Addressing the storm

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez - The Freeman

Before we rolled into another administration, Mother nature left us with one last challenge: a storm. Although we are not directly affected by Typhoon Agaton, we are reeling from its effects. The rain was non-stop over the weekend which resulted in floods, landslides and suspended trips. Some local government units have declared a suspension of work and classes. By yesterday, the storm was already bidding its adieu on Central Visayas.

But beyond the trauma that Typhoon Odette has left me, was also an urge inside me to judge the response of the chief executives during these times. A leader who can think and act fast during a storm is one that we need the most. I remember during the onslaught of Odette, it seemed like we were blind at what the government was doing. Add to the fact that the signal reception was so bad, most of us did not feel the action that they were taking. Most non-government organizations were more visible in their cause to give aid to those who needed it the most.

We couldn't place the blame at them either; we were all affected. However, a clear, direct and manageable response was what we needed. Now looking forward, I want that trait also to be part of whoever is going to run for public office. It is important that as first responders to disasters, we have an intact LGU that we can rely on when a storm comes. The test isn't even when the storm is here: it also matters how they inform us coupled with their own preparation for any eventuality.

Across the different cities and municipalities, I have seen many disaster units that are very proactive during times like these. It is coming to me that they are taking their job very seriously. They have boosted morale because of a leader that guides them in the right direction. There are also those that perform poorly, as if preparing was not their cup of tea.

Within the past three years we have seen their response which will form the basis for our judgement during the election. Do we want somebody who leaves out disaster planning in his/her agenda? If we are content with how we adjust urban flooding and landslides at mountain barangays then the answer must be easy. For me, the best leaders know each and every sector that needs to be addressed.

Agaton was a test. It was nature's petty way of showing us what we deserve. Again, we are not directly affected but the extent of preparedness would tell you which candidates have the heart to actually protect their constituents. As I am writing and sipping my coffee, I'm glad work was suspended. I'm marked safe from whatever waterworks today. I'm just enjoying the cuddle weather while monitoring its latest state. I'd say, we deserve better at all times.


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