23 June 2008

Lessons from 'Frank'

AS IS THE case every time a powerful typhoon that lashes our god-forsaken country leaves many dead on its trail, we are once again going through the ritual of fingerpointing and buckpassing, led by President Arroyo no less, and by telecon from the other side of the globe. (Her party won't come home yet; the Pacquiao fight wouldn't happen until Sunday morning.)

When another crisis erupts and grabs the headlines, the tragedy is swept under the rug, policy prescriptions remain just that, and the lessons quickly forgotten.

And what are these?

One, local officials (like Albay Gov. Joey Salceda) should not be so stupid as to rely on PAGASA's forecasts alone in making their decisions. Fortunately for us, websites like the Naga-based Typhoon2000.com have been in existence for at least a decade now. The treasure trove of information there should be required reading for local disaster councils and alter egos of governors and mayors.

Two, while some areas are certainly more fortunate than others (like most of Mindanao which, according to a Cagayan de Oro relative I visited last week, are alien to what we regularly experience in Bicol), most of Luzon and the Visayas should know how disastrous typhoons can be.

We should therefore should leave nothing to chance, especially with the recently erratic climate and this 2008 forecast from the City University of Hong Kong that western north Pacific (which includes the Philippines) will have slightly above-normal overall TC (tropical cyclone) activity this year.

The path taken by 'Frank' -- the first salvo of the the wet season -- is unusual, and portends that natural disasters will probably cover a wider swathe this time around.

Oddly enough, having been so used to being at their receiving end, we were prepared as usual. Although thanks to the Typhoon2000, I already had an idea by last Friday evening that 'Frank' path will change and spare us just for once.


10 June 2008

My new desktop

THE best of three worlds:

- My all-time fave Dawn of Ubuntu wallpaper, sitting on a Mac customization of the good ol' Windows XP.

- On my three-year old Celeron M 1.40GHz Asus A3L that is crying out for an upgrade.That eePC 901 or Acer Aspire One looks nice.:)

Courtesy of Carabs and Naga's good ol' EDP boys.