OPINION: Misplaced heroism

JAN 6-12, 2011

Last Monday under heavy downpour following days of onslaughts of heavy and continuous rains we heard of many disaster councils operationalized. Obviously enthusiastic disaster council  members- government officials trooped in round tables, mapping up search and rescue, relief and rehabilitation plans while the onslaughts of heavy rains continued which sooner had its overflows to become floods submerging towns and barangays, and even national roads resulting to thousands of passengers and motorists being stranded in too helpless situations. The disaster experts and honchos in the region at last had their heyday to brag about their expertise to face and combat calamities and show their new calamity-fightingest uniforms. Indeed, they are experts- collating statistics on the toll and extent of damages even while floodwaters were still running, and flood victim villagers and those who were stranded were actually fending their own for themselves to survive and had only the Name Above to rely on. On the otherhand, under the wrath of continuous rains that did not stop airconditioning units in government offices from running, provincial and municipal legislators and disaster councils’ members were also debating showing their do-gooder spirit (even while at least in one case we observed they merrily debated with fun and jokes because actually their homes were not actually one of those climbed by floodwaters) and were already advancing to declare their province or town so and so under the state of calamity even while the so-called disaster experts and the social welfare officers were still collating the gloomy statistics.

But what we saw were all reactive posturings and actions as usual as even the combined immediate social welfare and discretionary resources and do-gooders during calamities were limited to counter the grave situations while the 5-percent calamity funds cannot yet be immediately used up without the declaration of the state of calamity (that would afford even the non-calamity victims, those working in the government to happily secure a calamity loan). As in any other past calamity experiences we have had, against the heroism of our officials, though official efforts were made, at any rate the much needed help even if limited reached the flooded villages.

It was the New Year’s eve, Friday that the rains started in our provinces subduing the merriment of the celebration. By Monday, government officials and calamity experts from the region were on the rush. By Tuesday flood came in the lowlands, but suddenly by Wednesday a simmering heat came in with a hotness level felt like it was a Holy Week, immediate disappering the waters and floods  except those trapped in huge ground bowls without an exit. The turn of the weather was like a slap to all of us. The hotness of the season outraced the enactment of the state of calamity of flooded LGUs and no one cried over the global warming, the continued deforestation, inappropriate kaingin farming, mining that made the anger and fury of the devastated nature to fight back with weather’s unpredictability. We are now indeed on the era of having so unpredictable weather. It’s more hotter these days and hotness characterized the recent Yuletide Season unlike when it was characterized of having smooth, constant raining daily before, some three to four decades back then, to envelop a semblance of a cold White Christmas for Filipinos in tropical country. Gone are those days now. Indeed, there is climate change particularly hitting us.

When we are so inconvenienced and victimized by this so fickle weather now, by our continued negligence and uncare, our grandsons and granddaughters and the next generations that would come after them would all the more fight and survive a so hotter environment and unpredictable downpours that would turn into floods in a so disastrous scale and intensity. We pity so much to our next generations to come if the current unconcern, neglect and negligence to our environment continue.   – Cha Monforte


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