Climate change not getting any better

AS IT APPEARS - Lorenzo Paradiang Jr. -

Getting jolted by the unexpected strong temblor on February 6 just before sunny high noon was an experience that virtually knocked out any sane and healthy person silly.

And to think that such strong quake came 6 months after domestic tectonic lull. It was not strong as what ravaged Haiti, or New Zealand, or in Northeast Japan, but the recent tremor nonetheless wrought disaster in lives, roads, bridges, buildings, and properties.

Per Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the quake was of tectonic cause running along a newly-discovered fault line some 80 kilometers north from Dumaguete City. Phivolcs-7 is at sea whether it is parallel to Tañon Strait, or underneath it, and also along four or five towns and a city. Adept at misnomers, Phivolcs named the “fault” – nay, it surfaced by itself – as “Blind Fault.” How could it be “blind”? It’s the Phivolcs who’s blind, without the quotation marks. Definitely, it’s not the fault line being blind.

Keeping track on TV updates, one’s daughter came up with 1,005 aftershocks as of the ensuing day at 2:00 p.m. Underneath tremors are still occurring, although less discernible. Such natural phenomena exacerbate pessimism over the fate of the unrecovered victims. As reported by TF, “hopes fade for dozens buried in Negros,” in reference to the estimated 71 Negrenses not yet recovered.

One jarring sidelight of the Negros tremor was the so-called “false alarm” that literally panicked many Cebu City residents, including those from elsewhere caught by that Nature’s Wrath in Cebu City. Imagine the height of foolish sadism by two alleged “pranksters” in spreading that a “tsunami” was taking place or about to “drown” some Cebu City streets.

The Cebu City PNP has tagged two suspects, one a barangay councilman, and another, a local radio station block-timer. If true, they ought to be hanged in public upside down. However, these two suspects could now claim that they were just trying to do a good turn by informing the public in good faith of what they had heard over the radio, and/or flashed on TV.

After all then, The FREEMAN’s Editor-in-Chief, Jerry S. Tundag, put it smack right that it was the local Phivolcs’ “Tsunami Alert Level 2” flashed on TV and heard over the radio that caused the Cebuanos to panic. JST tersely summed up the “three prominent factors that led to the panic, viz: 1) a totally ridiculous government warning policy; 2) wholesale ignorance; and 3) irresponsible use of modern communications equipment.”

With Phivolcs-7 insistence on not committing a “blunder,” TF’s editorial should place them in “mea culpa,” say, even on the factor of “common sense.” Common sense called for precaution, like: “Ayaw mo kahadlok kay walay ‘tsunami’. Ang Tañon Strait nga nag-uwang sa Sugbo ug Negros dili lapad nga makamugna sa ‘tsunami’. Apan pagbantay lang kon adunay bawod sa dagat nga dili kasagaran” It may even add: “Ayaw sad kahadlok gikan sa sidlakan – sa Pasipiko – kay ang Sugbo gisalipdan sa Mactan, Bohol, Leyte, ug Samar.”

“The better thing for Phivolcs-7 to do is not engage the public in a debate it cannot win… It should strive to make the public better appreciate the meanings of its warnings,” the editorial advises.

What’s amusing is that the PNP has now one suspected purveyor of the “tsunami” false alarm, for prosecution. However, it’s a calculated guess that the radio blocktimer suspect may ultimately allege in his counter-affidavit that he had done so in all good faith after hearing over the radio, and flashed on TV of the Phivolcs “Tsunami Alert Level 2” being fed to said media outlets. While it’s now alleged by two witnesses that the suspect purportedly made the false alarm in bad faith and appeared bragging about it, said suspect may finally fall back on the good faith theory of defense.

The question is: Would the proper prosecution branch find a sustainable probable cause for indictment?

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