Monday, May 11, 2009
It was like an atomic bomb has been dropped in my little town. As the bus passed along villages, one cannot waver at the communal feeling of sorrow and sadness because of homes destroyed and lives lost as typhoon “Emong” (codename: Chan Hom) wreaked havoc Thursday evening, May 7th in Western Pangasinan. Our house in Bani was not spared from the ravaging storm packing winds of 150 kph with gustiness of 185 kph uprooting electric posts and trees, toppling off cars and trucks, displacing thousands of families from their homes.
I have never seen first-hand such a tragedy and stark irresponsibility in my whole life. It is in these times that you ask immediate relief and aid from the government and you get nothing in response but the same voice that you heard while you say those words. News came Friday that relief operations were on the way to affected towns and communities but as to when will those promised help filter in to the helpless families who have no roofs under their heads while torrential rain continues is still a million dollar question (not so during election time of course). Only in the Philippines. Families are left on their own to fix their homes while they put makeshift shelters near the road local government officials sit down and talk about how they would deal with loots brought in by the automatic release of calamity funds. Our incarcerated community leader has been filling in news from his cell that families will receive aid equally whether rich or poor and it made the poor people cry foul necessarily but what do you expect from a mad man who has no sense of justice at all. So that compounds the gravity of the problem: bad leaders plus ravaging storms plus poor communities equal: catastrophe.
So here I am, appealing to you all who will have the chance to read this to help in spreading the news that our communities need help in order for families in this part of the country rebuild their lives which were gravely disrupted and shattered by the recent calamity and the irresponsibility of the government. What they show and feature in the news is a minute reflection of the overall disaster here in Pangasinan. Government officials are always quoted in the news commenting on the damage to the fisheries owned by a few affluent businessmen but where are the countless people left homeless and what about the efforts to help them? We have yet to see and get help.