Gentle rains and typhoons

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - October 22, 2020 - 12:00am

Typhoon Pepito was reported to be exiting the Philippines Wednesday, but after battering many areas of Luzon.

Before Pepito, Cebu was not spared from the heavy rains brought by Typhoon depression Ofel. Both Pepito and Ofel once again exposed the vulnerability of many areas of the Philippines to floods and landslides.

Despite knowing that the Philippines lies within the natural disaster belt -- typhoon , earthquake, volcanic eruption -- how many national and local government officials have paid serious attention to the need to protect people especially from these disasters? Where are the sustainable, comprehensive and effective anti-disaster plans and policies locally and nationally?

Metro Cebu, for example, experienced Ofel’s heavy downpour from 6:30 to past 9 in the evening which caused riverbanks to burst, floods in roads and highways, vehicles to be stalled and sadly, damage and loss to property and lives.

Improperly managed plastic and other wastes plus the absence of an effective, functional drainage system for the whole Metro Cebu will always translate to floods and damage to property and lives.

A comprehensive disaster management plan had been and continues to be urgently needed, one that systematically and simultaneously addresses the waste and drainage problems that aggravate flooding and endanger people and the communities.

Now, displaced persons have to be evacuated to safe centers which need to address social distancing and other added health protocols vs Covid. How ready is Metro Cebu and other areas of the Philippines for managing disasters within Covid?

Sadly, then as now, the most vulnerable of all, the poor, will bear the brunt of ignored essential priorities like effective comprehensive disaster management plans and policies. Is it humane to leave the poor to die because of Covid or hunger or floods and other disasters?

How can genuine public servants continue to ignore the importance of an effective, comprehensive anti-flood and drainage project for the benefit of all? Why are unnecessary roads, bridges, airports prioritized more than projects that save lives of the vulnerable millions?

Within the pandemic, more typhoons are expected and God forbid, other disasters too. May genuine public servants finally heed the needs of the millions of vulnerable Filipinos by putting in place effective systems for immediately responding to and managing single or compounded, simultaneous disasters all throughout our country.

Typhoons remind us that heavy rains have the power to destroy life. Gratefully, on the other hand, gentle rains have the power to give life to people, plants, the world around us.

These inspired notes about the rain.

“Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.” (Vladimir Nabokov)

“The rain falls because the sky can no longer handle its heaviness. Just like tears, it falls because the heart can no longer handle the pain.” (writer unknown)

Another calls attention to the value of the rain -- “everyone wants happiness but no one wants pain. But you can’t make a rainbow without a little rain.”

John Mark Green wrote -- “when it rains, the world softens around the edges; streets and sidewalks become a liquid mirror onto which lights and colors bleed. When it rains, everything becomes beautiful…for a while.”

Delighted children and adults who play and get wet under the gentle rains couldn’t agree more!

“Rains come and go as if to home --  sometimes wandering in clouds, other times, running into rising streams, singing all the way home-kissing leaves, tapping trees.”

“With the rain upon the land, nature’s beauty shall obtain. God gives us His helping hand by furnishing us the rain. Helps us grow to see His light, the sun to heal life’s pain. God will furnish sun beams bright after the downpour of the rain.” (Mae Stein)

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