Pacific Strategies and Assessments (PSA), a think-tank company which suddenly began making noise in our country, believes that the current administration is misleading the public with the former’s response to Typhoon Juan.
“In fact, there is absolutely no logical explanation or justification for the … President’s unwarranted backslapping,” said the PSA, a US-led firm that supplies intelligence information and risk-assessment reports to some of the world’s top corporations and foreign embassies in Manila, including the United States.
Pete Troilo, a PSA director, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview that painting a rosy picture of disaster preparedness could lull people into complacency, or worse, throw them into deep frustration over the young Aquino administration if the state of preparedness turned out to be just an illusion.
“As the report said,” according to Troilo, “this is simply no time for accolades or backslapping.”
While the devastation left by Juan was minimal compared with previous storms like “Ondoy” (Ketsana) and “Pepeng” (Parma), the PSA said the administration could not take credit for it because not enough was being done to prepare for disasters deadlier than previous ones and which loom large on the horizon because of climate change.
While new laws were enacted to deal with climate change and the disasters that it brings, these were just “modest legislative window-dressing improvements in disaster management.”
Nobody declared that the country’s disaster response agencies are fully prepared for all types of disasters. We still need to invest in equipment, training, and planning. However, the response during Typhoon Juan is commendable and I believe the government should give credit where it is due. I don’t think any Filipino became complacent after the President issued congratulatory statements to PAGASA. Nobody in their right mind would be since we experience natural and man-made disasters every year.