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Ear on the ground

Juan MercadoBy Juan Mercado
Few see it for now. Funerals for flood and mudslide victims are ongoing. Footage of traumatized survivors, sloshing through ruined homes, crams the evening news..
But put your ears to the ground. That low unceasing rumble is the seething anger of disaster victims. They blame inept and greedy officials for this mess.
It may take two months for stagnant water in places, like Pasig , to recede, UN undersecretary John Holmes was told.. Many waterways remain silted or illegally built over.. Prices of some crops have bolted, sometimes four fold. Thus, the fury also isnt subsiding.
Worse, proof has emerged that much of the tragedy could have been prevented. Neglect led to breakdown of Metro Manila Development Authoritys flood warning system. Greed creamed our forests. Official profligacy, like congressional pork, gutted disaster management programs.
Government pegged damage to farms and infrastructure at P10.4 billion. Nonsense, snort Oxford scholar Assad Baunto and Journalist Yasmin Arquiza. In a GMA report, they factor in overlooked losses from civil aviation, private homes, lost income from those who died, etc. Actual losses: P23 billion.
About P1.04 million people were given aid, the GMA report adds. That roughly comes up to P93.04 per person. Drawing a cake does not fill ones belly, the Chinese proverb says.
The President, meanwhile, created a reconstruction commission that scrounge for $1billion. A fraction of that amount would have built Noah-like control measures if adopted before the deluge.
Too-late-too-little action stokes resentments further.. These conjure images of volcanic magma boiling up. Recall Mount Pinatubo in 1991, Kanlaon in 1988 and Hibok-Hibok in 1948.
Enraged citizens could erupt in ways unforeseen. The mentally challenged may discount that likelihood. But the first overt signs are already there.
Livid citizens will sue National Power Corporation officials. Did they open sluice gates of the San Roque Dam recklessly? Like everyone else, Pangasinan congressmen were caught by the storm with pants down. Now, they indulge in morning-after criticism.
Anyone can become angry, Aristotle wrote. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not within everyones power.
Rina Jimenez David of Inquirer is a flood victim.. I never thought Id want to leave so badly as I do now, she wrote. Its the inconvenience of being a dutiful, tax-paying obedient citizen in a state where …everyone mouths slogans about good governance but where officials hold up worthwhile projects while waiting for “tong-pats.
The build-up of revulsion against “trapos” showed in people turn out for former President Corazon Aquinos funeral. That undercurrent shoved Senator Benigno Aquino to forefront of presidentiables.
The Internet letter titled Robin Hoodlum and his Band..reflects this disgust. It adapts Gemma Santos Dimaculangan original appeal: To All Filipinos Everywhere.
Can it get any worse than this?, the letter asks.
Lawless individuals practice law, make our laws, enforce the law They bear titles like Senator, General and worse, Presidentldblquote…These are Robin Hoodlum and his band of moneymen.
What do their children think of them? Are they breeding a new generation of improved Filipino crooks, with maybe a tad more style but equally negligible conscience?…
Im an ordinary citizen and taxpayer (and). 30 percent of my earnings go to the nations coffers. But government does not provide basic services that I expect and deserve. Rutty roads, poor educational system, poor social services, poor health services, poor everything.
E-mail: juanlmercado@gmail.com

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