In November 2013, the onslaught of Supertyphoon Yolanda in the Visayas regions send a very clear message to concerned government agencies and local governments to be vigilant on the implementation of their disaster risk reduction and management plans, comprehensive land use plans, zoning ordinances among other efforts to preserve and protect the environment to prevent the loss of tens of thousands of innocent lives and inflict damage to billions worth of properties. Everyone was on their toes at that time but over the lapse of time, people have again gone back to their original behavior of hastily putting up structures in supposed no build zones.
The recent onslaught of Tropical Cyclone ‘Ineng’ in most parts of Northern Luzon, especially the Cordillera, is considered the second wake up call for concerned government agencies and local governments to strictly implement the appropriate regulations in order to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents that would compromise the safety of hundreds of lives and millions worth of properties. The tragic incident in sitio Elizabeth, barangay Taneg, Mankayan, Benguet proves to be an unending lesson for our small-scale miners and a simple wake up call for government agencies and local governments to be enable to protect them from eminent danger similar to the previous situations that led to loss of hundreds of lives of pocket miners.
It is disheartening to note that concerned government agencies and local governments have obviously been remised in their respective duties and responsibilities to cascade to the grassroots level the importance of having a doable disaster risk reduction and management plan, comprehensive land use plan, zoning ordinance among other related local laws that would define the right direction of ensuring the safety of the people from eminent danger. Incidental to that would put to question the political will of incumbent local officials in deterring the occurrence of similar incidents in the future. Most of the time, local officials had been tolerating the proliferation of informal settlers in urban centers because of migration from the provinces for them to be able to find sufficient sources of livelihood to improve their living condition. The state of survival among our people in the countryside casts doubts on the ability of the government to effectively and efficiently address poverty in the remote villages and that the same had been a perennial problem every administration that existed in the bureaucracy.
Enough is enough for good but repetitive laws. We have a lion’ share of good laws but the main problem is the clear absence of a top to bottom political will to implement the law to the fullest. We have to stand firm to the famous legal maxim, ‘the law is harsh, but it is the law,’ thus, what needs to be done by those in the seat of power is to implement the true letter of the law in relation to issues and concerns beneficial to the greater majority of the people.
It is now high time for government agencies and local governments to put in place the identification of geologically hazardous areas, ascertain which are the so-called high-risk, medium-risk and low-risk and impose the guidelines to the fullest. Let us not wait for another Super typhoon Yolanda or Tropical Cyclone Ineng to take its wrath on us and inflict more losses of lives and damages to properties before we will wake up to the truth that we really need to put our acts together. For our people, irregardless of our main agenda in life, we must also learn to adhere to the existing rules and regulations being imposed to guarantee our safety. It is unfair to argue that government agencies and local governments are only favoring influential individuals in acting on their claim for lands in limited areas. Let us learn to be resourceful and disciplined in dealing with the safety of our families or else we will suffer the bitter consequences of our lapses in judgement. Most of the time, we learn to admire the song entitled ‘what part of no don’t you understand.’
We were born to live life to the fullest that is why let us always make the best decisions in our life in order for us to gain the optimum length given to us by the Almighty Father to live on earth. It is high time for us to abide by the rules in our quest for better life. Let us not live life at the expense of others but instead let us live life with others so as not to compromise our safety and security. Let us learn to listen, obey and chart the way we want life to be without trumpling upon the rights of others. Let us start it among ourselves, contaminate the members of our respective families and spread to the community that we cannot go against nature, we should go with nature for us to be able to be spared from eminent danger posed by nature to us in the future.