My heart sank after hearing the news and seeing the pictures, videos of the outcome of the typhoon "Ondoy". It was devastating, leaving families homeless, properties damaged and feelings of anguish or despair among my fellow Filipinos. It was a calamity that struck not only the poor but also those who are not. I have heard stories from online friends in one egroup that I belong to. One says his brother's house was newlybuilt but has been damaged by the flood, good thing the family has not moved in yet. Another says, the whole house had been submerged, good thing the family was able to go to an apartment with 2nd floor. I also saw pictures of cars submerged in the flood, or stacked together caused by flash floods. Good thing, it's only the cars, the passengers were safe.
Notice that, in the stories there is always a "good thing" and that good thing saved the most important - the lives of the people. I hope that we all realize that God really loves us. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (New International Version) says"
8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Here are some of the things we can learn from Ondoy's tragedy:
1. The flood was not totally caused by the opening of the dam. If we have clean, free flowing 'esteros', rivers and floodways not congested by people living there, the water will not go into the streets.
2. Remember the slogan, "Basura mo, babalik sa yo" (your trash will come back to you if you don't dispose them properly). It was realized in the last weekend's tragedy. I remember seeing one photo of a frontgate completely covered with trash. I am not totally blaming the government for the poor implementation of the Solid Waste Management Act but more so of the people. Waste Segregation and Recycling should be strictly implemented and started in all the families, rich and poor. Even if the Garbage Collector gets "Di Nabubulok" when he is supposed to only get "Nabubulok", we should only put the correct trash outside on schedule. We should manage our trash, not only have one trash bin for everything, learn to recycle. My son was asking me why in the Philippines, we have no recycling bin or if ever there was (Meron daw sa SM), the trash inside is not for recycling and he was right. Haay, I'm getting hopeless here, but I still believe that with the recent tragedy, we can do the clean-up soon and start in our own homes. I notice that Filipinos only act on a solution if the problem hit bigtime. Let us not blame the government, let us start by ourselves. Minimize waste, use recyclable materials, Segregate, Reuse, Compost.
3. The basic things in life are already provided for. We may have lost our homes, cars, luxury or entertainment investments but we are provided with Food, Clothing, Water and Shelter. I am thankful for all those who have responded to the call of those who are in need, those who have donated and given cash. I hope we realize that All the things in this world are temporary and can be lost anytime. If we have forgotten God or may have been very busy working to pay for mortgage for the house or the car, or may have been busy with something, it's time to turn to God for renewal. God is what we need especially during these times. He is just waiting for us. Let us come to Him - our Lord and Savior.
4. Filipinos unite when tragedy strikes but I hope there's unity everytime. Let us not wait for a crisis to happen to show our love and kindness to our fellowmen. Let us love Filipinos unconditionally. I pray for those in authority to realize this and not only tell this when they're running for office.
I have many things still going on in my mind but I guess I have said the most important ones. I hope we all learn from Ondoy. We are always forgetful and we need to be reminded of these things when calamity happens.