Poe: Let’s stop romanticizing Filipino resilience, some disasters can be avoided
MANILA, Philippines — Instead of romanticizing the resilience of Filipinos, Senator Grace Poe urged the government to focus its energies and resources on harnessing rainwater runoff to address the country’s perennial problem with flooding and water shortages.
“We are still living through a pandemic. Nawalan na ng trabaho ang ating mga kababayan dahil sa lockdown, ngayon naman, nalubog pa ang mga bahay dahil sa pagbaha. Ang iba, nawalan pa ng mahal sa buhay,” Poe said on Wednesday.
(We are still living through a pandemic. Many of our fellow Filipinos have been rendered jobless amid lockdowns, and then now, Filipinos have lost their homes to flooding. Some lost their loved ones.)
Poe shared her thoughts on the country’s chronic disasters as the Senate public works committee conducted a hearing on Wednesday into the massive flooding in Luzon provinces due to recent typhoons.
“Let us stop romanticizing ‘Filipino resilience.’ Totoong matatag ang Pilipino, ngunit may mga sakuna na maaaring maiwasan,” she added.
(Let us stop romanticizing ‘Filipino resilience.’ Filipinos are indeed strong but some disasters could have been avoided.)
Recent typhoons have ravaged several provinces in the country, with houses being submerged in flood waters, depriving many of their livelihood, and claiming lives.
Citing the state weather bureau, Poe noted three more typhoons are expected to enter the country before the year ends.
“It’s the irony of ironies,” the senator said.
“Our flooding problem could be the direct solution to our water insecurity problem if we are able to meet the challenges, develop the right tools and implement the necessary changes,” she added.
Poe sought the immediate passage of Senate Bill No. 579, which she filed in 2019, seeking to provide for the management, control, regulation and utilization of rainwater runoff.
“We have to capture and store rainwater and utilize it for irrigation, groundwater recharge, firefighting, and other supply purposes. Through this, water is conserved and flooding is mitigated,” she explained.
According to the senator, rainwater is an “abundant” resource in the country.
“However, recent water service interruptions in Metro Manila and other cities during the dry season and the worsening flood incidents during the rainy season are proof that we are failing to manage a key resource,” she added.
“Taun-taon na lang po ganyan, pagdating nang tag-init wala tayong tubig. Pagdating naman nang tag-ulan, sobra-sobra ang ating tubig. So sana—matagal na itong mga pinaplano—ay matuloy na dito sa gagawin nating pagdinig,” she added.
(Every year that is what happens, during the dry season, we experience water shortage. When it’s the rainy season, we have too much water. So I hope—this has been proposed for so long—is we can make this happen.)
She stressed that passing this measure and other similar bills would be “timely” and are “immediately needed.”
“We’re are expected to experience water shortage starting next year if we fail to identify a new water source,” she added. [ac]
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