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Letters to the Editor

Bahasa Pilipinas

The Philippine Star

I usually don’t bother with jokes – especially long ones – passed on in chat groups like Viber. But the other day this one caught my attention.

Bahasa Malaysia is the national language of Malaysia.

Bahasa Melayu is the national language of Brunei.

Bahasa Indonesia is the national language of Indonesia.

On the other hand, Bahasa Pilipinas is the natiomal problem of the Philippines. Every time we have typhoon or heavy rains, Bahasa Pilipinas talaga.

It is typical Pinoy humor – clever, and so right on the money I can’t help but cringe…ouch talaga!

This made me think of two things. First, floods. We can’t control the rain, how much of it will fall where and how often. But we surely can control what happens when it’s on the ground.

Rainwater will flow where gravity dictates. It should go into the drains, then the sewers and out into the rivers or the sea or, in the case of Metro Manila, ultimately to Manila Bay.

But it cannot flow out if the drains are clogged – with all sorts of garbage like plastic bags, disposable cups and food wrappers and now face masks. And for sure, this is something that we – you and me, each one of us – can control.

My area in the City of Manila used to flood all the time, even when the rain isn’t that strong or prolonged. But thanks to the Public Works Department of several past administrations, pumps and large sewage pipes were put in so that even though the roads (especially Ramon Magsaysay Blvd.) do flood during strong rains, the water flows out and the floods subside, rather quickly I might add.

But there are some areas where the floodwaters remain…because the drains there are clogged; with what, your guess is as good as mine.

Second is climate change. Typhoons are stronger and more destructive. Torrential rains, gale force winds, storm surges are, unfortunately, the new climate normal. The scenes of devastation following Super Typhoon Karding are, sadly, not new; we’ve seen them far too often and, tragically, we’ll be seeing them again and again.

It’s getting to sound like a broken record; we’ve heard all of the above again and again, but it keeps happening. It seems like we don’t listen or, if some of us do listen, we don’t act. Different agencies of government must get their act together, but so must we, in whatever way – big or small – we can.

Start by disposing of your trash properly, and re-use and recycle as much as possible. – Ignacio San Jose, Sta. Mesa, Manila

MALAYSIA

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