Starting this week, we still living here in the Philippines encountered the first bouts of deluge that are a sure sign of the arrival of the rainy season. With the advent of the rainy season, the start of the school season comes along with it too. Expect there to be heavy traffic starting tomorrow, as many schools start on Monday, June 4.
Familiar as we are with them, the rainy season and the increased traffic congestion that goes along with it are not the only things we should be concerned about. Just last week, the trial of Renato Corona had concluded. The result, already known to most people, was 20-3 in favor of conviction. Therefore, this means that not only was he removed from the position of Chief Justice, he is also prohibited from assuming any other public office. At this point, criminal cases and the possibility of disbarment are the next â€œtropical stormsâ€ expected to hit Corona very soon.
When it rains, it pours. We use this expression in English to refer to situations wherein many good things or many bad things all seem to happen to us at one time. Even if itâ€™s not the rainy season, the Philippines has always been under constant bombardment from â€œrainâ€ and â€œbad weatherâ€ brought about by the problems present in its society.
Letâ€™s start with the most obvious ones. Even the slightest bit of rain will clog up our streets and force us to walk submerged in water that isnâ€™t even remotely clean. The floods cause traffic to come to a standstill. The rains, when heavy, usually knock out power and telecommunication lines all over. The resulting flood water is filled with bacteria and other disease-causing agents which come from the mounds of garbage recklessly being thrown around by the Pinoys everywhere on the streets. The people living in areas such as Navotas know only too well the consequences of being near the coastline, and once the waters come rushing in, they need to find higher ground lest they want to be submerged in rainwater along with parts of that area. When dams overflow, the government has no other choice but to release some of the water. We can only imagine what happens to adjacent towns and villages who have to deal with it.
It gets even worse when there are winds that accompany the rain. ROOF FLIES OFF! But seriously, although we donâ€™t experience tornadoes here like they do in places such as the United States, hurricanes, or what we call here typhoons, are not a consolation prize worth winning. Besides, roofs arenâ€™t the only things that fly. In my area especially, trees come crashing down. Power grids and telephone poles are only too vulnerable to getting knocked out.
It seems depressing to talk about the rain. All that it brings with it is problem after problem. When I was younger, I was told by my elders that whenever it rains, it meant that somebody up in heaven was crying. Wow, more of that folk wisdom for you there. And since in Filipino society, people are taught what to think and not how to think, I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if there were people who actually believed this even into their adulthood. I have, or course, discarded this belief, but for some reason, the rain still seems to make me sad. That, though, is another matter entirely.
Filipinos have been living with the â€œcalamitiesâ€ of poverty, stagnant economic development, lack of basic infrastructure, and a generally indifferent government for decades. From the outside it looks as if Filipinos have been resilient enough to weather any storm that comes our way. The bigger question, though, is this: What lessons have we learned so that we can become better prepared for the next event, or cycle?
Not surprisingly, the often gravitated-to recourse of the Filipino is to blame the government. We shouldnâ€™t deny that governments reflect the very society that they come from. We as a people like to take shortcuts. We abhor having to plan long-term. Change for the better is a hard sell here because Filipinos prefer their comfort zone.
Resilience is not synonymous with mediocrity, folks. We may be still standing after many cycles of devastation but unless we change to adapt with the times, we will get swept away with time. Mother Nature and Fates happen to have a very sick and cruel sense of humor. To protest and to fight against them are futile.
The recently concluded impeachment trial should have showed us clearly that our government is clearly willing to take shortcuts to persecute its political enemies. They masquerade a political farce in the name of â€œdue processâ€. BS Aquino now has all three (3) government branches under his control, and now the next step is for him to silence all his critics. Itâ€™s ironic that heâ€™s turning out to be the very dictator that his dead father perceived Ferdinand Marcos Sr. to be, isnâ€™t it. How long are we still going to allow that walking calamity of a president we have to wreak havoc on our political institutions?
Now is the winter of our discontent. Governments should be afraid of their people. An alien concept honor may be here in the Philippines, but itâ€™s time to make our politicians remember that WE are their boss. If thereâ€™s one thing we shouldnâ€™t forget, itâ€™s their promise to US. However, itâ€™s impossible, and completely illogical, to demand change from our government without accepting that the same change needs to happen in ourselves. Otherwise, the same man-made calamities will keep happening over and over. Change starts from below, and within; no way to circumvent that reality.
If we Filipinos want to see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, weâ€™ve got to get through the rain first. Let’s weather the natural calamities and do away with the man-made ones.
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