I’d guess that for every hysterical and sensationalized news report on TV Patrol/24-Oras, there are probably hundreds or thousands of stories of people who planned and prepared well for what was obviously an imminent and widespread flooding disaster in Metro Manila.
I wanted to forego the usual rant about TV stations gunning for ratings by mercilessly wrenching sob and gore stories, because that can’t be helped at all.
The Filipino people’s unhealthy compulsion for hero worship and for fawning over victims has tragically skewed their culture that most of them are not only blind to the world outside the sphere of their dirty navels, they are phobic and thus given to violently opposing the idea that perhaps life doesn’t have to be a melodrama.
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Thus the Filipino’s appetite for video of gory wrecks, mangled bodies, rotting corpses, blood, mucus, sputum, all manner of crap, and pitiful caterwauling must be fed — otherwise, the eyeball along with TV advertisers go away.
But, heck, after hauling back all the stuff I stowed high up where the flood waters won’t reach ’em, I find a tweet on Twitter asking “Why do people continue to live in Provident Village and this led me to Patricia “Patring” Evangelista’s article on Rappler which painted a rather misleading account of what it was like inside Provident when waters began to rise.
Evangelista’s article on the flooding in Provident Village seems somewhat of a typical specimen of parachute journalism delivered in her characteristically contrived sullen tone and comes off as a hack-writing job intended more for “disaster porn” than real journalism — which is becoming somewhat of a rare profession in these days of over-hyped social media news reporting.
Ms. Evangelista writes: “It is a village of rusting two-story homes and broken wiring, where faded For Sale signs are set against windows flush against broken glass. Apartments are abandoned. Cars are left to rust. Homes that once sold for millions are on the market for a tenth of the price, with no takers.”
First off, it is NOT a village of rusting two story homes. To be fair, there are a dozen or so houses out of the hundreds that are here that were abandoned during Ondoy and are still abandoned up to now. Some are up for sale at a considerable bargain, but not at ONE TENTH OF THE MARKET PRICE as Ms. Evangelista claims.
Second, if there are cars left to rust, those might either be the ones inside the Capacete Auto Repair Shop or on the St. Joseph area of Riverside drive where there is a Taxi barn — where these are either being fixed or are being salvaged for parts. Residents in San Isidro, Holy Family, and other parts of Provident Village don’t tolerate people who leave junk on the street — much less abandoned cars. This is Marikina City, after all — people take pride in keeping their streets clean.
Third, the only reason why Ondoy was tragic for the residents here is that Ondoy flooded the village in a matter of minutes when for decades it usually just creeps over a span of hours. It was a complete surprise and didn’t give the people here time to make the usual preparations — such as hauling stuff to the second floor or putting things up on tables and ledges.
Habagat in 2012 and Habagat/Maring were comparatively mild compared to Ondoy, thus giving people enough time to stowaway their stuff and get out of the village.
Virgie, the person interviewed by Ms. Evangelista, probably lives in one of the few loobans in St. Joseph, and is not the typical resident of Provident Village. So, using Virgie’s account as a way to describe Provident Village appears to have forced a perspective on a situation and came off a grossly inaccurate account.