Sunday, September 27, 2009

toledo st., vista verde, cainta

please include in your prayers our relatives located in toledo street, vista verde, cainta. sila tita babes and my two cousins patrick and jaycee (also known as kamoteforce).

bungalow lang ang bahay nila and obviously, bubong na lang ng bahay ang natira. buti na lang, nakalipat sila sa kapitbahay na may second floor. pero ang problema, nandoon pa rin sila ngayon at hanggang leeg or dibdib pa rin daw ang tubig sa kalsada. walang kuryente, telephone connection at wala nang battery ang mga cellphones nila kaya't hindi na namin sila macontact. nagwo-worry kami dahil baka kinapos na sila ng pagkain at tubig doon. marami rin kasi yata silang nakituloy sa second floor ng kapitbahay. baka may mga bata din o kaya'y sanggol na mas kailangan ng atensyon.

naghihintay ako sa daddy ng balita tungkol sa kanila. i hope and pray that they are safe.

* * *

(a note that came from Mr. Ramil Digal Gulle that shares most of my sentiments. i couldn't agree more.)

"...Our families are not prepared for climate change. Typhoon Ondoy was true to its name, which means “little boy”—it wasn’t a supertyphoon. And yet, we all failed in so many fronts.

In our own home, we don’t have an emergency kit. The flashlight is no longer where I always put it. Furthermore, I’m not aware of any evacuation plan in our community. Who do we call? Where do we evacuate when waters start rising? I have no idea. It’s the sort of ignorance that kills.

One friend of mine lost her possessions in the floods. Her husband and kids are safe. She had the quick and sensible thinking to have her family evacuate shortly after the water began seeping into their house and after the power was cut off. They left everything and booked themselves in a hotel. “I lost everything,” she told me over her mobile phone. I told her that the most important things in her life were saved.

Our government—both the national government and the LGUs--is not prepared for climate change. If people are safe now—relatively, for some, because it’s again starting to rain and many are still trapped on rooftops, awaiting rescue—it’s because of prayer. So many people were—are still—praying. It seems the prayers were heard because we all got a respite from the rain.

Filipinos have a saying, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa” (God dispenses mercy but man has to do the work). God has already dispensed his mercy. Will we do our part?

There’s no excuse for the lack of rubber boats, for example. We have floods every year. But every year, we are unprepared. The two rubber boats that began rescuing people in Marikina were a relief to know about, but why only two?

Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Dick Gordon tried to transport several more rubber boats but these had to come all the way from Olongapo. And with the traffic jams at the expressways, they could not get to Metro Manila in time.

The headquarters of the National Disaster Coordinating Council and the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are both in Quezon City. And yet, for nearly 12 hours, Quezon City residents trapped in floods could not be rescued. The AFP, if I remember correctly, usually has the biggest slice of the national budget every year. But where were the choppers? Where were the rubber boats? Clearly something is very wrong.

Then we recall how General Carlos Garcia, former AFP comptroller, was caught (by US authorities, not by Philippine authorities) trying to bring in millions of pesos in cash to the US. It does not inspire faith in the military leadership.

We also recall a lot of things that are disquieting: government resources being used to secure a questionable telecoms deal with a Chinese firm; millions of pesos spent on Presidential dinners abroad; millions of pesos in campaign contributions unaccounted for; millions of pesos spent on a California mansion; billions of pesos spent on foreign trips; and a cancelled plan to buy a new Presidential jet.

How do you explain all that to kids trapped on their rooftop for nearly 24 hours—soaking wet, hungry, crying for their mothers and going insane with fear?

How do you explain the fact that the government can spend millions upon millions on so many other projects, but could only produce two rubber boats to rescue scores of residents trapped in a flooded Marikina village? How do you explain the President’s lobster and steak dinners to Rizal residents neck-deep in muddy floodwaters?

Every year, we get floods and typhoons. Every year, we give money to the AFP and the NDCC. And all that the Marikina residents get are two rubber boats?

And wasn’t Marikina always being trumpeted as some sort of “First World City in a Third World Country”? Clean and green Marikina. Disciplined Marikina, a jewel of law and order in the chaos of the Mega Manila.

The Marikina River floods every year. Every year. But when it really mattered, the City Government of Marikina did not have enough emergency equipment, did not have enough rubber boats. Or if it did, it did not have the capacity to deploy these resources in time. It seemed to have no plan for the evacuation of residents at Provident Village before floodwaters could reach it.

And former Marikina mayor Bayani Fernando wants to run the rest of the country the way he did Marikina—or at least, that’s the impression we get. We could be wrong.

To be fair, none of us expected something like Typhoon Ondoy. But the lack of rubber boats, the seeming lack of coordinated response, the empty promises made over the media—these are simply not acceptable. These do not inspire our confidence in government once the next super typhoon hits.

