IT WAS on the 12th of January this year when everyone was startled by the sudden eruption of Taal Volcano which has been inactive for 43 years. People living around Taal and residents of Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and NCR were filled with fear and anxiety. Due to the dangerous situation caused by the volcanic eruption, an estimated 151,287 families have been forced to evacuate and are now temporarily staying in 16 evacuation centers while 51,968 families are taking refuge in schools and other safe havens.

It might be painful to think that something bad may happen in the coming days. But instead of worrying and succumbing to this feeling, the local authorities have encouraged the affected residents especially those living in the 14-kilometer Taal danger zone to immediately leave their homes, farmland, and even their domesticated and farm animals brought about by the lockdown order.

On the last week of January, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has lowered the Taal situation from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3. Subsequently, the lockdown order was partially revoked in some areas of Batangas except for some barangays covered by the 7-kilometer danger zone. And just this Valentine’s Day, Phivolcs downgraded Taal volcano from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2.

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In times of catastrophic events, it is interesting to note that there is a continuing support from various government agencies, local governments units, non-governmental organizations, cause-oriented groups, private institutions and companies, and private individuals to mobilize funds in order to provide the evacuees with food, water, medicine, hygiene kits, clothes, and other goods and services. As a result of this sincere effort, Taal evacuees have eased their worries, hardship, and fear of the situation they’re currently facing.

But despite this, I am still perplexed why there are still activists and rallyists who are usually seen taking over the streets, shouting, waving placards, and even fighting for what they so-called a “just” society.

This does not give an impression that activists or rallyists should go on public and boast how ready they are to lend a hand to their fellow Filipino. Nor does this mean that the responsibility to help Taal victims is being passed on to them, because everyone is aware that the citizen’s well-being is the primary responsibility of the government.

Perhaps their response to this is that they are silently helping the people and they do not need publicity in order to be recognized. Really? Do they really prefer to be silent with their efforts? Or are they just good at making noises and baseless accusation against the government? Whether it is true, it is hard to prove that they are the ones who care the most when it comes to the welfare of the Filipino people, as what they always assert.

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Instead of playing the blame game, why wouldn’t they coordinate with the local authorities to find out what aspect in the relief operations needs to be addressed. If they are the ones who truly care, then why not contribute to the solution instead of adding up to the problem.

Walter Anderson, an American artist and writer, once said, “Focus on the solution, not the problem.” Nobody wants this to happen because an earthquake is an unforeseen event that is beyond our control. The best thing to do at this moment is for everyone to work together to hasten the delivery of relief goods and services. In this way, we will able to contribute to our country’s development.