What grade will you give Aquino's government as it handled Super Typhoon Juan (Megi)?

Megi-Juan leaving Philippines

Universal agreement is that Aquino’s government performed better than expected. PAGASA’s hourly updates, twitter presence, press conference helped inform the public. On the ground, local governments were also moving, and it seem that every organ of government was moving fairly well. This was a stark departure from the absence of government during Ondoy, and the failure of the weather bureau during Basyang.

It was also during Juan that MMDA had activated their live streaming of traffic. It was much as preparation for the incoming storm, as it was an update of operation. The super typhoon was after all described by agencies around the world as one of the most powerful in years. Juan (Megi) was so powerful that China had raised their alert level, calling ships to port in preparation.

It is a testament to the preparations made by Aquino’s government that the death toll has been kept to a minimum. The success of this enterprise validates some of the things Aquino reported in his hundred days in office. The performance of PAGASA alone deserves more than an “attaboy.” They were that good.

That’s not to say, there isn’t room for improvement. The new National Disaster Coordinating Council— National Disaster Risk— something something. Seriously, it is a mouthful to say, much less type. And yes, I could simply google and confirm the exact term for you. That’s just it, Government needs to rebrand it. Make the name simpler to remember. Trust me, you’re helping millions of school kids in their exam by making it easy for them to remember.

How about rebranding it to Philippine Civil Defense Agency? Philippine Civil Defense Command? It is just a name, with the same function and the same job description. Let’s make it easy for everyone to converse, shall we?

Earlier today, the same problem on class suspension remain. Parents on twitter raging at government for delayed cancellation of school.

@joeyalarilla said, “of course @deped_ph has to wait for our kids to go to school before declaring the suspension of classes in metro manila”

@philippinebeat tweeted: “@DepEd_PH As a parent, I feel you’ll get the larger support of other parents if you suspend classes BEFORE kids go to school, NOT AFTER. Tks”

Lastly, @imom on twitter wrote: “great job @deped_PH, doing a great job carrying on as usual, suspending classes AFTER all kids have gone to school, ktnxbai.”

I hope you didn’t miss the sarcasm in their voices.

My parents raged at the same thing when I was a boy. I haven’t been a boy in 15 years.

Do the math.

Perhaps, the answer lies on having PAGASA set aside rain fall monitoring for Metro Manila. By being able to easily determine how much rain, they can tell DepED and CHED and MMDA how much worst the nation’s capital will be on any given day. It has been the experience that Metro Manila sinks with N amount of rain. Yes, the age old problem that PAGASA has exist— there is only so much of government can do, but could you at least put it on the top of the every increase to do list? So can we put sensors around Metro Manila to tells us how much rain and where the floods are? Bulk of the economic activity does exist in the nation’s capital after all, perhaps a bit of efficiency through better technology can help us.

On the issue that Aquino skipped a PAGASA press conference, some had made it a glaring example of his lack of leadership skills. People have had nine years of Arroyo glaring at us through the television appearing more important than she actually was. Aquino avoided the limelight durning the hostage crisis. He avoids it during the storm. The guy running the show doesn’t always have to be on the forefront. He doesn’t always have to hold our hand. The lesson is that each organ of the government is working. CEOs don’t have to be everywhere, or be visible. For as long as the government is functioning in times of crisis as we witnessed in Juan, and as glaringly absent it was during Ondoy— Aquino’s style seems to be working better.

The massive social networking update from various organs of the government is an excellent resource. Government, while imperfect at least in this case is a functioning one. Super typhoon Juan postmortem grade for the government is a B+.

Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.