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ROUGH CUTS | Massive flood: who’s to blame?

What a Christmas season!
On the eve of this year’s Christmas celebration and on Christmas day itself, millions of Filipinos were
happy as expected. However, there were a million, or perhaps even much more, who were deeply sad
because of the massive flood that hit several areas in the country especially most of the Mindanao
Yes, several families in most of the Zamboanga provinces, Central Mindanao areas, Caraga Region,
the Island Province of Basilan, Northern Mindanao and even in some towns of the Davao Region
provinces were forced to leave their homes as they have to evacuate to avoid getting marooned by the
flood and possibly dying from drowning.
We are certain that the families who were affected by the massive flooding started preparing for
Christmas 2022 as early as the setting in of this same year twelve months ago. This is normal because
everybody wants to enjoy the holiday season with the abundance of food and other material
requirements for the happy commemoration of the birth of the Savior.
Unfortunately, fate has its own ways destined for every human being or a particular place. Thus,
many of those who lived in the flood-stricken provinces and cities found themselves risking their lives
and properties right at the peak of the Christmas celebration. And worst, many lost their lives and
properties on Christmas eve and on the very day of the Savior Child’s nativity commemoration.
And we in Davao City who are lucky enough that we were spared from the cataclysm could only
empathize with those grieving flood victims.
Imagine how heart-breaking it is to hear the testimonies of those families saying that the food and
other edible items they prepare for the Noche Buena were suddenly washed out from their table by the
rampaging flood water! Some say that they lost their houses and everything inside it.
Indeed we could not find idea how much anger nature has to those who destroyed its normal
existence that it exacted its revenge on the very days that people are supposed to be at the pinnacle of
their enjoyment of this holiday season.
Really we do not know if we are morally correct if we will call the recent nature’s vengeance one
great manifestation of unfairness. After all only a handful of the people and industries caused the
destruction of nature although it is clear that long before and until today this continuous intervention of
nature by the few privileged individuals and businesses is abetted by the government’s lack of resolve to
enforce environment or nature-related laws on everyone.

Who “raped” our forest resources? They were the bigtime loggers both legally and illegally operating.
Then what they left from their operation the clandestine lumbermen, the slash and burn farmers, the
charcoal makers took over. Together they work to further bald our mountains and demolish whatever
remains of the once lush forest.
And down under the surface of the earth who are those who dug cavernous tunnels making the earth
bottom like homes of honey bees that even a slight rocking could lead to the mountain collapse that
could likely cause deaths to those who work deep down below.
Then we have these bigtime residential and property developers whose projects lead to the
concreting of hundreds of thousands of square meters of lowland lots. The concreted earth surface
largely diminishes the absorptive capacity of the soil leading to the fast and unabated rampage of rain
water. In fact of late, these property developers are already flattening hills, or converting
mountainsides into posh residential enclaves for the rich and famous. In so doing they do away with
whatever trees left standing in favor of highly saleable residential spaces. This development scheme
results to fast soil erosion leading to the shallowing of rivers.
And we are certain that the victims of the pre-Christmas and Christmas day flood blamed nature – and
most likely God – for the tragedy that they suffer. And maybe even us who are watching the unfortunate
victims at a safe distance may also be blaming nature and God for the fate of our brothers and sisters in
the flooded places.
With the holiday season almost over, perhaps it is time to ponder deeply why we should heap the
blame on nature and its creator and not admit that we the people and our government are largely to
blame for all these.


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