Resilient, But Negligent

Residences at Brgy. San Francisco, Guinobatan, Albay still struggle due to the aftermath of Typhoon Rolly on October 2020. They are forced to leave their homes because of the present condition of their barangay.

Photo by Ralph Rebua

DREADFUL AS IT WAS, we have been devastated by catastrophic calamities in 2020. Of course, this has been a normal phase for Filipinos every single year since we are situated in a region where earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and typhoons are normal. In short, we are used to it. We are used to endless babbling of politicians that we are strong and we can surpass anything, we are used to unprepared tactics, inefficient leaders, and everything that is less because we are made to believe that we are resilient and we can move on from anything that devastated us.

Well, that should not be the case, because we, Filipinos, deserve more than this political satire. We can’t be resilient and at the same time negligent. Before the year ends, Bicol experienced a series of typhoons. The biggest of the year, Rolly, targeted mainland Bicol leaving its provinces totally wrecked and the citizens homeless. An excruciating lahar flow and flood in Guinobatan claimed lives including a BU Student. It was allegedly caused by quarrying at the foot of Mt. Mayon, and the grave truth is, it was also the case 14 years ago when more than a thousand fatalities were recorded at Legazpi City.

It simply means, we haven’t learned that much from previous events since we can always move on and easily forget about the occurrence. The government should have anticipated the event, it’s either the quarrying should stop or relocation of these families from dangerous zones have made a priority. Even when we stop pointing fingers, the fact that a super typhoon is coming, the worst-case scenario must have been foreseen by citizens and politicians alike. Since Filipinos are brainwashed by our own resiliency, we are also guilty relying on this. We are not cats who have seven lives, we are humans, planning and thinking ahead is our advantage when facing natural calamities. We cannot always start from scratch and begin again because we can always prepare.

Conversely, the government enactment plays a huge counterpart. A lot of citizens blame their Local Government Units (LGUs) for negligence. Cagayan flood surprised the entire nation as homes were submerged in water and thousand of families are affected. Even the event was said to be unexpected since it was the worst in 40 years, response should come fast enough because there are funds allotted for disasters.

But according to Commission of Audit (COA), there is an underspending as the province does not have the equipments required under minimum standards for disaster preparedness. In the end, Duterte defended LGUs and said they have responded well and there are orders given. If Yolanda’s negligence was to the Aquino’s administration, it was Rolly and Ullysses that caught Duterte’s incompetence. It was grave delinquency coming from our leaders that has been consistent, never the genuine care for the people.

Sure, we can concede to the fact that we are strong and flexible humans tested by time and trained by the Pacific Ring of Fire. But having these characteristics doesn’t mean we are immortals and demigods of the Pacific like Moana’s Maui, because in reality, we are citizens of a democratic republic that deserves merit and value from our leaders whom we entrusted tax payer’s money.

Resiliency should not be the means, it’s just an additional advantage of our citizens that must not be taken for granted. Grave negligence is the chain that needs to be cut to free ourselves from these rotten beliefs that we can surpass anything, it may be true, but the grim reaper can be the one waiting for us.

𝙒𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙣 𝙗𝙮 𝘿𝙚𝙣𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙂𝙤𝙙𝙚𝙯𝙖𝙣𝙤
𝙋𝙪𝙗𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙝𝙚𝙙 𝙙𝙖𝙩𝙚: 𝙅𝙪𝙣𝙚, 2020