Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Typhoon "Ondoy," 26-27 September 2009
On September 26, 2009, Typhoon Ondoy poured its fury on Metro Manila in the form of the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in Philippine weather history. In a matter of hours, large areas of the metropolis and outlying provinces were inundated with murky water rising up as high as 20 feet in some places. Damage to property was extensive and not a few lost their lives as the floodwaters raged on.
It was a different sight altogether when the waters receded. Anywhere TV news cameras panned, it was the same thick brown mud that viewers could see deposited on streets and inside houses mixed up with debris that were previously tossed about by strong currents.
Ondoy brought untold suffering to many and it will surely take some time before the survivors can fully rebuild their lives. In true Pinoy fashion, though, many responded immediately by extending assistance in whatever form and by whatever means to those who were affected. In spite of being badly hit itself, Adamson University quickly mobilized its community so that help could be given to its adopted marginalized communities that were just as unlucky. As of this moment, the relief efforts are still ongoing.
By way of salvaging some positive residue, lessons from this tragedy abound for the taking: preparedness when disaster strikes, treating nature and the environment with more respect, throwing trash where they should properly be, valuing relationships and spiritual treasures more than material things - which can be wiped out in a flash, faith in God in spite of the seeming hopelessness of the moment, rising up again by overcoming adversity instead of wallowing in despair, and so on.
If applied, a future difficult situation similar to what Ondoy brought about might be more manageable.
But even in perfect weather there is perfect mud, the kind that has mired the nation for some time now, effectively hindering progress and advancement: it is the culture of corruption, dishonesty and rabid self-interest that thrives in our government institutions. The problem may be enormous but not entirely irremediable. Again, Adamson University, as an educational institution, can contribute a lot to the clearing up of this bane. By raising and molding students with the right values, outlook and critical vision, the University can produce socially responsible, God-fearing, and productive citizens who will eventually pluck this country out of the quagmire we all wish to be freed from.