Monday , June 18, 2018

Editorial: Knowledge is power

THE amount of attention we are giving to social media in our lives exposes us more and more for the non-reading population that we have; our penchant to push our questions even before listening or on this instance, reading. You'd see it everywhere in your friends posts. Post a photo of a flood describing where and what time, and the first comment will be: Where is that?

Much like the post of the Davao City Government on the landslide warning along the Diversion Road last week. The post had all the details needed. What is the warning about. Why people should be very watchful. Where the cracks on the earth are. There was even a map, and photos of the cracks on the earth in the area. Guess what the two first questions asked in the comments asked: Where is that? What is it?

The City Government of Davao was very explicit about the warning.

Here is how it appeared on the City Government of Davao Facebook page:

Urgent warning: Davao City warns the public about an imminent danger of landslide in the vicinity of Shrine Hills and Diversion Road in Barangay Langub — fronting the old dump site. Particularly being warned are the people residing within and close to the area, which has been identified as a highly dangerous zone. Once a landslide occurs, the highway could also be affected and this might pose danger to motorists. Emmanuel Jaldon, head of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center of Davao, noted ground cracks on the upper portion of the hill, which indicated movements.

Here are the initial actions taken:

1. Informed City Engineer’s Office and the DPWH of the situation and recommended immediate installation of early warning signages along the highway for motorists and for people living within the danger zones.

2. Advised property owner of a surplus vehicles shop to immediately stop the excavation of slope walls as these activities could trigger landslides.

3. Issuance of warning notices to people living in danger zones.

4. Request CEO to issue ‘No Habitation Notice’ to a religious group that is constructing a building on top of the hill. This warning is accompanied by a poster of a landslide warning, a map of the location, and eight photos of the earth cracks apparently taken by the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center of Davao.

We may find this funny that despite clear messages, many do not read at all. But when we look at what it is telling us, then we know we are in deep trouble.

It is not always that there will be someone who will address their question as the warnings and messages are sent out to over a million residents, people should not expect somebody from government to address them individually. That is the very reason such announcements are posted on social media and other forms of media: To ensure that the message is sent out to the broadest possible audience.

But what do people do? They do not read. They want to be told individually.

This is a resounding clarion call on all our efforts to be ready for whatever disaster may befall our communities. Warnings and announcements are sent out to the greatest possible audience in the shortest possible time. Expecting to be attended to individually is stretching our disaster preparedness workers way beyond their human capacities. Read. Take heed. Listen. And let all these information make you prepared for anything.