Editorial: Listen and contemplate-A A +A
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
THE country has barely recovered from the aftermath of Zamboanga City standoff, the flood that hit it, Santi’s wrath and last week’s 7.2 magnitude that shook Bohol and Cebu badly. All these happened within a month.
Anxiety fills the people there as aftershocks keep rocking the two provinces from time to time.
The rehabilitation of these areas amounts to billions. Victims have been clamoring of poor assistance from the government. And always, the private entities like churches, nongovernment organizations, and this time people whose roots are from Bohol, and the Boholanos living in the other parts of the country and the globe have responded immediately.
Had the government been proactive, transparent and prudent in spending the people’s money, it could have easily mobilized logistics since money won’t be difficult as appropriation on calamities could have been in place and ready for distribution once disasters strike. However, corruption in the government has hindered it to act quickly because programs have not been prioritized, instead billions have been lost to corruption.
Perhaps, it is high time that the government heeds the messages that these calamitous whammies bring. A time for the government and everyone to decipher the messages these calamities bring.
We have been hit hard. A hitting whose impact we could have mitigated if only the government spent the billions siphoned to a few pockets to projects for climate change adaptation.
Our leaders must rethink on their values and priorities while we need to choose leaders who can represent and bring our voices loud and clear.
On October 28, the Filipinos are going to choose their barangay leaders. Choosing them isn’t difficult because everybody knows everyone in the barangay. The smaller circle gives one a better look at the kind of leaders a barangay should have. We can always start from the basic unit of our society to institute political changes.
If a barangay can show that collective action to fight corruption, then it can spiral toward becoming better barangays, cities, provinces, regions up to the central government.
Exercising true service from barangays to the national government would mean enforcing ordinances and the laws without favor such as prohibiting informal settlers to occupy danger zones, enforcing disaster risk reduction management programs, provision of basic health needs and other services to the electorates.
Take it from Cagayan de Oro’s experience, when the former mayor Vicente “Dongkoy” Emano relocated the informal settlers in an area identified by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as unfit for dwelling. He defied it and pushed through the relocation. The barangay leaders could have also stopped the mayor’s decision and insisted the imminent danger that awaits those who dare live in sitio Cala-cala. When Tropical Storm Sendong struck the city midnight of December 16, those who lived there were wiped out, mostly killed by the raging waters.
One does not have to be in a higher post to effect change. If everyone in the community listens to the messages behind these calamities, then we can help mitigate the impact of the acts of nature and the man-made could diminish as we consciously do our little share and for the government to do the big ones.
The time to listen and contemplate with the messages is now.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 23, 2013.