A southwest monsoon rain caused Mega Manila and vast areas of Luzon to be under water for days. The torrential rains that started in the last week of July and lasted until the first week of August left some areas with waist-deep flood and others with neck-deep waters. The water level in the Marikina River rose to 21 meters above sea level due to continuous downpour of rain.
Many blaming hands pointed to each other. Even God was blamed for the disaster.
Apparently, we have not yet learned the lesson. Instead of blaming others, why don't you look at yourself, your family and your loved ones? All of us contribute to the current situation we are in. Nobody can escape the blame — not church leaders, not heads of government institutions, not school administrators and not even us, simple citizens.
It is easy to blame the disaster to the garbage. But then, let us not forget that every one of us is a contributor to the ever-growing pile. We easily blame the poor, but then again, who can afford to spend more on several units of electronic gadgets, clothing and many more? The barometer is as simple as this: if you own two of each kind of material thing, then you are to blame twice. If you own so many, then you are the top person to blame.
The logic behind is very simple. Manufacturers of any goods produce more when the consumer buys more. Therefore, the manufacturer extracts more raw materials from earth; hence, the balance of nature is distorted and the end result is the new weather pattern.
Actually, the wet and dry season we used to know in the Philippines is now gone. The rain now comes anytime of the year, while the hot and dry temperature comes even when we expect otherwise.
Now our streets are flooded even with just ordinary monsoon rains, which usually come during this time of the year. And the aftermath of the monsoon rain and flood is as disastrous as the typhoon that lashed our country in the past.
But the people never learn; both the public and those in government. The cycle of evacuation and relief effort is a never-ending scene. Seeing the victims go back to the disaster areas is an ugly scenario.
But why does man goes back to areas which were declared and proven high risk for disasters not only through study but through current experience and historical data and facts? The main reason is that we compensate the people who stay in places declared unfit for habitation. We are a society that gives out prizes and awards to those who violate the law. One violates the law when he/she enters a place and put a house on a place owned by others. This is called trespassing. Additionally, shanties under the bridges and nearby waterways are obstructions to the natural flow of water. Have you been charged with obstruction to traffic by a traffic enforcer because your vehicle accidentally stalled or you have swerved lanes intentionally or unintentionally? This is not the case for the squatters we now call informal settlers.
Our hearts bleed because of their poverty and their sensitivity that's why we call them informal settlers and reward them.
Yes, informal settlers are rewarded with new home, cash transfer and free transportation. All of which are paid up by the government using the taxes paid by people who rent houses or own houses and regularly pay their annual real estate taxes.
This society possesses a crazy logic. Those who own real state and were not able to pay their taxes by any reason within a year or several years (depending on which city or municipality the property is located) will be punished by law for non-payment of annual taxes. On the other hand, informal settlers are rewarded by staying poor and staying in areas owned by other people, considering they are not paying real estate taxes and some do not even pay their personal individual taxes.
It is a foolish mentally that promotes poverty and encourages others to violate the law. If a wise man, who is also a fool at the same time, realizes this, then why work hard and pay taxes, whereas one can stay poor in his lifetime, violate the law and the government will still reward them with the money paid by those who work hard?
Simply put, those who follow the law will be dealt harshly by the government when one suffers a financial problem and lose the capability to pay taxes; whereas those who never follow the law on real estate will be rewarded by the government.
A former law-abiding person that suffers financial woes will surely lose his land and home in-favor of the government for being poor after being rich. However, poor people are rewarded with a home, free groceries, medical attention and many more. This is pampering of the wrong concept. Is this anti-poor? No, actually only those who are lazy are poor. Hardworking people will do anything to alleviate their status. This is anti-laziness and anti-foolish law made by foolish lawmakers and practiced by foolish organizations for a never ending cycle of disaster, evacuation, rescue and relief situation and the temporary and fake rehabilitation of those who are affected.
One must have the courage to face the truth about this and have the political will to face the challenge of the current and upcoming changes in our planet. This is now beyond self and personal intentions and egoistic dreams. We know it happened and for sure will happen again more often. It is time to act now because time is ticking fast for all of us.
I will give some unsolicited advice to all for there are still two more disastrous weather disturbances coming that is a combination of Ondoy and the recent “habagat.”
More water for a longer period of time may come this October and September. What just happened was forecast by yours truly last January and in the mid-year forecast last June.
1. If one has the ability to transfer/relocate by himself, then leave risk areas now. Life is more important than property. Do not wait for the government; the red tape is too much, and they have no political will to start with. All they have are personal intentions.
2. Those who are really poor must group together and seek assistance for relocation from groups in the government and non-governmental institution. Your request will surely be attended to. It costs less and has a lasting solution.
3. Let us continue paying taxes but let us use this as our reason to demand to our government that they come up with a plan and execute one concrete and long lasting solution to the problem of informal settlers. Building houses in the risk areas of respected city waterways must never be allowed again. It is our money; we have the right to demand.
4. During evacuation time and period, remind people who choose to stay in risk areas that staying is dangerous to them and the rescuers as well. Being caught in the problem area by accident is different from making a bad choice of staying behind and then later calling for help. People must not be pampered for their hard headedness. Rescuers are also people who have a family of their own. Why put them at risk because of these hard-headed people. Why let other families suffer because of these kinds of people? It is their decision so let them face the consequences. Anyway, hazardous areas are now open to the public's knowledge. Nobody can blame the government, the rescuers, and other people of the bad fate they may encounter.
5. As we reward those informal settlers, why don't we reward those who pay their taxes religiously instead of punishing them when they became delinquent in their obligation to pay taxes for the very reason of suffering from their own financial woes? If the government has a heart for the poor families, then they should also have a heart to those who suffers financial problem and thus became delinquent in paying their taxes. One day, real state owners will see clearly this foolish set-up of rewarding the law violators and punishing those law-abiding citizens. If that happens, it will be the start of anarchy which the government would not like to face.
6. All must be prepared to the new kind of weather pattern. All must have a survival bag to stay alive for a day or two. And not just rely on help from other people. Always put in mind that many suffer, maybe you are better than the others. Make it better by being prepared.
7. Instead of basketball courts and waiting sheds, politicians should re-align funds to projects that saves lives and promote a better community. Sport is not bad at all but who will play on your court when all the players are drowned. Who will use these waiting sheds when your streets and highways are now underwater?
8. Believe in the character of nature. Nobody can go against nature, not even man. We are just a part of nature. The key word is to adapt to changes in nature. Banning plastic and using paper is again a foolish idea. Soon, the trees will be gone for we used it all as packaging materials resulting to more flooding and landslide. We should instead teach people the proper use of plastics and recycling than having people cut more trees to be used as paper bags and boxes.
9. All of us must be responsible. Do not have things that are more than what we need. Having more means further extraction of the earth's natural minerals and resources. Can one watch three televisions sets at the same time? Your answer is good as mine. If you cannot do that, then why have that many.
10. Weather and nature is not a foe. It is a friend that gives back what we did. Nature reciprocates what we are doing. Be gentler to a friend. Let us not kill our friend so that this friend we call nature won't be harsh on us.
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