This August (or rather, August of every year), the Philippines has been hit by yet another powerful typhoon in which its floods can bring a portion of the country underwater. The name of this year’s flooding storm is called Typhoon Maring.1 And just like last year and the year before and the year before that and so on and so forth, the Philippines now try to seek aid from other countries for their own disaster reliefs. Nothing bad about that, however, if you have been noticing it (and for sure you should be noticing it by now), somehow this has become a lifetime habit already. This is where the problem lies.
Here in the U.S., there are cases of flooding frequently, if not once a year, due to the hurricanes and other storms that arrive and do their uncontrollable damage to our cities and towns. Take Hurricane Katrina, for example. We all knew what’s happened then. There were other powerful hurricanes and storms that attacked the U.S., but the responses to relief efforts have been efficient. I’m not referring to the government or the military flying down the disaster area to provide aid, but I’m talking about self-aid. In short, the city and those areas already have their own disaster relief system that can support themselves and then request for aid from the government and other neighboring areas when needed, even though the government and military would send these areas relief aid without any verbal request anyway because simply that’s just the right thing to do. Even though there were still damages and in occasion, casualties, these affected areas are able to recover quickly as they can and then work on how they can improve their disaster aid and readiness and teach others who care more about survival of their families and their fellow neighbors.
Sadly, the Philippines doesn’t have any of that. Most of the people there would complain mostly that the government does not respond immediately, they have to wait until the storm is over and if someone calls out to them for help, that’s one minor problem. Please, people, stop complaining and blame the government for not getting the health and safety aid that you request. In fact, you yourselves also contribute to the problem that only makes typhoon floods worse and worse every single year.
Here are the reasons why the common people themselves are primarily at fault regarding these natural disasters. For one thing, a lot of people there (mainly the squatters and the poor people there) have no discipline and respect whenever they move in to the cities in hopes for employment by dumping all their garbage here and there without any consideration of other people’s health and safety. Ever wonder why there are so many people there get sick so easily? My mom and I were discussing this issue and the statements I mentioned before were the exact issues Mom complained about. Every year we send $50 to a legitimate disaster relief fund over there (mainly Red Cross) considering that we have families who still live there and live in typhoon disaster zones. We had to be careful on choosing the right relief fund knowing there are bogus ones out there who pose as relief funds and yet they turn out to be scams that rip people off.
Anyway, here are what I think that the Philippines should do in preparation for the next typhoon disaster.
On the common people’s side
- Visitors to the city, especially in the Metro Manila area. Please, I beg of you, to get rid of the colonial times-old mindset of “if you come and work and raise your children in Metro Manila, you can become somebody.” Good lord, it doesn’t work that way. It’s better if you know someone who lives in that area and then help you settle down for your new life in the city instead of bumming around in the squatter slums area just relying on hopes and prayers while not doing some kind of action that would benefit yourself, your family, and even the city.
- Stop dumping all your garbage at random places. No matter how much you wish the Metro Manila Aide road sweepers clean as much of the streets as they can, at least contribute your own efforts by cleaning up your own trash and dump them at the appropriate places such as public trash cans. If the U.S. fines culprits who litter their garbage anywhere at random, the Philippines should do the same.2
- In the event of the disaster, if you really value your life and the lives of your family and friends, help others in need so there wouldn’t be any casualties instead of just chilling at your corner sari-sari store and act as if nothing happened or even “ride on” the heavily contaminated waters on boats and boxes like you’re just sailing on the ocean. I know a lot of you think that this is hilarious, but people dying of other causes aside from drowning in the floods isn’t something to laugh about.
- You can pray to God as much as you can but if that’s all you’re going to do, then I don’t think that God would simply just answer your prayers and have all things your way. After all, remember this wisdom saying: Do unto others as what they do unto you. If you help someone out, help will come to you.
- If you’re of the filthy rich and a complete survivor of the disaster, join a relief aid organization where they collect and pack the essentials such as clean water, food, clothes, and medicine to families in need. If you can’t do that, donate money for first aid and necessary supplies.
Meanwhile, the government should consider the following…
- Survey the environment: high lands, low lands, flat lands, etc. In that way, they can plan out by creating flood dams. Also, new laws regarding monitoring littering and “bumming around” on random places in the streets should be applied and enforced. My relatives living in the Philippines thought that the country’s laws are right and just. The major problem is that those laws are not being enforced properly simply because all they care about are themselves and their own personal fortunes.
- The government should have a committee that specializes in natural disaster relief programs. If there is one already existing, then what on earth are they doing?! If the people are the problem (which most likely are the problem), those people need to be removed and replace them with people who actually care.
- Hospitals should also have their own programs to nurse disaster victims back to health. If not, the government should also set up public clinics and hire more doctors and nurses. Ever wonder why we have so many Filipino doctors and nurses working here in the U.S. and Canada instead of over there in the Philipines? It’s because the Philippines don’t give them a chance to work in their own healthcare system. These candidates have to rely and find “connections” (networking) just to get their way in.3
- Relief aid organizations should continue on raising money through legal means (ie. donations, etc.) to prepare for the next natural disaster.
Although the items mentioned before are pretty much common sense, to me, it would take a miracle for the people, both the common people and the government, to actually wake up and put the items mentioned above in to action. You heard me– a miracle!
On the sidenote...
- To the world, it’s Typhoon Trami. [↩]
- Sadly, even majority of the Filipino law enforcement, the police, are as corrupt as many of the government officials active today. [↩]
- And I’m not just talking about “connections” via professions either… I’m talking about a different kind of connection— personal, intimate connections… [↩]