By Lakwatserang Paruparo as originally posted at Blog Watch, Philippine Online Chronicles.
I tossed and turned and thought of the raging storm in Luzon even if I live in faraway Mindanao. When situations of catastrophic proportions embattle a part of the country, we cannot simply stay put and ignore them. We have relatives and friends in all the three major islands of the country and we cannot help but be affected, too. So, we pray, we spread useful information, we ask for help, we help.
For now, the worst is over. Typhoon Glenda is about to exit the Philippines with just around 20 casualties. Of course, one cannot say that to the bereaved families whose lives will never be the same again. But that is much better than the estimated 10,000 left by Typhoon Yolanda. It was as if a whole town had been wiped out and eight months after, no one has fully recovered from the trauma of it. Yes, there were floods and fallen trees and damages to property in many Luzon provinces, but still, those may not be worse than what happened to Leyte and Eastern Samar. Perhaps the one good thing that came out of such storms is that we have added to our vocabulary the words “storm surge.”
Typhoons come and go in a country visited by more or less 19 tropical cyclones in a typical year with around six to nine of them making landfall. The hardest hit areas are usually the provinces of Luzon. Sometimes, the typhoons pass through the Visayas, sometimes grazing a part of northern Mindanao, but very seldom pass through central or southern Mindanao. Thus, Typhoon Pablo that hit Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley in December 2012 shocked the people out of their senses and their homes.
More than tropical cyclones, the country is still beset by storms which are mostly man-made. They are the kind wreaked by crooked politicians and heartless individuals under the guise of public servants. The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam accompanied Yolanda while the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) controversy rode alongside Glenda. As of this writing, Signal Numbers one to three in the persons of Senators Revilla, Estrada and Enrile have been contained. Their arrests were like balm to the people who clamored for their blood, so to speak, after they have been implicated in the controversial PDAF scam as the howling winds of the whistleblowers and Janet Lim Napoles sounded louder with every passing Senate inquiry. Signal Number four came when two days before Glenda made landfall, no less than the President of the country appeared on national television to defend DAP and implied an impending clash between the Executive and Judiciary branches of government.
I leave the discussion and debate whether Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is constitutional or not to the experts as I am not an expert on that. But there are just some simple thoughts I cannot let go with regard to what is happening in our country today.
The call of PNoy to wear yellow in support of him after his televised defense of DAP amidst Glenda is reminiscent of Secretary Mar Roxas telling Mayor Alfred Romualdez that he is a Romualdez while the president is an Aquino at the height of rebuilding after Yolanda. Damn those politicians! They’re the ones creating division among the Filipinos. When they sat in those positions of power, they vowed to serve the country and not just those who would kowtow to their whims and wishes or those who would adhere to a certain color!
We are not yellow.
Yellow is the color of the ribbons that were tied to trees before Ninoy Aquino’s fateful return to the country in 1983. It became the color of EDSA People Power 1 and the color of the oligarchs who supported that peaceful uprising. It was quite ‘fashionable’ to wear yellow in the middle to late 80s when the people wanted change and freedom from the Marcos tyranny and regime. It was a time when yellow was a bright color, the color of confetti along the streets of Makati, and the color of democracy when the walls of the Marcos stronghold broke down. Eventually, that kind of yellow faded especially when the country saw the return of the Marcoses into power.
We are not red.
“Red, the blood of angry men!” That goes a line in the revolutionary song in the movie “Les Miserables.” We are not red because we do not want blood to water the fields of our country the way it does when the military clashes with the insurgents in the countryside or when militants walk along the urban streets wielding their outrageously red banners. Basically, Filipinos are peace-loving people and do not advocate a bloody revolution.
We are not blue.
Although blue symbolizes peace, calm and composure, it is also the color chosen by erstwhile “presidentiable” and present DILG Secretary Mar Roxas to represent him. As early as this time, this Liberal Party official has been subtlety making his intentions felt with posters of him, a rich kid, doing ordinary things like carrying a sack of rice, riding a padyak, among other things, dotting social media. So blue may stand for all the other politicians who are thinking of having themselves elected in 2016 while forgetting their foremost task of doing their jobs today.
We are not even orange.
Orange is the color of VP Jojo Binay and Mayor Erap Estrada or perhaps the United Nationalist Alliance party. I say, it reeks of ‘trapo’ and a lot of Filipinos cannot stand that foul odor anymore. Thus, we say ‘NO’ to orange and ‘Never Again’ to any ‘trapo’ who dares to masquerade as leaders of our country.
We are blue-red-yellow-white.
Needless to say, those are the colors of the Philippine flag. Those are the colors we need to rally behind. Those are the colors our forefathers have fought for just so our country will have independence from the tyranny of the Spanish regime and foreign control. Those are the colors which should unite our country no matter what the political affiliations of those in power. Those are the colors that mean pride and honor, passionate love for country, bright hopes for our people, and immaculate intentions and acts of service regardless of tropical cyclones, natural or man-made, that may hit the country.
We are blue-red-yellow-white.
We are Filipinos and these are our colors!