Nature exacts revenge | Inquirer Opinion

Nature exacts revenge

/ 12:31 AM December 28, 2011

It was bound to happen.  The elements were there: logging, whether legal or illegal, but certainly immoral; the apathy of local government officials (remember the Mindanao city mayor who waited for officials and employees from Metro Manila to clear the river and waterways clogged by debris and water hyacinths?); finger-pointing politicians; unconcerned citizens; and slum dwellers forced by poverty to live along esteros and riverbanks.

As of the  latest report, some 1,200 persons perished in the flashfloods of mud and water that hit the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. This calamity brings to mind the devastation that happened  in Ormoc City, Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte, and other parts of the country.

Some quarters, especially from the ranks of loggers and lumber manufacturers, would say that such occurrences are caused by nature. But they would not reach tragic proportions were it not for the denudation of forests. Needless to say, forest destruction causes soil erosion, landslides and flash floods.

Indeed, greed kills people. In the latest calamity, the number of casualties, including children and the elderly, was so mind-blowing that people with conscience could only gnash their teeth in anger and frustration. Certainly, Tropical Storm “Sendong” was not the only one to blame but more so the unscrupulous businessmen who make fast money at the expense of the people. I wonder how the crocodiles who destroyed forests and other richness of nature can sleep soundly or look at themselves in the mirror without shame and remorse.

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Sendong sent us this message: Don’t abuse and destroy nature. It exacts revenge.

But it is sad to note that the victims are the innocent and not the culprits.

We find solace in the thought that amid this tragedy, the much vaunted spirit of bayanihan of the Filipinos has surfaced once again. Here in Southern California, many Filipinos, who are either immigrants or citizens of America, banded together and  organized teams to  raise funds and collect items for the typhoon victims. And it is very inspiring to learn that public school teachers in the Philippines, despite their meager salaries, raised money for the schoolchildren whose parents perished in the storm. They even cancelled their Christmas get-together so that the money they collected for the purpose could be given to the victims of the tragedy.

This show of concern and kindness provides a sharp contrast to the greed of unscrupulous businessmen.  Orkidyas sa mga guro!

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—EUSEBIO S. SAN DIEGO,

founder, Kaguro and former president,

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Quezon City Public School Teachers Association

[email protected]

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TAGS: disasters, environment, Floods, letters, logging, politics, sending

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