Sunday, 10 November 2013

A Small Good Thing About this Tragedy

Last week, I was more preoccupied with Janet Lim Napoles's senate appearance than the so-called super typhoon that was to hit my country. My family, who live in Southern Metro Manila, assured me that they were prepared for the storm: canned goods, clean water, batteries, candles on hand. And so, I wasn't really that worried.

Thursday came, and I was so angry at  Napoles's appearance that I wished I had the power to wring her neck with my mind. I wasn't expecting her to divulge anything, but her demeanor made me think, was she drugged? Like seriously, did she take calming pills or whatever it is one takes to be zombie-like? So now, her act is to pretend that she's totally clueless as to where  the accusations are coming from? Makes me all the more certain that she is guilty as hell. Because if it was me and I was innocent, I would ram down facts into the faces of the other witnesses and rebut all their tall tales point by point. But instead, Napoles had the gall to appear meek and vapid and could only muster  "Hindi ko po alam... Invoke my right...Hindi po totoo." when asked to defend herself about the whistleblowers' accounts. My thoughts while watching her was, if there was even an iota of doubt about her guilt. Now, tanga na lang or yung kapwa guilty nya na lang ang magdedelusyon na may maniniwala pa sa kanya.

Friday and I checked  with the fambam before going to work. They tell me they just got back from MOA. They tell me Manila wasn't hit that much by the typhoon. By this time there were already some pictures of devastation. But maybe it is from years of living in typhoon country  and by my own experience during Ondoy, I thought, oh well, it's the usual damage from the flash floods and strong winds again.

A few hours later, thanks to social media and updates from online news, I, together with the rest of my countrymen who were spared the brunt of the super typhoon, I realized that I was dead wrong. 

Yolanda spared my family and those in Luzon and Mindanao, but this was no ordinary storm.  The typhoon did not just flood a few streets in Leyte and Cebu.  It sunk cities and towns. The menacing wind did not just leave a few houses without roofs, it uprooted electric poles, hurled heavy vehicles, destroyed an airport's control tower, and obliterated not only shanties but concrete buildings which we have always thought to be strong enough to withstand typhoons. How many deaths? It seems it will take a few more days to know the exact figures because the cities and towns that have been most affected do not have any access  to communication: airports are down, no electricity, cell towers are destroyed.  Yet even now, some reports have pegged the expected casualty count to at least 10,000.  Can you imagine that?  Ten thousand Filipinos dead in a storm that lasted only a few hours.

My family in the Philippines is safe and that is a small good thing. But the Pinoy in me knows that it just isn't enough. For those of us lucky enough to go back to our daily lives by tomorrow, Monday, I hope each of us would do our share to help those who have been left with nothing, who, according to reports, are now walking zombie-like amidst their destroyed homes, through streets piled with dead bodies.  There have been reports of looting and chaos in the streets. Imagine how these people must feel, ALL IS LOST.  It is an eerie scene, straight from The Walking Dead, no? Only thing is, this is not TV, these are our countrymen, our blood brothers. our individual help may be small but every little help counts. Our government is doing their best, but even with its resources it will be a tall order. Because really, can you imagine what it would take to rebuild these cities and towns? The infrastructures, the businesses, the schools, the livelihood of these people? And those who have been left behind, who must now walk the tightrope between their grief and their will to survive, they are just so many that those who could help, those of us living cushy lives abroad, those who are in the Philippines who were thankfully spared from the typhoon's destruction, those of us who could go back to our normal worries and joys as a new week starts, don't you think it is our right, our privilege, our blood promise as a Fellow Filipino to reach out and help with whatever help we can give? Please say yes! I do not know the details for organizations that  have established helplines or who are now accepting donations, but surely, for those in the Philippines, these information are now being flashed in the news. Let's help in whatever way we can. We can always find ways, if we have the will.  I will personally help via the call for donation from a Filipino blogger I respect and trust,  but please, please there are myriad ways to help. Let's bring on our Pinoy spirit of Bayanihan. And help bring those cities and towns back on their feet.

Our country is ravaged by typhoons year after year. Today, we stand witness to what is now being called as the worst natural disaster in our country. And now the challenge is to show how we are more than that. What it really means when we say we, Filipinos, are a resilient race. And that beyond our anger at  the blatant corruption orchestrated by madam Jenny, sexy, pogi, tanda and others in the government, we stand taller than these *ssholes by our willingness to help where and when it is much needed, and without any expectation. Tulong tayo, mga kapatid.

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