Almost three months after Super Typhoon “Yolanda” struck central Philippines, the d***h toll has continued to rise by at least three per day with residents and workers discovering d**d bodies under piles of debris in the on-going clean-up job across the coastal areas of Tacloban City.
However, according to reports, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has stopped counting the fatalities from the typhoon.
In fact, the agency’s situation report has shown these same figures for the past several days: 6,201 d**d, 28,626 injured, and 1,785 missing (as of 6:00 a.m., January 19, 2014).
The agency reported the same figures for its latest “Yolanda” update dated January 22.
The discovery of at least three bodies per day occurs in Tacloban City alone. This raises the possibility that other typhoon-hit areas may be recovering other d**d bodies up to the present.
Survivors Burying the D**d, Not Reporting to Authorities
In various places, survivors simply bury their d**d without bothering to inform the authorities about their activities.
Many of them are doing this out of frustration due to either the lack of support from the government, bureaucratic red tape or unrealistically complicated rules they had to follow just to have the d**d bodies counted.
Many have been accusing the NDRRMC of cover-up in the actual body count of fatalities, saying the agency did not want to embarrass President Benigno Aquino III, who earlier declared that Yolanda fatalities number only between 2,000 and 2,500.
The President even scolded the local police chief, Chief Supt. Elmer Soria, who said around 10,000 people died in the catastrophe. Soria was eventually relieved from his post.
Malacañang, however, denied that Soria was sacked because of his statement, explaining that he was relieved so he could undergo stress debriefing from the “emotional trauma” he experienced.
Aquino personally believed that it was emotional trauma which prompted the police chief to give “bloated figures”.
Nevertheless, within a few weeks after the typhoon struck, it was getting clearer that the d***h toll was closer to the police chief’s estimates.
Manipulated D***h Toll?
The NDRRMC was slammed by many quarters for allegedly manipulating the d***h toll so as to keep it low enough to be closer to the President’s projection.
The agency denied the allegations, saying instead that they are having difficulties in providing the actual d***h count because the survivors are not cooperating with them, choosing to bury the d**d on their own instead.
Also, there were reports that the NDRRMC only counts the d**d who were already identified or had clear identification.
Again, this led many groups to accuse the agency of downplaying the figures to suit the President who has also come under fire for the same reason.
Following close local and foreign media scrutiny over his handling of the Yolanda disaster, the president later “conceded” that the d***h toll has doubled.
Yet, he also defended the NDRRMC for the alleged low casualty count, saying that a coroner’s report or certification is necessary before the count is made official.
Many unidentified bodies are buried uncounted, keeping the official d***h toll low.