How to honor the victims

/ 10:33 PM November 13, 2013

As much as scenes from the recent typhoon move us to empathy, it should move the more fortunate among us to some sense of discomfort and perhaps urgency about what the future holds for all of us.

Our politicians, as active and as busy as they may be in the wake of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” might be silently grateful for the respite it has brought them. After all, it offers our trapo (traditional politicians) the opportunity to be the heroes of the moment once again, dispenser of relief and provider of comfort to the many victims of the calamity.


Only a few days ago, they would have been uncomfortably under scrutiny from an unrelentingly inquisitive public and media about their consumption of “bacon.” Today, there are photo ops galore.

The Filipino loves a hero. From Lapu-Lapu to Lito Lapid, from Ninoy to P-Noy, to bring us up to date.


But pause for a moment to consider: How many roofs would have been built by the house that Jinggoy Estrada allegedly “built” from the Corona trial proceeds? How many children and families could have been saved? But of course the senators slept soundly through Yolanda.

Matiisin ang Pilipino. As Randy David has said, we have “mastered the art of suffering.”

But why don’t we spread that art around a bit, and impose it on those who ought to feel it more? Maintain the rage. Do not forget Maguindanao. Do not forget those tearful parents who have lost their children. Bring home that responsibility to those who are accountable for our laws, our processes, our institutions, for the taxes we pay for services but instead go to the roofs of the corrupt. At the very least, take that whole notion of pork and put it back into real service delivery, not political patronage.

Remember the suffering and ask why those who are the least fortunate have suffered most—while the most culpable sleep soundly under their stately sturdy roofs.

Honor the memory of the suffering with change, and not just action.


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TAGS: Calamity, Disaster, letters to the editor, opinion, politicians, Yolanda
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