Almost two weeks ago, Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda visited Metro Manila, leaving the capital of the Philippines and nearby provinces with memories of strong, howling winds, heavy rains, floods, flying roofs, fallen trees and blackouts. Nothing special, really. Most of us living in the Philippines are used to all those things.
What I find unusual is that despite experiencing a little more than a century of having typhoons and despite having experienced typhoons Ketsana/Ondoy and Haiyan/Yolanda, we haven’t really gotten around to developing a culture of foresight and preparation. I have to give it to Marikina for having warning sirens and for various broadcast networks for having information campaigns, but we’ve been used to having stopgap measures, to having relief drives that reflect our brand of compassion and unity and to waving the banner of the indomitable, “waterproof” Filipino spirit (as I have admittedly posted in my blogs in the past). Strength, unity and compassion are indeed good things, but I think it would be much better if we applied those principles in light of prevention instead of rehabilitation. We as citizens, could be compassionate to our fellow Filipinos by freely sharing our knowledge gained from the government and media about disaster risk mitigation and preparation and in doing so develop a preventive behavior and a more potent kind of strength that will truly unite us and help us stand upright the soonest after the storm.