Editorial: Without delay

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

THERE is no stopping of destruction to come one after the other as weather disturbances hit the country. Destruction can only be minimized depending on the disaster preparedness of the local government units. The need to fully institutionalize and fund a disaster preparedness agency should top the government’s priorities.

The low pressure area that has been hovering in many parts of Mindanao since last week brings more losses on lives and properties in the island. These damages on infrastructure, agriculture and properties could surely spell millions. This is just the LPA barring the arrival of the first tropical cyclone and 25 more.

Climate change advocates say the pattern of the weather disturbances in the country has been changing. The areas recently hit by catastrophic tropical cyclones in the last three years are in Mindanao: Sendong in Northern Mindanao in 2011 and Pablo in Southern Mindanao in 2012.


Areas in Mindanao located in the equator didn't experience tropical cyclones, but not anymore these days and in the future.

As the LPA barrels Mindanao, economic losses keep on rising. Thousands of airline and shipping passengers and bus commuters have been stranded as flights, sea travel have been cancelled while bridges on vital highways in Mindanao collapsed. Some OFWs fear to lose their jobs because they have failed to report back to work on schedule as their flights have been cancelled due to planes having difficulty in landing at the Laguindingan airport. The new airport lacks the complete navigational equipment, thus, it only caters to daytime flight schedule. However, Laguindingan airport manager Engr. Jose Budiongan said that even with complete navigational aids, cancellation of flights due to inclement weather such as this LPA can still happen.

The collapse of barangay Napo Bridge in Linamon town in Lanao del Norte on Monday would surely bring high losses in agriculture and fisheries sector at the expense of the ordinary folk. The only way to cross from Lanao del Norte to get to the other towns of Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga Peninsula and Misamis Occidental province is taking the paddle boats manned by fishermen along the river.

The Department of Public Works and Highways would be spending about P100 million to reconstruct the Napo bridge. By now, its maintenance crew is working double time to provide temporary roads for commuters as an alternate of crossing the Larapan River through paddle boats. The rebuilding of the bridge will take about a year.

In Davao region, Pablo hit areas are facing another calamitous destruction as LPA brings flooding and landslides in communities have not bounced back yet.

So, for a longer time commuters, communities and businesses will take the toll of this LPA. We can only hope these affected areas will be spared from another destruction of upcoming weather disturbances to bounce back.

And better yet, enforce the best possible rehabilitation and disaster preparedness without delay.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 16, 2014.


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