Imprudent statement-A A +A
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
LET us consider ourselves sufficiently warned that when the rains fall in torrents for extended periods, flooding is inevitable and a disaster not far behind. Whether by sheer luck or through divine intervention, we haven’t had experienced the same amount of rainfall that poured into Metro Manila and nearby provinces during the last few days but it is delusional, if not suicidal, to think that what happened there cannot happen here.
How prepared are we for such an eventuality? Obviously, we can’t stop the natural process of the clouds emptying themselves unto the earth. And given the shamefully little attention our officials pay to the need for a decent flood control system, it certainly won’t take long for the waters to rise to terrifying levels once nature picks our spot to dump the rains in the aberrant manner that it has frequently done of late.
How fast and how effectively can our government respond in that event? How long will the city’s dwellers have to shiver in the cold on their rooftops before help arrives? Do we even have a blueprint for a disaster preparedness program?
The volume of rainfall that inundated Metro Manila this week was more than what tropical storm Ondoy brought along in 2009. The death count this time is, however, much lower than Ondoy’s 464. President Aquino said that the government was better prepared to deal with crisis this time.
Apparently, the government learned its lessons from Ondoy. Metro Manilans paid a stiff price three years ago but at least they were able to benefit from their painful experience in terms of a more efficient government response when the dreaded rains came back this week.
It is said that those who do not learn from the experience of others are bound to learn it the hard way. I hope that it will not require us to go through our own Ondoy for our local government officials to declare that they are prepared to deal with it and its kind. That would be unmitigated disaster.
What, God flooded Metro Manila and its neighbors because He is angry that the House of Representatives agreed to terminate the debate on the Responsible Parenthood bill? What impertinence! What heresy!
I am willing to assume that God is displeased but why punish the ordinary people? They were not the ones who made the vote last Monday; the congressmen did. God might as well have ordered lightning to strike the Batasan building that night if that (punishment) were his point.
Surely, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay and her kind are not saying that God has the mind and tendency of a jeepney driver. You know what the jeepney driver does when the oil companies raise gas prices. He goes on strike, punishing not the oil companies but the ordinary man.
I am really disappointed with Magsaysay, whom I intended to vote for senator for the same reason that I voted for Miriam Santiago. If she had been any other person, her statement (“Heaven must be crying… we have to undo what has been done”) would have been easier to understand. But she’s a congresswoman. And she even plans to be a senator.
How could she be so insensitive to the plight of those affected by the flood in suggesting that God was punishing them? And for something that they did not do?
Politicians are not exactly famous for avoiding imprudent statements especially if these would land them in the news but Magsaysay’s comments are particularly incautious and unadvised. She should apologize to the flood victims. In case she has forgotten, those whom the gods wish to destroy, they make reckless and proud first.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 09, 2012.