‘Do not add to fear, hysteria’, Cagayan town mayor tells Rappler
By Christine Cudis
Lawyer Cristina Antonio, Alcala town Mayor (Photo from Mayor Antonio’s FB page)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – A mayor in the typhoon-ravaged Cagayan Valley region told an online media agency to be responsible in their reports.
In her Facebook (FB) post on Nov. 14, Alcala town Mayor, lawyer Cristina Antonio, called out Rappler for its ‘irresponsible’ coverage of the calamity that hit their region saying, undermining the efforts of the hardworking volunteers.
“Please be responsible in reporting. Do not add to the fear and hysteria. And you are doing the good and brave men and women rescuers of Alcala a great disservice. They have been working nonstop, round the clock, for the past four days. They do not deserve this. Be responsible,” Antonio said.
As of this writing, the mayor’s FB post has gathered 4.2k reactions, 490 comments and 4,401 shares from FB users.
She implied to be frustrated as she asked the online news site to ‘provide context and complete details in the post that Rappler grabbed’ from her page.
“Rescuers are unable to continue rescue efforts at night because this would put their lives and the people they try to rescue in more grave danger,” she said.
She added that the rescuers need to halt their operations come night time due to danger.
“They would not be able to see anything, the water is still rising, water current is strong and unpredictable, tree trunks and other debris are swirling in the water, there are electric power lines along the way that may cause accidents. How could rescuers rescue if they themselves become victims? Worse, rescuers and the evacuees they try to rescue may perish under these perilous circumstances at night,” she said.
It can also be assumed that these Rappler postings, she said, ‘made it appear’ that the government was late in conducting its operations.
“It was the FOURTH DAY our rescuers have been going out to bring our evacuees to safety. Please do not make it appear in the caption that it is only now that rescue efforts are being launched,” she said, adding that Alcala town is 1.5 hours away from Tuguegarao.
Meanwhile, it was not only the mayor who took to social media her disappointment over the alleged ‘biased’ reporting.
Radio host and lawyer Nick Nañgit also shared his disapproval of the ‘incomplete’ reports peddled by Rappler.
“Rappler and that convicted criminal Maria Ressa, as well as some mainstream publications and media outlets, are nothing but purveyors of fake news! They are paid to hide or distort the truth,” he said.
The relief operations of the government are still ongoing but as of Thursday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development said their assistance that came in the forms of food and cash already totaled to over PHP56,264,344 million for the victims of typhoon ‘Ulysses’.
DSWD also assured safe spaces for children and women in evacuation centers being the lead agency for the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council’s (NDRRMC) camp management and camp coordination.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has been also present since the first day.
DA Secretary William Dar handed out starter packs consisting of seedlings and fingerlings for farmers and fisherfolks whose agricultural areas were devastated by typhoons.
The DA also urged farmers to avail of their Survival and Recovery loan program under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council.
They can avail of some PHP25,000 broken down to PHP5,000 for emergency and PHP20,000 for recovery. The loan will reportedly be provided with zero interest and no collateral payable in 10 years.
The affected farmers may also seek assistance from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation. (PNA)