I CAUGHT the tailend of Albay Gov. Fernando Gonzales's interview over Magandang Umaga Bayan at ABS-CBN, where he called on his constituents -- in the face of the incoming Typhoon Seniang that is being projected to bring more rains to the province -- to listen only to duly constituted authorities, and not to other entities, in times of disasters.
Obviously smarting for being caught with their pants down by the deadly foray of Supertyphoon Reming, I can understand why the good governor badly wants to do it right this time. Indeed, when evacuations are necessary, there is wisdom in the local state -- steered by a decisive leadership -- and its apparatuses moving in concerted action.
I can only hope he did not mean these "other entities" to include local experts like Mike Padua who is admirably filling in for whatever limitations the local Pagasa unit in the Metro Naga area has. For the truth of the matter is, Padua's invaluable service -- in partnership with RMN-DWNX which furiously stayed on the air before, during and after Reming's rampage -- has effectively saved countless lives. And he had been doing this service unselfishly since he established the Typhoon2000.ph website in 1997, in the process earning him the moniker "Mr. Typhoon".
Yesterday, when Mayor Robredo wrote President Arroyo a status report on the damage wrought by Reming, he said
What the [media] reports have glossed over is the fact that the eyewall of that supertyphoon (where the strongest winds of up to 265 kilometers per hour were found) actually came very close, only 12 kilometers south of Naga City, after entering Luzon mainland via Tiwi, Albay. Prompted by information from Typhoon2000.ph – a Naga-based website – we have started preparing for its coming as early as November 25, even before it entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR). This is one of the reasons why the city did not suffer a single human casualty, although there were 15 cases of injuries.Thomas Friedman, in his opus The World is Flat, said that since the turn of the millennium, Globalization 3.0 is being powered by individuals and small groups. I believe Padua is Exhibit "A" of this paradigm shift in a city that has embraced this thinking. To miss this paradigm shift is to be like an ostrich burying its head in the sand.
Image nicked from www.fotosearch.com