CNN'S ANDERSON COOPER HONORS STRENGTH OF PINOYS

“This week in Tacloban, Samar and Cebu, amidst the hunger and thirst, the chaos and confusion, we’ve seen the best in the Filipino people. Their strength, their courage – I can’t get it out of my mind,” Cooper said.

ALSO: PHILSTAR'S DAMAYAN UPDATE ON USS GEORGE WASHINGTON FLEET IN GUIUAN/SAMAR, ORMOC, BORONGAN AND GULF OF LEYTE

USNS Richard E. Byrd delivered supplies to the village of Salangan via helicopter today. Guiuan is the supply hub and Navy helicopters distribute from there to the remote areas where need is greatest. In addition, USS George Washington and USS Lassen helos have carried displaced and injured civilians from remote areas such as islands in Leyte Gulf to areas where medical aid is present.

ALSO: FEDERICO PASCUAL: COOPER SAID NOTHING NEW ON POST-YOLANDA

Most of Cooper’s comments — including that on the apparent absence of government — merely validated what Filipinos following the post-Yolanda coverage of the local networks already knew.
 


CNN'S ANDERSON COOPER HONORS STRENGTH OF PINOYS


CNN anchor Anderson Cooper

MANILA, NOVEMBER 18, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Paolo Romero - CNN anchor Anderson Cooper marveled at the strength of Filipinos amid the death and devastation in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda and thanked them “for showing us all how to live.”

In his “Reporter’s Notebook” broadcast, Cooper said covering disasters, where “everything else is taken away broken and battered, stripped raw, stripped bare – you see things, you see people as they really are.”

“This week in Tacloban, Samar and Cebu, amidst the hunger and thirst, the chaos and confusion, we’ve seen the best in the Filipino people. Their strength, their courage – I can’t get it out of my mind,” Cooper said.

“Imagine the strength it takes for a mother to search alone for her missing kids, the strength to sleep on the street near the body of your child,” he said.

“You’ve seen people with every reason to despair, the right to be angry, instead find ways to laugh, to love, to stand so up, to move forward. A storm breaks wood and bone, brings hurt and heartbreak” but it cannot break the spirit of a people.

Amid the atmosphere of death and destruction, Cooper said this “is not the end of the story” as far as Filipinos are concerned.

“With aid and assistance, compassion and care, this place, these people, they will make it through, they’ve already survived the worst.”

“They’re bowed perhaps, tired and traumatized, but they are not broken. Mabuhay Philippines, maraming salamat for all you’ve shown us. Maraming salamat for showing us all how to live,” he said.

Cooper earlier responded to criticisms from President Aquino and ABS-CBN broadcaster Korina Sanchez regarding his coverage of the aftermath of Yolanda, where he pointed out the slow government response.

He noted Aquino’s call to local and foreign media to be accurate in their reporting, and show the resiliency of Filipinos during times of crises.

“We certainly appreciate that counsel, accuracy is what we strive for…I would actually say that all week long, in every report we’ve done, we’ve shown how strong the Filipino people are,” Cooper said.

PHILSTAR's Operation Damayan 7th Fleet Update Story Number: NNS131115-04Release Date: 11/15/2013 9:30:00 AM A A A Email this story to a friend Print this story


PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 15, 2013) Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) load containers of fresh water onto an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the Golden Falcons of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 for delivery ashore in support of Operation Damayan. The George Washington Carrier Strike Group supports the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade to assist the Philippine government in response to the aftermath of the Super typhoon Haiyan in the Republic of the Philippines. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Trevor Welsh/Released) November 15, 2013

By U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The USS George Washington is delivering water, medical supplies and hygienic supplies to Guiuan/Samar, Ormoc, Borongan and Leyte Gulf. 20 US Navy helicopters have been in continuous operation since yesterday.

The Government of the Philippines requested assistance in getting supplies to remote areas inaccessible by truck, so that's where the focus has been. For example, USNS Richard E. Byrd delivered supplies to the village of Salangan via helicopter today. Guiuan is the supply hub and Navy helos distribute from there to the remote areas where need is greatest. In addition, USS George Washington and USS Lassen helos have carried displaced and injured civilians from remote areas such as islands in Leyte Gulf to areas where medical aid is present.

We are coordinating with partner navies such as Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, and Norway to deliver assistance.

Three ships (USS Emory S. Land, USS Antietam and USS Cowpens) with 4 helicopters are working in Leyte Gulf to distribute supplies from Tacloban

USS Mustin is in Ormoc Bay with 2 helos and is moving supplies delivered by C-130s from distribution centers to remote areas where the supplies are needed. We plan on moving USNS Charles Drew to Orloc this evening also.

Three P-3 aircraft continue to survey the affected area to assist Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. planners with their response.

The USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) arrived in Okinawa Japan and are now onloading supplies and Marines. We expect them to be on scene in about 3-4 days.

Note* HA/DR Kits are comprised of items that would be needed immediately in times of disaster and could not wait for normal logistical support channels to fill requirements. Kits include items such as include items such as water purification kits, blankets, insect/sun repellent and medical supplies.

Aid missions boost US troops' image, readiness (Associated Press) | Updated November 18, 2013 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON — As soon as Navy pilot Matthew Stafford puts his helicopter down in the village of Borongan, he is rushed by dozens of local men who form a line to unload the supplies he has flown in from the USS George Washington aircraft carrier.

