Among the best legacies that would be left by P’Noy with a lasting impact is the overhaul of the traditional devil-may-care approach of people dealing with nasty typhoons that yearly visited the country.
In 2010, while on the campaign trail running for President, P’Noy was asked, “What would be your leadership like?” P’Noy quipped; mine would be “Leadership by Example”. One would put a question mark on that quip. How in the world could P’Noy accomplished this mission amidst the strong cynicism of the people against the politicians and the Government?
Although the Filipinos voted for him for hope and change, P’Noy’s “Leadership by Example” fleeted like the motherhood statements of the former President Gloria Arroyo whisked by a whiff of air. However, for four years of P’Noy’s helm of the government people saw the concrete proof of what he meant. He is not corrupt. And good omen cascaded from it. Political compromises jockeyed by the allies of the corrupt politicians found a dead end when he sent to jail, for example, Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, three powerful and influential political figures of the PDAF scandal. This sent shivers to other corrupt personages of the government to mend their ways, as eventually the law would catch up with them.
P’Noy’s good governance, which raised the country’s economic performance to the tilt surpassing his predecessors, and his initiation for the funding of the neglected AFP Modernization Act, which paved the way for the successful conclusions of the Nur Misuari’s 2013 Zamboanga siege, also showed P’Noy’s leaderships by example.
“Basyang,” the first typhoon that greeted P’Noy’s Presidency wreaked havoc in Metro Manila. To P’Noy’s mind, the death casualties of this storm could have been reduced to minimum if only the PAGASA provided an ample warning and reliably forecasted correct information to the citizens. So incensed P’Noy was on the weather bureau’s inefficiencies, he sacked its head. Head rolled since then for the different chiefs of the government agencies for inefficiencies.
Seeing the desperate need to upgrade the PAGASA’s neglected infrastructure, P’Noy get the services of the DOST (Dept. Of Science and Technology) to launch the Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards). Aided with the improved facilities such as the Doppler radar stations installed in strategic locations in the country, the stakeholders from the various government agencies works in unison to interpret, assess, and share the reliability and significance of the data collected. Hence, the shared information mitigates the impact of the oncoming disaster.
The typhoon “Yolanda”, the strongest typhoon, so far, that visited the Philippines in 2013 – as P’Noy quipped in the launching of the Project NOAH – tested the “Bahala na si Batman” attitude of the Filipinos. The stats of lost lives and the devastation of properties were staggering and unprecedented. The warnings disseminated by the government about “Yolanda” were sufficient, but the people of the affected areas didn’t seem to care. As the government and the people were caught off guard of “Yolanda’s” magnitude and strength, there was scrambling of what to do. The results: coordination protocol was breached. More damages that are auxiliary occurred. “Yolanda” imprinted indelible marks on the nation’s consciousness. Importantly, lessons have been learned.
When PAGASA saw the coming of the latest Typhoon Ruby, touted as duplicate of “Yolanda”, this time around, all the stakeholders in the government agencies pooled their resources and moved in a unified manner according to their protocol, while the people in turn offered their utmost cooperation. “All things work together for good”, as they say. Results: fewer casualties.
When P’Noy set up the tone, the mechanics, and the right attitude of the citizenry reducing the fatal effects of perennial calamities, it emblazed his “Leadership by Example”. The culture of preparedness he established could probably one of his best legacy he would be fondly remembered.