Editorial: Building resilience-A A +A
Saturday, January 19, 2013
THOSE who still cling to the idea that our economy is strong and will remain strong will have to have their head checked.
Yes, our economy is strong but look deeper and you will see remittance. The remittance of overseas Filipino workers. Jiggle those host countries, shatter the peace there, and we have the unemployed by the thousands, and the willing to be exploited by a thousand more.
Today, our economy is strong, but not when unusually strong typhoons and flashfloods will continue to batter this and that city here and there.
We have to admit it. The economy is changing. We are up now, but if we test where all these steps leading up are built on, it’s not easy to imagine ourselves to fall flat on our face.
Resilience is what we all have to build.
When typhoon Pablo hit us, it was the people around who were not affected who rushed in to help first. The same with Sendong, the same with Ondoy. There will always be the international agencies, that’s their job, but the immediate help comes from ourselves. Now, imagine if there is not one local economy that can stand on its own. We all crash down, typhoon and flashflood victims and unaffected neighbors alike.
We have not even factored in the billions of pesos lost by our two main crops – bananas and coconut oil. Both export grade, both exported. How to recover. Not that fast.
In today’s scenario, all our long-term plans must be done with the presumption that there will be a downturn up ahead, long before these plans ripen.
We all have to admit, climate has indeed changed and is fast changing. Not one of us can ever stop it. Not even all of us. But there are hints given our way through Ondoy, Sendong, Pablo, and all other disasters that has devastated vast communities, and that is the spontaneous outpouring of help from fellow Filipinos.
There lies the clue to our future.
The world is changing and along with it our ways. The days of making it big on one’s own has been blown up since the 1990s. The situations demand that we all work together, and work together in ways we have never explored much before. To address the situations like we always did in the past, when nothing like what is happening now can approximate what has happened a decade ago will mean, we are not prepared to face the future.
The basics remain the same – food, shelter, and clothing. These we have to have whether these no matter what. But we have seen how sources of livelihood can change overnight. Just hours after Pablo wreaked havoc all over Mindanao, banana plantation workers, coconut tenants, and farmers have all lost their jobs. How do we deal with that? The answer lies within us.
The Environment Changemakers have some suggestions for these: Develop life skills that will get you through. Learn handicrafts, learn carpentry, learn whatever it is you can learn while you go about your regular employment. Economize in everything that you do, decrease your dependence on energy, simply because, that will be among the first things lost, Even New York City residents had to suffer through powerless weeks. Develop a community circle where you can prop yourself up in the most trying time, and most of all, develop inner resilience – the spiritual base that will weather all the ups and down and help you not lose it when everything else is gone.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 19, 2013.