On the Philippine islands of Leyte and Samar that were shattered by Typhoon Haiyan, there is no doubt about it: the US military has been a godsend.

But while US military support can be critical when during disasters, staging massive humanitarian relief missions for allies isn't just about being a good neighbor. They can be a strategic and publicity goldmine for US troops whose presence in Asia isn't always portrayed in such a favorable light — and a powerful warning to countries that aren't on board.

Cooper said nothing new on post-Yolanda

POSTSCRIPT By Federico D. Pascual Jr. (photo) (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 17, 2013 - 12:00am 48 73 googleplus0 0 MERE RECAP:

There was actually nothing that visiting CNN journalist Anderson Cooper said about the devastation in Tacloban City and the government response to the calamity in the Visayas that had not been said before by local media. By and large, he just confirmed earlier reports.

With due respect, his reportage could not compare to the breadth and the humanity of the coverage by Philippine media, especially the radio-TV networks whose reporters remained standing in the cyclonic winds and storm surge raging around them.

Most of Cooper’s comments — including that on the apparent absence of government — merely validated what Filipinos following the post-Yolanda coverage of the local networks already knew.

One handicap of Cooper was that he had not stayed longer nor visited enough of the devastated towns outside Tacloban to gain a fair appreciation of the overall situation and its meaning.

* * *

UNEVEN REACTION: Although it was a mere reiteration of local reports, the coverage of CNN stung the Aquino administration much more than that of the Philippine media.

One reason for Malacañang’s uneven reaction to the local and the foreign press is that the media handlers of President Noynoy Aquino usually do not take Filipino journalists seriously.

The media sector already singing praises to the administration since the 2010 presidential campaign is captive anyway, so their hosannas have minimal satisfaction value.

On the other hand, the critical sectors are routinely dismissed as paid mouthpieces of the previous administration. So Palace apologists and writers imbedded in media usually answer criticisms with ad hominem instead of refute issues raised.

Those in-between or those who strive to be balanced are handled variously. When they commend the administration they gain an approving nod, and when they make critical remarks innuendos are made that they are on somebody’s payroll.

* * *

INTIMIDATION: Another reason why the foreign media are given preferential attention is that colonial-minded Filipino officials are still beholden to fair-skinned parachute journalists.

When a foreign correspondent thrusts a microphone to the Philippine president and warns that his (mis)handling of the disaster could define his fragile regime, that suddenly puts him on the defensive.

Baseless or not, the visitor’s remarks beamed to the world are often universally swallowed. The self-serving statements of a third world leader are no match to the pronouncements of a media veteran who had covered various world hot spots.

The comparison becomes even more lopsided when the local leader is seen as incompetent or, worse, lying.

* * *

SAMAR RELIEF: We chanced on Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone the other night as he was preparing to fly back to Guiuan town (pop. 47,000) the next morning to press his relief work in his province of 461,300, one of the worst-hit Visayan provinces.

He lamented that many people, including those monitoring developments from abroad, think the ground zero of the devastation is Tacloban, the regional center where national officials and media (such as Cooper) congregate.

Evardone, who is tapping his network made over his many years in media and politics, told us that a US Marine C-130 which he had borrowed (!) would be loaded with privately donated relief goods and flown straight to Guiuan.

(We have noticed that some impatient donors, including many from abroad, have been bypassing the cumbersome government bureaucracy and going straight to the communities they want to help.)

* * *

WIPED OUT: Updating us, Evardone said his province sustained casualties numbering 233, missing 47, injured 5,746, families affected 72,465, totally damaged houses 26,668, and partially damaged houses 72,465.

Eastern Samar has 22 municipalities and one city (Borongan). Towns hardest hit were Lawaan, Balangiga, Giporlos, Quinapondan, Hernani, Balangkayan, Salcedo, Mercedes and Guiuan. The entire province was virtually wiped out, he said.

In Guiuan, even big buildings and a sports stadium were flattened. The roof of the church, which dates back to the 1700s, had been blown off, blurring a historical item that Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived there in 1521.

* * *

HOW TO REBUILD: Evardone said an aerial survey he made after the typhoon has kept him asking how his province (he used to be the governor) could recover, even with generous assistance from outside.

Admitting he still did not know how or where to start the reconstruction after relief is completed, he said he was ready to accept help from wherever it comes. (It was at this point that he mentioned his “borrowing” a US C-130 to ferry relief goods.)

“Some 80 percent of my constituents rely on coconut but the trees are either uprooted or toppled down,” he noted. “It takes five to 10 years to plant a coconut tree and nurture it till it bears fruit.”

“A new variety can start bearing fruit in three to five years,” he said, “But in the meantime what will the poor farmers do to eke out a living for their families?”

* * *

FIRST HIT: Exactly seven years ago, on Nov. 18, I lay on the fine sand on Calicoan island watching visitors soaking in the unspoiled beauty of Guiuan. I slept on the beach that night, having in mind awaking there at the first crack of dawn. That was an experience!

Evardone told us that Eastern Samar, in Guiuan to be exact, is where the first ray of sunlight hits the Philippines at daybreak. (Read what I wrote of Calicoan island then. Visit: http://tinyurl.com/lpgv79n)

Little did I know that seven years later, it was not the sun but a super typhoon that would blow in from the Pacific and make its first landfall in Guiuan -- and proceed to kill from 5,000 to 7,000 in its sweep of the Visayan islands with 315-kph winds and storm surges.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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