• Time for better leaders, voters

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    If there is a painful lesson that the Philippines should learn from Typhoon Yolanda, it is the need for voters to be wiser in choosing the people they put in public office, and for politicians, down to the barangay level, to be more aware of the issue of climate change.

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    This is not to say that Congressmen and Senators should be “experts” in climate change (although that will greatly help). Rather, legislators should know how to protect their constituents and the Republic from the adverse effects of climate change, and more importantly, not think that there will not be another Yolanda, Ondoy, Pablo, among other deadly storms.

    Weather experts even say that Yolanda won’t be the last that will hit the Philippines, and that is a terrifying thought. What is more terrifying, however, is for the country’s politicians to ignore the need for them to start thinking proactively in crafting legislation and government programs that will help the country as a whole deal with the effects of deadly storms.

    And dealing with storms does not only mean distributing relief packages.

    Among the suggestions of The Manila Times of climate change-related legislation that can be enacted are a land-use plan that will identify areas vulnerable to disasters, that should be declared unfit for human habitation; rehabilitation and protection of green zones that can mitigate the effects of storms, like forests and mangrove areas; penalizing real estate companies or commercial firms that aggravate an area or community’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change; and setting the required action that all local officials should take when there is a storm warning, like making forced evacuations and readying all types of relief aid at least 24 hours before a storm makes landfall.

    More importantly, Congress should pass a law meting out capital punishment for officials who steal or embezzle during times of calamities, regardless of the amount stolen or pocketed.

    For voters, they should elect people who have a pro-active thinking on how to deal with climate change.

    More importantly, voters should cast aside politicians who make their campaign trails a local version of “Show Time,” or those who have nothing but establishing basketball courts and waiting sheds, and conducting longganisa-making seminars as their major accomplishments. And let us banish all politicians who lined their pockets from the pork barrel or public funds.

    While the national government and local officials can claim that Yolanda was just a too powerful a storm, the truth is a lot of proactive action could have been taken to mitigate the effects of the super typhoon.

    Forcing residents to go to evacuation centers ahead of the storm, pre-packing relief goods, and getting the armed forces ready at 24 to 48 hours before Yolanda made landfall could have been done by the national government and local officials.

    There still would be casualties even if all of those measures were done, but the situation would not be as bad as it is now, with many typhoon-hit areas still looking like wastelands with badly neglected people.

    Just see the example of Albay, whose governor Joey Salceda has put into place pro-active measures to deal with disasters like storms and even the eruption of Mayon Volcano. Salceda is also now the chairman of a United Nations body that has up to $100 billion for international climate change programs.

    Let us just hope politicians and voters from all over the Philippines will not easily forget the lessons from Yolanda’s devastation, because more storms of that kind will surely visit the country.

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    8 Comments

    1. Good idea but what about the PCOS ? Our elections are now farcical exercises in futility in the expression of the will of the electors. The “winners” will always be those that the ruling cabal blesses and not those voted for by the people but what are pre-programmed in the PCOS. So all campaigns for voters to wisen up in selecting their leaders will be for naught. Let us get rid of this curse NOW and prosecute the people who did this travesty to our democracy.

    2. Isang pakiusap sa Pamunuan ng Aborlan at Palawan:

      SANA po ay makinig tayo sa mga dalubhasa dahil hindi naman sekreto ang mga impormasyon tungkol sa patuloy na paglala ng CLIMATE CHANGE. May mga kababayan po tayong nag-hunger strike ngayon sa CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE SA WARSAW, POLAND para maipamata sa mga Industrialized nations ang emergency situation na kinahaharap ng mga archipelagic countries na kaparis ng Pilipinas sa mga delubyong kaparis ni Yolanda. Si yolanda po ay hindi huling malakas na bagyong darating sa ating bansa at probinsya. Sana po ay wag tayo ang mataan sa mga susunod pang pagdating ng delubyo.

