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December 18, 2011

The Wrath Of Sendong

Typhoon Sendong might have spared most of the Visayas a few days ago but not Mindanao which is usually not used to being hit by strong typhoons. Typhoon Sendong, perhaps the last typhoon to hit the country this year, has created so much havoc and loss of lives especially in the city of Cagayan de Oro. More than 300 are expected to be dead, most are entire families and villages washed away into the sea. The picture shown here is perhaps the most heart-breaking picture I have ever seen in relation to the latest news about the storm.

No one was prepared for this storm which is actually very surprising since the storm was already announced a few hours before it even entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). The original pathway though was forecasted to hit Easter Visayas, then crossing over the central Visayas and supposed to exit West of Palawan. However, when it entered the PAR (last Friday)it suddenly changed course and went straight across northern parts of Mindanao.

NDRRMC Executive director Benito Ramos admitted that the residents of Cagayan de Oro as well as Iligan City may have been caught by surprise that they were hit by Sendong.

"Hindi eto damay sa usual na path," Ramos said. "Ang usual na path n'ya ay Central Visayas. Kung hagip ang Central Mindanao, ang experience ng ating mga kababayan d'yan, ang pinakamataas na ay 60-millimeters ng tubig na madala ng bagyo."

"Ang nangyari, 181-millimeters ang dinala n'ya," he added. - ABS-CBN News Online.

Ramos says the large amount of rainfall caused the Cagayan river to swell, dumping water into the 13 barangays along the riverbanks. The last time Cagayan de Oro experienced flooding was in 2009.

I am not sure if PAG-ASA was able to announce this promptly to the LGUs concerned but with the statistics coming in on deaths and victims, it is pretty apparent that the people in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City were not prepared.

We are supposed to be a country experiencing more than 20 storms in a year and therefore it is already expected that we should have already mastered the technology and strategies in mitigating whatever damage these storms can cause to our people and their properties. But it seems we haven't done anything yet to really mitigate these damages.

Unfortunately, our national government, which is supposed to be leading the way in this process, has been too focused on partisanship and had other priorities set (such as hanging the Chief Justice for his alleged bias with the past administration). They were too focus on correcting the problems of the past that they forgot to correct the problems of the present. Corruption may be a huge problem but unfortunately it is not the only problem. Besides, corruption is larger than GMA and Corona. Having the heads of these two on a silver platter won't solve the corruption problem of our country. It is more systemic than personalities. It is not the only problem our government leaders should pay attention. Our government therefore must learn how to multi-task.

Nevertheless, it is not the right time to do the blame game now. The right thing to do now is to help the victims, provide support to the rescuers and attract the attention of the international community in order to solicit aid. Meanwhile, let us not forget to pray for our fellow Filipinos who are now suffering.

Be with them, Lord. Mother Guadalupe, pray for us.





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