Looting expected but not typical of Filipinos | Inquirer Opinion

Looting expected but not typical of Filipinos

/ 08:25 PM November 26, 2013

Among the horrific images of the devastation caused by Supertyphoon “Yolanda,”  the most awful and dismaying were those of the looting taking place at Gaisano Mall. And yet, it was not typical of Filipinos, it was rather an aberration. And I say this with authority: Our family has been here in the Philippines since February 2008. Ninety-nine percent of the people we have had the pleasure to meet have been honest, some scrupulously so.

This sort of behavior was also seen in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane “Katrina,” and this is what could be expected when people are desperate for food and water after days of waiting and there’s no relief in sight. I’m only surprised that this wasn’t more widespread.


But I also need to share something that happened to me recently. I went by scooter to Gaisano Mall here in Cagayan de Oro City to do some shopping. Coming back I noticed the key to the ignition was missing; neither was it hanging on the seat lock, as has happened sometimes. It occurred to me that if a thief had wanted to steal that decrepit old motor, he could easily have done so with the key left dangling. So I must have either misplaced it, or some honest person had taken it to security for lost-and-found items.

I did ask one guard but he couldn’t help me; but he must have asked others because within five minutes another guard walked up to me with the key hanging around his neck. I was overjoyed, and texted my wife not to come over with the spare key. I wanted to give the guard a small cash reward but he refused. I asked him his name, but I don’t want to embarrass him. Suffice it to say that he, Zabillo Jr., made it a most memorable day for me.


He noticed the key dangling from the seat lock. He took it so it would be safe until he could return it to its proper owner. The man was scrupulously honest and just wanted to make sure that the key did not fall into the wrong hands. Gaisano is fortunate to have such a man working for the store!

Salamat sa Diyos that there are honest men of such caliber in this land; disasters would never make him any less honest, but only more so.


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TAGS: Cagayan de Oro City, Gaisano Mall, Hurricane “Katrina”, New Orleans, supertyphoon ‘yolanda’, Yolanda aid
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