Wednesday, November 20, 2013


This hashtag keeps circulating on the World Wide Web and other social media as it clearly shows the devastation of certain islands and regions in the Vizayas after they were ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda (international name, Haiyan). My heart bleeds every time I watch on national television the horrifying and heartbreaking aftermath of the incident that occurred on November 08, 2013. Many areas of Tacloban City were wiped out by a storm surge. This kind of typhoon onslaught is prevalent nowadays not only in Philippines but also in other parts of the World. Climate is indeed changing for the worst and we have to act now. The lessons learned from this tragedy always reflected the impact right after the incidents occurred.  Pointing fingers is just a normal scene every time this kind of disaster happens.  It all boils down to one common problem --- complacency resulting in a serious loss of lives. 

This kind of tragedy gives the national and local governments a big slap on the face for being caught unprepared. PAGASA gave accurate warning, but people on the ground were caught flat-footed because of poor information dissemination about the possible effects of this typhoon on people’s lives and properties once it hit the country. But question is, who are the people leading the government? What are they doing? Why did this happen? Aren’t they intellectually bright enough to think of strategic ways on how we can prevent loss of lives and damage to property? They don’t have supernatural power; they only have the same physical strength like us. What differentiates them from us is they have the power and authority to govern and mobilize the people from the ground and design strategic planning come this kind of disaster.   But keep in mind that no human being is more powerful in preventing what is written. It is an act of God. 

What are the long-term plans that we can prepare for disaster risk management? All these data must be searchable in all community websites and other social media so that survivors can find it useful for any rescue operations effort.

1. Availability of Demographic Profile per Barangay (Community)- Accurate data are indeed necessary in logistic planning like mass evacuation and projection of casualties both in lives and property when disasters occur. This demographic profile should include number of houses, bldgs, lots/ people living in barangays/community, especially those living along coastal and upland areas.  These data should be readily available on their respective websites or other social media.

2. Personal Identification or Universal ID- There are national and local data from different agencies that we might possibly use in order to come up with a database purposely for mapping, profiling and identifying certain persons. This can be done through a web-based system like people finder.

3. Documentation of peoples, event and places are effective virtual solution of narrating the stories from the beginning of the tragedy to rescue operation and how they will become part of the history. This can teach those who are left behind to think of more concrete plans on what to do next in case the same disaster occurs.

4. Despite our own ancestral house will be directly affected by the planned coastal widening and clearing of river banks project of the national government, this long-term plan should be started to move and put into action so that local government could also do its share and maximize its effort in identifying higher grounds for mass housing project for possible affected families.

These are just a few strategies that we can do for starters as we learn the lessons of this tragedy. As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.”  We better equip ourselves with knowledge and strengthen our faith in Him so that when the time comes that He wants us to join Him in His Heavenly Kingdom, we can reflect, contemplate and repent for our sins, and share what we can do to others who are undergoing the same trying times.

Photos below are the initiatives of the City Government of Balanga to support victims of #typhoonyolanda.

1. Planting of around 13,000 Mahogany seedlings in upland areas of the City of Balanga coinciding with the birthday celebration of our Local Chief Executive, Mayor Joet S. Garcia last November 12, 2013, as part of his birthday wish list.

2. City Government Officials, Department Heads and employees hold a weeklong Garage Sale in front of city hall. Proceeds from this activity will benefit victims of Typhoon Yolanda.


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