How to outlive disasters

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I read with a heavy heart the news report titled “Water rose so suddenly” (Inquirer, 12/6/12).

It has become a “habit” of Filipinos, in the wake of every national disaster, to unite and pool their resources to help the victims. Private entities even volunteer to give donations, thinking that the government needs to be assisted in fulfilling its duty to look after the victims.

There is no denying, disasters nowadays are monstrously fatal. Typhoons nowadays are extremely devastating, wreaking havoc upon human lives and property. I think it is no longer enough just to warn our people of looming disasters. It is no longer safe just to keep them in evacuation centers and supply their needs until it is safe for them to return to their respective homes. These are palliative solutions and what are needed are long-term solutions—the kind that should be part of our way of life. After all, we cannot do away with disasters; we just have to outlive them. Here are my humble suggestions:

1. Local disaster councils should help schools, offices and other institutions prepare their respective disaster preparedness and rehabilitation plans, which must be in harmony with those of the local government units they belong to. Families should be ready with their own survival kits and their members should be kept abreast with the disaster preparedness and rehabilitation plans of their barangays.

2. A certain month of the year should be declared Disaster Awareness Month. During this month, emphasis should be given on educating (empowering) every family on how to cope with disasters.

3. Lawmakers should allocate a portion of their Priority Development Assistance Fund to bankroll the disaster preparedness programs and activities of their legislative districts, on top of the calamity fund of the local government units.

4. Trees are important as they provide homes for animals, prevent erosion and release oxygen. My son told me that in his school, students are required to keep and care for plants placed in pots in their homes, and show pictures of these plants to their teachers.  Why don’t we follow suit? There should be a law requiring, for instance, bus, jeepney and taxi drivers, would-be couples and others to plant seedlings before they are issued their driver’s license or marriage license.

I am sure the government is trying its best to make its presence felt during disasters. I am confident that it will heed unsolicited suggestions such as this.

—REGINALD B. TAMAYO,

assistant city council secretary,

Marikina City

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