Philippine Government Works Harder, but Not Smarter

Amidst the apocalyptic scenes from the super typhoon Haiyan (locally named Typhoon Yolanda), you can hear two things coming out of ground zero: 1. “We need more help.” and 2. “We’re doing all that we can.”

The first of course is a cry for help from the estimated 11 million people affected by the unprecedented super typhoon. The later has been the common response from government officials, be it the President, the Interior Minister or most other people in office.


Mar Roxas grilled on CNN by Andrew Stevens about relief efforts for Super Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda


So what’s happening? Is someone lying? Are there people out there bathing in free canned goods and rice, laughing at us as we continue to send them more freebies? Or the easier direction to point the finger is at the corrupt government officials who are probably too lazy and greedy to see the donations through.

Well, the answer is actually neither. See the problem, in my honest opinion, is that the government is working too hard, but they’re probably not working smartly.


Anderson Cooper CNN report on Super Typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan “Miserable situation” in Tacloban


I can still remember my old school drill instructor scream at me when I was at the United States Navy Bootcamp: “WTF RECRUIT!” he screamed, “work smarter, not harder!”

My Recruit Training Commander gave me an earful after he saw me try to carry back our laundry, one small handful at a time. See that was my assigned chore for the day, to make sure that our entire group’s laundry was placed back into a bin at the other end of the building, for the owners to collect them. My commander saw me sweat as I ran back and fourth with a hand full of clothes: “WTF RECRUIT!”

He pulled out a huge laundry bag and filled it with all the leftover clothes, amounting to around a dozen handfuls. Then he gave me the look of death, handed me the big laundry bag, and uttered these words: “work smarter, not harder” before walking away.

Upon meeting with my training commander later on, he went on to explain that if there were a hundred concrete blocks I had to move across town, and I spent all day carrying and moving them one by one, after hours (or days) of sweat, pain and hardship, when I finally get the task done, then I might be happy that I finished my task. Or he says I could have planned it out better, rented a wheelbarrow, or gotten a truck, and finished the task in less than an hour.

See spending time to plan things out and coordinate on a larger scale, while looking at the bigger picture, is what a leader needs to do. Both ways mentioned above got the task accomplished; but one way was faster, easier and better overall, while the other… well… my back is still hurting from that.


CNN Christiane Amanpour interviews Philippine President Benigno Aquino PNOY about Super Typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan


After watching the recent interviews of Philippine official claiming that they are doing everything they can, well, I believe them… Sadly, everything they can do is not even close to good enough.

Yes, they may be on the ground carrying dead bodies, moving sacks of rice, hugging lost children and sweating it out for the camera, but as we can see from the reports, what they’re doing isn’t nearly enough. They are working hard, but they need to start working smart and find ways to get the help to those far flung areas and people that need it.

So to my dear government I say: “WTF GOVERNMENT! Work smarter, not harder!”


Philippine Government Works Hard but Not Smart Super Typhoon Haiyan Yolanda Tacloban Philippines WhenInManila


Philippine Government Works Harder, but Not Smarter: PH Officials vs Super Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda