• Foregoing festivities after the storm

    Ej Lopez

    Ej Lopez

    The recent natural calamities that struck the nation have changed the phase of the upcoming big festivities that traditionally come in the last month of the year. Perhaps to commiserate with the fatalities of the catastrophe, some have deemed it wise to contribute their supposed expenses for the Yuletide celebration to the victims of the said misfortune.

    This seems to be the trend among the local as well as international community. The unneeded “popularity” brought about by the great “howler” that leveled of a great part of Eastern Visayas has rekindled the other side of the person, his goodness; that despite political and historical differences, these can be set aside for the greater interest. The gathering of nations was unprecedented in history just like the historical remnants of Typhoon Yolanda. The unparalleled generous gestures displayed by local as well as foreign donors uplift the spirit and ease the burden suffered by the victims. That is despite the aftermath of the merciless storm that has practically put to naught the years of development and economic gains that was achieved by the region. The devastation, despite its numerous misgivings and irreparable moral and physical damages, brought out the best in each one of us. That good gestures and kind-heartedness displayed by the community of nations transcend political conflicts, religious, cultural and historical differences.

    But should we set aside the celebration of the birth of the Redeemer to empathize with the victims of the disaster?

    While it is true that everybody sympathizes with the victims of the tragedy, should this empathy go to the extent of giving up traditional celebration for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ? Should we set aside joyous celebration in lieu of earthly sufferings that comes akin to our mortal existence?

    Overflowing material, financial and moral supports have been extended to the victims. Practically, it could sum up to a long-term support for disaster victims. Nearly every single Filipino has done his or her share of assistance to the fatalities and in fact, is willing to extend for as long as needed.

    Don’t you think that we should spare a portion of the season, and set aside a time to celebrate among our friends the birth of our Redeemer? We have done and given our share, and we can only do so much as an individual. We should not allow calamities like these to change the phase of our religious and cultural tradition. If we continuously lurk in grief and sorrow, then we act in contrary to what should be the appropriate spirit of the season.

    For after all, as the song goes, “Joy to the World the Lord is come . . .”

    Economic outcome of Yolanda

    Several apprehensions have been made as regards the economic growth aftermath of the monstrous devastation that Yolanda brought the country about three weeks ago. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 7 percent could be jeopardized because of the amount lost in terms of infrastructure, crops and lost lives. To date, approximately P24 billion is estimated to have been lost because of the typhoon in Eastern Visayas. That’s roughly a little less than 5 percent of GDP. Does the government have that much money to spend to rehabilitate and bring back a semblance of normalcy to the region? Are the businessmen still willing to do business in our country despite what transpired? Are the people willing to stay in the region now that it has been uncovered that typhoons of gigantic proportions will become an ordinary thing in the years to come because of global warming?

    The economic impact of the tragedy will not be an immediate factor in the current year-end growth rate. At this point, the assistance coming from local as well as foreign donors can sustain what have been negatively affected by the storm. The impact of total unemployment that has stricken the region has been cautioned by the continuous outpouring of relief goods not only locally but international as well. Complementary to the increase employment thrust is the government’s program of easing the burden of unemployment by introducing the “cash for work program.”

    The impact of unemployment will set in perhaps in the firstt quarter of 2014, when everything has settled down and the people of the calamity-stricken region begin to feel the loss of their livelihood.

    The first quarter growth of next year will feel the brunt of the aftereffect of the storm with the increase in the unemployment rate. Depending on the amount of the region’s contribution to GDP, the post calamity effect of regional productivity will definitely affect the Visayan regions contribution to the local GDP.

    However, this can possibly be offset by investment from local as well as foreign investors, which according to sources are already in the pipeline. One thing going for the local growth is the fact that despite the continued slide in the President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s trust rating, his grade category is still classified as good to very good, and therefore continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the people.

    For comments email: doc.ejlopez@gmail.com with cc to: opinion@manilatimes.net.


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