Thursday, November 14, 2013

What? We haven't learned anything from previous disasters?

History is replete with stories of how governments fell after the countries they governed underwent a series of natural calamities. Wars are not the only events that lead to socio-political changes. In our history, we were able to expel the Spanish colonial forces in our country when our country was weakened by a series of natural disasters, particularly typhoons and earthquakes. Those scenes which we saw five days after Typhoon Haiyan or super typhoon Yolanda were actually a repeat of what had happened 150 years ago. 150 years ago, in Manila, a strong earthquake coupled by a very strong typhoon swept Luzon, particularly Manila and Rizal. Thousands died when a tsunami literally ate whole barangays and riverine communities destroyed by a very lethal earthquake. Bodies of victims lay on the streets, some of them rotting. Those who survived walked like zombies behind them a landscape of misery and death. Those gory scenes of bodies swept by a big tsunami and of a land literally transformed into a wasteland, were usual scenes of destruction and devastation in this country since time immemorial. You can say that the history of this country could be described as a story of endless cycles of boom and bust, of disasters and of stories of recovery and reconstruction, and so on. Government always give us the same reason year by year--they were caught by surprise. Whenever a typhoon strikes or an earthquake hits a particular part of this country, government, regardless of who rules, always give the same alibi--we were surprised, this event is overwhelming and we don't have enough resources and funds to help everyone. Why is it, that inspite of trillions of pesos collected from the people by this government, the people still get the raw end of the deal. Government is still unprepared. Relief efforts are still organized haphazardly and resources are still not enough. Not enough??? Where are those monies spent in disaster preparedness? Where are those monies we spent studying disasters and enacting laws to mitigate the effects of disasters? This president enjoys the discretion of billions of pesos as intelligence funds. Foreign countries have contributed their share. Private companies have pooled their resources together. Do not tell me that we still haven't learned anything from our previous experiences? This is just a sign that the civilian leadership has failed.