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Corrupt officials cause disasters

/ 11:20 PM September 13, 2013

Netizens are asking the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration to name typhoons after corrupt politicians.

I fully understand the anger provoked by the acts of injustice, corrupt practices and lies plaguing Philippine society. But naming typhoons after corrupt politicians?

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Typhoons are innate characters of the natural world.

When they strike, they may cause traumatic experiences especially for those who are severely affected by their onslaught. But every typhoon affects communities, people and the environment only because they have become vulnerable. Let us at least give respect to the typhoons, after all they are not the creation of the rotting structural system.

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People’s vulnerabilities most often result from bad government, unequal distribution of resources, lack of people’s access to and control of the resources rightly belonging to them. It angers us so much that while lawmakers with their “gangmates” in the robbery of people’s money are wallowing in luxury even in times of calamities, the poor are suffering and struggling to just survive by the minute from day to day.

Our country has been visited by disaster after disaster. From all these, we have learned that a disaster is not about typhoons and natural forces. Disasters happen because people have become vulnerable when natural forces or a man-made aggression strikes.

And more often it is the underclass, those who have been neglected and robbed of basic and social services, who are exposed to a multiple layer of vulnerabilities. While it is true that both the rich and the poor were affected by the recent typhoons that struck our country, even more tragic is that the poorest among them were the worst hit.

Insult is added to injury, when the poor are blamed for the garbage clogging the canals, or for building houses along esteros and creeks, and for having many children.

Yet, we are witnesses to the gift of community—in the face of vulnerabilities, people rise and rebuild their dignity. They still manage to live an honest life. They line up in the relief centers with discipline, unlike the lawmakers who would do everything possible, even using vile schemes, to dip into public coffers. Corrupt officials and their cohorts or collaborators,  especially those involved in hijacking people’s money, not the typhoons, cause the disasters that wreak havoc on people’s vulnerabilities and woes.

It may be better to name waste dumps or the most polluted esteros  after them, for these have become a projection of the filth and dirt that clog drainage systems, and subsequently cause the flooding of urban and rural communities. Or a better amendment  to the proposal  of  the creative netizens is if we could just call world-class corrupt politicians or their accomplices “leptospirosis,” a disease that spreads during floods, especially  when typhoon strikes. The point would be more easily understood if the “naming-after” would be associated with rats, trash and waste.

—NORMA P. DOLLAGA,

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Kapatirang Simbahan Para sa Bayan

(Kasimbayan), [email protected]

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TAGS: Corrupt officials, corruption, letters to the editor, netizens, opinion, pagasa, typhoons
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