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Rough Cuts: Feeling the impact of climate change

This is a bit late. But we would be unfair if we cannot let our appreciation known about the success of the 82nd Araw ng Dabaw celebration the whole of last week, capped with a massive parade last Saturday.

The various activities initiated by the organizing committee supported by various sectors of the population, most especially the business community, brought extreme enjoyment to Davaoenos and guests who flocked to the city to witness the celebration.

So we are taking our hat off the organizing committee under the guidance of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio. She may not have been in the city several times shortly before the celebration week but the chairs of the various committees charged to undertake the implementation plan of the various activities worked with clock precision.

Also, the different law enforcement authorities tasked with securing the city during the one week festivities were definitely in their best ever. Imagine the amount of efforts they did to prevent people with criminal minds, especially those with terroristic intentions, from doing their thing in the city?

So our congratulations go to the top guys of the Davao City Police Office, the Task Force-Davao, the Coast Guard, the Army units having jurisdiction in the city, and all other law enforcement units.

Their vigilance keeps the Davaoenos and visitors during last week’s 82nd Araw celebration out of harm’s way.

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Indeed the effect of climate change is already showing the inversion of equation as far the country’s weather situation is concerned. The unusual is now happening in places that were once normally free from the typhoon phenomenon.

Take for example tropical depression Chedeng that brought heavy rains in Mindanao, especially in the Davao Region since last Monday. It barreled into the country while it is in the midst of a scorching El Nino. And of all places, the typhoon struck in the Davao Region including Davao City. Has not the City been proud for its typhoon-free attribute that it is one of its come-ons to investors and tourists?

In other words, what is usual in Davao City is, for decades not a single typhoon hit the area. It was a near miss by typhoon Pablo in December of 2012.

But as the term “climate change” started cropping up and eventually became words of mouth even by the man on the street, the usual in Davao Region including Davao City is slowly evolving into the unusual.

Before, the area can hardly be heard in weather reports as path of incoming typhoons. Over the last five years the region has already been prominently mentioned as the potential path of tropical depressions. The open seas in its eastern part have been monitored spawning low pressure phenomena that often developed into devastating storms.

Yesterday, the whole of the Davao Region including Davao City, was put under Storm Signal Number 1. Typhoon Chedeng was expected to have its landfall yesterday morning in Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental and the Island Garden City of Samal including Davao City which it strategically blocks.

As we submitted this column to the editorial office midmorning yesterday, we could did not feel the strong winds hammering the city. The leaves of trees were still calm although heavy rains were already falling all over the city. Not a ray of the mighty sun was seen as there was no indication the rains would stop.

It was a good thing that Mayor Sara did a pre-emptive move by ordering the cancellation of classes in all levels both for public and private schools. Students were saved from possible harm.

Indeed, this so-called climate change, though taken for granted by many, should now be instilled for serious consideration by government and private sector leaders. Slowing the phenomenon down is a gargantuan effort that requires huge financial investment and global cooperation.

We believe that the most that can be done by governments at both the national and local levels is work on response measures more.

So, as far as Davao City and the Davao Region are concerned, now that they are experiencing visible signs of being prone to storms, we believe that their leaders should now be shifting their disaster preparation focus. They should implement programs and projects that mitigate the impact of storms that also spawn strong rains that subsequently cause heavy floods in low lying areas.

This way damage to crops, properties and lives could be reduced substantially.

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