying that our officials (not only PAGASA) should’ve taken into account the Confidence Interval (if such figure was available at all), then you’re correct. Innumeracy costs lives.

  10. Expected Malacanang Palace Press Release After the Pacquiao Fight This Coming Saturday

    President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the whole presidential party in the U.S. expressed jubilation over Manny Pacquiao’s boxing victory against Diaz in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay.

    Mrs Arroyo was quoted as saying that Pacquiao will serve as an inspiration to our countrymen who suffered from the adverse effects of typhoon “Frank” . She said Pacquiao was the “embodiment of every poor Filipino’s aspiration of rising from the rut.”

    Mrs Arroyo said Pacman also symbolized “those who have emerged victorious in their struggles against the cruelty of nature and man”.

    Speaker Nograles and his 58 congressmen were also among the spectators who joined the First Gentleman , his brother and other presidential in-laws in watching the boxing fight in Las Vegas.

    The Speaker justified their stay in the United States despite the desperate situation in the provinces due to the recent typhoon.

    “The fighting faith of Manny Pacquiao is the fighting faith of the Filipino – the dream of victory after victory in the firmament of world competition. We must keep up the fight and win in all fronts – in physical prowess, in the excellence of our skills, in the will to overcome the foes of poverty and injustice and the force of nature,” said Speaker Nograles in a statement.

    He said Pacquiao “stands for the many dreams of every Filipino in the ring of life and the arena of the future.We had to be with him to give him moral support in this very critical fight.I am sure our people understood why we we all had to stay behind in the U.S.”

    • mlq3 on June 24, 2008 at 11:18 am

    cat, you may have a point re: bush, see


    though a later look did point to a hit on dubya:


    this is a good look at how presidents and disaster response should be weighed:


    • KG on June 24, 2008 at 11:52 am

    unofficial rumors

    they are there to promote Mirriam for the international thinggie sa UN

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