Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The Aquino administration, PAGASA in particular, deserves every Filipino’s gratitude for the disaster mitigation efforts against mega typhoon Juan.

The damage it wrought on public and private is running upwards of P200 million and the death count is put by latest reports at 12, considerably lower given our horrendous experience from typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

As our officials see it:

Science Undersecretary Graciano Yumul (PAGASA OIC):
I think we were able to prove them wrong. The government’s preparedness and the people’s cooperation helped minimize the losses from Super-typhoon “Juan” (international codename: Megi), which made landfall in Isabela province on Monday. I think Typhoon Juan showed you Team Philippines. “The good thing about this is you saw a tremendous typhoon entering the country but the loss of lives—considering this is the strongest in the world—was basically minimal. The coordinated responses by the national and local governments and civil society to respond to the storm but also by individuals and families on the ground. They really made the difference.

President Benigno Aquino III:
I am very happy to report to the public that everyone has delivered. The thorough preparations of all concerned agencies are in marked contrast to the official helplessness of the past, and at present, we haven’t had to ask the public to contribute outside resources. To date, the needs of affected communities are being met. The damage and loss of life could have been much greater had we not prepared for the storm.
The damage and loss of life could have been much greater had we not prepared for the storm. The actions of the government and the people themselves shows what can be accomplished when we all cooperate to anticipate the needs of our people.

Following this success, there are suggestions that the government instead use the P600-M it was allocated for additional Doppler radars for other social services.

It will be a big mistake to do this.

We should not be lulled into the legendary Filipino ‘ningas cogon’ and ‘put-off-for tomorrow’ mindset.

Let’s build on this new-found ‘can do’ posture of PAGASA and fully develop it as a top caliber weather agency.
Equally misguided is a proposal for local government units to pool their calamity funds into interest-bearing mutual funds.

We can almost hear the flapping wings of money-hungry vultures at the ready to steal those public monies.

It is way too early to become complacent yet again.

Too much remains at stake.

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