Fisherfolk group on Roque’s singing after ‘Ulysses’: ‘No time to unwind’
Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) – November 15, 2020 – 3:39pm
MANILA, Philippines — A fisherfolk group has hit presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s decision to spend time “unloading” at a restaurant in Baguio City while thousands are suffering in Luzon after Typhoon Ulysses left a trail of destruction in the island.
A video that has since gone viral on social media showed President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman singing in the said establishment in Baguio near the hard-hit Cagayan on November 13, days after the storm ravaged and submerged many provinces.
Roque had sought to explain that it was only a means of “unloading” after a hectic week, amid government facing criticism for its disaster response.
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya (Pamalakaya) scored Roque’s move as a reflection of the Duterte administration’s “ineptitude” to the people amid an ongoing crisis.
“While tens of thousands of Filipinos were suffering, calling saints in the middle of ravaging typhoon, the presidential spokesperson was having the time of his life like there was no disaster,” said Pamalakaya chairperson Fernando Hicap in a statement.
Hicap added that the government’s lackluster response had spurred private groups to raise funds and start relief operations, even progressive organizations that had been subject to red-tagging by its officials.
Latest figures from disaster officials showed at least 69 people dead from Ulysses’ onslaught, leaving more than 1.1 million individuals affected across eight regions.
The cost of damage to agriculture and infrastructure combined has reached P1.19 billion for agriculture and P470 million for infrastructure as well. Ulysses had also left Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Rodriguez in Rizal including Marikina in Metro Manila under state of calamity.
“[There] is no time to unwind when people suffer,” Hicap said. “Roque should be ashamed of himself, his unloading time amid emergency situation was unbecoming of a public servant.”
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday noon visited Cagayan, the hardest hit by the typhoon, along with selected Cabinet officials. His visit comes days after Ulysses had passed, amid a Twitterstorm demanding that the leader step up to the crisis.
Ulysses’ havoc comes at the heels of Super Typhoon Rolly (international name Goni) hitting parts of Luzon, spelling what would need to be a herculean effort to recover from the two consecutive disasters, apart from battling the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.