An aerial view of the site of a landslide caused by Severe Tropical Storm 'Paeng' last weekend in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Maguindanao province, on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.. PHOTO FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY
An aerial view of the site of a landslide caused by Severe Tropical Storm 'Paeng' last weekend in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Maguindanao province, on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.. PHOTO FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY

WHAT was said about Vietnam during its war years — "here is a graveyard of lost hopes" — would be an apt reference for the province of Maguindanao during the onslaught of "Paeng" — and many other events before that. Death and dying, caused by the cruelty of men and nature's wrath, double-whammy as a curse, seem to visit the place often. Even from faraway Central Luzon, one cannot maintain a sense of detachment from the multiple misfortunes of the place. As floodwaters from Paeng rushed in torrents to wash away settlements with the full force of hydrology and bury panicking residents in tons of mud and upland debris (in towns named after noblemen and datus at that), you are too paralyzed to say your "thoughts and prayers" are with the people of Maguindanao.

Instead, the horrific sense of death and dying pushes you to seek answers to some basic questions. Why do some places too often suffer from events on a biblical scale of destruction and fury? Why are some places so tormented and hobbled by tragedy due to the vehemence of men and the dark, destructive impulses of Mother Nature?

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