On tragedies-A A +A
Spark of Law
Thursday, October 17, 2013
WE just received doses of man-made tragedies. The smoke of mayhem in Zamboanga has just settled. The tragedy of human virtue or the lack of it, in pork barrel scam investigation is still ongoing, no thanks to Janet Lim-Napoles.
Even before we get rid of the man-made tragedies, nature showed her might. No, I am not referring to typhoons that are almost a monthly fare, if not weekly. The regularity of the typhoons sadly has led us to treat them as something normal, although loss of lives will never be routine for us.
On October 15, 2013, the earthquake that registered 7.2 in the Richter scale hit hardest the areas of Bohol and Cebu. Already, more than one hundred are accounted dead, and many more injured. Poorly-built structures have been damaged. Dreams that bound even a shanty have been shattered.
We have experienced tragedies in the past which are far more devastating than the latest earthquake. The lives lost in the recent earthquake are less than the lives lost when typhoon Sendong swept across Cagayan de Oro City on mid-December of 2011.
But the number of deaths does not make a natural disaster more or less tragic. Death has always the effect of ripping our hearts apart. We will never get immune to tragedies and loss of lives. A part of the human spirit is taken away every time one dies in a disaster. Death in a disaster is loss of a life in un-appointed time which makes it more heart wrenching.
The Bohol quake though has not only taken lives and properties; it too destroyed the old churches in Bohol, and even the famous Sto. Niño church in Cebu city. The quake is now elevated from the purely human dimension to a religious one.
The vices of men have angered God. The seven horsemen in the apocalypse are now in the saddles to cleanse the earth from the impure. Surely, the apocalyptic tales now take the rounds in sari-sari stores, barber shops, or in waiting sheds.
But what is more disheartening about the destruction of the old churches in Bohol is the fact that, indeed, these are old edifices, monuments that will remind the living that our ancestors were great men, masons of structures and of faiths.
On a more practical note, the old churches have been tourism gems. The old Loboc church has not only attracted the truly religious but the curious souls as well. The famous Sto. Niño in Cebu City has been visited by millions of pilgrims from different countries. Pilgrims may have varying motivations but the sure bottom line is the income generated in the process.
Tourism has been so robust because of the old churches.
While we can rebuild easily the roads and bridges network that have been damaged by the quake, the same cannot be said of the old churches. The folklores around these churches, and the ingenuity of our ancestors have a created a mystic that is truly Filipino. The lore cannot easily be scripted.
Alas, we cannot and will never succeed warding off natural disasters. Typhoons and earthquakes will until eternity take our lives, now and in the future. Our beautiful tropical climate is a source of envy, but it too, is a source of our woes. Typhoon monsoon is our climate reality; earthquake is our price for a sunny but balmy weather atop the pacific rim of fire.
This is not to say that we have to succumb to natural disasters and offer innocent lives to the altar of gods. God allowed Christ to lay down His life so save us from damnation. One Christ though is enough. God does not intend us all to be swept away by typhoons or sucked into the abyss of an earthquake.
Natural disasters cannot be stopped. What we can do is to cushion the effects of these disasters. We can plant trees to avoid flash-floods during typhoons. We can identify fault lines so that buildings will be built somewhere.
There is not much we can do when nature unleashes its fury. But we can do something before and after it occurs. Loss of lives and properties would then be mitigated.
This is not true though with man-made disasters. This disaster can altogether be prevented. Simply jail the likes of Nur Misuari and Janet Lim-Napoles, and their kind, and we shall be freed of this human tragedy.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 18, 2013.