Gov’t can’t gloss over lessons from catastrophes
No sooner had the last tremor of the earthquakes in Mindanao subsided than another tragedy, this time a strong typhoon (“Tisoy”), devastated some parts of Luzon, particularly the Bicol Region.
More foreboding signs of disasters that can happen in some other parts of the country have been disclosed by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
Tragedies usually leave in their wake some messages or lessons that those in our government and communities can ill afford to ignore, let alone fail to do something about — if not to avert their occurrence, at least to reduce the extent of devastation in their wake.
Such incidents tend to stir humanity into an awakening. One has only to read the papers or watch TV to realize how peoples and governments here and abroad are moved to show their concern for their fellowmen in distress through rescue efforts, fundraising, doling out relief goods and condoling with the victims’ families.
But while it may be consoling to find that there are quite many who would help others (with or without media coverage) in times of misfortune, it would also be the height of apathy, if not stupidity, to do nothing to cushion the impact of, if not prevent, any forthcoming catastrophes. When will we as a nation ever learn from the painful lessons that tragedies bring to the fore?
Some other parts of our country have been identified as “calamity-prone” areas. Our mountains have been heavily deforested, their soil structure disturbed by indiscriminate logging, mining and quarrying. Our waste and garbage disposal problem has yet to be resolved. Such a situation will certainly not help prevent the onslaught of landslides, mudflows and floods that may result in further losses of lives and properties.
But, will our government care to stop logging and seriously pursue reforestation programs? Will the populace care to cooperate and help? Will our so-called leaders come up with more comprehensive drainage systems and effective contingency programs before environmental disaster happens? Or will our government rather continue giving priority to political posturing and a self-serving agenda than working for the common good?
MANUEL A. COLLAO
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