      Ayon sa DENR-MGB, ang Roxas, Aborlan at Narra ay kasali sa mga bahaing lugar sa Palawan. Ang isang resulta ng patuloy na pagtaas ng tubig sa dagat dala ng Greenhouse gases na patuloy na itinatapon sa athmosphere. Wag po tayo magbingi-bingihan para lamang protektahan ang mga business na hindi naman tunay na nagmamalasakit sa atin bagkus ay nandiriyan para tayo PAGKAKITAAN.

      Hindi pa po huli ang lahat, may mga options pang iba, invest in your FUTURE NOW.

      Say NO TO COAL POWER PLANT IN ABORLAN.

    3. The problem is most politicians worry about their pockets, how much can I make when a law is pass or a non-sense project is started. The gov. Focus is to make the philippine gov rich for people in position. How bout focusing on building the economy to give back to the country and it’s people? That being said, I mean improving roads, bridges, water transportations besides our lands are separated by water. Lease a whole island to the us military for their base that should be income making to build a strong stable start with the benefits of having a defense. Most impotprtantly the corruption needs to stop. We need to bring in big businesses in and we need to stop being proud of our domestic Filipino helpers this shows and should tells us how poor our country is. Philippines is not poor, we are a country that is united and people with a bigger heart than our islands.

    4. james gutierrez on

      it is now time for the filipino people to wake up and elect a leader who will serve the public. it is now time for the people to vote intelligently rather than vote because the politician is a celebrity, the politician provided money for schooling, and many others good deeds. the people should vote for a leader who will deliver in good times as well as bad times and has the leadership character to deliver and provide the needs of the people. A leader who will put the people first rather than look after his friends, supporters and self interest. A leader who will not enrich himself,his supporters and friends.

      We must stop electing the well known politician, celebrities. Dynasty politician the likes of Marcos, Romualdez, Drillon, Cayetano, Escodero, Arroyo, Estrada, Revilla and others, they are in politics not to serve the people but to enrich themselves and their friends and relatives.

      A leader who has the integrity, respect, honest, loves to listen and a leader who can communicate and relate to the people.

      I hope our fellow countryman will open their eyes, ears and think when election is called.

      I am not only talking about to elect a president but to elect our leader from barangay, mayor, governor, senator, congressman, and president.

      Good luck.

    5. But how can you put the AFP on 24 hrs notice to be ready for incoming disaster like this one when they are ill equipped. we have an airforce with only 3 cargo planes and soon one of them will crash due to over usage of this relief operations, then they only have 16 Huey light choppers that can not carry much load for relief operation, and I wonder if they even have enough portable generators from their engineering units or seabees of the navy. we are one of the most stupid country in the world, thats what it is. we do not know how to manage our resources and make long term plans wether disaster relief, military operations or economy. Just look at how they handled the MNLF attacks in Zamboanga, we have blunders one after the other for our stupid leaders.

    6. …meaning, stop voting for Liberal Party candidates or the yellows….!

      okay po, never again….goodbye Roxas….

    7. Lessons on survival as a person and as community are learned the hard way, if for us to ever remember them. One lesson: preparedness for a calamity involves actually attending to essentials – food, clothing, shelter, communication, health, among others. Second: selecting community/country leaders – down-to-earth honest, hardworking, not the first ones to save own skin during disasters, acting for the public good. Third: instead of fighting like dogs for food and safety, helping one another reduces risks to limb and life and sustains our bayanihan spirit. Kudos to MT editorial!

    8. Many qualified candidates for both local and national elected positions have come and gone, never elected. Why, because of the Filipino mind set of electing popular candidates who they always see on TV, movies, magazines and broadsheets and those who are moneyed enough to pay for their exposure and buy votes. Considering that a good percentage of Filipinos are not logically educated, there should be legislation to let only those citizens who have certain level of education to elect national positions like President, Vice-President, Senators and Congressmen. Another matter is enact the Anti-dynasty law. Let us face it unless we overhaul the electoral system the public will continue electing actors, actresses, media personalities, singers and those members of political dynasties who are in the for the MONEY AND POWER.