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.

11 comments:

Rizaldy M. Manrique said...

Willy,

Just want to say I'm glad you're blogging again:)

dave said...

Iyo ngani, maray man na bumalik ka sa blogging. Asin maray man na nilipasan an Bikol kan bagyo.

That Hongkong forecast was similar to what Pag-asa released in the news today. They say that the current weather pattern seems to be the same as what happened 60 years ago. Which had more cyclones than usual and take different paths than usual.

Doods Santos said...

willy, may maabot diyan sa agang-aga, si dr. mike aspar kan de la salle sa dasmarinas cavite. mawalat siyang formal letter sa city hall. advance party siya para kay dr. ruth elynia mabanglo asin 12 fil-ams sa advanced filipino abroad program (AFAP) kan Fulbright asin la salle. they'll be in bikol from july 13-20. as usual, interested sinda na magkaigwang audience kay mayor jesse because they have heard about naga's good governance model. please help them. my email is doodsantos@yahoo.com Mabalos!

Dominique said...

Welcome back, Willy!

Anonymous said...

Well, what do you know, Willy got his groove back, and it took typhoon FRANKIE, to get him back....
For us Bicolanos na mga Uragon, no typhoons intimidates us. We eat typhoons for breakfast, ika nga... It's a given, we are on the typhoon belt, and as the saying goes, Geography is destiny. We are better prepared than the rest of the region, and our attitude, which is stoic, is very appropriate for these kind of disaster.

I'm staying right now in Tigbauan, Iloilo, and my observation is that the whole Panay island was caught flat-footed by Frankie. The people are not used to it, plus the kapalpakan of PAGASA, which put them in a pseudo-security, didn't bode well. Result ? DEATH & DEVASTATION galore ! Iloilo province was ground zero of Frankie...it was a grim reminder that in these times, there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide from nature's wrath...

John de la Croix

jcc said...

We are sick of fingerpointing ourselves. We point to our politicians, our bureaucracy and Sulpicio Lines as the culprits. Engaging in it won't help us any. This is the third maritime disaster that happened involving Sulpicio Lines. Fingerpointing in the past did not make maritime voyage safe. Please visit my blog. http:\\jcc34.wordpress.com

AdB said...

JCC says "Engaging in it won't help us any."

What do you propose should be done? Not to "engage in it"?

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