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We expect local government officials to warn their constituents—as they should —about the disastrous consequences to our cities, towns and communities should a major earthquake like the one that struck Bohol or a supertyphoon like “Yolanda” hit them.
The litany of tragedies is by now a familiar one, but the calamities both natural and man-made which marred the year 2013 demand yet another, closer look; they bear critical lessons that may shape, or disfigure, the next several years.
We are confronted by three calamities: typhoons, earthquakes and the Philippine government. We are run by a government of political dynasties established by superrich families who seem not to know the real problems of this country. We are now a country earning P135 billion a year from our oil and gas fields, with enormous revenues [...]
By Rina Jimenez-David
This is the time of year when, while the post-Christmas glow has yet to fade, and the manic welcoming of the coming New Year slowly builds up, we are given a respite from celebrating. In the Filipino style, this includes moments of rest from overindulging in food, shopping, merrymaking, list-completing, spending and menu planning.
By Romeo D. Bohol
I hope Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson does not take his designation literally. God knows it’s not just rehabilitation that Eastern Visayas needs.
If our government has good and better plans for our country in the coming year, we can surmise that its enemies have also their plans, except that they are much different because they are the exact opposite.
By Randy David
Of the first images of the devastating power that Supertyphoon “Yolanda” bore as it barreled through the Visayan islands, what struck me most was the grainy footage of the frenzied swaying of chandeliers in an old cathedral in Leyte whose roof was torn piece by piece by the howling wind. Throughout the day, television stations had seemed hard-pressed to show scenes of massive destruction that somehow would match the worldwide attention Yolanda had garnered even before it made landfall.
By Cielito F. Habito
With the series of calamities that hit us lately, both man-made (the Zamboanga City violence) and natural (the Bohol earthquake), I’ve been asked what impact these would have on our economy. The question is usually posed in terms of impact on gross domestic product (GDP), especially in the context of the stellar economic growth we have been experiencing this year so far. I see the question as misplaced because GDP is hardly the right measure to assess the cost of disasters, even if one defines “cost” in its purely economic dimension—and we all know that costs go well beyond economic. To be sure, the economic costs would be substantial. Infrastructure damage inflicted by the Bohol earthquake will run into hundreds of millions (possibly billions) of pesos, and damage to lives and property, while defying accurate measurement, is likely to be well over that. In Zamboanga City, damage to lives and property has no doubt been staggering, not counting the tremendous damage to the social fabric itself. Indeed, economic costs are a mere fraction of the total negative impact that such calamities pose on people’s well-being.
We’ve heard something like this before. Of hard rain never before experienced. Of flooding so severe it strains the memory to recall a precedent. Of the extent of devastation so wide it is both awesome and awful.
By Edilberto C. de Jesus
The year 2012 was a good year, government officials, academics, and business executives, both foreign and Filipino, agreed. Objective indicators sustained the consensus view.
By Randy David
The devastation caused in Mindanao by Typhoon “Pablo” is, for now, largely measured by the number of dead, injured and missing people. The number of recovered bodies has reached 714, says the NDRRMC. About 900 more are reported missing. Thousands of others suffer from wounds and various forms of injury, not to mention deep trauma, but only a few can be attended to in clinics and hospitals. The scale of the destruction is becoming clearer as the attention shifts to the staggering number of families who have lost their homes and their livelihood. The prospect of starvation and disease looms before them.
By Conrado de Quiros
Change subject, if only out of an instinct for survival.