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TURNING POINT: Understanding the President

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 22 November) — It was not fair.

It was uncalled for to look for the whereabouts of the President of the Republic in the wake of the devastation and suffering left by Typhoon Ulysses..

To expect him to wade in murky leptospirosis-laced floodwaters was wrong and gross.

It was absolutely rude.

We have to understand that our president is a septuagenarian who is known to have some pre-condition health issue. He, therefore, has a compromised immune system. He then ought to stay at home or in his bunker to escape the rage of COVID-19 and Ulysses. In fact, his own pandemic think tank – the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Emerging Infectious Diseases has decreed that people like him should be in-shelter and could not leave his place except for valid reasons, which are not within the options of the President of the Republic. He has, however, the prerogative to watch and observe what is happening in his blighted land using the best available communication technology, and bark orders to men under his command to accomplish something. There was and there will be no need for him to expose himself to the elements to do his job.

Certainly, it is not funny to compare DU30 physical prowess, whose staying power is a vulgar mouth, to the youthful vigor, enthusiasm, dynamism, prudence and charm of Leni, two decades his junior, who has been everywhere in an effort to lighten the burden, pain and suffering of many in the light of the serial tragedies that hounded the country.

It is not fair.

There is no basis of comparison.

But It was terribly sickening to see the President of the Republic displaying anger in public, lambasting and bullying his Vice President for accordingly competing with him in the effort of extending assistance to the victims of Typhoon Ulysses. It’s a pity for a very popular president to go down that low; it  betrays an insecurity. It’s inane and absurd. When did it start that humanitarian efforts for calamity victims become a competition? This is probably the first time that you and I have heard of it.

Of course Vice President  Leni Robredo was and is visible everywhere, marshaling assistance for pandemic concern and lately for victims of the serial typhoons that devastated the country. She was where she was needed to extend a hand and to comfort the afflicted.

Without a cabinet post, the VP has imposed on herself the task of responding to humanitarian concerns even without government appropriation for the purpose. Perhaps, she feels more relevant and useful in the service that way than simply coil in some nook as a spare tire of the Office of the President. The Office of the Vice President has the smallest budget in the entire bureaucracy.  Whatever, it is not prudent for the office or its tenant to compete with anyone to deliver.

Anyway, service in the government is about unity and cooperation. Why talk about competition?

It is not fair.

It is not sane.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)



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