Cebuanos in general were fortunate that the island didn’t bear the brunt of Typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha).
The storm’s path missed the densely populated metropolis and just glanced the southern towns.
A good sign of mayors taking the initative was demonstrated in Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue cities which used muscle and persuasion to mount preventive evacuations of coastal areas.
They didn’t just leave it to barangay captains to coax reluctant settlers, the cities sent uniformed policemen to firmly escort families on board patrol cars.
That’s what President Aquino meant when he said the coming storm was “no joke”and that the loss of lives and property could be reduced if people just help each other.
The early decision of mayors in Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay cities to call off classes a day before storm Pablo struck was also commendable.
Swift executive action is needed to deal with an emergency before it’s a full blown calamity. Their decision was helped along by the clear and immediately available weather analysis by Pagasa Mactan, whose chief Oscar Tabada was shuttling from City Hall to the Capitol for briefings, as well as making himself available for broadcast interviews.
While Pagasa updates on Twitter are a huge help, rural communities rely on AM radio and TV to get urgent news so the press interviews are vital.
As of press time, the death toll in Mindanao has reached 40 and is expected to rise.
After one more day of stormy weather, as Pablo exits the country, it’s time to get organized and lend a hand in relief efforts for fellow Filipinos who didn’t have it so easy.
Cagayan de Oro City was flooded again as its main river overflowed like a grim anniversary for Typhoon Sendong which struck a year ago in Decmember.
Almost 12,000 families were evacuated in Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao and Caraga region, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Blackouts hit Tandag, Bislig, Hinatuan, Tagbina, Barobo, Lianga, and Lingig in Surigao del Sur and Carmen, Agusan Del Norte; and Pilar in Surigao Del Norte.
With Christmas nearing, Cebuanos can stretch the season of goodwill to reach these places with badly needed help.
Whatever the Department of Social Welfare and Development has prepared for storm survivors, Cebuanos can supplement – beddings, water, food, cooking utensils, medicine.