Eight years after the quake

VERBAL VARIETY - Anne Fe Perez - The Freeman

I was getting ready that morning when the earth shook as I was on my way to do a teaching gig for a Japanese violin student. My cat scampered under the bed while I sat down on our living room floor feeling woozy. I saw figurines on the shelf tumble down, others breaking. When the shaking was over, I went out of the house to ask our neighbors if they also experienced the same thing and to my astonishment they were also all in a rush. It was just a small-scale damage to whatever was inside our house, but on the other side of our province, Bohol experienced the most tragic day.

Many people lost their lives during that few seconds when the quake happened. Houses crumbled to the ground as well as other government infrastructures and churches. Water and food became scarce, on top of the fear that everyone felt every tremor that occurred the whole night through. Since then, engineering and disaster preparedness became different not just in the regions but in the whole country as well.

Yesterday it was already eight years after that strong quake. I could still remember how Bohol used to commemorate that deadly day. Bells tolled in the churches at past 8 a.m. to recall what happened. Did it weaken them? I would like to think it has even made them stronger. The tourist spots that lost their grandeur during the quake quickly rose from the ashes. Somehow the pandemic was the second strike for their tourism sector. Yet we see how they worked double-time so that they would rise again. Now they are a proud mover in the tourism industry by making sure all guidelines given by the national government are in place.

Sometimes I wonder what could have happened to Bohol now, had the earthquake not occurred in 2013. Will we learn the importance of disaster preparedness and response? Or be the same citizens who are lax and apathetic? Honestly, there is no proof as to what could have been, but I am sure that there would not be a strong persona of those who not only come from Bohol but also those in Cebu as we also suffered damage from that quake.

Taking off from this tragedy, I think we can make this as a basis for the choices that we make in the 2022 elections. Of course, we will not forget the names of those who were in important government positions at that time eight years ago. If we feel that we are not content with their response and service in such a dark time, then it is clear that they are not worthy of a vote. We cannot let history keep on repeating itself while we work so hard to have a better life. Selective amnesia is not applicable to big choices such as these. It is wise to remember and not repeat the same mistakes that we made.

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