Director Peque Gallaga’s Facebook rant goes viral
MANILA, Philippines—It was meant only for his small circle of online friends, but when filmmaker Peque Gallaga’s rant on Facebook about the government’s handling of the relief efforts in the aftermath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” went public, it quickly went viral and was soon enough picked up by mainstream media.
Gallaga, who has only 520 friends in the social networking site, said he never expected that his essay, which he posted on Nov. 13, would garner this much attention.
“I’m torn about this. It was just a Facebook thing,” he told the Inquirer in a phone interview on Saturday. “I’m not a political person. But friends say I must’ve tapped into the collective outrage.”
No one is spared
In his 1,141-word essay, Gallaga’s “rage” spared no one: the President, all the President’s men, even the wife of one of the President’s men who dared criticize a CNN reporter and, of course, local media.
Gallaga wrote: “This disaster has affected, not only the islands in the path of Yolanda, but all of us as a nation. We have all been judged and found wanting.”
He put the local media to task for not being critical of “Malacañang press releases which are more concerned with [the officials’] show biz image than confronting, accepting and dealing with the problem.”
He railed against “TV personalities and politicians” who go to Tacloban (one of the hardest hit areas) “for the photo op.”
On ABS-CBN news anchor Korina Sanchez’s feud with CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, Gallaga offered this terse statement: “Cooper was in Tacloban; Korina was not.”
Sanchez is married to Mar Roxas, secretary of the Interior and Local Government.
Not the enemy
He asked: “How much more do we need for us to realize that the enemy was not Yolanda? Yolanda was just a force of nature. The enemy is our leaders. And the leader of our leaders is the President.”
He reserved most of the vitriol on President Aquino: “I can only rage, rage against the dying of common decency. I can only rage against this man…who continually blames the LGUs (local government units) on the ground for their incompetence and their inefficiency because it is beginning to dawn on me that these Visayan LGUs happen to be Romualdez people.”
A day after he posted the lengthy diatribe against the President, Gallaga had to stay up late, to read the numerous reactions he received.
“Most of them were supportive,” he quipped. “A few attacked me, saying my movies were flops, but that was beside the point.”
Gallaga recalled that he posted the Facebook message, as reaction to his online friends who had advised him not to express his dissatisfaction with the Yolanda relief efforts.
“I got fed up,” he explained. “Friends, who are close to the Powers that Be, told me to behave. I’ve always been a bad student. In my 70 years, I’ve never behaved!”
He wrote online: “I am deeply offended by the people who try to stop me…from stating the obvious.”
He called these Facebook friends, the “Yellow Army.”
“They say that being critical doesn’t help,” Gallaga related. “It’s like we are in a theocracy and all dissenters are branded evil.”
He begged to disagree in his online essay and said: “We can help and we can criticize. I am convinced that we do help when we criticize; if at one point we can, as Hamlet says, ‘catch the conscience of the king.’”
Honesty not enough
He told the Inquirer: “I am fighting not with corrupt trapos (traditional politicians), but my anger is directed at truly decent middle-class people who believe in Aquino…because he is not corrupt,” he said. “But is honesty the only thing he can offer?”
He felt that Aquino was being spared from objective appraisal because the alternative is reprehensible.
“We’ve been cooperating for the past three years. But as of now Aquino is making (Vice President Jejomar) Binay look good. And I am not a fan of Binay,” he said.
The honeymoon period with the President should’ve been over a long time ago. It’s time to call a spade a spade, he said.
He wrote on Facebook: “This man is totally unprepared for the most difficult job in the country.”
He feels strongly about this issue because he calls Bacolod and Cadiz, Negros Occidental, his home.
“There are a lot of devastated places in the Visayas that didn’t get as much media attention,” he said.
He said that on Bantayan Island (which is near Cebu), the residents took matters into their own hands and have started fixing school buildings.
“People are doing things on their own; they are not relying on the national government,” he said.
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