Lessons from ‘Ondoy’By Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Government and nongovernment rescuers were prepared when the floods came Tuesday and, as a result, only a few lives were lost.
So unlike the situation during the floods brought about by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in 2009 when there was a “sense of helplessness” to quote President Noy.
Many Filipinos have learned their lesson from Ondoy, so they surmounted two days ago what could have been a repeat tragedy.
* * *
“During Ondoy, the government had difficulty helping our people. Don’t think we’re finding it easier now. But I think the people don’t feel desperate now … We had some sense of helplessness then. I was in Mindanao (during Ondoy) and I didn’t know how to help our colleagues in our office.”
This was what the President told reporters as he described the government’s efforts in helping people stranded by Tuesday’s floods.
But the President should not rub it in.
He should know that the reason there was no “sense of helplessness” two days ago was because people didn’t commit the same mistakes as they did during Ondoy.
Such is life.
We should learn from our mistakes.
* * *
Why was C-5 Road, Edsa’s alternate thoroughfare, flooded Tuesday when it shouldn’t have been?
The P-Noy administration has spent a total of P152 million for the improvement of the drainage and the widening and rehabilitation of C-5.
For the drainage system alone of C-5, which would have prevented floods, the government set aside P12 million, but ended up spending P17 million.
The other projects for C-5’s widening and rehabilitation, still ongoing, are the following:
Widening/construction/rehabilitation of south-bound lanes (3.4 kilometers)— P50 million
Widening/construction/rehabilitation of north-bound lanes, Taguig City (from Km 13 to Km 14)—P20 million
Widening/construction/rehabilitation of north-bound lanes, Taguig City (Km 11 to Km 14)—P50 million
Proposed slope protection of ridge on north-bound lanes at the corner of Kalayaan Avenue and East Rembo, Makati City—P20 million.
These figures came from Reynaldo G. Tagudando, regional director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Metro Manila.
Tagudando should be made to explain the flooding at C-5.
* * *
Constituents of local government units know who among their officials work for their welfare during a crisis, such as a flood.
In Tuesday’s floods, the officials who were always interviewed on radio or TV because they were out in the field were Pampanga Gov. Lilia “Baby” Pineda, Zambales Gov. Hermogenes “Jun” Ebdane; Laguna Gov. E.R. Ejercito, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian and Mayor Mon Ilagan of Cainta, Rizal province.
Marikina Mayor Del de Guzman was nowhere to be found at the height of the floods.
His vice mayor, Jose Fabian Cadiz, fielded questions from reporters.
Another local executive who could not be reached for interviews was Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto.
* * *
Newly appointed Director Nonnatus Rojas of the National Bureau of Investigation said he would investigate the allegations of bribery of some of his men.
I said in Tuesday’s column that an NBI official reportedly received P2 million while his subordinates got P500,000 each after inspecting a stockpile of rice shipment in a Bulacan warehouse.
“I have ordered an investigation of the incident in order to find out the truth and file all necessary charges, if evidence warrants,” said Rojas.
People expect you to do that, director.
More from this Column:
- A wretched father-daughter tale
- Storm brewing at Pagasa
- Gov’t foot-dragging in Serendra blast
- Why Abaya is not doing well at DOTC
- Honest justices at appeals court