sendong & the president
finally read the looong statement of the president in tagalog, then too the english version, and i’ve been sitting here since, trying to figure out why it doesn’t work for me, why it’s too much and too little at the same time. i suppose because not all the carefully worded promises and reminders, not the most efficient task force looking into the why’s and who’s and how’s, will better equip us (not soon enough, anyway) in this age of climate change to prevent a sendong or an ondoy from again and again wreaking wanton disaster and death anywhere on these our widely populated but environmentally degraded and deforested islands.
“hearing” the president wondering why illegal logging hasn’t stopped despite his order, why people won’t evacuate despite warnings, why people even build and live in risky areas, why rescuers have to risk their own lives to save people who refused to heed warnings — these do not inspire confidence that the president despite his super-powers is anywhere near to coming up with ways of mitigating the devastating effects of future sendongs.
the 70 percent who approve of his presidency are quick to make excuses for him, of course. it’s a humongous problem, the roots of which go back to previous presidencies and policies before his time. he cannot be blamed for the sorry state of the environment, much less of the messed up values that govern our lives. and, yeah, he should not be criticized for christmas-partying with the psg that provides security for him and his sisters.
and totoo naman, okay lang mag-party ang presidente nuong sunday, if only on saturday, the moment he was informed of the magnitude of the disaster, he had come out on nationwide tv with a simple presidential message, of grief and mourning, assuring us of his concern and exhorting us all to work with government in addressing the needs of the victims. as it turned out, we didn’t need exhorting to help out, but we did need to see, to know, that our president was with us.