Changing landscape of Mindanao-A A +A
Bahin Ning Bubay
Friday, January 4, 2013
IT WOULD seem like the used-to-be storm-free places in Mindanao are becoming the favourite target of twisters and storms nowadays. Barely a month after ‘Pablo’ hit vast areas in a number of provinces in Southern Mindanao, storm ‘Auring’ came and ravaged the western part of Mindanao. It is a chilling sign indeed that much of this once lush and beautiful island no longer exist.
What ‘Pablo’ actually did was unmask the facade of tall trees that used to be visible along national highways in these areas, giving a false picture of forests that were not actually there anymore. In other words, the devastation of the rainforests and forest cover in Mindanao had been done long before the huge twister came and destroyed what was left of it.
Even as aid agencies have been rushing to assist the victims of calamities in most of these stormed areas, those in Davao Oriental could barely move about because of the monsoon rains that comes almost every day. As to how far help would keep up coming in the face of the seemingly huge damaged wrought by the calamity on such a vast expanse is anyone’s guess. It is indeed a gargantuan task for government, which is seemingly still in a state of stupor, gauging from the snail-paced reactions of those in the local areas.
Unlike the dedicated mentors of schools devastated by ‘Pablo’ who are now starting to gather their wits together to continue education ‘no matter what’, under difficult circumstances owing to the destruction of school facilities, some of the members of LGUs in storm-ravaged areas cannot seem to act on their task of rebuilding and recovering from the catastrophe.
Our people are resilient, as Filipinos have been known to be worldwide. We easily rise up after a fall, given the right perspective of things and knowing the odds. However, sometimes the people’s sense of recovery is hampered by local leader’s inaction and indifference.
It is sad to see typhoon ‘victims’ along the road seemingly waiting for some assistance from aid agencies, becoming dependent on these outside help, failing to see the resources strewn everywhere which can actually be used by them. This is one ‘change of landscape’ that is actually there for all to see, the resilience that is seemingly falling off and in its stead is the threat of ‘mendicancy’ that could set in. Or is it already in place?
A close look into the way this much-needed assistance are being handled by local bodies should also give aid agencies an idea about how else to effectively help beleaguered local folks in a way that assistance reach them immediately on a large scale. Some benefactors however, are also beginning to realize that their assistance are not actually getting where it should go, but rather stacked up on ‘safe’ places that are not easily available to those who needed them.
It is good to know too, that people or institutions that eager to help are finding ways and means to bring their help to the most affected. The sad fact however, is that, more and more people are losing faith in the so-called elected leaders in our midst. This should also send shivers along the spine of shrewd and unscrupulous politicians.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 05, 2013.