By Mina Paras-Morales
I'M IN front of the computer in a well-lighted room, but outside, it is all darkness and not a pinprick of light from above nor below. My daughter's home is the only place lighted in the entire neighborhood as it is powered by a generator; there has been a blackout since the night before, even in Clark where the access for electricity 24/7 is a real necessity rather than just convenience.
It is so quiet you could hear the proverbial pin drop and even the cockroach creep stealthily on the floor. There's no pin and no roach though; what I can hear, in deafening silent screams, are the cries of my kabalens who have lost their homes, or roofs, who have nowhere else to go and nothing to eat.
The aftermath of “Santi” in Pampanga (and adjoining province of Tarlac) which got it in signals 3 and 4 respectively, is a sorry state of disrepair. The fury of Santi felled age-old trees still littering the streets, and in some cases, blocking the streets of my hometown Mabalacat City. My daughter who went out to survey the destruction told me that you cannot go to Mabalacat from Dau via MacArthur highway because the road has been rendered impassable. My son and my daughter, separately, have been giving out relief goods and seeing to the welfare of the most needy. However, though I haven't seen it, from their accounts so much more need to be done. I've just been "fortunate" that I was in Manila, asleep, while the violent winds were keening so loudly that even my youngest granddaughters, Sophie in Duquit and Reneesme in Clark, were kept awake past 1:30 am. I hear stories of entire barangays being swept away (in Tarlac where, according to relatives’ accounts, there is much gnashing of teeth from desperation) though you won’t hear that from the news.
In the low-lying areas of Pampanga it's "more of the same", my son-in-law John who is from the Fourth District, says. He too has been busy with relief action on that side of Pampanga, and does so come hell or high water, more of high water, every time the rain comes in torrents.
In all of these, I fully expect the newly-minted public officials -- and the old guards -- to be out there bringing the good news of salvation to their constituents, i.e. we will help you rebuild, et al, but for the nonce let there be water to drink, rice to coat the stomach, and that can of sardines and noodles to warm bodies in such cold, dreary weather. I hope you guys can be as “masipag” as you were during the last campaign season, visiting the least of your brethren and handing out manna from your pockets. It has to be manna from your own pockets, as there is no PDAF and holDAP in sight, and because this is the real public service. Something that the unlamented and infamous Lani Mercado had not heard of, as she says what she earns is for her family. To paraphrase her: “E ano ang mabibigay namin sa inyo kung walang pork barrel? Alangan naman bigyan ko kayo ng perang pinaghirapan namin,” or something to that effect. The netizens had a grand time “puking” on those words.
So, guys, give, and give until it hurts. (Like the Church says, referring to tithing and doing good works.)
From previous such calamities, we know that the lady Guv will be out there probably at the crack of dawn and until the stars fade out in the heavens.
I should commend also the relief efforts of Congressman Rimpy Bondoc, who, along with his sister the former congresswoman Anna York B. Sagum, were among the handful whose hands weren’t sullied by unclean pork and ghost projects.
On a more personal note, I am so thankful that our old house in Dau was spared, rooftops did not go off flying into the night. And although my son-in-law’s two sports cars were dented and scratched by the bamboo fencing that fell on them during the height of the typhoon, and the fire trees, acacia, and one of the pomelo trees in the backyard were felled, my family is still safe and sound and warm.
Now, last “panawagan”, will the power cooperative do its work ASAP to restore power?!