Monday, June 23, 2008

Philippine Floods and Ferry Tragedy; Not Fengshen's Fault



As typhoon Fengshen / Frank lashed at the Philippines, it served yet again as a reminder of the catastrophes, both natural and man-made, that is not uncommon in the country.

The rain dumped on the Philippines spurred massive floods, destroying crops, properties, and livelihoods. But even that is incomparable to the loss of life. Yet, somehow, like in this case, man manages to kill more of his fellow men than the typhoon did. And the mass manslaughter was caused by a mere reckless decision, one that was perhaps influenced by greed.

I am referring to the Sulpicio Lines' Princess of Stars incident, perhaps one of the Philippines' worst sea tragedies, where it was decided that the vessel should set sail despite the fact that a typhoon was approaching. "MV Princess of the Stars is a ferry owned by Filipino shipping company Sulpicio Lines that capsized off the coast of San Fernando, Romblon at the height of Typhoon Fengshen on June 22, 2008."

With the annual occurrence of calamities such as typhoons and flooding, technological adaptations, safety precautions, and national preparedness should be given first priority. Yet we see time and time again the failure to implement these defenses, as is also apparent by Simon's firsthand account of the flooding problems in Metro Manila.

The Next Pacific Ocean

"I woke up early morning from the eerie sound of heavy rain and wind, the windows are slapping and there was no electricity. I went down to see what is going on outside, in no surprise to me, there is a flood. I saw nearby lowland residents begin to remove water inside their house from the flooding waters.

This is not new to us and has been a long problem of the residents of Sampaloc since I was in college. The flood extends throughout the 500-meter radius campus of University of Santo Tomas (UST) along España. Imagine how far from our house it is to UST; that is how wide the affected flooded area. My niece went to España to go to her office but she was not able to ride and preferred to stay back home because there were no vehicles passing through; she said that the flooded water is from the waist of 5’7” man and has entered in the campus of UST and even some of their buildings were affected by flood.

Those residents along the flooded area may not be aware or they do not mind the risks that this flood could impart on their health. They played basketball and walked through the flood, and some even swim through the flood! Perhaps they are uneducated about what this flood might cause them. Maybe they are immune but to me prevention is better than cure. This has been a dilemma of the residents and I strongly believe the local government knows about this situation but they keep their eyes blindfolded. There are lots of Department of Public Works and Highways projects around but this is not to fix the problem. It only worsens the problem because not all of the roads will be constructed; it depends on whose project and jurisdiction.

My solution is that these mayors of every city should have a protocol to fix this problem and share their budget to build a big and huge canal. I believe this will not immediately happen but by and by this will fix the problem. When I was in college, the city of San Juan has been affected by flood during heavy rains and storms but because of the persistent projects of former Pres. Joseph E. Estrada, which was the Mayor then, they built a huge canal in every key highway and did it by and by. Now when you go to San Juan, even it is raining, you can get there without worrying that it might flood.

And what are the implications of the flood to us? This can potentially increase the transmission of the following communicable diseases like water-borne diseases and vector-borne diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and hepatitis A, malaria, dengue, dengue haemorrhagic / hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and West Nile Fever. Tetanus and other infections are also common after injury from flooding.

While sitting, I asked myself 'where do my taxes go?' and hopefully someone who has heart will dare to pursue this for the next generation to come after them in order to preserve the beauty and health of the Philippines even in the suburban metro."


























2 comments:

Heidi said...

That's some heavy flooding!

Anonymous said...

Yun ang totoo, bulag at bingi ang ating pamahalaan sa mga hinaing nang ating mga kababayan, tama ka masakit mang pakinggan pero kulang na kulang sa kaalaman ang kapwa nating pinoy, una walang pakialam ang sinomang makapuwesto sa pamahalaan sa ating mga kababayan pagkatapos nang eleksyon, nag-uunahan silang yumaman at magpakapalan nang mukha, at ang pobreng si juan de la cruz sa liit nang kanyang sinasaka mapupunta pa sa wala' hanggang isang umaga akala mo preso na gustong tumakas sa sarili nyang bayan, gawing kapital ang sarili nyang katawan maisalba lang nang tatlong beses sa maghapon ang kanyang mahal na pamilya, tapos itong naglalakihang kapitalista e paaasahin ako sa pagsilip sa takip nang tansan.. grabe pinagsamantalahan na ang bayan ko'niyuyurakan pa ang pagkatao ko.. sagad na sa buto ang hapdi na nararamdaman ko. nilason na at binulok nang sistemang ito, masahol pa sa imburnal ang amoy nito na dumidikit sa isip ko, kaya ganon na lang ang panalangin ko kay bathala na kalusin ang hayop na nagkatawang tao..
sayo kaibigan David umasa kang kaisa mo kami sayong mga ninanais para sating ikabubuti.
Pepe,

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