The weekend of September 26, 2009 saw the Philippines experience one of the deadliest typhoons (typhoon “Ondoy”) to ever hit the country. It was not, at first, as dramatic as many typhoons past because the winds were not gusty enough to bring down trees and other structures as we’ve seen previous; but the volume of rain that poured over the country proved to be the “killer.” Most of Metro Manila experienced the worst flooding in recent memory. Landslides in Pampanga and Bulacan buried houses situated at their paths. More than three hundred people perished and hundreds of thousands saw their homes and belongings destroyed by the floods.
The following week, it was the turn of Northern Luzon – a double whammy from “Ondoy” that lingered on longer than was bearable; then, followed by another typhoon, “Pepeng,” that put the last nail in the coffin, literally, in the cases of hundreds of people. Extensive floods the likes not seen before covered most of central and northern Luzon starting from parts of Pampanga, Tarlac, and all the way up to Ilocos Norte. (Damn! Damn! Damn!) In Benguet, landslides buried houses leaving hundreds dead. Damage to property and crops climbed into the billions of Pesos. Somebody lamented that, indeed, the Philippines was doubly plagued: 1) too much rain in the Philippines; and 2) two mutts reign in the Philippines. (Mrs. and Mr.)
The total rain from “Ondoy” that contributed to the Metro Manila deluge fell in only one day; the rubbish that we’ve been dumping on the rivers and streets of Metro Manila has been on-going for decades. “God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Malacanang Palace opened its’ doors to some of the victims of typhoon “Ondoy” and allowed them to sleep over until they could be relocated or their houses re-built. They were given food and clothing as well as blankets and pillows to make their stay more comfortable. But suggestions that they be given some of the shoes of Imelda stored at the Palace’s museum was rejected. They can experience living in the Palace but to experience being “in Imelda’s shoes” is a bit asking too much. There can only be one “Madame Imeldific.”
Lessons to be learned from typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng:” 1) climate change is a real problem that affects all of us and is critical in the short and long run, as we’ve just witnessed; 2) clogging our rivers and canals with waste products that aggravate flooding is our own doing and NOT an act of God; 3) denuding our forests (attention: wooden hearts) causes mud-slides that causes death as we’ve experienced once again…and again…and again; 4) we must learn how to listen more closely to early warnings – weather forecasts (more Doppler Radars needed); and, 5) our government needs to enforce the evacuation of people living in “vulnerable” areas (some areas should not be inhabited at all at anytime!) BEFORE a calamity strikes and not only after the fact; it must also equip itself with appropriate gear, provisions, and tools in dealing with such disasters more effectively.
The prime minister of Taiwan, Liu Chao-shiuan, resigned last September 28, 2009 after widespread criticism of his government’s response to a deadly typhoon that hit a month before, August, and left at least 700 people dead or missing after three days of heavy rain. He said that his successor would immediately replace the entire cabinet. Here in the Philippines, in the aftermath of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng,” Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and DILG Secretary Ronnie Puno are likewise ready to resign their posts…uh, to run for President and Vice President, respectively.
One for the legal minds: Senator Jinggoy Estrada accused Senator Ping Lacson of illegally wire-tapping phone conversations between him and a “jueteng lord” and a former Cabinet member… that, according to Senator Estrada, never took place?! Is it illegal to tap a private phone conversation…that never took place?
Noynoy COJUANGCO (Hacienda Luisita) Aquino and Mar ARANETA (Araneta Coliseum/Cubao) Roxas are passing the “can” around asking the “man on the street” to donate one peso (Piso-Piso) to their campaign – what’s wrong with that picture?
The legal “illegal” and official “unofficial” campaign period has begun and the reason Senator Noynoy Aquino has been catapulted to the top of the surveys in the race for the Presidency is attributed to his perceived honesty. Other candidates would be well advised to heed the call of the electorate for HONESTY in government. So, in the coming elections, expect the politicians to be campaigning knowing that the trait voters will be looking for in a candidate, primarily, will be HONESTY… and whoever candidate can fake that best has got it made! (Good grief.)
Senator Noynoy Aquino has appointed his sister, Kris, as Official Spokesperson for….whoever wants her. Now Na!!
TOP TEN WORDS AND PHRASES POLITICIANS MOST OFTEN USE DURING ELECTIONS: 10) if I win, my door will be open to all of you…(if you can get passed through my bodyguard-goons); 9) provide jobs; 8) eliminate graft and corruption; 7) …your public servant; 6) you can count ……on me; 5) because we owe it to our children…; 4) I promise…; 3) education; 2) we need leaders (like me)…; and number 1) [Drum-roll please] God….
Water or no water in the moon, just be glad there was no one there with the mind to retaliate and fire back at us a “moon made” rocket; you can never tell with those, uh, “lunatics.”