Sunday July 22, 2018

Carvajal: Tyranny by inaction

WE discuss and plan preventive measures against accidents after a fatal one happens, not before. We then set these plans aside and discuss them again after another fatal accident.

We re-block a fire-prone area after a big fire has ravaged the houses and the lives of its residents, not before. We also evacuate residents of slide-prone areas after a landslide has killed some unfortunate folks, not before.

We are at our worst behavior when it comes to the water problem. Metro Cebu Water District has been for some time now short on water and desperate to find an additional source. Yet we are letting precious rain water waste away as flood water to the sea.

Didn’t we have a water summit the last time we had a bad drought? How come we do not see barangays constructing water impounding ponds to preserve excess water for the drought season? How come we do not see drainage canals widened or deepened and additional ones built?

Instead we brag of big and ambitious plans for underpasses and flyovers, BRT, LRT and now MRT systems worth billions. What is so wrong about our priorities? I use “we” and “our” because the inaction of local officials on the water problem (scarcity and floods) is our fault. Indirectly because we voted them into office and directly because we silently watch them do nothing about these problems.

Flood waters are not only wasted water, they are also destructive water. They destroy living spaces and kill people. But we can kill two birds with one stone by diverting floodwaters with a good drainage system into impounding ponds for use later in a drought.

Yet, all city hall does is play blame-games for their inaction. More than stupid, this is downright irresponsible and insensitive. And we probably know why.

Our elected public officials do not live in fire-prone or landslide-prone areas. They also have their own water supply or are priority customers of water suppliers. They do not get stranded in floodwaters like ordinary folks because they travel in big SUV’s. If and when they are stuck in floodwaters they get priority assistance from government emergency personnel. So, what the “eff” do they care?

In the end, like I said, it is our fault. We keep electing them on recycled unfulfilled promises. And since we cannot elect ourselves in their place, our only other option is to pressure those whom we elected to do something about this and many other problems (garbage disposal for one).

Some of us just staged a protest against the tyranny of decisive action against the drug problem. Maybe some others should consider protesting against the tyranny by inaction of public officials. Action or inaction, if it is against the people’s will, is tyranny just the same.