A week after another tragedy occurred in the Philippines, President Benigno Simeon Aquino finally broke his silence about the violent dispersal of protesters at Kidapawan, North Cotabato which led to numerous deaths and hundreds of injuries from both sides of the fence. As usual, instead of condolences and expressions of sympathy, he mouthed off the same lame excuse he gave in the past — that he was not informed about what happened until after the fact.
Apparently, it was only in passing that the incident was mentioned to him by Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Sarmiento after a Liberal Party campaign rally on the same day:
“Pauwi kami pabalik ng Maynila, nabanggit ni DILG Secretary Mel Sarmiento na kinabukasan tutungo siya sa Kidapawan at ako naman po’y nagtanong. Anong gagawin mo sa Kidapawan?
You would think that with all the latest technology and an army of communications staff at the President’s disposal, BS Aquino would have been up to date with what is happening specially when a tragedy occurs during a mass riot. But no, he would like us to think that the reason why he did not make any statement in the last 7 days about the incident is because he was “not informed” about it. That’s bullshit.
He may have been busy but he was busy campaigning for Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo for the upcoming Presidential elections as he admitted himself. What he was doing was not part of his job as the country’s administrator. He is always busy trying to make sure his allies are going to be in power after he steps down so they can save his ass from all the criminal cases some people are going to file against him once his immunity is gone. In other words, BS Aquino’s priority is not the welfare of the Filipino people.
His lack of empathy for the dead, injured and the plight of the farmers suffering from the drought is one thing but, in his statement, he tried to steer the sympathy away from them again by mentioning that he was sick and had a fever on the same day the tragedy occurred:
President Aquino however did not give details about his meeting with the officials about the Kidapawan incident or the NAIA blackout incident.Instead, Aquino said this was part of the difficult job of being the country’s leader. He said problems faced by a President occur simultaneously that require his immediate attention.“Alam po niyo, talagang 24/7, 365 days ang trabaho ko po, paminsan-minsan po nagrereklamo na rin ‘yung katawan ko,” Aquino said. .
Oh really? He had a fever? Why didn’t his communications team relay that piece of information earlier on to the public? Some of them were busy on social media trying to shift the blame for the tragedy on various members of the “left”. It doesn’t make any sense that it is only now that the public is told that he was “sick”.
Is the public supposed to feel sorry for him now instead of the farmers and the dead? There is a saying in the Tagalog vernacular that describes what BS Aquino is doing — “Nagpapaawa” effect. He did the same thing after he received flak during the Mamasapano tragedy, when 44 Special Action Force troopers died in the hands of members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He tried to attract sympathy on himself by talking about the pain of losing his father. It is always about him.
BS Aquino’s unconvincing statement says a lot. It’s either he is not an approachable person to the extent that his communications team are too scared to bother him with “issues”, or his handlers purposely try to protect him from bad news. Both theories explains why he appears clueless most of the times.
It is worth highlighting that the Kidapawan tragedy is reminiscent of what happened during the Mendoza hostage crisis back in 2010 when a suspended policeman gunned down eight Chinese tourists inside a bus. That was the first time BS Aquino’s government’s ineptitude and callousness was exposed. It was a sign of things to come. The President even refused to apologize to the Chinese community for the way the police bungled the rescue operation. This led to a strain in the Philippines’ diplomatic relationship with Beijing. BS Aquino’s arrogance and lack of diplomatic skills may have resulted in China’s aggressive move on the disputed islands in South China Sea. But I digress…
Going back to Kidapawan, the Philippine police force’s lack of training in handling or managing crises was on display once again. A lot of people noted that they weren’t working as a team. This was evident in the way they appeared to have abandoned two of their comrades who were being mauled by the protesters with rocks and sticks instead of helping them.
Some astute observers who have seen footage of the dispersal also noted that the police were ill prepared, noting that they were too near the protesters before the violence broke out:
First of all, they shouldn’t have been that close and confrontational. That was their first mistake. But granted they were already there, the best option is to retreat. Retreat in an orderly, disciplined way as a unit with shields up in a box formation away from the crowd.
Watching the footage of this incident it is easy to see that the police were not prepared to deal with the situation and the protesters were completely out of control. This was, yet again, a failure in government policies and crisis intervention.
In the last few minutes, you can see the protesters disperse, regroup and rally back in force. The police were surprised so they ran and a few of them fell and got mauled. The rest of the police didn’t even bother to help them, they just ran away like girls. Pathetic.
Filipino police and all major political representatives are not particularly intelligent. Can’t expect intelligence and decency from this line up of government goons to solve problems. Starving farmers in a land of plenty. Once again the Failed State strikes again.
Indeed, it seems the politicians who ordered the police to deal with the protesters just wanted the problem to go away There’s also information that the police were from different units put together for the task. Since they have never worked together before, there was no teamwork.
It has been alleged that the local government wanted to disperse the protesters because Presidential candidate Mar Roxas was in Cotabato City the day before and could have been planning on visiting Kidapawan. In other words, the local politician allied with the Liberal Party may have been trying to prepare a more upbeat welcome for Roxas. Unfortunately, the opposite happened.
Roxas’s presence in the nearby area when the tragedy occurred could also debunk BS Aquino’s excuse that he was not informed of the violence in Kidapawan soon enough. Considering he is friends with Roxas, both of them should already be on each other’s speed dials.
The BS Aquino Government’s incompetence has truly come full circle. His first year in office started with a tragedy and now his last year in office also ended with a tragedy. Tragedy occurs when the person in charge is too confident he is doing his job even when he is not. Therefore, the biggest tragedy of all is in BS Aquino – a person who is too full of himself — being in charge of the Philippines.