Adding Insult to the Injury

The sun is up again, the skies blue once more and it seems that the planet has begun moving on from the storms. Although, it seems to have moved a bit too far because of the heat being just a bit too much. However, let’s not talk weather this time. Let’s talk about how the local government responds to the tragedies that the world is trying to get through.

Homes, properties, and resources have been lost due to the typhoons and floods. A lot of communities were left with close to nothing and most of them does not have much to look forward to.

FM Romualdez on relief operationThe basic response to such tragedies are relief operations – be it from the government or the private sector. These include giving out groceries, clothing, and other necessities that would, most probably, not be available to the afflicted. Our community was hardly affected by the floods. We did have flooding during the rains and afterwards but it was very much minor compared to what other communities have suffered. Nevertheless, ours was one of those that the government attended to.

A few days ago, we received goods from either a senator or a city councilor. (The people here can’t seem to agree which.) The package was of rice, noodles, and canned sardines. But this didn’t make the people happy or as thankful as one who received some aid should have been. However, I can’t blame them. Neither can I blame myself. I might sound like I’m simply complaining. We may be called ungrateful but the goods we received might as well be taken as an insult to our situation. We may not be rich here but we intend to live decent lives and eat decent food.

I can say all those things because the rice we received was almost too close to inedible. It’s possible that the rice came from one of those NFA warehouses where they store rice imported at a very unreasonable price reeking of corruption and injustice to the masses. And, was it from two years ago already? It’s no good cooking and eating it pure. Even a 1:2 blend with commercial rice wouldn’t suffice to conceal its taste and smell.

Or, maybe, the person can’t care less about how the people will react to the goods received so long as he/she can have the claim to have given out relief goods to “aid the victims of the disasters”.

Today, we received more “tickets” to one of those operations. This time, it’s from the district representative. But it doesn’t look so good either. The sort of “informant” came around here this morning giving out the tickets. He also told us that “the goods are ready but we can’t start because the congressman is not yet yet here”. You know where he is? As we heard from the local radio news, he is at some subdivision enjoying the fiesta.

So, as of this writing, it’s already past lunch. People have begun flocking to the gym to line up for the goods. I expect they’d be the same goods, though, the amount may vary. We may receive the same kinds of things as that last time that the he gave out goods, plus the cloth bag with his name, title, and face printed on it. But that would be a good thing because the guy knows how to give decent food.

Update (February 12, 2011, 9:30pm): We did get the same things as from before: about twice the rice that the senator or councilor gave, twice the noodles, and half the canned sardines. And, yes, in a bag with the name, title, and face of the congressman in it. And it was decent.

But it’s not all good. The gym was too crowded and hot. Outside, it was even hotter. But that didn’t stop the people from staying and waiting for the representative. People started coming back at around 4 pm. It was a long wait in the heat. As an aftermath, someone was rushed to the hospital after an attack stroke.

Update (February 14, 2011): I still can’t get a final word as to whether it was the senator or the city councilor who sent us the goods first mentioned.

Update (February 17, 2011, 5:30pm): It can’t exactly be called a final word but someone informed me that it was actually both of them – the senator and the city councilor, that is.

The Floods, The Climate, The Future


Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro

St. Bernard
St. Bernard

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

Doesn’t it seem all wrong? And Australia is supposed to be a “dry continent”. Or something like it. The experts are saying that the extreme weather that the world is experiencing today is due to what has been long called, “climate change”. The Earth has become warmer. Due to that there is always water overhead just waiting to pour when the clouds can no longer keep themselves together.

Images of floods and landslides are all around us. Homes destroyed, futures uncertain. Everyone is affected. And neither am I an exception to that. But, thankfully, the situation in our area is not as bad as in the images above. However, just across the street, where houses are along rice fields, some have beds all wet due to too much flood water. (Most of us live in one-storey dwellings.)

Amidst all these, one good thing always comes up. A lot of people are always seemingly willing to help – giving relief wherever needed. Unfortunately, very few think of long-term aid. The very same tragedy has happened in Southern Leyte a few years ago. The place where the landslide occurred was almost, as they say it, “written off the map”. But, apparently, no one bothered to do anything much about it. Now, people, politicians mostly, are bickering, passing around the blame. (Because someone just has to be blamed…)

Last year, it was the earthquakes. Haiti was the most devastated. Millions of dollars was supposed to flow into Haiti to aid in the nation’s recovery. However, after a year, not much has changed. A huge portion of the promised aid has not yet appeared in the country. Only a few people saw the bigger picture last year. And just like in Southern Leyte, no long-term plans has been effected.

On a lighter side, whenever there are floods, I’m always reminded of a song by the Jonas Brothers: Year 3000. (Or should I say Busted? I’ve never heard their original version so I wouldn’t be reminded of them.) In that song, there’s a line that says,

“Not much has changed but they lived underwater”

Is that what the future has in store for us? A world where people lived underwater? I sure do hope we’d have developed gills by that time.

Oh, well not all of us can look that far. To some, the world is gonna end in 2012. There’s even a dreadful radio advertisement from a fast food chain here that speaks of tragic events and ends with, “We only have until 2012.”