I mentioned Marikina only as an example. I’m not blaming Fernando or his wife (the present Marikina mayor). I’m just stating how things appear. The real story about the slow rescue, etc. might unfold in the next few days.

[Kris Aquino was talking on TV about Marikina rescue efforts. She said that according to one Marikina resident, there were rubber boats deployed by the Marikina government--but the river's currents were so strong that the rubber boats got overturned. It was also pointed out that Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando did everything she could but "nature's wrath" was just too powerful. In the interest of fairness I should point this out.]

What happened to Marikina can happen anywhere. The local governments of Bulacan, Pasig and Rizal fared no better. Are our local governments prepared for climate change? Are they prepared for typhoons like Ondoy, or much stronger ones? Your guess is as good as mine.

What would have happened if Ondoy didn’t leave the country in the hours following the massive flooding? What if it was a super typhoon that decided to stay for a few days?

The answer is so obvious that we’re scared to state it: Death and Chaos. So many people, so many children will die. Our loved ones will die. We will die.

The next few days, weeks and months will tell us whether the government cares to prevent this, or whether it wants to use climate change as a kind of population control.

The government’s priorities have been clear in the way it spends its money and allocates its resources. For example, the AFP budget keeps growing. But what about the budget for the national weather agency PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration)? There were reports a few years back that the budget was actually slashed.

During a report on GMA-7 news last night, PAGASA OIC Nathaniel Cruz said that there was a piece of equipment that could help the agency estimate a typhoon’s potential amount of rainfall (very useful in the case of Ondoy, which poured a month’s worth of rainfall in about five hours)—a Doppler radar. Does PAGASA have this equipment?

No. The national weather agency, the only one that could warn us if we should evacuate because a typhoon will bring a deluge, does not have a Doppler radar. But it’s on its way, clarifies Cruz.

PAGASA, in Filipino, also means “Hope”. Based on how the government seems to prioritize PAGASA, the weather agency, do we have reason to hope?

It was drummed into my head a long time ago that when we use the term “government” in a democracy, we should really refer to ourselves. After all, in a democracy, governance must be by, of and for the people.

So it’s either we’re not really a democracy (because we always stand back and just let a bunch of evil yoyos run things for us) or we’re all just not getting this governance thing right. We’re not governing things the way we should.

It’s raining again. I hope we get our acts together soon."


gillboard said...


bloom said...

kuya, pa-grab! :)

Traveliztera said...

Though I do not want to dwell onto politics (and we all have different roles which we should play), they also have the huge responsibility when it comes to reacting to possible events. While watching the tv news last saturday, i was disappointed with our own resources for rescuing. prioritization for the spending of our money was not done well. it sucks actually. though we can do nothing about the result of our own doings here on earth (which we can still change to not make the future situations worse), the defenses we have for such events are of lack. =( we can start preparing on our own but as a whole, i do hope the government can make proper prioritization and usage of the money they are getting from us (though imposibleng mawala ang corruption, sana may natitira namang enough para sa bansa).

aus.nagblog daw ba

your family and friends are in my prayers

p0kw4ng said...

prayers para sa lahat ng biktima!

napapanood ko nga lang sa tv eh talagang nakakadurog na ng di lalo na kung ako na talaga ang nasa situation...

a.r.d.y.e.y. said...

ang pagiging government official or pagiging leader ay parang katulad din ng pagiging padre de pamilya sa isang bahay. kapag ikaw ang nasa kapangyarihan, its your duty to foresee that when calamities like these will happen, meron kang matibay na rescue plan. safety of your household first.

taon-taon naman meron tayong ganitong sakuna sa pilipinas. kaya nakakasulasok isipin na wala pa rin tayong enough na mga kagamitan para pang-rescue sa mga nangangailangan (kung meron man). parang mas nauna pa ngang lumipad ang mga helicopters ng mga tv stations kaysa sa air force. parang kanya kanyang rescue ang nangyari, parang walang higher bodies na siyang dapat unang sasaklolo sa ganitong pagkakataon.

ok lang sana kung wala naman tayong tax na binabayaran, we can't expect them to be there. ang kaso lang, maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw kung saan nila dinadala ang pera.

Anonymous said...

sana nasa maayos n kalagayan na ang mga kaanak mo pare.

Jerick (the former Curbside Puppet) said...

may relatives din ako sa vista verde. okay na rin sila ngayon. i know magiging okay very soon ang relatives mo. importante buhay kayo lahat.

a.r.d.y.e.y. said...

yup okay na sila ngayon. although ubos ang gamit talaga. tama, mas importante ang buhay.