Monday, September 28, 2009

What Ondoy taught on us

I woke up at around 7 am last Saturday, September 26. Mom said never to travel that far for it’s raining and the news said that it’s been raining since Friday night. The typhoon was named Ondoy. I thought this will just one of those typhoons. After all, I’ve seen Storm that reached until Signal no. 3. In fact, years ago, I experienced to be stranded in Pangasinan for a day or two because the place was declared “under the state of calamity”. I also experienced to be stuck in Sta. Mesa (where I used to stay while “on exile” because of some people) because of another Storm Signal no. 3 storm. Ondoy is said to be Signal no. 1. I was wrong. The rains continue pouring. The result? Flood in Metro Manila. When I hear CAMANAVA being flooded, it doesn’t surprise me. Until I saw Tandang Sora Market (Visayas Avenue-Tandang Sora intersection) flooded about knee deep. I saw that around 10 or 11 in the morning (sources said that around afternoon, the flood water levels went up – waist deep. Take Note: Tandang Sora Market is not a flood prone area. Even when it floods, within two hours, it will surely go down). I tried to call some of the friends living in the Quezon City area. Only one responded – a colleague in the nearby college where I am teaching. There are many possible reasons. Either they’re too preoccupied because floodwaters entered their house, or they’re busy patching things up, or there is no mobile phone coverage because of the storm, but this I don’t like (and I hope this one’s not true): they just don’t like me calling them (hehehehehe, at the middle of the storm they can still dislike specific people like that. If that is true , what a human being! heheheheheh). I called one of my former youth members to see if she’s okay. She’s alright. A former youth member text and said that the floodwaters reached unto and it’s knee-deep. I am talking about Quezon City, not CAMANAVA, and it’s not even Tatalon.

Power line was cut to avoid electrecution. It was returned around 8 in the evening in our place. When we watched the evening news, Metro Manila was declared “under the state of calamity”. I don’t know if I’m ignorant, but it’s the first time in my life (29 years) that I heard that Metro Manila was declared as such. A friend in business school said that she lived in Pasig for 25 years, and she never saw that kind of flood. Yes, Pasig is flood prone. Yes, Metro Manila is really flood prone because it’s plain, and it’s near Pasig River. Manila is where Manila Bay is located. However, having a knee deep flood in a place called Tandang Sora Market is an anomaly of data. The province of Rizal, especially Cainta and Antipolo, Marikina City was hit by flood big time. Even celebrities were so helpless.

National Disaster Coordinating Council was tapped in rescue situation, but even they are short hand. Even Bayani Fernando of MMDA is helpless when his daughter was stranded in Cainta, where she’s managing their family business.

The typhoon revealed characters, as some began finger pointing. I myself was not spared. I began blaming the politicians. Why? Because if they are not corrupt big time, we might have better equipments for forecasting, not predicting the weather. We could have bought new choppers, the ones with night vision, and we could have budget for the fuel of those choppers. We could have bought numerous rubber boats. The flood waters would not have been as worse as this if not for bad waste management. The decades of throwing garbage here and there have contributed also.
Still, at the end of the day, pointing fingers will not give the affected people comfort. Metro Manila was wasted. We don’t need blamers. We don’t need hate. We don’t need indifference. Let’s set aside any differences. What believers must do is pray for the affected families. If you’re able enough, give your immediate relatives a temporary shelter. If you’re able enough, donate on your areas nearby, either in cash or in kind.

Typhoon Ondoy, just like any tragedies, should be a learning experience for all of us. It should humble us because what we have earned, will just be swept just like that. It should remind us not to hate your fellow men, especially fellow brethren. It should remind us that we must not be too proud by saying that your problem is bigger than others. After all, the Typhoon Ondoy passed by EVERYONE in MTERO MANILA, RIZAL, and otehr areas, both rich and small. It shows how our problems are just the right one for us (your problem is not bigger than I am). It should remind us to try having peaceful coexistence with your neighbor. After all, when the going gets tough, they might help one way or the other.

I don’t know what comfort I can give to the affected people (all of us in Metro Manila are affected, one way or the other), but let me tell you this: I have prayed for you.

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