The fact that Typhoon Yolanda which made landfall in central Philippines yesterday is considered not only the most powerful storm in the world this year, but is actually the deadliest in recorded history, means that the damage it will bring will be unbearable.
Grim expectations are that the death toll will be high, and that damage to crops and property will be massive.
This early, the government and the private sector must have plans set on what to do next. Since this catastrophe will be one of biblical proportions, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of our countrymen will be displaced.
The province of Bohol which has barely recovered from last month’s killer earthquake was among the heaviest hit by Yolanda. But because this super storm will affect many provinces, the national government’s resources will be stretched to the limit. Tough decisions will have to be made on just how much of these resources will be allotted to which provinces.
It is not a stretch of the imagination to blame Janet Lim Napoles and her pork barrel scam cohorts for what is sure to be a shortage of funds. The suspension of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) means less funds will be available to honest senators and congressmen with which they can extend assistance to their constituencies.
Had all of the country’s lawmakers been more judicious in choosing which projects to fund and had none of the funds gone to the pockets of scam artists and con men, there would be more to go around when natural calamities strike.
Those heartless and soulless government officials and private individuals who pocketed hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, from pork barrel funds will surely burn in hell.
In the meantime, it is their poor countrymen whose lives would have been destroyed by the likes of Typhoon Yolanda and the intensity 7.2 Bohol earthquake that preceded it who must live in the private hells not of their own making. No one will blame them for cursing the men and women behind the pork barrel scam.
As this is being written, Typhoon Yolanda is wreaking havoc on the Visayas region and surrounding areas.
Presumably, the national and local government units have done all that can be done. But because the Philippines remains a developing country, tens of millions of Filipinos still live in semi-permanent homes made of wood, bamboo and nipa.
These are the types of homes that will be destroyed, perhaps totally. If the residents who live in such abodes were unable to run to safer havens, then it is only by the will of God that they will survive.
Today is a time for prayer for our countless countrymen who have fallen victim to the wrath of nature at its worst. And as soon as the killer storm exits the Philippine area of responsibility, it will be a time for extending help to survivors.
Now, more than ever, the bayanihan spirit that is inherent in every Filipino must come to the fore.
Every man, woman and child who can extend a helping hand must do so, without question and at the soonest time possible.
God bless the Philippines, God bless the Filipino people in this, one of their darkest hours, in modern history.