... but maybe we had it coming?
First of all, there is no real defense against Acts of God. They are just forces greater than we are. They can strike anywhere, at anytime. They do not care if you're brilliant or stupid, famous or not, rich or poor, single or married, old or young. And Death, when it's your time, will not discriminate between a man wearing expensive underwear and a man wearing tattered panties (because panties are cheaper to buy than briefs).
So when Ondoy came, Manila was certainly at its mercy. It cannot simply rain that much without destroying anything. That's a law of nature in itself.
But maybe, we are also not entirely blameless as to the degree of devastation and loss of life.
After all, we marched on the streets to oust a President for gambling but re-elected a President who spends P800 million on foreign trips. And not voting at all does not make us blameless for putting her there.
And we allow her to put her cronies in key positions, all of whom drive us further into debt while enjoying what's left of the government's coffers. Meanwhile, roads are given token patches but are not really improved. Taxes we pay still do not go into health care and education. But are we offended enough by the corruption to remove these 'leaders' from their seats of power?
And do we join environmental groups when they protest the construction of certain buildings and towers? Where are we when trees are being cut down to make way for villages and industrial parks?
Do we recycle and reuse? How often do we bring our own water anywhere? How many bring their own shopping bags for groceries? How many of us dispose of our trash properly?
How many of us smoke?
How many of us save energy?
If we had leaders who were actually concerned about serving the country, then funds would have been better appropriated and there will actually be available resources to be used in such emergencies. Help would have gotten faster to people who needed it.
Plus, industrialization will happen in a more prudent way.
If we, as a people, are disciplined enough to follow our laws, respect our authorities and be concerned about the environment in which we live (and the natural resources that's abundant in the Philippines), there wouldn't be that much garbage and there would be that much more trees.
Then again, because we were so naturally rich, we have taken it for granted that we will always be. Unfortunately for us, we cannot keep what we do not care for. And now, a lot of what we had going for us is lost.
And then there's still that complacency. We know we're being wronged and yet, the most we do about it is complain or Tweet. We expect others to march in the rallies for us, to be the one knocking on doors and swinging the axes.
But wait, we still have People Power. We never lost it, after all. But somehow, after wielding it once or twice before, we always go back to 'sleep' and dream again of a better Philippines without ever waking up to do the work.
Ondoy was... IS a nightmare. I wonder, is it enough to anger us into action and make things better, or will it just make us angry? Will we finally help ourselves or just keep crying for help?
Make no mistake, had we better leaders and more disciplined citizens, Ondoy still would have ruined and killed. But I believe, we'd have saved more lives at least. And the victims would have more hope and drive to rebuild.
We did not deserve what happened to us... but seeing that it already happened, what are we already doing to make sure it doesn't happen again?
Like what I said in Facebook... Even God said we should do our best for Him to do the rest. We cannot just express sadness over the tragedy, we have to rally support for the victims, donate or volunteer. We cannot just complain about the government, we have to change it. We cannot just complain how there's too much sun or rain, we have to plant trees to ensure it wouldn't get that hot and the rains won't flood us so.
And we have got to stop nitpicking on what others did and didn't do and focus our energies on doing something ourselves.
I am equaly guilty of complacency. I have not been giving my best effort in being the change I want to see in the world.
I leave you with Edmund Burke:
"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare. " (hello, Presidentibles and your commercials)
"We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation."
... but maybe we had it coming?