I've just finished watching TV Patrol online and I'm so saddened with typhoon Juan's wrath in our country. I can deeply feel how the affected families suffer with their house blown away by strong winds and their livelihood washed out by the typhoon and flood. About this time last year, super typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng left the Philippines terribly devastated which caused a big blow in its economy. It's no wonder that our country is lagging behind its counterparts such as Thailand and Malaysia. So we can't fully blame the country's economic situation to corruption. There have been many corruption stories anywhere but natural calamities are big factors for its neighboring countries overtaking it.
Comparing the Philippines to its neighboring ASEAN countries such as Thailand and Malaysia which have similar natural resources, the former is more prone to typhoons being an archipelago, the latter are not. It is visited by almost a hundred typhoons every year. Just imagine the assessed agricultural damages of about 2 billion pesos super typhoon Juan (a.k.a Megi) recently inflicting the country. This amount excludes infrastructural damages including houses, government and private buildings and facilities, roads, bridges, electric posts, etc. in the affected provinces. If assessed, it may be more than the agricultural damages. Then what about the costs needed to repair all this destruction? So we can say that what has been said to be corrupted by Thailand's former prime minister is less than the damages caused by typhoon and its effects such as floods, loss of electricity, etc. in 2 years time. The disasters brought about by Ondoy and Pepeng alone last year amounted to PhP50 billion. Then how long will it take for the affected areas and people to recover? Now multiply the losses from natural calamities each year (plus the losses in corruption)!
No one can stop nature's wrath but at least, our risk and disaster reduction management can help a lot. For example, with proper warning, some farmers were able to salvage their maturing rice and some pond owners to save what they could before such terrible typhoon Juan struck. It's also good to note that most provinces prone to calamities were able to raise awareness for the protection of life. Last year, there was no warning given to people before Ondoy hit Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces, thus the loss was much bigger compared this time when warning was provided. It's indeed good to learn a great lesson from the past bad experience.
The Philippines may be lagging behind due to natural forces beyond its control but then we can admire the resiliency of the Filipinos, their ability to bounce back whenever a big storm strikes down or any sudden catastrophe hits the country. We can never say that Pinoys aren't hard-working or they lack ingenuity for they are world-class workers with creative and independent minds. So, it's only by good governance that the country can take back its position in the past.
The present government's priorities
Now, we can see Noynoy gearing up while he steers the country. He takes off by addressing overpopulation and corruption issues while he also tries to develop livelihood programs and infrastructures - such real ways to go. Hope to see him giving priority to education as well, not just by adding the number of years in elementary and high school. Comparing the universities between the Philippines and Thailand or Malaysia, we are left behind in terms of facilities (such as good libraries) and technology but most importantly, teachers' development. Let's look at our rank in education worldwide to give us an eye-opener. Education will lift us up from poverty and help citizens to introduce innovations and contribute to the country's growth and development.
Creating more jobs for Pinoys is P-Noy's priority so that the family, which is the basic unit in the society, won't be disintegrated. OFW parents of young children should no longer leave to sustain the family's needs far away from the family leaving them not properly guided for the values they need to learn while they are young. If parents' leaving for a job in another country persists, we become a society debased of values and deteriorating morality, thus it creates more problems in the long run.
With our population controlled, livelihood created and education given high priority for the citizens to be productive and self-sufficient despite any calamities and catastrophes, we can do much better for sure. The present government aims not just to regain the country's economic position in the ASEAN region but also to give every Filipino citizen source of livelihood for a better life not by leaving the country but by contributing to it from working within.