The ability to foretell disaster may be a fervent prayer or every Filipino’s wish so disaster can be avoided and the whole nation could lavishly celebrate Christmas. That is wistfull thinking.
Mindanao has been called the most ideal for agriculture by the Ibaloi migrants who had been displaced from their lands here some half a century ago and brought there during the late President Ramon Magsaysay’s term. These Ibalois, having experienced the devastion brought by typhoons not only in agriculture but to the lives of the people, saw the great potential in their “new home” simply because typhoons do not visit this southern Philippine island.
The worst disaster the Cordillera people today can refer to is the 1990 earthquake that took more than a thousand victims in minutes and in its aftermath, in Baguio alone. It took a little more than a month for the population to get their bearings, bury the dead and pick-up from where they left and start again. Whether they received the intended (or not) relief goods, the people as if with a singular objective knew they had to rise from the ruins. As a region, they did and observed that year’s Christmas season with thanksgiving for a new lease on life.
People in northern Philippines do not have to just imagine the devastation and pain caused by typhoon Sendong over northern Mindanao. Because of the almost yearly devastation brought by typhoons and that 1990 earthquake. It is not also hard to relate to the victimized population in the south and realize how vulnerable the human life is when nature’s wrath is magnified by human negligence and disregard for the already below par conditions of the environment to support today’s population needs. The Baguio Irisan garbage slide and Cresencia village landslide; the Little Kibungan experience in La Trinidad; West Kayan mudslide in Tadian; and the sinking in Mankayan are just a few of the recent examples.
Typhoon “Sendong” blew over northern Mindanao, and Cagayan de Oro was hit the hardest. On the television, with all the display of designed tinsel and affluence, repeatedly flashing are the scenes and interview-stories of the fear and struggle for survival, the star-studded beg for relief goods and support by private charity foundations, and coverages of the heroic rescue operations by ill- equipped, and even fumbling, mobilized-by-sheer emergency or simply the urgency-of-the-moment civilians, barangay officers and non-government groups. Expect countless horror stories shall continue to filter out as the smoke clears.
Meanwhile, outshined by the latest disaster, northern and central Luzon are just recovering from the trauma and losses brought by typhoons that followed one another these past two months. Cordillera is still repairing roads from last year’s typhoons. It is supposed to be the season to be jolly so to say. But, and No, this is not going to be a sad Christmas season, the Filipino spirit shall not allow it.
Everyone has to put in their penny’s worth to care for mother nature. Relief from devastation and poverty over the season can allow respite to review what must be done as a nation. Christmas has not been lavish for the basic Filipino masses – the workers, the peasants, the petty bourgeosie; and this time it must not be as profit generating for the big profiteers. With many dead, homeless and jobless, perhaps those who have can share a little more this Christmas season.
A blessed and MERRY CHRISTMAS to all! # nordis.net