Editorial: Heed warnings

AT LEAST four dead, 88 missing, and 160 rescued. That was the report as of noontime Thursday on the sinking of M/V Mercraft 3 in the Polillo Strait between Infanto, Quezon and Polillo Island where the fast craft was headed.

"A survivor, Donel Jade Mendiola, told DZMM radio that bad weather briefly delayed the ferry's departure, but the weather improved and the vessel then left from Quezon's Real town.

Strong winds and large waves started to lash it about two hours into the trip, he said," the SunStar Philippines report read.

Indeed, whether a craft -- sea or air -- flies or not in inclement weather is the decision of the captain, but it always pays to err on the side of caution. Meaning, should a mistake be made in the decision, the mistake should be that nothing happened.

In an announcement of flight cancellations by Cebu Pacific, a netizen commented, "I dont care if theres a typhoon dont you dare cancelling my flight of you will see." This comment earned a long thread of other comments castigating the person as we expect many would.

We understand the frustrations that flight and boat ride cancellations can bring, but we have to understand that when we are up against nature, we must always heed the warnings.

Thus, we lauded residents of flood-prone areas in Matina Crossing who sought temporary shelter at the barangay hall just before Tropical Storm Vinta was expected to make landfall in Davao Oriental Thursday night.

Ermilina Fuyonan, 37, one of those who evacuated said they will not return to their houses unless there will be an announcement that their area is already safe from flood.

Cooperation spells the difference between a successful disaster risk reduction and a disaster.

Cooperation by the people who know the risks they are putting themselves in if they insist on getting their way, cooperation by disaster reduction workers and officials to make the task of spreading the warnings as fast and as far as possible, cooperation by the unaffected to get out of the way so they will not impede the movements of both the people at risk and the rescue workers, cooperation by everybody to help out in a way that will not cause greater inconvenience if not damage.

Typhoons, flashfloods, even earthquakes and fire are nothing new. We've had so many of them to know that man can never stand against nature's wrath.

Let's all make disaster reduction measures easier by doing what must be done.

Evacuate, when evacuation is advised; observe ones surroundings and call the attention of authorities (barangay officials, purok leaders, or police) if unusual things are observed.

Studies have shown that communities that are better-connected bring about better disaster reduction cooperation, thus the challenge is to build communities like these, who look out for each other and work as one when called on to.

So far, we are doing well in our city. Be safe, everyone!
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