GREAT PRETENDERS

The six provinces and two cities comprising the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) were among the hardest hit during the wrath of Tropical Cyclone Ompong. The death toll has reached over a hundred and billions of pesos worth of properties were reported damaged regionwide. Thousands of families composed of hundreds of thousands of individuals were directly and indirectly affected during the onslaught of the weather disturbance which prevailed over most parts of Northern Luzon for before existing the Philippine area of responsibility.

Almost all of the areas of the region were isolated both in physical access and communications. Upon restoration of telecommunication facilities, the extent of the havoc wrought by Typhoon Ompong, especially to lives, was brought right to the eyes of local and global citizens.  The response to the tragic incidents, especially in the region, again showed the opportunistic agenda of some politicians.  Some local and national politicians whose presences were not felt at the height of the weather disturbance suddenly came out and presented themselves as concerned patrons. Obviously, those local and national politicians whose presences were not felt during the weather disturbance were in their comfort zones waiting to take advantage of the situation to project themselves as good Samaritans. It is sad that some officials were not in their areas of jurisdiction during the height of the typhoon. Now that the difficult times are over, they are now out in the open distributing relief goods which they solicited with their names placed on stickers and attached to the containers and the packaging of relief packs. The Good Samaritan projection of these self-styled politicians are familiar to the people and they know who had been in action and who had been sleeping when help was most needed. Worst, some local officials had been adding insult to injury to the grief of the family members of the fatalities by adding their names in donors’ lists but they did not give actual donations.

We deplore the sudden resurgence of the great pretenders because they do not actually have the heart for the people who had been battered by the tropical cyclone. The aftermath of the calamity is not a show of how much you have extended to the victims but it is how you treated and condoled with them while they were grieving. The sympathy of people to the calamity victims and their bereaved families is not shown on the size of the relief pack that you gave them but it is how you were able to deal with them when they were suffering. Actually, people do not remember how quick politicians were able to respond to their needs but it is how the assistance was wholeheartedly given to them. Calamity victims do not need smiles that extend up to the ears but they actually need a hand to help them rise up from the tragedy.

We admire those politicians who never publicized their act of helping the calamity victims and their bereaved families. They reached out to their constituents without the glare of the camera and patiently interacted with them. Acts of goodwill need not be highlighted in the front pages of newspapers, headline news of radio and television stations. As the saying goes, it is when you do good to others when nobody is watching that defines one’s integrity and goodwill.  Let us put a stop to these crazy political gimmicks. Peoples’ votes are not earned through these. Indeed, prudence is the better part of valor.

We urge our people to be circumspect in dealing with suddenly seemingly caring politicians. Let us remember that elections in our country will happen in less than eight months and desperate politicians are now trying to grab every opportunity to gain publicity without being sensitive over they are doing. The insensitivity of most of our politicians only shows they do not have the heart to serve us but instead they have the heart for lip service. Let us place our ace on those who really walk the talk. Let us again be warned that politicians seem to be good to us this time because they want our votes. Let us be intelligent citizens and not be carried only by politicians’ good behaviour during tragedies. It is important they are with us in our times of great need but they have to be consistent in their service to us.

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