Passenger ships that have sunk caught by storm, or during normal weather. They have happened many and more often times in the Philippines. We have Maritime vessels [MV} Don Juan, Doña Paz, Princess of the Stars, Marilyn, Cebu City, and most recently, Super Ferry 9 – just to mention the sensational ones. They’re for the facts.
Economics is involved. Like, ship captain for whatever reason simply wants to do his job done and/or, shipping line think they can make it despite problem. Normal nature of business. In the world of business, more particularly in the world of transport, every second of delay or freeze translates to big loss of income [profit]. The accidents that we saw were only by those that gambled and lost and they do not include those that gambled and got away with it.
Some practices are not only self-destructive since they concern the safety of others. That’s one reason why there are supposed to be stringent regulations and/or implementations of them by the State. Politics is involved.
Anyway, as usual, we have public out roar every time calamity happened but, there, it happens again exactly as before. [If you have overthrow of State as your end, then sell it with them there if you think people will buy] They are all within opinions and beliefs.
Flash floods that killed tens, hundreds and thousands – they have become not unusual. The biggest of them caused around eight thousand people killed or missed in Ormoc city some years back. There is no end to them in sight because, as soon as things normalize, people will be creeping back into the gutters, river banks and spillways. The country has a high rate of poverty. Meaning, we have a mass that has no place to go. It’s them who are in the hills slashing and burning our forests. It’s also them providing cheap labor for illegal loggers. They are also in urban centers; many of them have ended up living in streets and gutters. The problem is not simple as telling everyone to get out of the gutters. Forcibly driving them away did not work. It only shifted the dispossessed somewhere else like place.
Relocation did not work and will not work under the situation. Poverty dictates. People sold their ‘rights’ in relocation sites and returned to the streets and gutters. Illegalizing such transfer of rights did not work. Soon administrators were facing, are or will be facing square one, exactly as before.
Titling of lands used to spare ten meters along both sides of rivers and major creeks free from titled properties. Land owners usually usurp control of such spaces. But more often, those spaces are settled by deprived people searching for a place of their own. They became public domains squatted. In fact, in Metro Manila there are creeks that can no longer be located. Some of them were discovered to have been titled. Squatting is not a monopoly of the poor.
Meantime disasters like those caused by Typhoon Ondoy, and Typhoon Pepeng coming close at its heel, strike.
Donations that pour appear awesome but the way the situations look they are far from adequate to fill the needs, for all the victims. There will always be not enough of aids, especially foods, out there. How long do you think one regular shopping bag of noodles, rice and a few canned goods will last one family? There are 4 million Filipinos devastated by Ondoy by flood – two and three storey-high in parts of Metro Manila [and not by the typhoon itself]. Well, there are legitimate organizations out there, folks, for those who would like to donate.
Pepeng that struck a little farther north, where it almost stayed stationary for three days, has yet to make a report. Initially, Pangasinan and the Cagayan valley are total wrecks. And the regions happen to comprise one major bread basket of the country which is already a traditional importer of grains, if that is not bad news enough.
No, there is no dearth of volunteers out there to ease the pains, all as usual. In fact there are more volunteers than needed in there. That’s the great Filipino spirit of heroism – the bayanihan culture, at work.
But is not everything ironic? Where were we when people were talking about averting disasters?
By the way, I’m reminded. This is appreciative of Ms Gina Lopez and company for all the efforts of cleaning Pasig River and Manila bay of floated and sunken garbage. The problem there starts with this person who wants his/her place clean. [It is universal of people to be clean.] She sweeps scattered litters, such as what children throw in streets, into a narrow gutter when nobody is looking or cared. Lucky for everybody, there is garbage collection once a week in the locality, so sacks full of them await city collection. But collections seem not adequate because the gutters are, actually, most of the time filled with garbage! Thanks goodness, rain has come. It flushed everything down into the creek. ! [I can only imagine her counterparts living beside the esteros.]
Creeks connect to Marikina River… that connects to Pasig River… and then into the Laguna de Bay [diversion spillway] or to Manila Bay, thus, welcome to the world.
Have you been dragged in court because of garbage? I was once. It started because of my contention that people have no right to pile garbage out in the street, [much more since they were visible from where I sat in my dining table]. It was a she, and her contention was that I had no right to object since her garbage was not placed inside my premises. Oh yeah? I shoveled them all back into her premise and that was it! We ended up in the Regional Trial Courts of Quezon City, no, not about garbage but for allegedly me calling her a thief and her daughter a slut! I wondered where she had got the ideas that seemed to be appropriate.
Ok, let’s talk about disastrous Flash floods. We Filipinos have a saying “What good is hay when the horse is dead?” It stemmed from the Filipino culture of caring none or less for the sick or the needy, but everybody is suddenly there to aid when that person is dead! Should not we be talking more about averting freak calamities? Or, maybe we should be doing that in the lull or in between calamities. A typhoon might be erratic but disasters by flash floods or by landslides due to it are no freak. They have become predictable with the state of our watersheds and because of the state of the nation – the state of the Filipino people. 😦
First thing in solving a problem is recognizing the problem and recognizing the root causes of it. Let’s talk about ending poverty – one of the root causes of them all. Let’s forget dole outs because they are palliatives [that don’t end poverty.] People need jobs. They need decent wages. Everything takes off from there. Nobody really wants to live in the gutters!
Let’s talk about repairing our forests. In fact forests are capable of taking care of themselves when and if humans are not in there. Forests can do things for themselves, in fact better, without the humans. In advanced and industrialized nations people are not in the forests burning and slashing. Because of opportunities in their cities they won’t even stay in farms if it is not for the huge subsidies of their governments…. Hey, people, I’m still talking…where’s everyone?