ONCE more, most of us Filipinos can only sigh and prayerfully thank God that we did not suffer more than we did from the destruction that Typhoon Glenda wreaked on us. We should also pray that the approaching new storm, Henry, would be more benign.
As we write this, millions of us are still waiting for electric power to be restored in our offices and homes.
This time we must join the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) in praising the local governments in Metro Manila for their early preparation for the announced threat as Glenda approached the Philippines and for their prompt response to calls for help when Glenda hit our metropolis.
Caloocan teacher and TDC national chairman Benjo Basas expressed his association’s appreciation for the preparations in Metro Manila way before the storm arrived. He also lauded the local government units (LGUs) for their effective efforts to keep the people informed through mass media.
Basas cited the pre-emptive response of local governments, as well as the MMDA, which more than before did more work to be fully prepared for the incoming typhoon and to make the communities ready. He said they had evacuation centers ready for refugees, gave early warning to residents especially of riverside neighborhoods. He was all praise for the prompt issuance of orders for the cancellation of office work and classes.
“Previous disastrous typhoons, particularly Yolanda in the Visayas, left great lessons. It’s wonderful that because of these lessons governments and the citizenry now understand the importance of preparedness for calamities,” Basas said.
While the typhoon raged, Basas toured schools turned into evacuation centers, particularly in the CAMANAVA area (Caloocan, Navotas, Malabon and Valenzuela). He saw how prepared the teachers and DepEd officials were and how they all cooperated together with the local government personnel in rendering assistance to the evacuees. In Talipapa High School, Caloocan, near the Tullahan River, no less than five families took shelter early on. These were immediately taken care of by the teachers. Mayor Oca visited them, bringing relief goods. Potrero Elementary School in Malabon also served as an evacuation center where refugee families displaced from their Tullahan River communities received aid from teachers and LGU people. Dr. Mauro de Gulan, superintendent of schools, visited this refugee center and joined in the relief work.
Basas proudly said “all this is only one more proof that our schools and teachers are always available, ready, willing and able to respond to the communities’ needs in times of calamity.”
On the power situation, something must really be done for communities to be ready for such powerful winds as Glenda’s that uprooted large trees and threw these down on houses and boulevards, knocked down concrete walls and metal billboard frames. Glenda bent, broke and brought down electric posts and it destroyed transmission lines, causing a power outage that Meralco says will only be completely solved tonight.
Power outages bring about costly disruption of business and ordinary life.
Low fatality count
It is again something to praise the Disaster Reduction and Risk Management people that the fatality count has been much lower than in earlier typhoons.
But something must really be done apart from praying about it to mitigate the damage that typhoons–”acts of God” insurance contracts never fail to remind us–cause.
Architects have solutions. But these cost lots of money.
This all the more makes it imperative for our leaders, both of governments and private sector institutions, and us citizens to unite behind the creation of a wealthier Philippines. That is the first step in making us Filipinos much safer from natural disasters.