Everyone knew it was coming. Everyone knew what it was going to bring… but what everyone knew and thought; what they were told, was nowhere near what was really going to happen.
The events that transpired came so fast that no one was prepared. Everyone was caught in deep shock as waters begin to rise in parts of the country that never had experienced flooding. Panic arose to those living in those said areas while some believed that the waters would subside and would not go beyond knee-deep.
It only took a while before houses were completely flooded leaving only their roofs as the means of refuge. Half a day with a month’s worth of rain was all it took to destroy more than just houses but lives as well that day when typhoon ‘Ondoy’ made landfall in the Philippines.
A tragedy comparable to the Katrina in New Orleans happened in the “Pearl of the Orient”. Videos flooded youtube and the news. Videos showing how people were clamoring to safety, how houses and cars were being swept away by the raging flood waters. Those who were not at the heart of the disaster, and who were watching these events unfold, could do nothing but just that — watch in horror and sadness.
From morning ’til night, calls and cries for help could be heard from various news networks asking for rescue. The government could do nothing, they were lacking man-power and other resources to accommodate all of these messages and calls. In the end, it was down to the Filipino people who showed exemplary “bayanihan” spirit to help their fellowmen in need and to rescue themselves and others who are in the same boat as them.
Of course, not all could be saved. Many still died and a lot more are still missing. Fingers are being pointed as to who should be blamed — the government headed by the president and her lackeys, the MMDA, PAGASA, you name it. I myself am wondering: “Sino nga ba ang dapat sisihin?“.
Yes, I believe the government should be partially blamed. Admittedly, they were not prepared. They believed that “Ondoy” was just a weak storm, after all, Metro Manila was only just given a Storm Signal #1 — a storm signal based on the wind that “Ondoy” brought and not on the amount of precipitation. The Government and its agencies failed to think of the worst case scenario and plan as well as action with the worst case scenario in mind. I believe this to be a factor of how slow help arrived and not just on the amount of debris that littered the streets at the height of the storm.
PAGASA, I think, should not be ultimately blamed. It is, in my opinion, not their fault for not being able to warn the people about the amount of rainfall. They have, afterall, old and out-dated equipment that is surely outclassed and pretty much not in the same league as those used in other countries. Their lack of funds to buy new equipment to deliver us accurate weather forecasts is certainly an issue if we wish not to be caught in surprise as we just have been thanks to “Ondoy”.
In the midst of all of this, knowing that we should not be pointing fingers at the moment, I still feel the need to say that we, all of us, are ultimately to blame for what happened… as hard it is to admit that.
Let us look at the big picture. The planet is facing a crisis as humans have failed to take good care of our Mother Earth. Critics say that Global Warming is a myth, that climate change has happened before. However, what happened to our country is but a small proof (sadly) that we are facing a far more greater threat than terrorists — the fury of Gaia– of Mother Earth. With the icecaps and icebergs in Greenland and the Polar Regions melting at an alarming rate, waters rose in oceans and all bodies of water connected to it.
With the rise of these waters, small amounts of rain could easily cause floods in low-lying areas and… well, you can imagine what would happen during a great downpour as experienced with “Ondoy”.
As much as we need to find answers in the midst of this crisis. There is still a much bigger and much more important task to be done — helping our fellow countrymen.
Help comes in all shapes and sizes, as shown amidst this tragedy. As shocking as the flood that swept the nation was, the help that came like a rushing flood water was even more shocking and was awe-inspiring, capable of lifting the spirits of those who were greatly affected.
Everyone found the need to help, whether they have relatives on affected areas or simply because they want to. It was no longer about rich and poor, it was just about helping.
Even now help continues to come in all ways imaginable, and even at time unimaginable. Other countries are even pitching in to help. But, the real focus is the unity and camaraderie, the spirit amidst the crisis that our people, the Filipino community is showing. Youths are once again in the forefront, helping with the relief operations — a sign that the youth are truly in the spirit of “Ako ang Simula” and “Ako Mismo” (no pun intended, lol).
In a moment of silence, let us pray for the souls of those whose lives were lost during the storm and for the family that they have left behind.
In a moment of silence, let us humbly pray for our countrymen who has lost their homes and who are trying to find the means and the power to once again live their lives.
In a moment of silence, let us pray that such tragedy would not happen again, not in the Philippines nor elsewhere.
In a moment of silence, let us pray that our politicians would not use this event to further their campaign and political careers, that they are helping because they want to help and not for any personal agenda.
In a moment of silence, let us pray that the unity, compassion, camaraderie that we are all showing right now would not just be available in moments like this but would, from this point on, truly be visible in our daily lives.
Although there are many who have pledged help and who are giving help, there is no such thing as “too many” in times like this, if you have donations in any form — your time in helping with the relief operations, money, clothes, food, medicines, then please do help.
For donations for victims of typhoon Ondoy, the following are the Kapuso Foundation’s dollar accounts:
2-098-00244-2 code MBTC PH MM
01-115301177-9 code UCPB PH MM
121-0032000-25 code PNB MPH MM
You can also donate online via:
This is no time to be thinking: “Eh, Kapamilya ako, bakit ako magdodonate diyan?” Your help should go far beyond Station Wars. ANC and ABS-CBN have their own donation accounts but I cannot find it at the moment, so if you want to help, use Kapuso Foundation for the moment.