Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the Business Mirror on July 2, 2008, page A6.
When Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said, “The visit of the President has been scheduled and WHEN THE PRESIDENT LEFT, THE SITUATION AS FAR AS THE TYPHOON IS CONCERNED, WAS STILL IN ITS DEVELOPMENT STAGE,” was he lying?
I’ll let Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez answer the question.
In his column last Monday, Gonzalez wrote, “I was thankful to be there when Frank came and left behind a trail of destruction and misery, and to experience and see the extent of the damage. After the winds and rain subsided, I WAS ONE OF THE FIRST PASSENGERS TO LEAVE ILOILO TO MAKE MY REPORT TO THE PRESIDENT PERSONALLY BEFORE HER EXCELLENCY LEFT FOR THAT VERY IMPORTANT STATE VISIT TO THE US.”
Gonzalez wrote it, I didn’t. I merely brought it to your attention.
When House Majority Leader Arthur Defensor said , “It’s too late for the President to back out. IF THE PRESIDENT WERE TO CANCEL, IT WOULD BE A NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT. This is not an ordinary trip,” was he telling the whole truth and nothing but?
That statement can be “googled.” Easily.
In 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev cut short his visit to the US after a devastating earthquake hit Armenia. No one said his sudden departure embarrassed the Soviet Union.
Last May, Xinhua, the Chinese news agency reported that the Thai prime minister decided to cancel his trip to China: “[T]he Thai prime minister decided to cancel the trip to China Tuesday morning, as he does not want to bother the Chinese government which will be busy with disaster relief work after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan province on Monday in southwestern China ….” Again no one was embarrassed by the Thai prime minister’s considerate action.
Should Senator Rodolfo Biazon be blamed for Gloria Arroyo’s decision to order a US aircraft carrier bringing relief goods for Typhoon Frank’s victims to stay out of Philippine waters?
He is, if we believe Gloria Arroyo what told a gathering of Filipino Americans.
She said, “[N]abasa ko sa news, may taga-ating nagbatikos na naman. Sabi may nuclear weapons daw ang aircraft carrier, kaya bawal raw pumunta sa Pilipinas.
“Kaya tuloy, para iwasan na lang ang intriga, mananatili na lang ito sa dulo ng territorial waters ng Pilipinas tapos papasok-palabas yung mga tutulong. Pinahirapan pa natin sila sa pagtutulong.”
Was Senator Francis Escudero raising a bogus issue about “impounded funds” worth P6.6 billion that Gloria Arroyo can use for relief but won’t?
Escudero said, “There is no reason aid should come in trickles to flood-hit areas when there are certain segments in the national budget, other than the calamity fund, which can be tapped for disaster work.”
He pointed to the P2 billion Kilos Asenso Fund, the P3.6 billion Financial Subsidy to Local Government Units and the P1 billion Kalayaan Barangay Fund and reminded Gloria Arroyo:
“The release of these funds is contingent on the President’s approval. She should dig into these funds so there will be more resources available for relief work. These (funds) are bigger than the $100,000 aid the President got from the US State Department, one which was met with profuse thanks from her, as if she had won the lotto, when in fact she has, at her easy disposal, all the above-mentioned funds to use in times such as this,” he added.
The question we should be asking Gloria Arroyo is why she is hanging on to those funds? Is she is saving them for a rainy day?