Ondoy: lessons from the rain

1. Ondoy showed that any kind of furniture made of plywood disintegrates when soaked in floodwater. Ergo, Congress should legislate against the selling of plywood-made furniture in the market.

2. Ondoy showed that rubber boats from the armed services are hardly suited for use in rescue operations since they can be punctured and carry only limited number of persons. Ergo, fun boats from Burnham Park should be prototyped instead for use during floods.

3. Ondoy showed that releasing water from government-run dams aggravate the effects of heavy rains and flooding within a given radius detrimental to lives and properties. Ergo, congressional investigation should commence to pinpoint who to blame.

4. Ondoy showed that packs of relief goods (rice, canned sardines, noodles) cannot be eaten raw by their intended victims of disaster or calamity. Ergo, the government should produce ready-to-eat food rations in easy-to-open cans much like those given by the US government to their military troops on war mission.

5. Ondoy showed that dump-trucks are high enough to transport people in from one point to another in chest-deep flooded highways. Ergo, every barangay should acquire its own dump-truck for this special use only but absolutely never for garbage.

6. Ondoy showed that blanket authority has been granted for elected officials to declare their respective area under a ‘state of calamity’ and that funds for the purpose are deemed approved for release. Ergo, is there any other better way to win favor than go politically nuts?

7. Ondoy showed that tons of resulting garbage can be produced in just 6 to 9 hours of heavy rain fall but the same cannot be collected until after 6 to 9 days, or more. Ergo, the government should sequester, commandeer, and control all dump-trucks from private owners for garbage collection and disposal.

8. Ondoy showed that civic-oriented groups prefer distributing relief goods in packs from collecting thrown-away garbage in piles in front of every home.

9. Ondoy showed that many people already left their homes including their cars wherever they parked them. Ergo, there should be one common claim area so owners of these towed and impounded vehicles can claim them – at no cost on their part.

10. Ondoy showed that victims of floodwaters have to start their investments all over again. Ergo, the government should ink a moratorium of 3 to 6 months holiday from the payment of all arrears and interests on loans contracted by said victims.

11. Ondoy showed that junkshops have become instant millionaires with tons upon tons of scraps being sold to them from the flood-affected houses; small repair shops now display newly-cleaned and washed electric fans for sale in front of their establishments; and open-dumping sites produce wealth for scavengers.

12. Ondoy showed that business establishments damaged by flood waters do not receive any form of subsidy from the local government unit where they operate. Ergo, there shall be a tax holiday for them come January next year.

13. Ondoy showed that using all these military-issued rubber boats, military six by six trucks, and military helicopters can do very little job in rescue operations precisely because these are not intended for these scenarios.

14. Ondoy showed that at least one presidentiable is more word than deed, more talk than walk, armchair operator than hitting ground to really lay a hand to help. More veteran presidentiable is certainly more effective in this domain than one given to mere lip-service. Who says we need a scholar who knows his facts as president over one who lands his foot on the ground and ready to risk life and limb to help our brethren?

15. Ondoy showed that elective officials are not within sighting range during disasters and calamities much less initiating effective and efficient approaches to save lives, to address food rationing requirements, and provide security within a given confine.

16. Ondoy that over-concentration of urban population has reduced the whole metropolis into one huge catchbasin and an expanded water-impounding area enough to drown people and houses are roof level.

17. Ondoy showed that telecommunication companies dismally failed to stand to the challenge of providing much needed services in times of disaster or so with public utilities supposed to provide electricity and water at those critical times. Ergo, the government should hold them accountable by sanctions such as fines if not closure or cancellation of franchise.

18. Ondoy showed how weak Malacanang Palace is – in real-life scenarios.

(nielsky_2003@yahoo.com)