What now?

The onslaught of typhoon “Super Juan” only proved one thing. We will continue to brace for the worse, before the situation gets better.

We have just witnessed nature’s wrath and we expect more killer cyclones to hit the archipelago until early next year. It cannot be avoided so the Aquino government is dead-bent to impose necessary precautionary measures to mitigate the disaster.

Before the typhoon struck, the President had already instructed local authorities to ensure that people who were affected by the typhoon were their priority. That means   there should be areas for their immediate relocation if needed, while the police, the military and frontline service agencies were there to assist them.

It’s really relieving to find that we are taking the problem seriously. We have not really lost the bayanihan spirit which help enliven the nation despite political disasters.

After the typhoons, we don’t need to lament that we live in a God-forsaken country because we saw how the nation can be united in times of natural disaster.

But we are not saying that when so-called calamity funds come out, the same thing will happen. We have seen how public coffers were plundered under the guise of helping calamity victims. The national agencies would fight it out to get a bigger slice of the funds, while our powerful lawmakers and local officials will just have to wait as if it was manna from heaven that they will be allocated funds for their respective constituents.

So what will the PNoy do? I’m sure he won’t just allow public funds to be plundered again as if it was his obligation to lead the “doleout” program every time there is a calamity that hit the country.

I just hope that Mr. Aquino would not be easily enticed to use as an excuse to renew our importation binge on rice, now that the National Food Authority has again hinted that by the end of the year the country is expected to suffer “reduced” rice outputs due to the projected damage caused by the super typhoon in major rice-producing provinces. If that happens, we will find ourselves hostage again by the new players who will take advantage of the rice importation scheme that was institutionalized by the previous regime.

In the next few days, expect another wave of proposals for new infrastructure projects to offset the impact of future typhoons or just simply on how they can repair structures damaged by the recent typhoon. Again, we find the political vultures on top of the situation.

Methinks it’s time for Mr. Aquino to end this seemingly endless cycle of fooling the people that government is doing everything to mitigate disasters to facilitate the release of funds that will only fall into the hands of new grafters in government and their favored contractors.

The President must show a doable blueprint on how to mitigate calamities, which were normally being forgotten after the funds for so-called relief and rehabilitation forts have been released. We just hope he starts to push the country towards agricultural modernization since food security is top in his agenda, Mr. Aquino remains popular because our people believe that he can really correct the mistakes in the past. He should start working out a program that would really put public money to where it is needed, and not just merely announce that government is release so–and-so amount for funds after declaring calamity areas.

Mr. Aquino is no traditional politician. He should not be lured by the old guards in Philippine politics, who can really hold him hostage now that he needs their political support. The President should put into consideration the plight of the people, who will the way, be the gauge on whether the PNoy is really successful in his own style of governance. Joel Paredes


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