Fetalvero: With hands open

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By Noemi C. Fetalvero

Two empty bottles

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

THE surplus of food supplies that you will find in several homes of victims of super typhoon Yolanda is a testimony of how people around the world responded to those in dire need of assistance.

I hope Filipinos will forever be grateful and will always remember the generosity of the donors, especially from our allied countries. At the forefront of this assistance, the Americans who came with manpower and relief goods.

In the streets of Bantayan Island one can’t help but wonder what some Filipinos were thinking as they sat around with their drinking buddies while the foreigners swept the streets strewn with debris from fallen trees and construction materials ravaged by the typhoon. However, this scenario changed dramatically when the program of the government “work for food” got implemented. In the final analysis, will Filipinos make an effort when compensated? We should be ashamed of ourselves among foreign volunteers.

There are more questions now to ask. Why do some local government officials have to resort to the voters list prior to the distribution of relief goods? Is it their intention to give relief only to those who voted in the last barangay elections?

There should be no distinction—rich or poor, voter or not, kapartido or not. A victim is a victim who needs to eat, drink and continue to survive.

Yes, the assistance was overwhelming at times but complacency can be a dangerous trait if it continues because it could lead to relying too much on others. Since there are so much food supplies, there are reports that tricycle drivers and those who earn a living by pedaling trisikads decided to temporarily take a leave. It is okay to avail ourselves of some respite from hard work but this should be tempered with discipline and diligence.

Global warming is a reality and climate change is imminent. We cannot afford to be complacent and to rely fully on what the government can do for us. We cannot continue to live at the danger zones. Dredging of river beds have to be undertaken.

Construction of dikes should be a priority. We should not allow residents of our seafronts to do offshore construction.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 05, 2013.


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