Rock Ed Radio had the chance to talk to Presidential Comm Group USecs Quezon and Valte last night.
We asked them why the President didn’t deliver a message on the first day or within the first half day of the big typhoon that left parts of Northern Mindanao in states of calamity.
One explanation given us (and I hope I’m remembering this right) is that his silence was not an indication of non-involvement nor non-action on his part. According to USec Valte as early as a bit before noon the President was already monitoring the aftermath, discussing with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Dept of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as well as the Armed Forces (AFP) on how to take on the search and rescue (then eventually the rehabilitation) of the struck areas.
So I pressed a bit, “Then why not come out with a one minute press statement that encourages, gathers, comforts, whatever else that is obviously expected by most citizens?” USec Quezon explains it is his ‘leadership style’ to not grandstand before he has numbers, facts, or a concrete plan of action.
Marcus Adoro (guitarist, Eraserheads) asked then why doesn’t he at least inform us that he is surveying anyway. And again, most of the discussion went back to his ‘leadership style.’
So I asked again, now that the President knows that this is the general reaction (“Where is he? Why isn’t he talking to us, offering comfort, encouraging participation, assuring us that the institutions in place will exhaust all means to address urgent needs..?”) …I asked, “Is there a chance he will change to accommodate this persistent request?”
USec Quezon said (and I merely paraphrase here) that perhaps many of us expect him to be like his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, who was naturally more motherly and softer when it came to these responses to tragedy. Did it ever occur to us that his leadership style is different? (We all nod yes.) Both Valte and Quezon explained that he understands that the presidency is to be able to allocate resources, to make decisions that will (at the end of the day, quote unquote) provide services to the citizens. And since this is how he sees it, the President seems to see no need to do the traditional rah-rah, don’t worry, here’s comfort speech. The President wants to speak, according to the USecs, when he already has the facts, the strategy, the plan to present, and some action already being begun.
Shawn Yap (Host, TV5) then said, perhaps in the end if it’s between a politician who does nothing but grand stand and an official who will do some work first before he speaks, then the present option isn’t too bad. Though she looked like she was stretching. (hehe, sorry Shawn, do correct me if I’m wrong)
But something still gnawed at me. I am obviously one of the many who want the administration to do well for the sake of, I don’t know….. everyone? I’m sure even those who politically hate the Aquinos do not wish this administration doom because damay tayo lahat kung gano’n.
Is this a case of “Aquino would rather walk more than he talks?” Perhaps. At least that’s the explanation both Valte and Quezon gave me. As I respectfully stressed though, I still would’ve preferred that he gave a rah-rah speech anyway. If the choice was to be misinterpreted as “merely grandstanding” — or to be mistaken as indifferent, as ‘a President without pathos’ – I wondered, wouldn’t he rather be the former?
I asked again, “So this is merely a leadership style, right?” (Yes, they both nod.) (” Yes.” My cellphone chimes and it is Press Secretary Edwin Lacierda, apparently tuned in to the radio show, too.)
I’m nitpicking, am I?
Okay before I let it rest, let me say what I’ve learned tonight.
The President won the mandate, even the apolitical know that. Okay so now I’m wondering. When I vote, do I say, “I choose you because I believe you will make the best decisions for us, thinking of our welfare foremost, and that you have the smarts to keep the machinery of institutions running.”
Or do I vote saying, “I vote for you because you will do everything I want you to do and choose everything I prefer as well.”
Who’s being the brat here? Me or him? Don’t answer that. I’m not done thinking this through yet. Perhaps that’s not even the right question. 😛
Shit. I can’t finish the article. I am exhausted. It’s 541am. Lots to do.
Maybe you can help me out.
What do you think?
(almost 6am waiting for Typhoon Sendong relief ops video files to render)
Note: Last night was an emergency broadcast to consolidate information on Typhoon Sendong. Rock Ed Radio will return to Jam 88.3 in January 2012. Thursdays 9pm.