The nation this week marks the first year anniversary of super typhoon “Yolanda” (international code name “Haiyan”).
To commemorate that dark episode in Philippine history, essentially all media organizations are running stories about the recovery and rehabilitation efforts being done in provinces hit hard by “Yolanda,” mostly those in Eastern and Western Visayas. Esquire Philippines is no exception, but they did it in such a way that netizens apparently didn’t like.
For their November 2014 edition, Esquire Philippines carries a cover story titled “Hello from Tacloban … one year later.” So far, so good, right? The magazine’s cover for this month features Interior Secretary and 2016 presidential candidate Mar Roxas. See it below:
To be honest, I initially thought that this is just a parody. Remember that fake Time magazine cover photo that supposedly features President Benigno Aquino III. You can read our post about that here.
Unfortunately, a quick visit to the official Facebook page of Esquire shows that Roxas is indeed in the cover of the said magazine for this month. Skim over the comments posted by readers and you’ll know immediately that they are not happy at all to see Roxas there.
Instead of Roxas, the magazine would have been better off using images of those living in the devastated areas. One year after a deadly disaster, why not show pictures of resiliency instead of using a picture of a politician? Of course, Roxas being mentioned side-by-side with super typhoon “Yolanda” brings back bad memories.
For The Freeman columnist Mike Acebedo Lopez, Esquire’s decision to use the Interior Secretary’s image for this month’s special edition is like “a spit on the face of an entire people who’s suffered because of (Roxas’) ineptitude and politics.”
To those who have forgotten, Roxas was initially the designated point-man of President Aquino for the relief efforts in the aftermath of “Yolanda,” a role that now belongs to rehabilitation czar and his fellow former senator Panfilo Lacson.
Roxas didn’t exactly do a great job in that task. When the extent of devastation brought by “Yolanda” became apparent to the whole world, the Aquino administration in general and Roxas in particular was criticized by international media outlets for being inept.
Who can ever forget that morning when Roxas’ wife, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez, accused Anderson Cooper of CNN for not knowing what he is reporting about. Ironically, the American reporter actually came to Tacloban several days before she did.
Later on, a raw video of the meeting between Roxas and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez was posted online. In the 42-minute video, Roxas told Romualdez that he needs to execute a letter saying that he can no longer discharge his functions as a city mayor and that the Department of Interior and Local Government needs to administer Tacloban instead.
Romualdez refused, and the people of Tacloban City was essentially left hanging by the national government.
Apart from being a blood relative of former first lady Imelda Marcos, Romualdez is also a political ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. No wonder the animosity runs deep.