What We Can Learn From Typhoon Ondoy
In these times when even small acts of compassion are needed, let us help in any way we can the victims of this recent calamity. If you have not been affected, share what you have, volunteer your services in the relief efforts, mobilize your community and organizations in the relief efforts for the affected urban poor communities whose entire homes and belongings have been swept away.
Now for a second look at what happened. Many Metro Manila residents of communities and villages whose homes were deluged in the floodwaters had to go to their rooftops, texting and calling the police and the authorities, and radio stations and television asking for help. They were sending distress signals even through public television and radio stations. Water was fast rising and many had to retreat to the second floors of their houses (if they had any), or on their rooftops. No help came from the authorities, and citizens and neighbors had to fend for themselves. Government did not exist except on radio and television.
Citizens could only help one another with their own resources. A resident of Provident Village in Marikina exhausted her celfone load with text messages calling for police assistance while dripping wet and shivering on a rooftop, but nobody came. She was eventually rescued by a neighbor. Countless citizens of MetroManila and the rest of the country experienced this last Sept. 26, 2009.
The National Disaster Coordinating Center (NDCC) is useless. It claimed at the height of the Ondoy floodwaters that it only had 13 rubber boats available. The Navy only two amphibian vehicles to go to the rescue. The Secretary of National Defense Gilbert Teodoro who is supposed to be pointperson was clearly caught unprepared by events – he did not know what to do. He should have resigned as Secretary of National Defense the day that he announced weeks ago that he was running for President under the the Arroyo administration’s party. And Arroyo should have immediately appointed a new defense secretary who can focus on his work as defense secretary and disaster management pointperson, instead of campaigning as administration party candidate.
The national government is supposed to have at least P 2 billion pesos for calamity funds available. Why did they not have enough rubber boats and amphibians to use for calamities like these. And, is it true that P 800 million pesos of the P 2 billion calamity funds which are itemized as “contingency funds” of the Office of the President were reallocated for Presidential trips overseas? We are just asking.
” Fifth, international authorities have taken notice that we are safer
Patuloy naman yung sa CAMANAVA, dagdag sa Pinatubo, Iloilo, Pasig-
We are not pointing fingers nor do we want to blame anyone for a natural disaster. But the authorities whom we have entrusted with taxpayers’ money and the vast resources of government are expected to do their part, and anticipate disasters (natural or manmade) like these. Many distressed citizens cursed their government for not moving to assist them last Sept. 26 and 27, 2009. As Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo wrote: ” If only curses could kill”.
* Article by Roland G Simbulan – For a full professional background of Professor Roland G. Simbulan (Click Here)