Saturday, October 10, 2009

Corruption is the Worst Disaster The Philippines is Struggling With

Call me cynical, heartless or evil. I don’t care. This is just too much than I can take. Enough romanticizing Ondoy disaster. Ok, I used romanticizing for the lack of term. Let’s say, dramatize. Still an awful one, but i mean something to that effect. Enough, please.

You may be thinking that a person who has a nerve to say this would probably be a person who’s never affected by the typhoon, a masochist and, yeah, an evil. Yes, I admit, I was never affected by this calamity in any way. The neighborhood I live in is not vulnerable to flooding and, coincidentally, my unit is situated in the 4th floor. If you already hate me with the tone of how this entry started, fine, hope for an earthquake then. You might get even with me in this. Am I a masochist? Nah, not yet. Evil? Look, I don’t really believe in evil and, neither, i am afraid of hell. Umh, that won't really hurt me.

The damage caused by the Ondoy typhoon has reached to PhP4.69 billion of agricultural sector and infrastructure. The number of fatalities rose to 246 and increasing as the rescue teams continuously unearth more bodies from the landslide affected areas. There are 1,939,729 people nationwide affected by this calamity. These are not mere statistics, I know. These are people who have lost families and hard-earned properties and homes. These are people who have lost hope, don’t know where and how to begin. You surprise that I know all these and yet I’m stoic?

Let’s start with the financial aid we got from foreign countries to help us rescue and rehabilitate what have been damaged. In the list released by the DFA, we got donations from Canada ($4.63 million), Spain ($1.46 million), Australia ($866,000), Germany ($729,000), Italy ($314,000), South Korea ($300,000), Switzerland ($242,000), Japan ($223,000), China ($140,000), United States ($100,000), Singapore ($30,000), and France ($14,583). These don’t include those countries that have also sent relief goods and other aid support aside from money. To these countries, we can’t thank them enough bearing in mind that they also have their own crises and citizens to look after to more than anything else. They may be rich but they have rich-problems too. Y’know what I mean? These exclude the local donations from Filipino companies, celebrities and politicians, which also amount to a minimum of a million peso from each donor. Now, do the addition and some estimation. A big money right? Is this enough to restore everything? No. Not to mention that we can not really help much to those who have lost love ones, to those who were traumatized, to those emotionally disturbed, to those who simply lost hope – whatever that they’ve gone through to feel that. But, definitely, this is already a good amount to start with, if and only if, every single centavo will be utilized to ensure the health, security and rehabilitation of the victims and their homes, as well as their damaged communities and infrastructure.

Now, did you ever wonder where these donations are and how are these spent? If you do, like you have a sort of a breakdown- maybe coming from the Commission on Audit- how the money spent and some proof that it really was spent to how it is allocated and record of beneficiaries, etc., please do let me know so I wouldn’t be like this. You know, I wanted to get some off from my work and go to the relief stations where volunteers are packing goods for the victims or to go to the evacuation sites and help whatever work they have there. As an employee in a government office, I have access to wherever I wanted to volunteer. DSWD is working with us and needs more volunteers. My housemates and a few friends even volunteered, but I can’t. I just can’t. Hell, I don’t want to be part of their rotten system. Everything just seems so wrong for me.

1. Corrupt forever – Flooding and typhoon strike us every year. Every year. Shouldn’t we, at least, have improved our disaster risk management? Shouldn’t we have an efficient plan should another calamity like this comes again? Shouldn’t we have allotted budget for this? The problem is that we don’t learn. Fuck, I’m so sick and tired of us soliciting foreign aids, when there should be money if some officials didn’t steal from the country’s fund. We know how much money they spend for their political t.v. advertisement, for their mansions abroad, for their luxurious trips among others. Where do the money came from? They blatantly steal from the people. How many times have we proven some higher officials guilty of corruption, and how many times have we denied justice? We've been screwed right beneath our nose. If you don't seem so angry about this, well, you're the evil (i'll use the term on you if you believe in it). With the typhoon financial aid, I don’t want to make a concluding statement, but I’m pretty sure, even without fucking evidences, that the money won’t all go for the purpose of which it is donated. And I can’t help considering that the national election will already be a few months to go. What a timing, indeed, for those greedy and thicked-face crocs.

2. Slackers at evacuation – We all know that after a few days the water has subsided in most of the areas affected. Alright, it was reported that another typhoon was coming up. It turned out that the typhoon hit in other parts of Luzon. (Damn, this would be another thing that made me just wanna flee the country. Screw nationalism.) So, the water has subsided, why do these people just slack around at evacuation centers and enjoy being served bacons for breakfast? Why don’t they go back to their houses and start cleaning up, see what house stuff they can still repair and use or what should already thrown out, etc. I'm there, they’re devastated emotionally, but we need them to pick themselves up. We can only help them as much, but more that anything else, they have to plan and work on for themselves. C’mon, don’t tell me all their money have been washed out? Maybe they have a few savings in the bank to start with. The government has offered calamity loans and housing loans. It had also released a memorandum that the 13th month pay of the employees affected will be released this October. Private companies do have their own programs that would help their affected employees, at least, to start again. I mean, there are a lot of help around waiting for them. Let's not tolerate them to slack around in the evacuation centers.

3. Inappropriate - It’s been 2 weeks already since the typhoon. Do you think these people still need relief goods; like canned food, bottled water, sandwiches and other immediate commodity usually distributed during or right after the typhoon when everything is not in place and quite helpless? I don’t think this is exactly what these people need now so stop packing and distributing those goods ‘coz I’m not an idiot not to know that some of the politicians are already using this opportunity to campaign for the 2010 election. You’ve seen relief bags with the politicians' names inside the packages. With these packages they kinda save a lot to realize their campaign strategies, this is already below the line campaigning. For me, this is some sort of a vote buying. So, if we can already stop this or, if there are still communities who need relief goods, can we just focus on them now? If there are still a lot of donated goods that need to be distributed then why don't we bring them up to northern Luzon where also devastated by another typhoon very recently. But, please don’t allow bags with politicians or presidentiables names inside. One needs not to be recognized if one only, genuinely, wanted to extend help.

I still have a lot in mind, but I’d rather end this entry as I already need to take a bath. I'm going out. I have to drive my bike to the vulcanizing shop to have the wheels checked and I have to buy a Pylox spray paint – I’m painting my ride black. You know, I may have analyzed things in a wrong way but I know you can’t deny all the verging filthy issues behind the calamity. Ok, I have no right to tell you to stop sensationalizing ‘coz, indeed, this is one phenomenon we’ve never experienced since 1960s. But I only mean that we stop the overly romantic take on this that weakens people’s drive to move on and making them dependent like the world owes them all the help they need. Instead, we take this as it is, move on, and give the people opportunities to start. I remember back when i was still in grade school, we experienced a very strong earthquake in my hometown. Our house was partly damaged. My grandma's breakable merchandises in her small store were damaged. We were traumatized. After the earthquake, we just gathered in the house and cleaned up and fixed what have been damaged. We never asked or waited for any help from the government. Well, maybe it's just some sort of a family values. We solve our own problems and we don't involve other people for help. I'm not saying it's wrong to ask help, what I'm only saying is that the best person who can really help you is yourself. The Ondoy disaster is just a tiny tragedy we will encounter while living in this world. Yes, it’s difficult to start all over again, as I have said I’m not in the right position as I wasn't a victim in this, but when will we move on?

So enough of the drama...

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